Quantum Theology: Gnosticism

quantum – a discrete quantity of energy proportional in magnitude to the frequency of the radiation it represents

theology – the study of the nature of God along with spiritual and religious beliefs


excerpts from Eugene Peterson’s Christ Plays in Ten Thousand Places


As Kingfishers Catch Fire

BY GERARD MANLEY HOPKINS
As kingfishers catch fire, dragonflies draw flame;
As tumbled over rim in roundy wells
Stones ring; like each tucked string tells, each hung bell’s
Bow swung finds tongue to fling out broad its name;
Each mortal thing does one thing and the same:
Deals out that being indoors each one dwells;
Selves — goes itself; myself it speaks and spells,
Crying Whát I dó is me: for that I came.
* * *
I say móre: the just man justices;
Keeps grace: thát keeps all his goings graces;
Acts in God’s eye what in God’s eye he is —
Chríst — for Christ plays in ten thousand places,
Lovely in limbs, and lovely in eyes not his
To the Father through the features of men’s faces.

“Gnostic” is the term we often use to designate  this most attractive but soul-destroying spirituality… there are various and subtle ways in which gnosticism has infected the church… here are five elements which carry it’s virus and threaten the health of the Christian gospel.
  1. Gnosticism works out of a deep metaphysical alienation. The cosmos is a colossal error. Creation is alien to our deepest and truest soul. God, the truth God, had and has nothing to do with it, and so the less we have to do with it the better.
    • Against the good creation of the Christian, the gnostic posits bad creation.
  2. There is a secret lore, a knowledge (gnosis) that can save us from this hopeless condition. But it isn’t open knowledge; it has to be acquired by initiation and intuition. A certain spiritual aptitude has to be developed and nurtured.
    • Against knowing the God who saves, the gnostic sets a secret knowledge, a mystic lore that can be used to free the self from human ordinariness and defilement. It is, in effect, a formula for self-salvation.
  3. Escapism is the strategy for survival, beginning with an escape from the God of creation. The escapism is nearly total: we escape from everything accept the self, we escape from the world into the self.
    • Against living life as a pilgrimage in the company of Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Moses, David, and Isaiah, and following Jesus, the gnostic plans an escape.
  4. The few souls who learn this secret lore and embark on this escapist life constitute the elite, each a divinity in herself and himself.
    • Against the life of the community of the children of God, commanded to love one another, the gnostic is absorbed in the self.
  5. Each person is free to assemble any ideas or stories or techniques at hand to accomplish this way of life; no institution or authority is permitted to interfere or tell the “gnostic”, the one “in the know”, what to believe or do.
    • Against the life of the rdinary, an embrace of family and work, cooking and sewing, helping the poor and healing the sick — all the foolish, weal, low, and despised “in the world” honored by St. Paul — the gnostic claims a special status among the elite that exempts him or her from the sacred ordinary.

Against the particular revelation of God in Jesus, ” the Word made flesh,” the gnostic refuses to be bound to anything particular, least of all the particularity of Jesus — “Christ crucified, a stumbling block to the Jews and foolishness to the Gentiles.”

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