Get the CD Now!


Excerpta ex Theodotus:

Extracts from the Works of Theodotus and the So-Called Oriental Teachings at the Time of Valentinus

1 "Father," he says, "I deposit into thy hands my spirit." Wisdom, he says, put forth a receptacle of flesh for the Logos, the spiritual seed; clad in it the Saviour descended. Wherefore, at the Passion, it is Wisdom which he deposits with the Father, in order that he may receive her from the Father and not be held back here by those who have the power to deprive him. Thus, by the word already spoken of, he deposits the whole spiritual seed, that is, the elect.

We admit that the elect seed is both a spark kindled by the Logos and a pupil of the eye and a grain of mustard seed and leaven which unites in faith the genera which appear to be divided.

2 But the followers of Valentinus maintain that when the animal body was fashioned a male seed was implanted by the Logos in the elect soul while it was asleep and that this is an effluence of the angelic <seed>, in order that there may be no gap. And this worked as leaven, uniting what seemed to have been divided, soul and flesh, which had also been put forth sepa rately by Wisdom. And Adam's sleep was the soul's forgetting, which restrained from dissolution, . . . just as the spiritual thing which the Saviour inserted into the soul.. The seed was an effluence of the male and angelic <element>. Therefore the Saviour says, "Be saved, thou and thy souL"

3 Therefore when the Saviour came, he awakened the soul and kindled the spark. For the words of the Lord are power. Therefore he said, "Let your light shine before men." And after the Resurrection, by breathing the Spirit on the apostles, he was blowing off and re moving dust like ashes, but kindling and giving life to the spark.

4 By reason of great humility the Lord did not appear as an angel but as a man, and when he appeared in glory to the apos tles on the Mount he did not do it for his own sake when he showed himself, but for the sake of the Church which is "the elect race," that it might learn his advancement after his de parture from the flesh. For on high, too, he was Light and that which was manifest in the flesh and appeared here is not later than that above nor was it curtailed, in that it was translated hither from on high, changing from one place to another, so that this was gain here and loss there. But he was the Omnipresent, and is with the Father, even when here, for he was the Father's Power. And besides, it was necessary that that word also which the Saviour spoke should be fulfilled, "There are some of those standing here who will not taste death until they see the Son of Man in glory." Therefore, Peter and James and John saw and fell asleep. .

5 How was it that they were not frightened when they saw the vision of light but fell on the earth when they heard the voice? Because the ears are more sceptical than the eyes and an unex pected voice is more terrifying. But John the Baptist, when he heard the voice, was not afraid, as if he heard in the spirit, which was accustomed to such a voice. But it was just as any ordinary man on merely hearing would have been frightened; therefore the Saviour said to thern, "Tell no one what you saw." Yet they had not even with eyes of the flesh seen the light (for there is no bond of kinship and relation between that light and the present flesh) but as the power and will of the Saviour en abled the flesh to have vision. Moreover, that which the soul saw it shared with the flesh that companied with it. . .. And "tell no one" was spoken lest any, when they knew what the Lord is, should refrain from laying hands on the Lord and the plan of God be made incomplete and death refrain from the Lord as from a vain attempt on the unapproachable. And, moreover, the voice on the mountain came to the elect who already understood, so that they were also amazed when testi mony was given to that which they believed; but the voice at the river was for those who were going to believe. Therefore, too, the voice was disregarded by them, held down as they were to the discipline of the Scribes.

6 The verse, "In the beginning was the Logos and the Logos was with God and the Logos was God" the Valentinians understand thus, for they say that the "beginning" is the "Only Begotten" and that he is also called God, as also in the verses which immediately follow it explains that he is God, for it says, "The Only-Begotten God who is in the bosom of the Father, he has declared him." Now they say that the Logos in the be ginning, that is to say in the Only-Begotten, in the Mind and the Truth, indicates the Christ, the Logos and the Life. Where fore he also appropriately calls God him who is in God, the Mind. "That which came into being in him," the Logos, "was Life," the Companion. Therefore the Lord also says, "I am the Life. "

7 Therefore, the Father, being unknown, wished to be known to the Aeons, and through his own thought, as if he had known himself, he put forth the Only-Begotten, the spirit of Knowledge which is in Knowledge. So he too who came forth from Know ledge, that is, from the Father's Thought, became Knowledge, that is, the Son, because "through' the Son the Father was known." But the Spirit of Love has been mingled with the Spirit of Knowledge, as the Father with the Son, and Thought with Truth, having proceeded from Truth as Knowledge from Thought. And he who remained " Only-Begotten Son in the bosom of the Father" explains Thought to the Aeons through Knowledge, just as if he had also been put forth from his bosom; but him who appeared here, the Apostle no longer calls " Only Begotten," but " as Only-Begotten," "Glory as of an Only- Begotten." This is because being one and the same, Jesus is the" First-Born" in creation, but in the Pleroma is "Only- Begotten." But he is the same, being to each place such as can be contained <in it>. And he who descended is never divided from him who remained. For the Apostle says, "For he who ascended is the same as he who descended." And they call the Creator, the image of the Only-Begotten. Therefore even the works of the image are the same and therefore the Lord, having made the dead whom he raised an image of the spiritual resur rection, raised them not so that their flesh was incorruptible but as if they were going to die again.

8 But we maintain that the essential Logos is God in God, who is also said to be " in the bosom of the Father," continuous, undivided, one God.

