No serious scholar would argue that the gospel attributed to Mary Magdalene is anything but gnostic. The Gnostic Society Library is persuaded of the fact and it makes reference to the other gospels that form part of the same codex: the Apocryphon of John, and the Sophia of Jesus Christ. These are Coptic translations of text originally written in Greek. The Apocryphon of John, and the Sophia of Jesus Christ are also preserved in the Nag Hammadi collection.
Is Gnosticism Christian?
What is Gnosticism, and why do these gospels, apparently penned by followers of Christ, not form part of the Bible?
Gnosticism comes from the Greek work gnostikos, knowledge/learned. The principle ethos of Gnosticism is that salvation from the material world comes from the realisation of Gnosis, which is intuitive or esoteric knowledge. Secondly, Gnostic teaching maintains that the world was created through a Demiurge, which is an intermediary, and often evil, being.
In those two points alone, Gnosticism is radically divergent from Biblical Christianity. There are sixty-six books of the Bible, written by around forty authors. These books include a number of written styles ranging from the poetic, narrative, and historic, to the prophetic. In each case though, there are powerful similarities that conspire to create an integrated whole. What was penned by Moses in Genesis finds its completion in John’s book of Revelation. There may have been many writers, but there are similarities of theme, forming threads through0ut scripture – a harmony that suggests one over-arching author.
One predominant Biblical focus is that of a Creator. Nowhere is it suggested that a Demiurge was involved in the process of creation. In Genesis we are told that God created, and the other books stand in open agreement. Secondly, what God created was good – a fact that is born out at as we explore the beauty and intricacy of nature. We can examine the workings of a single cell or the manner in which the stars and planets hang together in our amazing universe and know that the mind behind them is good. Evil was never bound up in creation as in the Gnostic thesis. But whereas all of creation was good in the beginning, evil was introduced by man’s rebellion against the Creator.
The other profound deviation of Gnosis from the Bible, is that man is able to save himself from the evils of the created order through knowledge. Biblical Christianity proclaims the opposite. The created order is good. Evil came into the world through man’s desire to attain personal godhood. To replace God with himself. This is the Luciferian Conspiracy. Nothing we can do ourselves can redeem us from our dying bodies for example. We may buy time, but we cannot buy life.
What is Salvation?
Universal law declares that man must die for his rebellion and this death is eternal. Ignorance of the law does not exempt anyone. Even if we break the law of a country, lack of knowledge does not exempt us from its consequences. Someone had to die to pay the price of our rebellion (sin). Jesus Christ, the son of God, went to the cross to do just that. It is the only way humankind can be saved from eternal death.
The Gnostic Gospels proclaim that man can save himself. No true follower of Christ would have made that declaration. They had been with Christ, seen him die and, most importantly, seen his resurrection. Mary Magdalene was the first to see her Master and she fell at His feet in worship.
The style of the Gnostic Gospels differs markedly from the Bible but, most importantly, the intent of these “Gospels” is different! They were written by men and women determined to undermine budding Christianity. Remember also, these texts were said to have been written in the second century – two hundred years after the death of Christ!
Monopoly money in the hands of a bank teller is instantly recognisable as counterfeit. In comparison with the scriptures, the Magdalene Gospel and other Gnostic writings, are monopoly money. They have no intrinsic value at all.