Rorate Caeli

THE NEW RELIGION - | free online booklet by Don Pietro Leone | SECOND PART

[First part here]


We said that Gnosis was seen amongst men for the first time in Original Sin.

Before continuing however, we wish to observe that it was manifest even before, in the Fall of the Angels. For since the essence of a thing is determined by its ultimate end, we may identify the essence of Gnosis as the attempt on the part of the creature to deify himself. This, however, had already occurred with the rebellion of the angels. Lucifer and the other angels wanted to make themselves God, that is to say without God: by their own unaided and natural efforts. The consequence was their fall and their transformation from angels into devils.

'Quis ut Deus?' replied St. Michael the Archangel, since no-one in fact is like God, but this was precisely Lucifer’s claim: to be like God, and it is the same claim that he later proposed to Adam and Eve.

Gnosis goes back, then, in its essence, to the first moments of the universe, to the first free act of rational creatures. From here it has developed through the course of the centuries, assuming ever more ample theological and moral proportions. It takes different paths according to the religions and nations which it visits: be it Hinduism, Buddhism, Judaism; be it the Persian nation, the Egyptian nation, and so on.

We will focus on the Jewish Religion, considering, with Don Julio Meinvielle, that this is the most influential form of Gnosis in the modern world.

Now, the Jewish Gnosis is a perversion of the Cabala. The Cabala, before its perversion, constituted the oral tradition of the Old Testament. The authentic Jewish Faith, which became the Catholic Faith with the Advent of the Lord, had a twofold tradition: a written tradition and an oral tradition, precisely as the Catholic Faith.

The oral tradition, that is to say the primordial Cabala, taught men the fundamental truths of nature and Grace necessary for salvation; it spoke of the nature of God and His attributes, of pure spirits and the invisible universe; it even contained teachings about the Most Holy Trinity and the Incarnation of Our Lord before His Advent into this world.

This sublime and mystical Tradition however, underwent a process of perversion under the influence of Egyptian Gnosis. Egyptian Gnosis dates back three thousand years prior to the coming of the Lord, and thence, of course, to the very beginning of time. The perversion occurred during the exile of the Jewish people in Egypt in the 14th century before Christ, and then in Babylon in the 6th century B.C. in an even more damaging way.

A part of this influence consisted in magic practices, and a part in false doctrines. The false doctrines were negations of Divine Revelation as contained in the pre-Christian Jewish Faith, and may thus, as we noted in the first section, be considered as heresies sensu lato. These errors insinuated themselves into the Jewish oral tradition and represent a development of central Gnostic doctrines.

The doctrines that we wish to examine now are two:
1) The transformation of man into God;

2) The Monism between God and man.

We will look at these two doctrines in their various developments, first in the light of the Faith, then in the light of reason.

A. The Transformation of Man into God

The doctrine of the transformation of man into God is elaborated as a process of evolution, and includes the following elements:

1) The Emergence of God, the World and Man from Nothing
2) Reincarnation;
3) The Gradual Fulfilment and Realization of God and Man
1) The Emergence of God, the World and Man from Nothing

The Faith teaches us that God exists eternally and has no beginning in time. It teaches us likewise that the world and man did not come into existence of themselves, but that God created and made them from nothing, ex nihilo: yet not from nothing as from a pre-existing substance, but from nothing in the sense that there was in fact no pre-existing substance.

Moreover, reason teaches that nothing can come out of nothing, as nothing, by definition, does not exist.

2) Reincarnation

In the Letter to the Hebrews we read (9.27): ‘It is appointed unto men once to die, and after this the judgment’. The Faith teaches us in addition that the human soul is capable of positive development, but not by means of repeated reincarnations, but by the work of moral perfection and sanctification.

Reason teaches that reincarnation is impossible since every human soul is the principle of its own human body: the human soul cannot inform a non-human body, and cannot inform a human body that is not its own.

3) The Gradual Fulfilment and Realization of God and Man

The Faith teaches that God is immutable and does not change. St. James writes (1. 16-17): ‘Do not err, therefore, my dearest brethren. Every best gift, and every perfect gift, is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no change, nor shadow of alteration’.

Reason tells us, besides, that God, as we have said above, is transcendent and immutable by definition. If something changes in man, it is not God.

We add a last logical criticism, which is valid for all three of these evolutionist doctrines, that is: the greater cannot derive from the lesser: substance cannot proceed from nothing; God cannot proceed from man; the soul cannot purify itself by itself in the course of successive lives.

B. Monism

The Monism between God and man is elaborated in the direction of three distinct forms of monism:

1) An ontological Monism between God and the universe, where the universe is considered in a certain sense as divine: a Pantheistic doctrine;
2) A moral Monism where good and evil are considered as integral parts of a greater reality, which allows of no real principle of distinction between them. This moral monism is considered in the final analysis as God Himself;
3) A logical Monism in which even Truth and Falsehood are reconciled with each other.

1) Monism between God and the Universe (Pantheism).

We reply to this error as we have replied to the error of Monism between God and Man. The Faith teaches that God is Creator: Credo in unum Deum, creatorem coeli et terrae. God is therefore entirely independent of the universe, which He created with a free act of will. It did not emanate from Him according to His nature; it did not come into existence necessarily.

Furthermore Reason teaches us that the concept of God is a concept of an essentially transcendent Being.

2) Moral Monism

Moral Monism is in effect conceived as the thesis that good and evil are one single thing and that evil exists in God.

The Faith teaches us by contrast that good and evil are distinct principles opposed to each other; that by adhering to the good man is saved, and by adhering to evil he is damned.

The Faith teaches equally that God is infinitely good, the Father of Lights, Who, to cite St. James once more (1.13): ‘is not a tempter of evils, and He tempteth no man’.

Reason, in accord with the doctrine of St. Thomas, teaches us that good and evil do not form one single entity, inasmuch as the Good is Being itself, and evil is the privation of Good: that is the privation of a good that is due to it. Evil is not in God, inasmuch as God is infinitely and necessarily good. As we have said of the other perfections of God, so we can say about His goodness: if He is not good, then He is not God.

3) Logical Monism

Logical Monism claims that the true and the false also constitute one single reality. Gnosis holds this, for example, in its syncretism, maintaining that all religions and philosophies are equal.

Faith teaches us by contrast, that True and False are opposites, and the Lord says (Mt. 5.37): ‘But let your speech be yea, yea: no, no: and that which is over and above these, is of evil’.

Reason affirms that the false is a negation of the true. As Aristotle says, it is impossible for the same thing, at the same time and in the same way, to be true and false. This is the principle of non-contradiction, one of the first principles of thought and metaphysics. If we renounce these first principles, we renounce rationality itself and the very possibility of understanding and explaining anything at all.

Don Julio Meinvielle holds that the absurdity of Logical Monism - that True and False form one single reality – is the consequence of the absurd Gnostic thesis that the world, man, and God emerge from nothing.

We would say, rather, that it corresponds to all of the absurdities taught by Gnosis: emergence from nothing, reincarnation, the development of God within the world, Pantheism, the so-called reconciliation between good and evil. In the final analysis Logical Monism is a result of the fundamental thesis of Gnosis: that man can become God. The irrationality of this thesis results from the rebellion of the will against the Truth. The thesis is in fact nothing other than the ultimate expression of that rebellion.