" All things were made by him"; things both of the spirit, and of the mind, and of the senses, in accordance with the activity proper to the essential Logos. "This one explained the bosom of the Father," the Saviour and [Isaiah said, "And I will pay back their deeds into their bosom," that is, into their thought, which is in the soul, from which it is first activated] "Firs- Born of all creation." But the essential Only-Begotten, in ac cordance with whose continuous power the Saviour acts, is the Light of the Church, which previously was in darkness and ignorance.

"And darkness comprehended him not": the apostates and the rest of men did not know him and death did not detain him.

9 Faith is not single but various. Indeed the Saviour says, "Let it be according to thy faith." Wherefore it is said that some of those of the Calling will be deceived at the coming of the Antichrist. But this would be impossible for the elect. Therefore he says, "And if it were possible, my elect"; again when he says, "Get ye out from my Father's house," he is speak ing to those who are called. Again he utters the call to the one who came back from a journey and had consumed his goods, for whom he killed the fatted calf; and where the King called those who were on the highways to the wedding feast. All, therefore, have been called equally, "for he sendeth rain upon the just and on the unjust and maketh the sun to shine upon alI," but' the elect are those who have superior faith, for he says to them, " No man hath seen my Father except the Son," and " Ye are the light of the world" and" Holy Father, sanctify them in thy name."

10 But not even the world of spirit and of intellect, nor the arch angels and the First-Created, no, nor even he himself is shapeless and formless and without figure, and incorporeal; but he also has his own shape and body corresponding to his preeminence over all spiritual beings, as also those who were first created have bodies corresponding to their preeminence over the beings subordinate to them. For, in general, that which has come into being is not unsubstantial, but they have form and body, though unlike the bodies in this world. Those which are here are male and female and differ from each other, but there he who is the Only-Begotten and inherently intellectual has been provided with his own form and with his own nature which is exceedingly pure and sovereign and directly enjoys the power of the Father; and the First-Created even though numerically distinct and sus ceptible of separate distinction and definition, nevertheless, are shown by the similarity of their state to have unity, equality and similarity. For among the Seven there is neither inferiority nor superiority and no advance is left for them, since they have received perfection from the beginning, at the time of the first creation from God through the Son. And he is said to be "inap proachable Light" as" Only-Begotten," and "First-Born," "the things which eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, and which have not entered into the heart of man," - and such a one shall not be found either among the First-Created or among men, - but they "always behold the face of the Father" and the face of the Father is the Son, through whom the Father is known. Yet that which sees and is seen cannot be formless or incorporeal. But they see not with an eye of sense, but with the eye of mind, such as the Father provided.

11 When, therefore, the Lord said, "Despise not one of these little ones. Verily, I say .unto you, their angels do always be hold the face of the Father," ["as is the pattern, such will be the elect,] when they have received the perfect advance." But "blessed are the pure in heart for they shall see God." And how could there be a face of a shapeless being? Indeed the Apostle knows heavenly, beautiful and intellectual bodies. How could different names be given to them, if they were not determined by their shapes, form, and body? "There is one glory of the heavenly, another of the earthly, another of angels, another of archangels, because in comparison with bodies here, like the stars, they are incorporeal and formless, as in comparison with the Son, they are dimensional and sensible bodies; so also is the Son, if compared with the Father, and each one of the spiritual beings has its own power and its own sphere of action just as those who were first created both came into being together, and received completion, their common and undivided service.

12 Therefore the First-Created behold both the Son and each other and the inferior orders of being, as also the archangels behold the First-Created. But the Son is the beginning of the vision of the Father, being called the "face" of the Father. And the angels, who are intellectual fire and intellectual spirits, have purified natures, but the greatest advance from intellectual fire, completely purified, is intellectual light, "into which things the angels desire to look," as Peter says. Now 'the Son is still purer than this: "light unapproachable" and "a power of God" and, according to the Apostle, "we were re deemed by precious and blameless and spotless blood." And his "garments gleamed as the light, and his face as the sun," which it is not easy even to look at.

13 He is "heavenly bread" and "spiritual food" furnishing life by food and knowledge, "the light of men," that is, of the Church. Therefore those who ate the heavenly bread died, but he who eats the true bread of the Spirit shall not die. The Son is the living bread which was given by the Father to those who wish to eat. "And my flesh is the bread which I will give," he says, that is, to him whose flesh is nourished by the Eucharist; or better still, the flesh is his body, "which is the Church," "heavenly bread," a blessed Assembly. And perhaps just as the elect are essentially derived from the same substance, and as they will also attain the same end. . .

14 The demons are said to be incorporeal, not because they have no bodies (for they have even shape and are, therefore, capable of feeling punishment), but they are said to be incor poreal because, in comparison with the spiritual bodies which are saved, they are a shade. And the angels are bodies; at any rate they are seen. Why even the soul is a body, for the Apostle says, "It is sown a body of soul, it is raised a body of spirit." And how can the souls which are being punished be sensible of it, if they are not bodies? Certainly he says, "Fear him who, after death, is able to cast soul and body into hell." Now that which is visible is not purged by fire, but is dissolved into dust. But, from the story of Lazarus and Dives, the soul is directly shown by its possession of bodily limbs to be a body.

