Gnosis is common Greek for knowledge. The term was used among various Hellenistic religions and philosophies resident in Greco-Roman cultures, and pervasive across them.
Surprisingly, a wide variety of these practices are still acknowledged and used in occult (hidden) understandings of modern religion, science, philosophy, politics, and society writ large. Occult practitioners often refer to gnosis as it is discovered as acquired knowledge in the mystery schools.
This is a great illustration of how the mystery schools address the dualities of physical elements in metaphysical form, and their constant interplay in how we perceive them.
Keep in mind that this is the human interpretation of gnosis. The knowledge of God cannot possibly be understood or translated wholly as the knowledge of man. Case in point: There are over 22 Hebraic translations of the word God.
It is important to realize that gnosis often, but not always, denotes an amorality in its explorations. Those who believe or subscribe to gnosis and its origins ultimately leave morality in a survivalist, existential worldview, such that a "by any means necessary" approach to knowledge and its applications renders the world in a somewhat baseless and apoplectic state of affairs.
Need we look further than our current state of globalism as affirmation of this trend: A collectivist set of values, the imminent death of the individual, the end of free speech, and the invocation of a humanistic, higher authority that at once remains morally ambiguous, despite its protestations to the contrary.
With that said, this also shows us the need for us to return to a Divine moral authority that is much larger than ourselves for guidance, and some sense of redemption.
So let's unpack a core concept being introduced here, which we can call trinality. Trinality is a modality of conscious awareness (knowledge set into an applied reality) which moves us beyond dialectic thinking (duality), and into a state of being that adheres to a clear, concise moral authority.
A more obvious applied context for trinality is the Holy Trinity, which defines God as being one god existing in three coequal, coeternal, consubstantial divine persons: God the Father, God the Son (Jesus Christ) and God the Holy Spirit, with these three distinct persons sharing one homoousion (essence).
In simpler terms, the essence of the Holy Trinity presents a trinality of existence. So, one who commits to this form of Divine intelligence - by tapping into it through the spiritual practice of prayer and meditation - thereby transcends the duality(ies) of the material world. In other words, one gets closer to God.
Where this applies specifically to human morality is the acknowledgment is that no one person is God, nor ever could be. And not only that, the personas/archetypes of the Trinity are also not the equivalency of God as their individual entities. This speaks to a precise "commandment" of a higher moral authority.
As a wise person once said: God is everything that is absolutely true, AND, everything that is absolutely unclear. Thus, knowledge (gnosis) is acquired temporarily as truth, while wisdom is learned, embodied and understood as absolute truth.
If such is the case, then why would the Church take issue with a gnostic view of the world that is part of the background philosophy of a trinality?
This is a great question, and one for which we can visualize an answer, or at least part of one.
As Princeton Theological Seminarian Rev. Larry Angus writes:
"Like many parts of the Bible, the Gnostic books are challenging reading. The best introduction would be The Gnostic Gospels, by Elaine Pagels, a Professor at Princeton University. She has written several outstanding books that the layperson can understand. Instead of "right belief" as she teaches in her wonderful best selling (2003) book, Beyond Belief, these Gnostic scriptures "preach" God is found primarily within oneself, not in the externals like doctrines, creeds, bishops, priests, and church proclamations.
For example, the Gospel of Thomas suggests the intent of Jesus was not a church, which had exclusive truths, but a spiritual relationship open to all. The Gospel of Mary (ascribed to Mary Magdalene) shows total openness to women. (Read The Da Vinci Code!) The Gospel of Philip challenges some questionable doctrines.
Not denying the validity of the New Testament writings, the authentic Gnostic scriptures lift up a different way to be Christian. It is more about relationship than beliefs."
I do not consider myself a gnostic by designation. However, I do see that my more orthodox beliefs can only benefit from the inherent wisdom of these teachings in the quest to get closer to the God-Co-Creator within each of us.
What about you?