Historical setting: 563 C.E., on a beach in La Coruña
We walk the horses back to curry them and bed them down for the night. We’re told that Nic’s horse is named “The Rose” because the dapple looks like dew on rose petals, and mine is “Umber” because it is brown.
Nic is as excited as a child with a new horse of his own. He really doesn’t want to leave the stable so here we are spreading our cloaks in the straw. Now the horses must think humans have strange murmurs into the night.
Nic starts the chatter, “So what is the heresy that threatens the lands of Iberia and called you here to rescue them by delivering the Gospel of John?”
“Don’t worry Nic. I was just yammering on. Goodnight.”
“How can I sleep when you started talking about a deadly heresy and you don’t give me a clue how to stay safe from it? What is the mortal hazard of mysticism?”
“It’s not mysticism that makes the Gnosticism of the Manichean heresies like Priscillianism dangerous; it’s the problem of denying the goodness of Creation. Beyond believing in the spiritual nature of God they were taught that the whole Creation is not Holy. They spread a lie that the things of earth are not the work of God, but are of an evil power. This heresy longs for the Spirit yet denies the sacred nature of earth and sky and trees and all the creatures of the earth, ignoring all the signs of beauty that draw me and you into our thanksgivings so easily.”
Again the wisdom is in Nic’s simple logic. “If the Gnostic is attuned to the Holy Spirit would she not hear the Creator God speaking ‘it is good’ at the end of each day of Creation in Genesis?”
“This particular cult didn’t even acknowledge Genesis as a part of the bible. They simply denied the goodness.” [Footnote]
“Whatever would draw someone to that?”
“You know, Nic, there are two Creation stories in Genesis. The second one has Eve and Adam eating from the tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil.”
“I know. They erred by disobeying and eating forbidden fruit.”
“But Nic, what if the error were not so much the disobedience but was in the fruit itself? What if things went wrong when humankind started making judgments based on this stolen gnosis of good and evil which they took from God when they stole the fruit?”
Nic is already snoring. “Goodnight Nic.”
(Continues Tuesday, August 18)
These doctrines [Priscillianism] could be harmonized with the teaching of Scripture only by a complex system of exegesis, rejecting conventional interpretations and relying on personal inspiration. The Priscillians respected most of the Old Testament but rejected the Creation story. They believed that several of the apocryphal Scriptures were genuine and inspired. Because the Priscillians believe that matter and nature were evil, they became ascetics and fasted on Sundays and Christmas Day. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Priscillianism#Writings_and_rediscovery
Retrieved September 20, 2019.