ON THE ORIGIN OF THE WORLD, Nag Hammadi Excerpt
(Translated by Hans-Gebhard Bethge and Bentley Layton)
This narrative talks about the origin of life from single cell organisms.
It was quite advanced for its time, the language is symbolic.
"When Sophia let fall a droplet of light, it flowed onto the water,
and immediately a being appeared, being androgynous.
That droplet she molded first as a female.
Afterwards, using the body she molded it in the likeness of the mother, which had appeared.
And she finished it in twelve months.
An androgynous human being was produced whose mother the Hebrews call Eve of Life (Zoe),
namely, the female instructor of life.
Her offspring is the creature that is lord.
Afterwards, the 'authorities' called it "Beast", so that it might lead astray their modelled creatures.
The interpretation of "the beast" is "the instructor".
For it was found to be the wisest of all beings.
Now, Eve is the first virgin, the one who without a husband bore her first offspring.
It is she who served as her own midwife.
For this reason she is held to have said:
It is I who am the part of my mother; and it is I who am the mother.
It is I who am the wife; it is I who am the virgin.
It is I who am pregnant; it is I who am the midwife.
It is I who am the one that comforts pains of travail.
It is my husband who bore me; and it is I who am his mother.
And it is he who is my father.
It is he who is my force; What he desires, he says with reason.
I am in the process of becoming; yet I have borne a man.
[114:8-16, minor edits]
The holy voice said, "Multiply and improve! Be lord over all creatures."
And it is they who were taken captive, according to their destinies, by the prime parent.
And thus they were shut into the prisons of the modelled forms until the consummation of the age.
Since that day, the seven rulers have fashioned man with his body resembling their body,
but his likeness resembling the man that had appeared to them.
His modelling took place by parts, one at a time.
And their leader fashioned the brain and the nervous system.
Afterwards, he appeared as prior to him.
He became a soul-endowed man.
And he was called Adam, that is, "father", according to the name of the one that existed before him.
And when they had finished Adam, he abandoned him as an inanimate vessel,
since he had taken form like an abortion, in that no spirit was in him.
Regarding this thing, when the chief ruler remembered the saying of Sophia,
he was afraid lest the true man enter his modelled form and become its lord.
For this reason he left his modelled form forty days without soul, and he withdrew and abandoned it.
Now on the fortieth day, Sophia Zoe sent her breath into Adam, who had no soul.
He began to move upon the ground. And he could not stand up.
Later when the seven rulers came, they saw that Adam could stand up, they were glad,
and they took him and put him in Paradise. And they withdrew up to their heavens.
After the day of rest, Sophia sent her daughter Zoe, being called Eve, as an instructor, in order that she might make Adam, who had no soul, arise, so that those whom he should engender might become containers of light. (115:31-35)
When Eve saw her male counterpart prostrate, she had pity upon him, and she said:
"Adam! Become alive! Arise upon the earth!"
Immediately her word became accomplished fact.
For Adam, having arisen, suddenly opened his eyes.
When he saw her, he said,
"You shall be called 'Mother of the Living'.
For it is you who have given me life."
Then the authorities were informed that their modelled form was alive and had arisen, and they were greatly troubled.
They sent seven archangels to see what had happened.
They came to Adam.
When they saw Eve talking to him, they said to one another,
"What sort of thing is this luminous woman?
For she resembles that likeness which appeared to us in the light.
Now come, let us lay hold of her and cast her seed into her,
so that when she becomes soiled she may not be able to ascend into her light.
Rather, those whom she bears will be under our charge.
But let us not tell Adam, for he is not one of us.
Rather let us bring a deep sleep over him.
And let us instruct him in his sleep to the
effect that she came from his rib,
in order that his wife may obey,
and he may be lord over her."
Then Eve, being a force,
laughed at their decision.
She put mist into their eyes and
secretly left her likeness with Adam.
She entered the tree of knowledge
and remained there.
And they pursued her, and she revealed to them that she had gone into the tree and become a tree.
Then, entering a great state of fear, the blind creatures fled."
Eve as Revealer of Gnosis
"After the day of rest Sophia sent her daughter Zoe, being called Eve,
as an instructor in order that she might make Adam, who had no soul,
arise so that those whom he should engender might become containers of light.
Early Christianity turned to the figure of Eve, demonizing her with unprecedented force.
Christ's role in redemption became explicable only in its relationship to the Fall as portrayed in Genesis.
Eve, along with her sinister partner the serpent (beast), became the antagonist who, through her wiles, led the paradisiacal Adam away from God.
This understanding of Eve's inferiority and propensity for sin remains embedded in late twentieth-century culture."
Another Eve: A Case Study in the Earliest Manifestations of Christian Esotericism, Laura Hobgood-Oster, Southwestern University
Tree from Kaiserswerth