The Concept of our Great Power is the fourth tractate of Codex VI.
It opens with a discourse uttered by the great Power himself. The great Power refers to the highest God.
The great Power promises invisibility and safety to those who know him and offers salvation to everyone,
“For all those in whom my form appears, from seven days old to one hundred twenty years old, will be saved.”
These people will be able to see the great Power and prepare their future there. The supreme deity offers the hearers a profound teaching about past and present:
“Come to know how what has gone has come to be, that you may know what is alive will come to be.”
The deity also encourages his hearers to ask the most essential questions about their present condition in the world and their aim for the future life,
“what that aeon looks like, what its nature is, and how it came into being. Why don’t you ask what its nature will be, or how you have come into being?”
These questions are typical of gnostic self-enquiry and recall the words from Excerpts from Theodutus:
“Who are we? What have we become? Where are we? Where have we been cast? Where shall we go?”
The great Power recounts the history of salvation, based on biblical sources and divided into two main periods before and after the flood: the age of the flesh and the age of the soul.
Creation consists not only of water, earth and air, but also fire, which is present in darkness and the underworld. Even if the great Power is not the creator of the universe, he is involved by providing the Spirit to people,
“The Spirit was given to people so that they may receive life from it day by day”.
During the period of the age of the flesh, ‘giant bodies’ (Nephilim) came into existence resulting in lust and corruption. This incurs the wrath in the ‘father of the flesh’ – the Old Testament god (Demiurge) – who sent the flood to humanity. But Noah was saved because he was pious and worthy.
“Noah proclaimed a message of piety for one hundred twenty years, but no one listened to him. So he made a wooden ark, and whoever he found went in. Then the flood came, and Noah and his sons were saved. If there had been no ark, the flood water would not have come.”
The age of the soul follows and is trivial and small. Souls are polluted by their association with bodies:
“It produced all sorts of things – many works of wrath, anger, envy, jealousy, hatred, slander, contempt, and warfare.. and unjust judgements given arbitrarily.”
It is during this period of the soul that,
“there will come the human who knows the great Power.”
This human, who will speak in parables and proclaim the aeon that is to come, is referring to Christ, although he is not explicitly named. The saviour abolishes the law of the aeon by his word.
“The rulers (archons) rose up in wrath against him, and they wanted to give him over to the ruler of the underworld (Demiurge).”
And so Christ was crucified, but the ruler of the underworld discovered
“that his flesh could not be seized and shown to the archons. His word (logos) has abolished the law of the aeon.”
“Then the ruler of the west (Demiurge) arose. He will act from the east and will teach people his wickedness.”
This ruler is referred to as an ‘imitator’ who reigns over earth and leads people astray.
As apocalyptic signs of the end appear in nature, the great Power withdraws with those who know him, and all enter into the light. Protected by holy garments, they are unharmed by darkness or fire.
The domination of the archons comes to an end:
“Then mercy will come.. through Sophia.. The firmaments (heavens) will collapse down to the abyss. The children of matter will perish.. They will be in the aeon of beauty.. and they will be adorned through Sophia.”
The followers of the great Power will taste knowledge, light and rest.
“They all have come to be as reflections in his light. They all have shone and they have found rest in his rest. The one who is in oneness will free the souls being chastised, and they come to live in purity.”
The final state of those who follow the great Power will be rest in the eternal realm.
The Concept of our Great Power was originally penned in Greek by Anne, daughter of Sarah, and granddaughter of Mary Magdalene at Lake Mareotis, Alexandria, Egypt, in the late 1st century.
#gnostic #naghammadi #sophia