I was reading over Eric Stetson's website again today, and he touched on something very important, which made me realise I'd left it out of my previous statement of beliefs. He said, "All human beings are manifestations of divinity..." Every paragraph I read on his website, I find myself saying, "Exactly!" But this particular topic really jumped out at me tonight.
Now, I have an inkling that he meant something slightly different than I do when I say the same thing myself, but still, our ideas are close. As a Gnostic, I
Eric mentions this very idea on his website, saying that "everyone will ultimately reach the level of great spiritual masters such as Jesus, Buddha, etc.," and he refers to a verse from the canonical scriptures: "A student is not above his teacher, but everyone who is fully trained will be like his teacher (Luke 6:40)."
This quote from Luke made me think of another passage from the Gospel of Thomas, logion 13, where Jesus asks His apostles to compare Him to something and tell Him what He is like. This conversation is also recounted in the canonical gospels, only there it's Peter who gets the right answer, and Jesus then tells him he's the rock on which He'll build His church. But the Gospel of Thomas, it's Thomas himself who gets the "right" answer. (In fact, the Gnostic scriptures in general usually tend to portray Peter as kind of an idiot!)
Peter says, in Thomas, that Jesus is "like a righteous angel;" and Matthew says, "You are like a wise philosopher." But Thomas outright admits, "Master, my mouth is wholly incapable of saying what you are like." To which Jesus responds, "I am not your master. Because you have drunk from my mouth, you have become intoxicated from the bubbling spring which I have measured out."
And there's an even more radical statement in the the Gospel of Philip, along these same lines, which I absolutely love, that says: "But one receives [Truth] in the chrism of the fullness of the power of the Cross . . . This one is no longer a Christian but a Christ."
I do hope I'm actually making sense here, and not just babbling (it's past my bedtime, and I'm starting to feel it!). I get so excited when I see Bahais having such Gnostic views! I'm fully convinced of the similarities between Bahaism and Gnosticism -- Baha'u'llah, Glory be to Him, emphasized repeatedly the need for the Knowledge of God; the Wisdom which comes from God. And he condemned those who would try to hinder that Knowledge... which, unfortunately, is exactly what I see the Haifan Administration doing to its followers. Rather than turning to Baha'u'llah's writings in matters of faith, as He said to do, Baha'is are expected to turn to the administrative order -- a collection of imperfect human beings, who, despite the religion's opposition to clergy, sure acts like clergy!
In a future post, while I'm thinking about it now, I'd like to write more about some specific issues I have with the administration's power, and why I could never bring myself to sign a declaration card... In particular, the fact that they do exactly what is condemned in the Book of Certitude: altering the word of God. But that's completely unrelated to this post, and I really should be getting to bed now, so I'll save it for later! :)