Bring Forth What Is Within You
Sophia, The Deep Christ
and The Divine Spark Within
A Trail of Three Mysteries
The Creation Story of Sophia:
A Mystery Play
The Deep Christ:
A Mystery Thriller
The Divine Spark Within:
A Holy Mystery
In perhaps one of the most widely recognized quotes from a complex and highly enigmatic gnostic tradition, St. Thomas wrote down this saying from Jesus.
“If you bring forth what is within you, what you bring forth will save you. If you do not bring forth what is within you, what you do not bring forth will destroy you.” (Gospel of Thomas, Logion 70)
This is both a feel-good and a highly disturbing saying. It might even be distilled down to “Bring it forth or die.” This sounds more dire than the “Love thy neighbor” and “Love your enemies” sayings. What is he saying here and what is it that we are supposed to bring forth?
There are many treasures found within the gnostic gospels and this saying might be called a low hanging fruit, catchy with a curious twist of irony. But like Eve’s apple, here is a mystery that seems to be beyond our grasp, or perhaps it has been kept out of reach for much of the past two millenia.
To crack open this question of what are we being asked to bring forth, I will be digging deep into three mysteries which I believe bring far more detail to this question. This is an exploration into the worlds of Sophia, Christ and the inner spark. I am suggesting that we approach this complex drama in the spirit of imagination and play where, without fear, we can entertain the edges of the unknown, the mist, and the fog that shrouds what has been largely invisible for much of last 2000 years if not for much of known human history. Keeping it light, yes, however, this is also a big-picture game with high stakes outcomes as we take a metaphysical look into humanity’s origins and our relationship to the divine. The questions raised here in this triple mystery are serious with profound implications. For example, how can humanity shift into a higher gear of consciousness on a mass scale such that we are more compassionate and aware in our self determination and less at the mercy of forces that tend to just want to exploit people for their own gain? This is a question that gets to the crux, I believe, of what this material has to offer.
But let’s not get too serious here because then it’s no fun. So come. Let’s play.
The Creation Story of Sophia: A Mystery Play
As part of the material presented here in the Sophia Project, I will be laying out what is essentially a Mystery Play that features a complex story of creation. This story of cosmic origins may have originated in the first century and was found, with many variations, as a central component of some of the earliest Gnostic trends of the first few centuries CE. Because a central character in this story is known by the name of Sophia, it is fitting to call it The Creation Story of Sophia.
Mystery plays were an old medieval European tradition that dates back over 1000 years. Instead of just sitting in church listening to the preacher interpret Bible stories, often in Latin which nobody could understand, people started to add simple stage productions to the church service, or simply had actors pose in picture form, called a tableaux. At times, whole villages would show up at the town square where many had roles in a theatrical presentation of the stories like Adam and Eve or the Last Supper. The modern day Christmas pageants, played out in churches around the world, are relics from this tradition.
The word “mystery” was used to refer to the miracles associated with Biblical events in both the Old and New Testaments. But this word mystery also referred to how the various craft guilds (masons, glass blowers, textile workers, etc.) would take on the responsibility of presenting certain stories year after year and make it their own. It was the secrets or mysteries of their trade that would bring a special flavor to their stage production.
Instead of the common Biblical scenes, here, in this Sophianic mystery play, I will be presenting vast sweeps of cosmic beginnings to this sometimes otherworldly stage. Featured is a divine woman known as Sophia who appears both as an ancient Mother Goddess and as an adventurous youth who, as Carl Jung believed, became known as the soul of the world. This is a story of great despair and of great hope. And if I am getting the story right, it continues even in our present time with a final conclusion that has yet to be played out. I invite you to sit back in the comfort of your earth body, pull back the curtains of your playful imagination, and enjoy this cosmic show.
The Deep Christ: A Mystery Thriller
Though this figure known as Jesus Christ plays a central role in the mystery play, it turns out, however, that this role is more complicated than the New Testament will have us believe. This is a Deep Jesus who speaks of his cosmic origins, his descent down into his body, and his profound love for this figure Sophia. Who is this Jesus, and why is he so different from the man in white we are so familiar from the ages-old Bible stories.
