Apocryphon of John

The Inexpressible One

The One rules all. Nothing has authority over it.
It is the God.
It is Father of everything,
Holy One
The invisible one over everything.
It is uncontaminated
Pure light no eye can bear to look within.
The One is the Invisible Spirit.
It is not right to think of it as a God or as like God.
It is more than just God.
Nothing is above it.
Nothing rules it.
Since everything exists within it
It does not exist within anything.
Since it is not dependent on anything
It is eternal.
It is absolutely complete and so needs nothing.
It is utterly perfect
Light.
The One is without boundaries
Nothing exists outside of it to border it
The One cannot be investigated
Nothing exists apart from it to investigate it
The One cannot be measured
Nothing exists external to it to measure it
The One cannot be seen
For no one can envision it
The One is eternal
For it exists forever
The One is inconceivable
For no one can comprehend it
The One is indescribable
For no one can put any words to it.
The One is infinite light
Purity
Holiness
Stainless,
The One is incomprehensible
Perfectly free from corruption.
Not “perfect”
Not “blessed”
Not “divine”
But superior to such concepts.
Neither physical nor unphysical
Neither immense nor infinitesimal
It is impossible to specify in quantity or quality
For it is beyond knowledge.
The One is not a being among other beings
It is vastly superior
But it is not “superior.”
It is outside of realms of being and time
For whatever is within realms of being was created
And whatever is within time had time allotted to it
The One receives nothing from anything.
It simply apprehends itself in its own perfect light
The One is majestic.
The One is measureless majesty
Chief of all Realms
Producing all realms
Light
Producing light
Life
Producing life
Blessedness
Producing blessedness
Knowledge
Producing knowledge
Good
Producing goodness
Mercy
Producing mercy
Generous
Producing generosity
[It does not “possess” these things.]
It gives forth light beyond measure, beyond comprehension.
[What can I say?]
His realm is eternal, peaceful, silent, resting, before everything.
He is the head of every realm sustaining each of them through goodness.

Translated by Stevan Davies

Six Questions about the Soul

I asked the Savior, “Lord, will every soul be saved and enter the pure light?”
He replied, “You are asking an important question, one it will be impossible to answer for anyone who is not a member of the unmoved race. They are the people upon whom the Spirit of Life will descend and the power will enable them to be saved and to become perfect and worthy of greatness. They expunge evil from themselves and they will care nothing for wickedness, wanting only that which is not corrupt. They will achieve freedom from rage, envy, jealousy, desire, or craving.
“The physical body will negatively effect them. They wear it as they look forward to the time when they will meet up with those who will remove it. Those people deserve indestructible eternal life. They endure everything, bearing up under everything that happens so that they can deserve the good and inherit life eternal.”
Then I asked him, “Lord, what about the souls who didn’t do these things even though the Spirit of Life’s power descended on them?“
He answered, “If the Spirit descends to people they will be transformed and saved. The power descends on everyone and, without it, no one can even stand up. After they are born, if the Spirit of Life increases in them, power comes to them and their souls are strengthened. Nothing then can leave them astray into wickedness. But if the artificial spirit comes into people, it leads them astray.”
Then I said, “Lord, when souls come out of the flesh where do they go?”
He replied, smiling, “If the soul is strong it has more of power than it has of the artificial spirit and so it flees from wickedness. With the assistance of the Incorruptible One that soul is saved and it attains eternal rest.”
I then asked him, “Lord, what of the souls of the people who do not know whose people they are? Where do they go?”
He responded, “In those people the artificial spirit has grown strong and they have gone astray. Their souls are burdened, drawn to wickedness, and cast into forgetfulness.”
“When they come forth from the body, such a soul is given over to the powers created by the rulers, bound in chains, and cast into prison again. Around and around it goes until it manages to become free from forgetfulness through knowledge. And so, eventually, it becomes perfect and is saved.”
Then I asked, “Lord, how does the soul shrink down so as to be able to enter its mother or a man?
He was happy that I asked this and said, “You are truly blessed because you have understood. The soul should be guided by another within whom is the Spirit of Life. It will be saved by that means and accordingly will not have to enter a body again.
And I said, “Lord, what happens to the souls of people who achieved true knowledge, but who turned away from it?”
He said to me, “Demons of poverty will take them to a place where there is no possibility of repentance. There they will stay until the time when those who blasphemed against the spirit will be tortured and subjected to punishment forever.”