15 " And as we have borne the image of the earthly, we shall bear also the image of the heavenly," that is of the spiritual, as we advance towards perfection. Again he says" image" in the sense of spiritual bodies. And again, "For now we see in a mirror, confusedly, but then face to face"; for immediately we begin to have knowledge. . . there is not even "face" - form and shape and body. Now shape is perceived by shape, and face by face and recognition is made effectual by shapes and substances. '
16 Now the Dove also appeared as a body when it made its des cent upon the flesh of the Logos - the Dove, which some call the Holy Spirit, but the followers of Basilides call the Servant, while the followers of Valentinus call it the Spirit of the Father's thought. '

17 According to the Valentinians, Jesus and the Church and Wisdom are a powerful and complete mixture of bodies. To be sure, human commingling in marriage produces the birth of one child from two commingled seeds and. the body, dissolved into earth, mingles with the earth, and water mingles with wine. And the greater and more excellent bodies are capable of being easily mixed, for example, wind mingles with wind. But to me it seems that this happens by conjunction and not by admixture. Therefore, does not the divine power, immanent in the soul, sanctify it in the final stage of advance? For" God is spirit" and "inspires where he will." For the immanence of the divine power does not affect substance, but power and force; and spirit is conjoined with spirit, as spirit is conjoined with soul.

18 When the Saviour descended, he was seen by the angels and so they proclaimed him. But he was also seen by Abraham and the other righteous men who are in Paradise on his right hand. For he says, "He rejoiced to see my day," that is the advent in the flesh. Wherefore, the risen Lord preached the good tidings to the righteous who are in Paradise, and moved them and translated them and they shall all "live under his shadow." For the advent here is a shadow of the Saviour's glory which is with the Father, and a shadow of light is not darkness but illumination. ' '

19 "And the Logos became flesh" not only by becoming man at his Advent <on earth>, but also" at the beginning" the essen tial Logos became a son by circumscription and not in essence. And again he became flesh when he acted through the prophets. And the Saviour is called an offspring of the essential Logos; therefore, "in the beginning was the Logos and the Logos was with God" and "that which came into existence in him was life" and life is the Lord. And when Paul says, "Put on the new man created according to God" it is as if he said, Believe on him who was "created" by God, "according to God," that is, the Logos in God. And "created according to God" can refer to the end of advance which man will reach, as does. . . he re jected the end for which he was created. And in other passages he speaks still more plainly and distinctly: "Who is an image of the invisible God"; then he goes on, "First-Born of all creation." For he calls the Logos of the essential Logos "an image of the invisible God," but "First-Born of all creation." Having been begotten without passion he became the creator and progenitor of all creation and substance, for by him the Father made all things. Wherefore it is also said that he "received the form of a servant," which refers not only to his flesh at the advent, but also to his substance, which he derived from its underlying reality, for substance is a slave, inasmuch as it is passive and subordinate to the active and dominating, cause.

20 For we thus understand "I begot thee before the morning star" with reference to the first-created Logos of God and simil arly "thy name is before sun" and moon and before all creation.

21 The Valentinians say that the finest emanation of Wisdom is spoken of in "He created them in the image of God, male and female created he them." Now the males from this emanation are the "election," but the females are the "calling" and they call the male beings angelic, and the females themselves, the superior seed. So also, in the case of Adam, the male remained in him but all the female seed was taken from him and became Eve, from whom the females are derived, as the males are from him. Therefore the males are drawn together with the Logos, but the females, becotning men, are united to the angels and pass into the Pleroma. Therefore the woman is said to be changed into a man, and the church hereon earth into angels.

22 And when the Apostle said, "Else what shall they do who are baptised for the dead?" . . . For, he says, the angels of whom we are portions were baptised for us. But we are dead, who are deadened by this existence, but the males are alive who did not participate in this existence.

"If the dead rise not why, then, are we baptised?" Therefore we are raised up "equal to angels," and restored to unity with the males, member for member. 'Now they say "those who are baptised for us, the dead," are the angels who are baptised for us, in order that when we, too, have the Name, we may not be hindered and kept back by the Limit and the Cross from enter ing the Pleroma. Wherefore, at the laying on of hands they say at the end, "for the angelic redemption" that is, for the one which the angels also have, in order that the person who has received the redemption may, be baptised in the same Name in which his angel had been baptised before him. Now the angels were baptised in the beginning, in the redemption of the Name which descended upon Jesus in the dove and redeemed him. And redemption was necessary even for Jesus, in order that, approaching through Wisdom, he might not be detained by the Notion of the Deficiency in which he was inserted, as Theodotus says.

23 The followers of Valentinus say that Jesus is the Paraclete, because he has come full of the Aeons, having come forth from the whole. For Christ left behind Sophia, who had put him forth, and going into the Pleroma, asked for help for Sophia, who was left outside; and Jesus was put forth by the good will of the Aeons as a Paraclete for the Aeon which had passed. In the type of the Paraclete, Paul became the Apostle of the Resur rection. Immediately after the Lord's Passion he also was sent to preach. Therefore he preached the Saviour from both points of view: as begotten and passible for the sake of those on the left, because, being able to know him, they are afraid of him in this position, and in spiritual wise from the Holy Spirit and a virgin, as the angels on the right know him. For each one knows the Lord after his own fashion, and not all in the same way. "The Angels of the little ones" that is, of the elect who will be in the same inheritance and perfection, "behold the face of the Father. " And perhaps the Face is now the Son, and now as much of that comprehension of the Father as they perceive who have been instructed by the Son. But the rest of the Father is unknown.

