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Opposing Views Of The Savior In Gnossisism And In Orthodoxy

I am attempting to write one coherent essay discussing questions three and two. I propose to first characterize the opposing views of the savior in Gnosticism and in Orthodoxy. Secondly, I will compare the Valentinian and classic Gnostics in how they differ and how the Gospel of Truth exemplifies the features of Valentinian Gnosticism.
The Orthodox view the church as a necessary medium between the laity and god; they argued that without the church and the hierarchy of clergy, the congregation would not be able to attain god on their own. They saw the coming of god’s kingdom as a literal event. They also saw it preposterous thought to separate the body from human life. That is, they saw Jesus as both flesh and spirit that were inseparable. The Orthodox considered the crucifixion of Jesus as a historical account. They viewed Jesus as a martyr that sacrificed his life so that we may live. It was believed that the martyrdom of Jesus allows for the forgiveness of sins and ensures resurrection and our life everlasting; this sacrifice allowed us to release our guilt and receive forgiveness for our sins.
On the matter of what Jesus was, the Gnostics vehemently disagreed with the Orthodox Church. Gnostics believed that Jesus was more than a human martyr; Gnostics believed that the Holy Spirit (Christ) and Jesus of Nazareth were two separate entities. They felt that Jesus was a man of flesh who, at baptism, received the Holy Spirit and became Christ. They looked at it as though the spirit of Christ was occupying the body of Jesus until the crucifixion, where the spirit was transfigured and released so that we may attain salvation. Gnostics and the Orthodox Church also argued over the point of the suffering, or the passion of Jesus. Gnostics felt that Christ only appeared to suffer and die, it was the body that suffered and when Jesus passed, the spirit was transfigured and released.

Gnostics and the Orthodox also disagreed on the point of the existence of God. The Gnostics rationalized that the god of the old testament-a god of creation and punishment was clearly a separate entity from the god of Jesus, who was a loving and forgiving god. How could such a loving god reach out to us with salvation and forgiveness be the same god who created pain, punishment and suffering. The Orthodox believed in one god, the father almighty creator of heaven and earth. In fact this was the major claim of the creed that the orthodox Christians proclaimed as part of their faith.
Another point of argument was how to attain salvation. Orthodox Christians felt it was necessary to proclaim, out loud, their belief in one god. This was the discerning factor that allowed them to separate themselves from the Gnostics-who were now considered heretics and a threat to the church. Gnostics believed that as long as one lived in faith and held good conduct throughout their entire life they would achieve salvation. Gnostics felt their approach was superior to that of the Orthodox Christians because even hypocrites could proclaim the creed, not believe in it and still reach life eternal and salvation.
After Jesus died, both Orthodox Christians and Gnostics claimed to witness the resurrection of Christ. The orthodox claimed that they saw the physical reappearance of Jesus Christ and expressed the importance of this type of sighting as the truth. Gnostics had the belief that the relationship between salvation and themselves was on a more personal level. Gnostics insisted that it was merely an encounter between the witness and the spirit of Christ that had been transformed. This follows the Gnostics belief that religious enlightenment came from introspect and self-knowledge. Once one had achieved this gnosis they were considered to be of mature knowledge and a member of an elite group ready to receive the secret knowledge of the spirit. Gnostics believed that they belonged to the true church of an elect few who were worthy; the orthodox Christians would not be saved because they were blind to the truth.
Ignatus took the idea of the father, son and the Holy Spirit to an extreme. He

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