Translated by Stevan Davies

Plots against humanity

The Mother-Father is merciful
A Holy Spirit sympathizing with us.
Through the Epinoia of the Providence of the light
It raises up the children of the perfect race
Raising up their thought, their light eternal.
When the Chief Archon learned that they were elevated above him
And that their mental ability surpassed his
He wanted to put a stop to their thought
But he did not know the extent of their mental superiority
And he could not stop them.
He made a plan with his demons
Who are his powers
Each of them fornicated with Wisdom (Sophia)
And produced fate
The last variety of imprisonment.
Fate changes unpredictably
It is of different sorts just as the demons are of different sorts.
Fate is hard.
Fate is stronger than
The gods, the authorities, the demons, the generations of people
Who are caught up in it.
Out of fate emerged
Sinfulness, violence, blasphemy, forgetfulness, ignorance,
Weighty commandments
Heavy sins
Terrible fear.
In this way all of creation became blind,
Ignorant of God above everything.
Because of imprisonment in forgetfulness
They are unaware of their sins,
They are bound into periods of time and seasons
By fate who is lord of it all.
Yaldabaoth eventually came to regret everything he had created.
He decided to bring a great flood
Upon creation, upon mankind.
But the great light of Providence warned Noah.
He preached to all of the children,
The sons of men,
But if they were strangers to him they didn’t listen.
[It was not the way Moses said: “they hid in an ark.”
Rather, they hid in a special place,
Not just Noah
but also many other people from the immovable race.
They went into hiding within a cloud of light.]
Noah knew his own authority
And that of the light Being who illuminated them
Although the Chief Ruler poured darkness over all the world.
The Chief Ruler and his powers plotted a strategy,
To send his demons to human daughters
And make themselves children by them to enjoy.
But they failed.
After their failure they made another plan.
They created an artificial spirit
Modeled on the Spirit who descended
So, to impregnate souls by means of this spirit,
The demons changed appearance
to look like the women’s husbands
They filled the women with that spirit of darkness and wickedness.
They brought into being
Gold and silver,
Money and coins,
Iron and other metals and all things of this sort.
And the people who were attracted were led astray into troubles
And were greatly misled.
And grew old
Experiencing no pleasure,
And died
Finding no truth,
Never knowing the true God.
This is the way that they enslaved all of creation
From the foundation of the world until now.
[They took some women and produced children out of darkness
And they closed their hearts
And they hardened themselves
in the hardness of their artificial spirit
Until the present day.]

Translated by Stevan Davies

The Providence Hymn

I am the Providence of everything.
I became like my own human children.
I existed from the first.
I walked down every possible road.
I am the wealth of the light.
I am the remembering of the fullness.
I walked into the place of greatest darkness and on down.
I entered the central part of the prison.
The foundations of chaos quaked.
I hid because of their evil.
They did not recognize me.
I came down a second time
continuing on.
I emerged from among those of light
I am the remembering of Providence
I entered the middle of darkness,
The inner part of the underworld
To pursue my mission.
The foundations of chaos quaked.
Threatening to collapse upon all who were there
And utterly destroy them
I soared upward again
To my roots in light
So as not to destroy them all yet.
I descended a third time.
I am light
I am dwelling in light
I am the remembering of Providence
I entered the midst of darkness
I came to the deepest part of the underworld.
I let my face light up
Thinking of the end of their time
I entered their prison
The body is that prison
I cried out:
“Anyone who hears,
Rise up from your deep sleep!”
And the sleeping one awoke and wept
Wiping bitter tears saying
“Who calls me?”
“Where has my hope come from
As I lie in the depths of this prison?”
“I am the Providence of pure light,” I replied,
“I am the thought of the Virgin Spirit
Raising you up to an honored place.
Rise up!
Remember what you have heard.
Trace back your roots
To me.
The merciful one.
Guard against the poverty demons.
Guard against the chaos demons.
Guard against all who would bind you.
Awaken!
Stay awake!
Rise out of the depths of the underworld!
I raised him up
I sealed him with the light/water of the five seals.
Death had no power over him ever again.
I ascend again to the perfect realm.
I completed everything and you have heard it.”

Translated by Stevan Davies

Conclusion

The Savior gave all of this to him to write and to keep carefully. He said to him, “Anyone who exchanges it for a present, or for food, or for drink, or for clothing, or for anything else of that sort will be cursed.”

Translated by Stevan Davies