24 The Valentinians say that the Spirit which each one of' the prophets had ,adapted to service was poured out upon all those of the Church. Therefore too the signs of the Spirit, healings and prophecies, are fulfilled through the Church. But they do not know that the Paraclete, who now works continuously in the Church, is of the same substance and power as he who worked continuously according to the Old Testament.

25 The followers of Valentinus defined the Angel as a Logos having a message from Him who is. And, using the same ter minology, they call the Aeons Logoi.

He says the Apostles were substituted for the twelve signs of the Zodiac, for, as birth is directed by them, so is rebirth by the Apostles.

26 The visible part of Jesus was Wisdom and the Church of the superior seeds and he put it on through the flesh, as Theodotus says; but the invisible part is the Name, which is the Only- Begotten Son. Thus when he says "I am the door," he means that you, who are of the superior seed, shall come up to the boundary where I am. And when he enters in, the seed also enters with him into the Pleroma, brought together and brought in through the door.

27 The priest on entering within the second veil removed the plate at the altar of incense, and entered himself in silence with the Name engraved upon his heart, indicating the laying aside of the body which has become pure like the golden plate and bright through purification. . . the putting away as it were of the soul's body on which was stamped the lustre of piety, by which he was recognized by the Principalities and Powers as, having put on the Name. Now he discards this body, the plate which had become light, within the second veil, that is, in the rational sphere the second complete veil of the universe, at the altar of incense, that is, with the angels who are the ministers of prayers carried aloft. Now the soul, stripped by the power of him who has knowledge, as if it had become a body of the power, passes into the spiritual realm and becomes now truly rational and high priestly, so that it might now be animated, so to speak, directly by the Logos, just as the archangels became the high-priests of the angels, and the First-Created the high- priests of the archangels. But where is there a right judgment of Scripture and doctrine for that soul which has become pure, and where is it granted to see God "face to face"? Thus, having transcended the angelic teaching and the Name taught in Scripture, it comes to the knowledge and comprehension of the facts. It is no longer a bride but has become a Logos and rests with the bridegroom together with the First-Called and First- Created, who are friends by love, sons by instruction and obedi ence, and brothers by community of origin. So that it belonged to the dispensation to wear the plate and to continue the pur suit of knowledge, but the work of power was that man becomes the bearer of God, being controlled directly by the Lord and becoming, as it were, his body.

28 The followers of Basilides refer "God visiting the disobedient unto the third and fourth generation" to reincarnations, but the followers of Valentinus maintain that the three places mean those on the left, while the "fourth generation" is their own seed, and "showing mercy unto thousands," refers to those on the right.

29 They say that Silence, who is the mother of all who were put forth by Depth, with regard to what she had nothing to say kept silence about the inexpressible and with regard to what she did not understand she called it incomprehensible.

30 Then forgetting the glory of God,. they impiously say he suffered. For inasmuch as the Father shared in suffering, though he is, says Theodotus, rigid and unyielding in nature, by showing himself yielding, in order that Silence might under stand this, it was suffering. For sympathy is the suffering of one for the sake of another's suffering. Moreover when the Passion took place, the whole shared in the same suffering for the recovery of the sufferer.

31 Moreover, if he also who came down was the "good will" of the whole, "for in him was the whole Pleroma bodily," and the Passion was his, it is clear that the seed in him shared also in the Passion, and that through them the "whole" and the "all" are found to be suffering. Moreover through the persuasion of the twelfth Aeon the whole was instructed, as they say, and shared in his Passion.. For then they knew that they are what they are by the grace of the Father, a nameless name, form and know ledge. But the Aeon which wished to grasp that which is beyond knowledge fell into ignorance and formlessness. Whence it ef fected an abstraction of knowledge which is a shadow of the Name, that is the Son, the form of the Aeons. Thus the dis tribution of the Name among the Aeons is the loss of the Name.

32 Therefore though there is unity in the Pleroma, each of the Aeons has its own complement, the syzygia. .Therefore, what ever come out of a syzygia are complete in themselves (pleromas) and whatever come out of one are images. So Theodotus called the Christ who oame out of the thought of Wisdom, an "image of the Pleroma." Now he abandoned his mother and asoending into the Pleroma was mixed as if with the whole and thus also with the Paraclete.

33 Indeed Christ became an adopted son as he became "elect" among the completed beings and "First-Born" of things there. ,

Now this doctrine is a misunderstanding of ours which holds that the Saviour is the first-born from the "underlying reality" and he is,as it were, our root and head, and the Church is his fruits.
They say that when Christ fled that which was foreign to him and was drawn into the Pleroma, after he had been be gotten from his mother's thought, the Mother again produced the ruler of the dispensation as a type of him who had deserted her, according to her desire for him, in that he was better, for he was a type of the Father of the universe. Therefore, he was made less, as if he was created from the passion of desire. In deed in view of his harshness, she was disgusted, as they say.

34 But also the powers on the left hand, which were the first to be put forth by her from those on the right, received no form by the advent of the Light, but those on the left hand remained behind to be formed by Space. So after the entry of the Mother with. the Son and the seeds into the Pleroma, then Space will receive the power of the Mother and the position that the Mother now has.

35 "Jesus our light" "having emptied himself," as the Apostle says, that is, according to Theodotus; having passed beyond the Boundary, since he was an angel of the Pleroma, led out the angels of the superior seed with him. And he himself had the redemption inasmuch as he had proceeded from the Pleroma, but he led the angels for the correction of the seed. For, inas much as they are bound for the sake of the parts, and plead and, being restrained for our sakes in their zeal to enter, they beg remission for us, that we may enter with them. For, since they may almost be said to need us in order to enter, for without us they are not permitted (therefore not even the Mother has en tered with them without us, they say), they are obviously bound for our sake.

