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Heresy 101:Gnosticism


Heresy 101: Gnosticism

Gnosticism holds to a radical dualism of good and evil and believes secret knowledge is necessary for salvation; this contrasts sharply with Christianity which affirms the good of creation. Gnostics think matter is evil.


Gnosticism is a philosophical worldview that stresses special knowledge. The word comes from the Greek gnosis meaning knowledge.

Gnosticism was prevalent in the first century during and after the time of Christ. It maintains that matter is evil and spirit is good. Because matter is bad human souls, in a sense, are trapped in a material world.


Gnostics maintained that they had particular knowledge about God, which enabled them to understand the human condition as it relates to the world. Moreover, this unique knowledge helped them deny the world by asserting that the evil material world need not restrict the good human spirit.


Early Gnostics taught that God was so perfect that he could not have anything to do with the physical world — including its creation.

Therefore, God made a demiurge (a heavenly being, subordinate to the Supreme Being, that is considered the controller of the material world and antagonistic to all purely spiritual.), a lesser God through which God created the world.

Gnostics considered themselves superior to early Christians and believed that this lesser God was the God of the Old Testament.


  • Gnostics believed that spiritual knowledge was the key to attaining salvation.


  • Gnostic leader Carpocrates believed that the soul needed to experience many lifetimes before attaining salvation, thus suggesting a belief in reincarnation.

  • Both male and female images of the supreme God were standard in Gnosticism.


  • Women, like Mary Magdalene, played an essential part in writing the Gnostic texts.

  • Duality in the concept of God – Gnostics believed that there is a true God who is the essence of every living and non-living creation and a false God or creator God, who created the flawed world.

  • According to the Gnostics, humans mirrored the duality found in the world – they are in part flawed from the creation of the false creator and yet also contain the light of the true God.

These teachings are heretical and are easily corrected with a simple reading of the Bible.


Gnostics created texts to affirm and teach the heresy of Gnosticism. These texts try to present themselves as equal to the Bible canon.

These books were, are, and always will be rejected from the actual canon because they hold many teachings contradicting the truth of the Bible as well as errors and contradictions, not just with the Bible but within themselves.

These heretical Gnostic texts include Acts of Thomas, Acts of John, Books of Jeu, The Gnosis of the Light, Pistis Sophia, Apocryphon of John, An Epitome of the Acts of Peter, The Wisdom of Christ, The Secret Gospel of Mark, The Hermetica, as well as many others.


Any Believer who consistently reads the Bible would easily find fault and flaws with these imitators and understand why they are heretical in teaching and blasphemous to the God of the Bible.

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