Concerning the status of Abraxas and other interesting aspects relating to this ancient conception of God
On 11th November 2007, L.G. from an Unknown location wrote:
You wrote: "Abraxas is a conception of God that incorporates both Good and Evil in one entity. So in Gnostic terms he is both God and Demiurge. He represents a mono-theistic God but at the same time he is quite different from the omni-benevolent God found in later Christianity."
So would "earlier" Christianity or Judaism, etc. be closer to your conception of Abraxas?- considering Deut.6:4(Yahweh is one) and Isaiah 45:7(Yahweh forms light, creates darkness, makes peace, creates evil).
But Jung/Basilides says in sermon 7 that: "Between man and his one god there standeth nothing, so long as man can turn away his eyes from the flaming spectacle of Abraxas."
This seems to be a negative statement against Abraxas.
Would earlier Christianity or Judaism be closer to my conception of Abraxas? I believe the concept of God as both light and dark, male and female to be timeless, eternal. At the same time the deity Abraxas has it's roots in the early Judeo-Christian tradition and can probably be traced furthur back to ancient Egyptian times. Apparently the name IAW, pronounced 'iaho', which is a word and God name inter changable with Abraxas, is believed to be the root of the Jewish word for God 'jah' from which Jehovah and Yahweh are in turn derived. These are things which I've read somewhere, I'm not an expert on ancient religion.
Abraxas was an important aspect of early Christianity among the Gnostics, particularly those based in and around Alexandria, Egypt. So naturally early Christianity has a close connection with Abraxas. In those days Abraxas amulets and gem stones were quite common. It is interesting that the Knights Templars, a heavily mystical medieval order of Knights, used Abraxas as a symbol for their secret seals and ceremonies. Some people speculate that the Templars influenced Freemasonry. I remember reading somewhere that Abraxas is a God name that a Master Freemason learns upon reaching one of the higher degrees. This is all a bit speculative, but I like to think that somehow the idea of Abraxas as a symbol for the eternal is alive and well.
I think the common 'contemporary' conception of God as an all benevolent male figure, who is sometimes seen to favour certain ethnic groups more than others, or else only those who are born again, is a misguided notion. This is God as a wish list, or God as patron of nationalism, misogyny and/or bigotry.
In the Gnostic scheme of things Abraxas is the greatest deity and the ruler of the Universe. However as it says in the Sermon of the Dead, Abraxas is also creatura and a being with form and conception. So though Abraxas is the greatest manifestation of God, Abraxas is not God the Ultimate and God the Absolute. For the true God is without form and beyond conception. God is beyond Good and Evil and beyond Male and Female or beyond Duality. In Gnostic terms this is Pleroma or the fullness. And as it says, fullness and nothingness are the same, which links up nicely with the Buddhist idea of the Void, and is equivalent to Brahman in Hinduism, Ein Sof in Judaism, Tao and Allah etc. It's like the situation whereby a person asks 'If God created the Universe then who created God'. The answer is that the creator of the Universe is not God but a manifestation of God. In Hinduism the creator of the Universe is Brahma as opposed to Brahman or true God. In the same way, Abraxas is the greatest creatura or being, but it is still less than Pleroma.
So yes in a sense the passage "Between man and his one god there standeth nothing, so long as man can turn away his eyes from the flaming spectacle of Abraxas.", is a negative statement against Abraxas in that it's saying that Abraxas is less than the infinite totality of the Absolute and merely a transient manifestion of it, though a great and recurring one.
I think this line is a statement about idolatory which is a great sin or incorrect view of things. In general to suppose that anything that is manifest in the material realm to be God, whether it's an inanimate statue of even a great entity with awesome power, then this is a great mistake. All things that have form and conception are but transient manifestations of the true God. Even if I imagine a conscious physical living entity whose body is comprised of the entire Universe, i.e. the Cosmic Christ, Universal Vishnu or Celestial Buddha, and furthur imagine that this creature exists in an enlightened state, then still this is not God but again another transient manifestation or expansion of God, though a pretty major one.
So where does this leave us? If Abraxas is not the true God and if the Cosmic being at the end of time, whose body is the Universe, is not God then where is God. Well in truth God is the Consciousness that resides within Abraxas and the Cosmic being and also within you, me and every lifeform in this Universe and every possible Universe. So at the end of the day we cannot see God, we cannot touch God and we cannot conceptualize true God but we can only directly experience being God in that transcendent state of consciousness that is Ultimate Truth, the Beginning and the End, Ground of all Being, I AM GOD.