36 Now they say that our Angels were put forth in unity, and are one, in that they came out from One. Now since we existed in separation, Jesus was baptised that the undivided should be divided until he should unite us with them in the Pleroma that we "the many" having become "one," might all be mingled in in the 0ne which was divided for our sakes. '

37 According' to the Valentinians, of those who proceeded from Adam, the righteous, making their way through created things, were held hi Space, but the others are held among those who are on the left, in the place created for darkness, and feel the fire.

38 A river goes from under the throne of Space and flows into the void of the creation, which is Gehenna, and it is never filled, though the fire flows from the beginning of creation. And Space itself is fiery. Therefore, he says, it has a veil in order that the things may not be destroyed by the sight of it. And only the archangel enters it, and to typify this the high priest every year enters the holy of holies. From thence Jesus was called and sat down with Space, that the spirits might remain and not rise before him, and that he might subdue Space and provide the seed with a passage into the Pleroma.

39 The Mother who brought forth Christ complete, and was abandoned by him, in future no longer brought forth anything complete, but supplied what was possible by herself, so that even of Space. . .. Therefore having produced the angelic ele ments of the "called" she keeps them by herself, for the angelic elements of the elect had been put forth still earlier by the Male.

40 Now those on the right were put forth by the Mother before the demand for the Light but the seeds of the Church after the demand for the Light, when the angelic elements of the seed had been put forth by the Male.

41 The superior seeds, he says, came forth neither as passions, the seeds of which would have perished when they perished, nor as a creation, but as offspring; since otherwise, when creation was being put together, the seeds would have been put together with it. Therefore, also it has an affinity with the Light, that is Jesus, whom the Christ, who besought the Aeons, first put forth.

And in him the seeds were refined, as far as possible, as they went with him into the Pleroma. Therefore the Church is properly said to have been chosen before the foundation of the world. Indeed, they say, we were reckoned together and manifested in the beginning. Therefore the Saviour says, "Let your light shine," referring to the light which appeared and gave form, of which the Apostle says "which lighteth every man that cometh into .the world," that is, every man of the superior seed. For when man was enlightened, then he came into the world, that is, he ordered himself and put off the passions which were darkening him and were mingled with him. And the Creator who had held Adam beforehand in his Notion, put him forth at the end of creation.

42 The Cross is a sign of the Limit in the Pleroma, for it divides the unfaithful from the faithful as that divides the world from the Pleroma. Therefore Jesus by that sign carries the Seed on his shoulders and leads them into the Pleroma. For Jesus is called the shoulders of the seed and Christ is the head. Wherefore it is said, "He who takes not up his cross and follows me is not my brother." . Therefore he took the body of Jesus, which is of the same substance as the Church.

43 So they say that those on the right knew the names of Jesus and Christ even before the Advent, but they did not know the power of the sign. And when the Spirit gave all power, and the Pleroma united in praise, he is sent forth, "as the angel of the counsel" and becomes the head of the whole after the Father. " For all things were created by him, things visible and invisible, thrones, dominions, kingdoms, divinities, services." "So God also exalted him and gave him a name which is above every name that every knee should bow and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ, the Saviour, is the Lord of Glory." "He who as cended also descended. That he ascended, what does it imply but that he descended? He it is who descended into the lower parts of the earth and ascended above the heavens."

44 When Wisdom. beheld him she recognized that he was similar to the Light who had deserted her, and she ran to him and re joiced and worshipped and, beholding the male angels who were sent out with him, she was abashed and put on a veil. Through this mystery Paul commands the women "to wear power on their heads on account of the angels."

45 Straightway, therefore, the Saviour bestowed on her a form that was according to knowledge and a healing of passions, ex hibiting the contents of the Pleroma and stages of emanation down to her own, from the unbegotten Father. And, having taken away the passions of her who had suffered, he made her impassible, and, having separated the passions, he kept them and they were not distinguished as from those within, but he brought into being both them and the elements of the second rank. Thus through the appearance of the Saviour, Wisdom came into being and the elements without were created. "For all things were made by him and without him was not anything made."

46 First, therefore, he drew these things from immaterial passion and chance and transformed them into matter still in corporeal, then in a similar manner into compound substance and bodies. For it was not possible for passion to be brought into being by a single process and he endowed the bodies with properties suitable to their nature.

47 Now the Saviour became the first universal creator. "But Wisdom," the second, "built a house for herself and hewed out seven pillars" and first of all she put forth a god, the image of the Father, and through him she made heaven and earth, that is "heavenly things, and the earthly" - the things on the right hand and on the left. This, as an image of the Father, then became a father and put forth first the psychic Christ, an image of the Son, then the archangels as images of the Aeons, then the angels of the archangels from the psychic and luminous sub stance to which the prophetic word refers, "And the Spirit of God was superimposed upon the waters," declaring that in the combination of the two substances, made for him, the simple was superimposed but the heavy and material substance is borne under, the thick and coarse. But it is even suggested that this was incorporeal in the beginning when it is called "invisible." Yet it was never invisible to any man that ever lived nor to God, for he made it. But he has somehow declared its absence of form, shape and design.

