Was Christ in Genesis 1? Most people have heard some version of the story with the serpent in the Garden of Eden described in Genesis 3, in which God commands Adam and Eve not to eat from the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil, but the snake talks Eve (and, indirectly, Adam) into doing so. The story, as well as many other stories in Genesis, have inspired countless people throughout the ages– both those who take it literally and those who take it figuratively. For those who take it literally, however, there are some pretty challenging problems. Tree of Garden of Eden

The depiction of God can be cruel (for example, turning Lot’s wife into salt), genocidal (with the Flood), and even… perhaps factually wrong. It’s this last one that helped inspire early Christian thinkers, like the author of the Testimony of Truth, to think differently about the story. In the Testimony of Truth, not only is the God depicted in the garden of Eden malicious, but the snake is not the devil– it’s Christ!

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Did the early Christian Gnostics have tiers of secret knowledge reserved for the elite who climbed the ranks? Were their tracts similar to modern cults in which only by progressing can one gain access to greater revelations from a guru? In reality, the question is loaded from the start– it’s impossible to talk about Gnostics as a singular group, and literature that has been called “gnostic” is as profoundly varied as the groups and schools of thought which have been ascribed that title. Reality and Knowledge in the Treatise on Resurrection

To understand how some early Christian thinkers approached what could be considered “secret” knowledge, let’s approach what is often considered a Valentinian tract– The Treatise on Resurrection. I’ve written previously on how this document emphasized the present nature of resurrection, the illusory nature of the world, and the criticality of internalizing that knowledge.

In this post, we’re going to be looking not at the content of the Treatise’s beliefs, but about the approach it takes to communicating and sharing that content. For the author, Christ is critical– in fact, Christ is the very reason why such previously unknowable knowledge is no longer secret, but is available to all who have ears to hear. Let’s talk about secret and shared knowledge in The Treatise on Revelation.

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