This is difficult material to entertain as there are endless theories and speculations about what was going on with Jesus during his first century appearance. I will be tracking clues and looking at scripture with so called “soft eyes”, holding off on making any focused conclusions. There are just too many questions about what happened historically and too many layers of misinformation to get a clear picture of this Jesus story as a number of scholars are now seeing.
Complexity and controversy aside, it is with much excitement that I have a chance to open this mystery book here in this web series, to share this long forgotten epic tale. Indeed, Christ and Sophia are cosmic lovers whose drama is one of the great lost stories, and it is both an honor and a pleasure to share my findings on this subject.
The First Century New Dispensation of Wisdom
We will be tracking clues that bring us back to what I have come to know as the New Dispensation of Wisdom. In the first century CE there appears to have been a sudden appearance of highly advanced teachings that included a complex cosmology known generally as the Creation Story of Sophia. Also there came a highly novel download of advanced teachings about the human condition and possibilities for profound transformation and liberation. Like ripples out from the splash point, this teaching percolated into Gnosticism and Christianity, as well into its Jewish and Islamic forms of what could be called gnosis. From this epicenter of the Wisdom download located primarily in the Middle East, it spread into Iraq, Southern India, and even as far as China in what is called the Religion of Light. (1)
The Deep Christ is one way of seeing how this man Jesus shows up as a primary character in this strange and fleeting tradition called Gnosticism that flourished in the first few centuries CE. Based on how he appears in the gnostic texts, he could be called the Gnostic Christ but at the time of his appearance in the first century, Gnosticism as well as Christianity were still in utero. According to the texts, the great spirit of this man came from a place that he himself calls The First Mystery (2), and in one Valentinian tradition, the word for this is Depth, or The Deep. (3) So calling him the Deep Christ helps to place him in the context of this gnostic, esoteric cosmology of origins. Who this man was originally and how he came to be presented in the New Testament is quite a story and difficult to tell because it goes against 2000 years of how it has typically been told. So this is going to be interesting, fun even, if we stay open and maybe not take it too seriously.
The Divine Spark Within: a Holy Mystery
One of the most obscure enigmas of the esoteric traditions is something that is referred to in this Sophianic lineage as the Divine Spark that is hidden within us. It is something that is so precious, so rare and so powerful that it has remained latent and unlit for much of human history.
Jesus referred to it cryptically as the mustard seed, for example (4). Luminous Epinoia is one phrase that was used in some long forgotten texts that refer to this. (5) So invaluable is this phenomenon that Divine Wisdom herself told Thomas Aquinas in his vision, “For all gold in her sight shall be esteemed as a little sand, and silver shall be counted as clay: and this not without cause, for to gain her is better than the merchandise of silver and the most pure gold.” (6) Unlike in the Gospel of Thomas with the simple saying, “bring forth what is within you,” we will be digging deep into some materials on this theme that seems to point specifically to what it is that we are being invited to bring forth.
Interweaving The Three Mysteries
All three of these mysteries I have found are necessary in order to land the broad thesis of this project that points specifically to who we are in the scheme of creation cosmology. Downplaying or neglecting one of these three mysteries would be as ineffective as trying to sit on a two legged stool. So this will be part of the fun, the play, to move between these three mysteries, weaving them together, as the big picture gradually unfolds.
I urge anyone who steps into these pages to not get too caught up any of the epic figures in this drama. In this mystery theatrical thriller, as it turns out, you are the most important character. It is your life that is central in all of this, and is one which I urge you the reader to not abandon as we step into this complex tale. Nothing in this web series need override your own inner sense and beliefs. Indeed, how the great mystery might be working in your life is connected deeply to your own personhood and your unique history. Only you know what particular nutrients of insight or wisdom might help you on your path. That being said, as we step into these mysteries, I invite your inner imaginal process to be stimulated, like a child staring up at the teacher who reads from a story book.
So come and enjoy the show and may you find great treasures.
- Pagels, E. Beyond Belief, The Secret Gospel of Thomas. Vintage Books, NY. 2003. p. 164.
- von Franz, M-L. (edited with commentary). Aurora Consurgens, A document attributed to Thomas Aquinas on the problem of opposites in alchemy. Inner City Books, Toronto. 2000. p. 35.