48 Now the Creator divided the refined element from the coarse, since he perceived the nature of each, and made light, that is, he revealed and brought it to light and form, for he made the light of sun and heaven much later. And of the material elements he made one out of grief, which gives substance to the "spiritual things of evil with whom is our contest" (and therefore the Apostle says, "And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom ye were sealed"), and another he made from fear, the wild beasts, and another from terror and need, the elements of the world. And in the three elements fire drifts about and is disseminated and lurks, and is kindled by them and dies with them, for it has' no appointed place of its own like the other ele ments from which the compound substances are fashioned.

49 And since he did not know her who acted through him and thought he created by his own power, for he was naturally fond of work, therefore the Apostle said: "He was subject unto the vanity of the world, not willingly, but by reason of him who subjected it, in hope that it also will be set free," when the seeds of God shall be assembled. And a special proof of his unwilling ness is his blessing the Sabbath and the warm welcome he gave to rest from labour.

50 "Taking dust from the earth": not of the land but a portion of matter but of varied constitution and colour, he fashioned a soul, earthly and material, irrational and consubstantial with that of the beasts. This is the man "according to the image." But the man who is "according to the likeness" of the Creator himself, is he whom he has breathed into and inseminated into the former, placing in him by angels something consubstantial with himself. Inasmuch as he is invisible and immaterial, he called his substance" the breath of life," but that which was given form became a "living soul," and he himself confesses that it is so in the prophetic writings.

51 Therefore man is in man, "psychic" in "earthly," not consist ing as part to part but united as whole to whole by God's un speakable power. Therefore he was created in Paradise in the fourth heaven. For there earthly flesh does not ascend but it was to the divine soul as material flesh. This is the meaning of "This is now bone of my bones," - he hints at the divine soul which is hidden in the flesh, firm and hard to suffer and very potent, - and "flesh of my flesh" - the material soul which is the body of the divine soul. Concerning these two also, the Saviour says, "That is to be feared which can destroy this soul and this body, the psychic one, in hell."

52 This body the Saviour called an "adversary" and Paul said a " law warring against the law of my mind" and the Saviour advises us "to bind it" and to "seize its possessions" as those of "a strong man" who was warring against the heavenly soul, and he also advises us to be "reconciled with him on the way lest we fall into prison" and punishment, and similarly to "be kind to it" and not to nourish 'and strengthen it by the power of sin but to put it to death here and now, and manifest it as extinct in the domain of wick edness in order that at its dissolution it may secretly be sep arated and breathed away, but not gain any existence of its own, and so have power by itself in its passage through the fire.

53 This is called a "tare" which grows up with the soul, the good seed, and is also a seed of the devil, since it is consubstantial with him, and a "snake" and a "biter of the heel" and a "robber" attacking the head of a king. And Adam without his knowledge had the spiritual seed sown in his soul by Wisdom. He says, "Established through angels by the hand of a mediator. And the mediator is not of one but God is one." Therefore the seeds put forth into" becoming" by Wisdom are ministered to so far as they can come to being by the male angels. For just as the Demiurge, moved by Wisdom without his knowledge, thinks that he is a free agent, so also do men. So Wisdom first put forth a spiritual seed which was in Adam that it might be "the bone," the reasonable and heavenly soul which is not empty but full of . spiritual marrow.

54 From Adam three natures were begotten. The first was the irrational, Which was Cain's, the second the rational and just, which was Abel's, the third the spiritual, which was Seth's. Now that which is earthly is "according to the image," that which is psychical according to the " likeness " of God, and that which is spiritual is according to the real nature; and with refer ence to these three, without the other children of Adam, it .was said, "This is the book of the generation of men." And because Seth was spiritual he neither tends flocks nor tills the soil but produces a child, as spiritual things do. And him, who "hoped to call upon the name of the Lord" who looked upward and whose "citizenship is in heaven" - him the world does not contain.

55 On Adam, over the three immaterial elements, a fourth, "the earthly," is put on as "the leathern garments." Therefore Adam neither sows from the spirit nor, therefore, from that which was breathed into him, for both are divine and both are put forth through. him but not by him. But his material nature is active toward seed and generation, as though mixed with seed and unable to stand apart from the same harmony in life.

56 Therefore our father Adam is "the first man of the earth, earthy" and if he had sown from psychic and spiritual as well as from material substance, all would have become equal and righteous and the Teaching would have been in all. Therefore many are material, but not many are psychic, and few are spiritual. Now the spiritual is saved by nature, but the psychic has free-will, and has the capacity for both faith and incorruptibility, as well as for unbelief and corruption according to its own choice; but the material perishes by nature. When, therefore, the psychic "are engrafted on the olive tree" into faith and incorruptibility and share "the fatness of the olive tree" and when "the Gentiles come in," then "thus shall all Israel." But Israel is an alle gory, the spiritual man who will see God, the unlawful son of the faithful Abraham, he who was born of free woman, not he who was according to the flesh the son of the Egyptian bond woman.

57 Therefore from the three species a formation of the spiritual element happens to one and a change of the psychic from slavery to freedom happens to the other.

58 Then after the Kingdom of Death, which had made a great and fair promise, but had none the less become a ministry of death, Jesus Christ the great Champion, when every principal ity and divinity had refused, received unto himself by an act of power the Church, that is, the elect and the called, one (the spiritual) from the Mother, the other (the psychic) by the Dis pensation; and he saved and bore aloft what he had received and through them what was consubstantial. For "if the first fruits be holy, the lump will be also; if the root be holy, then will also the shoots." .

