And God saw the light, that it was good: and God divided the light from the darkness. (Genesis 1:4)
One of the fiercest spiritual attacks upon the Church of Jesus Christ, and in a wider sense, upon Western civilization itself has been launched through a religious philosophy called Gnosticism.
The Word ‘Gnosticism ‘comes from the Greek word for Knowledge, Gnosis. A Gnostic claims a higher, deeper or even esoteric knowledge as opposed to common knowledge. Thus the ‘secret teachings’ of the occult, or the so called ‘lost books of the Bible’ are gnostic concepts.
Gnosticism is actually the ever evolving religion of the Serpent in the garden of Eden, because it is an accusation against God the Creator, it promises secret knowledge, and because it tells men that through such knowledge they can become “as gods, knowing good and evil”.
The early church was confronted with this philosophy in the form of a combination of Oriental, Greek and even Jewish ideas, which were seeping into the teaching of parts of the early church. Gnostics were literally re-defining the knowledge of God to those who would listen to them, for it’s evil genius was incorporation into existing religions, morphing them into distorted expressions of Gnosticism itself.
The Gnosticism of the early centuries was never totally banished , it has ebbed and flowed over the centuries in direct contrast to the swelling or contraction of Christian thought in the West.
In Gnosticism, one of the secret teachings is that the Creator God is a different Being than the Redeemer, Jesus. In fact much of Gnosticism actually taught that the Creator of Heaven and earth was evil! Gnostics were anti material, they believed that the physical World, (and the human body) was a prison house, to escape from through the secret knowledge.
KIn the biblical account of Creation, The Creator spoke all things into existence, but then commenced the work of distinction. He separated everything; water from earth, the waters above and the waters below, day from night, light from darkness, etc. Perhaps the primal and most important distinction is the Creator/Creation distinction.
All of the rest of the actual Creation account is a matter of separation, division and distinction. The last work of separation was the separation of male and female. God made man different from woman, in a different order, and according to a different fashion of creation, and with different roles in mind.
In the law of Moses God taught Israel to think in a very specific way, by insisting upon distinction in food, clothing ,hygiene, the calendar, etc. This food is clean, this unclean, these materials are prescribed, but not these, Israelites schooled in the Law of Moses were trained to think in terms of thesis and antithesis and to constantly make judgments.
We are living in a day very much shaped by Gnostic thought and philosophy. Thus Truth and error are thought to be false constructs, so also good and evil, right and wrong, etc. There is an attempt to wipe out all distinctions, including and especially the male female distinction.
The Philosophies of Post Modernism, and of Multiculturalism are both very much in sync with Gnosticism. Postmodernism is the radical lack of confidence in any universal Truth, and Multiculturalism is the insistence that all cultures are equally valid, there are no ‘good’ or ‘bad’ cultures, all are One. Radical egalitarianism is just another expression of the war on distinction, and judgment of righteousness and wrong.
As the Apostle Peter said of false prophets , “Promising them liberty, they themselves are the slaves of corruption…”