Friday, 26 November 2010

A World Made in Error...

Following Jesus' perhaps most difficult exhortation, the Cathar perfect once they had received the Consolamentum, were expected to leave their wives, husbands, families. They lived together in houses. When death was close, rather than submit themselves to the decay of the flesh, they would starve themselves to death in fast called the Endura. Not surprisingly, most credentes waited until their deathbed before asking to receive the Consolamentum. In the Roman Catholic church, the rite of Extreme Unction was introduced at about this time to compete with the deathbed ritual of the Cathars.

The Cathars had no doubt that the world and the association with the world was linked with Satan. Jesus could not have died on the cross as what perished was the body, not the spirit. The true world, they said, was spiritual, eternal, immaterial in fact the antithesis of matter. The world eternal was the spiritual renewal of the elected day by day, the knowledge of Christ's kingdom and never of this world. Satan was the king of the world, the visible, temporal world of the named and thus the desired. As Jehovah in the Old Testament he had showed his true colours by pretending to be, or perhaps even believing that he was God, the Creator of all. Satan for the Cathari was the lord of the physical person, the decaying flesh which lusts and covets and makes people sin.

Simply put, for the Cathars - and Priscillian - we are not meant to be here. Humans are the production of the fall of certain angels who followed Samael the Blind One in his fall to earth and were persuaded by him to enter into the bodies of the creatures he made out of sand and dust. When the angels realised the trick that had been played upon them, they longed to escape from their material bodies to return to their celestial selves of pure spirit from which they were taken by false promises and to which they hoped one day to return. The aim of life for the Cathars, then, was to reverse the fall: to re-unite the spirit with the body and in so-doing free oneself from the imprisonment of the soul.


  1. By error...? or perhaps better: By chance...?

    Truth is a pathless land - Jiddu Krishnamurti

  2. Much as I admire Krishnamurti, I have to say that the route to Truth is a very direct one; it is we who are without direction. And was the world made by chance? Science would tell us that it very probably was, and will be, time and again. But even then, if there is a Big Crunch and the laws of Physics don't change (and why would they?) then we are in for the same old same old... Nietzsche's Eternal Return of the Same? For Gnostics, there is evidence of a world created by a lesser god, but, very much by "design".

  3. Perhaps we need to distinguish between The World and the Omniverse?