The imperfections that are inherent in the Creation of the World is a concept that all religious traditions have sought to explain–or accept–through their own worldview and doctrine. Where the major religions of the world differ is: firstly in the locality and cultural heritage that demarcate their origins; and secondly in what should be done to remediate these imperfections.
In light of this, the Gnostics believed that the imperfections of the world exist because it was created in an imperfect manner. God’s creation–while wondrous and beautiful to behold–is not perfect. Suffering is an inevitable part of being born. Humans, as Nature’s Creation, still live by the impulse, “Eat or be eaten.” When we successfully avoid the food chain–even if it is temporarily–we still have natural catastrophes and disease to contend with.
Humans also have to contend with what are now called mental health issues such as: depression, loneliness, boredom–which is largely fuelled by having our materials needs met, but not having enough ‘meaning’ to feel true bliss.
The early Gnostics were Christians. They were familiar with the concept of God as conceptualised in the Hebrew Bible and the New Testament. It was a God who was omnipresent, omnipotent and all-powerful. He was a creator, law-giver, policeman, judge and so on. Throughout the Biblical narrative, the concept of what God is and what He does changes many times. At time, He is a compassionate God; at other times, a wrathful deity.
To the Gnostics, however, the Creator was not the One True God, but rather, a demiurgos; a craftsman-like deity that existed directly below him as an intermediary. The true God existed beyond the demiurgos. To the Gnostics, humans mirror the ‘duality’ found in the world. It was made, in part, by the demiurgos, and in part by the light of the True God.
To awaken and recognise the True God requires us to overcome powerful obstacles that are programmed into our Nature and into the environment in which we have been placed. These obstacles are connected to other intermediaries that manage and have dominion over their own spheres of influence.
Gnostics believe that men and women are potential Gods and Goddesses who have forgotten who they are. We humans are caught in a creation where the limitations imposed by physical existence are combined with the triple ignorance: ignorance of our true nature, ignorance of our origins and ignorance of what is our ultimate destiny.
To the Gnostics, salvation can only be achieved through knowledge.