59 First, then, he put on a seed from the Mother, not being separated but containing it by power, and it is given form little by little through knowledge. And when he came into Space Jesus found Christ, whom it was foretold that he would put on, whom the Prophets and the Law announced as an image of the Saviour. But even this psychic Christ whom he put on, was invisible, and it was necessary for him when he came into the world to be seen here, to be held, to be a citizen, and to hold on to a sensible body. A body, therefore, was spun for him out of invisible psychic substance, and arrived in the world of sense with power from a divine preparation.

60 Therefore, ":Holy Spirit shall come upon thee" refers to the formation of the Lord's body, "and a Power of the Most High. shall overshadow thee" indicates the formation of God with which he imprinted. the body in the Virgin.

61 That he was other than .what he received is clear from what he professes, "I am the Life, I am the Truth, I and the Father are one." But the spiritual nature, which he received, and the psychic he thus indicates, "And the child grew and advanced greatly." For the spiritual nature needs wisdom but the psychic needs size. But by the flowing out from his side he indicates that the substances having become free from passion have been saved by the flowings out of the passions from those who shared in them. And when he says "The Son of Man must be rejected and insulted and crucified," he seems to be speaking of someone else, that is, of him who has passion. And he says, "On the third of the days I will go before you into Galilee." For he goes before all and indicated that he will raise up the soul which is being invisibly saved and will restore it to the place where he is now leading the way. And he died at the .departure of the Spirit which had descended upon him in the Jordan, not that it became separate but was withdrawn in order that death might also operate on him, since how did the body die when life was present in him? For in that way death would have prevailed over the Saviour himself, which is absurd. But death was out-generalled by guile. For when the body died and death seized it, the Saviour sent forth the ray of power which had come upon him and destroyed death and raised up the mortal body which had put off passion. In this way, therefore, the psychic elements are raised and are saved, but the spiritual natures which believe receive a salvation superior to theirs, having received their souls as "wedding garments."

62 Now the psychic Christ sits on the right hand of the Creator, as David says, " Sit thou on my right hand " and so on. And he sits there until the end "that they may see him whom they pierced." But they pierced the appearance, which is the flesh of the psychic one, "for," it says, "a bone of him shall not be broken," just as in the case of Adam the prophecy used bone as an allegory for the soul. For the actual soul of Christ de posited itself in the Father's hands, while the body was suffer ing. But the spiritual nature referred to as "bone" is not yet deposited but he keeps it.

63 Now the repose of the spiritual elements on the Lord's Day, that is, in the Ogdoad, which is called the Lord's Day, is with the Mother, who keeps their souls, the (wedding) garments, until the end; but the other faithful souls are with the Creator, but at the end they also go up in the Ogdoad Then comes the marriage feast, common to all who are saved, until all are equal and know each other.

64 Henceforth the spiritual elements having put off their souls, together with the Mother who leads the bridegroom, also lead bridegrooms, their angels, and pass into the bride chamber within the Limit and attain to the vision of the Father, - having become intellectual Aeons, - in the intel lectual and eternal marriages of the Syzyge.

65 And the "master" of the feast, who is the "best man." of the marriage, "and friend of the bridegroom, standing before the bride chamber and hear ing the voipe of the bridegroom, rejoices greatly." This is "the fulness of his joy" and his repose.

66 The Saviour taught the Apostles at first figuratively and mys tically, later in parables and riddles, and thirdly clearly and openly when they were alone. .

67 "When we were in the flesh" the Apostle says, as if he were already speaking without the body. Now he says that he means by flesh that weakness which was an offshoot of the Woman on high. And when the Saviour says to Salome that death will reign as long as women bear, he does not speak in reproach of birth since it is necessary for the salvation of the believers. For this birth must be until the previously reckoned seed be put forth. But he is alluding to the Woman on high whose passions became creation when she put forth those beings that were without form. On her account the Saviour came down to drag us out from passion and to adopt us to himself.

68 For as long as we were children of the female only, as if of a base intercourse, incomplete and infants and senseless and weak and without form, brought forth like abortions, we were children of the woman, but when we have received form from the Saviour, we have become children of a husband and a bride chamber.

69 Fate is a union of. many opposing forces and they are invisible and unseen, guiding the course of the stars and governing through them., For as each of them arrived, borne round by the movement of the world, it obtained power over those who were born at that very moment, as though they were its own children.

70 Therefore through the fixed stars and the planets, the invis ible powers holding sway over them direct and watch over births. But the stars themselves do nothing but display the ac tivity of the dominant powers, just as the flight of the birds (for omens) indicates something but effects nothing. '

71 Now the twelve signs of the Zodiac and the seven stars which follow them rising now in conjunction, now in opposition, . . . these, moved by the powers, show the movement of substance toward the, creation of living beings and the turn of circum stances. But both the stars and the powers are of different kinds: some are beneficent, some maleficent, some right, some left, and that which is born shares in both qualities. And each of them comes into being at its own time, the dominant sign fulfilling the course of nature, partly at the beginning, partly at the end
72 From this situation and battle of the powers the Lord rescues us and supplies peace from the array of powers and angels, in which some are arrayed for us and others .against us. For some are like soldiers fighting on our side as servants of God but others are like brigands. For the evil one girded himself, not taking the sword by the side of the king, but in madly plundering for himself.

73 Now because of the opponents who attack the soul through the body and outward things and pledge it to slavery; the ones on the right are not sufficient to follow and rescue and guard us. For their providential power is not perfect like the Good Shepherd's but each one is like a mercenary who sees the wolf coming and flees and is not zealous to give up his life for his own sheep. And besides man, over whom the battle rages, since he is a weak animal, is easily led toward the worse and captured by those who hate him. Whence also he incurs greater evil.

74 Therefore the Lord came down bringing the peace which is from heaven to those on earth, as the Apostle says, "Peace on the earth and glory in the heights." Therefore a strange and new star arose doing away with the old astral decree, shining with a new unearthly light, which revolved on a new path of salvation, as the Lord himself, men's guide, who came down to earth to transfer from Fate to his providence those who believed in Christ.

75 They say that the results prophecied show that Fate exists for the others and the consideration of calculations is a clear proof. For example, the Magi not only saw the Lord's star but they recognized the truth that a king was born and whose king he was, namely of the pious. At that time only the Jews were noted for piety; therefore the Saviour going down to the pious, came first to these who at that time were carrying fame for piety.

76 As, therefore, the birth of the Saviour released us from "be coming" and from Fate, so also his baptism rescued us from fire, and ,his Passion rescued, us from passion in order that we might in all things follow him. For he who was baptised unto God advanced toward God and has received "power to walk upon scorpions and snakes," the evil powers. And he commands the disciples "When ye go about, preach and them that believe baptise in the name of the Father, and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit," in whom we are born again, becoming higher than all the other powers.

77 Therefore baptism is called death and an end of the old life when we take leave of the evil principalities, but it is also called life according to Christ, of which he is sole Lord. But the power of the transformation of him who is baptised does not concern the body but the soul, for he who comes up <out of the water> is unchanged. From the moment when he comes up from baptism he is called a servant of God even by the unclean spirits and they now" tremble" at him whom shortly before they obsessed.

78 Until baptism, they say, Fate is real, but after it the astrolo gists are no longer right. But it is not only the washing that is liberating, but the knowledge of/who we were, and what we have become, where we were or where we were placed, whither we hasten, from what we are redeemed, what birth is and what rebirth. '

79 So long, then, they say, as the seed is yet unformed, it is the offspring of the female, but when it was formed, it was changed to a man and becomes a son of the bridegroom. It is no longer weak and subject to the cosmic forces, both visible and invisible, but having been made masculine, it becomes a male fruit.

80 He whom the Mother generates is led into death and into the world, but he whom Christ regenerates is trans ferred to life into the Ogdoad. And they: die to the world but live to God, that death may be loosed by death and corruption by resurrection. For he who has been sealed by Father, Son and Holy Spirit is beyond the threats of every other power and by the three Names has been released from the whole triad of corruption. "Having borne the image of the earthly, it then bears the image of the heavenly."

81 The material element of fire lays hold of all material things, and the pure and immaterial element lays hold of immaterial things such as demons, angels of evil and tbe devil himself. Thus the heavenly fire is dual in its nature, belonging partly to the mind, partly to the senses. By analogy, therefore, baptism. is also dual in its nature, the sensible part works through water which extinguishes the sensible' fire, but the intellectual through Spirit, a defence against the intellectual fire. And the material Spirit when it is little becomes food and kindling for the sensible fire, but when it has increased it has become an extinguisher, but the Spirit given us from above, since it is immaterial, rules not only over the Elements, but over the Powers and the evil Principalities.

82 And the bread and the oil are sanctified by the power of the Name, and they are not the same as they appeared to be when they were received, but they have been transformed by power into spiritual power. Thus, the water, also, both in exorcism and baptism, not only keeps off evil, but gives sanctification as well

83 It is fitting to go to baptism with joy, but, since unclean spirits often go down into the water with some and these spirits following and gaining the seal together with the candidate become impossible to cure for the future, fear is joined with joy, in order that only he who is pure may go down to the water.

84 Therefore let there be fastings, supplications, prayers, raising of hands, kneelings because a soul is being saved from the world and from the "mouth of lions." Wherefore there is immediate temptation for those. who long also for the things from which they have been separated, and even if one has fore-knowledge to endure them, yet the outward man is shaken.

85 Even the Lord after baptism was troubled like as we are and was first with beasts in the desert. Then when he had prevailed over them and their ruler as if already a true king, he was already served by angels. For he who ruled over. angels in the flesh was fittingly served already by angels. Therefore we must put on the Lord's armour and keep body and soul invulnerable - armour that is "able to quench the darts of the devil," as the Apostle says.

86 In the case of the coin that was brought to him, the Lord did not say whose property is it, but, "whose image and super scription? Caesar's," that it might be given to him whose it is. So likewise the faithful; he has the name of God through Christ as a superscription and the Spirit as an image. And dumb animals show by a seal whose property each is, and .are claimed from the seal. Thus also the faithful soul receives the seal of truth and bears about the "marks of Christ." These are the children who are now resting in bed and "the wise virgins," with whom the others, who are late, did not enter into" the goods which have been prepared, on which the angels desire to gaze. "

Go to the Chronological List of all Early Christian Writings

Please buy the CD to support the site, view it without ads, and get bonus stuff!

Early Christian Writings is copyright © Peter Kirby <E-Mail>.

Get the CD Now!

Kirby, Peter. "Theodotus." Early Christian Writings. <>.