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Valentinus: Above the seven planets is the realm of the stars. Higher still, in the unintelligible heaven, dwells the world of pure ideas, of absolute types, of eternal laws. Here is the work of the sovereign God, worthy of his wisdom and might. But the virtues that are emanating from him stray more and more from his perfection, like the light dims the further it recedes from its source. The demiurgic Powers, the Demons that dwell between us and heaven, wanted to imitate the marvelous order of the ideal world, but applied to matter. Evil was the fruit of their carelessness and pride, because matter is corruptible, and death only could result from this rot. Therefore, terrestrial life is only a perpetual death; all living species are condemned to devour each other. Man himself, even though divine wisdom has placed in him a ray of the heavenly lights, is bound by his flesh to the slavery of sin, to corruption and death. But Christ came to fight the Powers of this world, his victory will cast them into the abysses, matter will reintegrate void, from which it should have never originated, and the purified souls will ascend with their Savior towards the unknown Father.
Origen: I confess, Valentinus, that those of the Basilidian communion, the other Gnostics that separate themselves from the Great Assembly and you, you seem to me less Christian than disciples of Heraclites, Empedocles or other Greek philosophers.
Noumenios: Is it a sin, Origen, to rely on the wisdom of our fathers?
Origen: This wisdom, when it does not stray is borrowed from the holy books of the Jews. You recognized it your self, Noumenios, since you said that Plato was no more than a Moses from Attica.
Noumenios: When I said that, I only know Moses through the books of Philo. Since, I have read the Genesis. It was impossible for me to find anything relating to the spiritual world, to the soul and its immortality. You received this doctrine from Homer and the Greek philosophy, as you have as well borrowed the story of the fall from our Gigantomachy(battle between the giants and the Gods) of which the books of the Jews don’t speak. You could recognize through what Porphyry and Cheremon said that Redemption by the death of a God is not an exclusive Christian Dogma. The Greeks themselves took it from the Egyptians, like Tat demonstrated and it finally doesn’t matter from whom it was borrowed.
Origen: It would matter not if there was a borrowing. But what relationship do you have between Christ’s Passion and those mystical stories that you even only acknowledge a physical sense? I cannot be touched by the adventures of the grape being trampled in the press, or by the descent of the sun in all the inferior zodiacal signs. On the contrary, Christ is a man who suffers and dies, and his Passion is the summary of all the human sufferings, the anguish of the soul and the torture of the body; his friends left him; his disciple denied him; the ungratefulness of the people; the cowardly insults from the soldiers; the mockery of the scarlet tunic and the crown of thorns; the slaps and spitting ; the whip at the slaves pole; the cross carried across the via dolorosa; and the gallows erected right in front of his mother’s eyes; the nails; the spear and the bitter vinegar and finally the torment between the two thieves.
Cheremon: You are right, Origen, all this is new and great in the world, and if you only wanted to make the apology of the just dying for the truth, let him be welcomed among the Heroes, but at the conditions that he has been only a man. You are not touched by the death of the sun, do you think that I might be interested to the torments of a God wearing the human form, who know that his death is nothing but a comedy, as he will be resurrected three days after to sit at the right side of his Father? Man can give his life in sacrifice, Gods cannot, and this is why Man is superior to them. If our soul is eternal, only them would know, and they would hide this mystery in respect for the human virtues that would lose all of their merits if they would expect another reward than the divine peace of the fulfilled duty.
Noumenios: It seems to me, Cheremon, that if the Christians would consider Christ as a divinized man, they would do what we blame Evhemeros, who has mistaken the Gods with the Heroes. It is in the divine essence to be eternal, but it manifests in time, and if a man by his doctrine and by his life has revealed a God to the other men, he is truly its incarnation. When the Christians tell us that Christ is God and Man at the same time, they proceed to the supreme glorification of the virtue of Man and they translate the stoic morality into the mythological language which is the natural language of the religions; I don’t know anything more divine than the sacrifice of the self; this is why Christ has a place in my Pantheon.
Porphyry: Do not hope, Noumenios, that this concession will satisfy the Christians. They would consider you as one of their own only once you have denied all the other Gods.
Noumenios: It is not a concession and I don’t bother to please anybody. I seek truth and take it everywhere I find it. I see the divine in nature and I worship, under their visible revelations, the multiple laws of the universe. The moral law is also a divine law and I worship the consciousness, the interior God that we all carry in us. As the human virtue manifests only through the struggle with the cosmic powers, it is natural that the Christians deny the ancients Gods; the religion of the soul must react against the religions of the world. All the religions are true, due to the intelligence that embraces the divine, in the harmony of their successive revelations; Each form of the ideal, each affirmation of the consciousness of the human kind is one of the ray s of the eternal truth, one of the facets of the universal prism.
Porphyry: Noumenios, the sun has disappeared under the horizon. Homer told us that the last libation of every banquet must be spilled on the altar to honor Hermes.
Noumenios: Accept the wine of this cup, twilight God, whose golden wand spreads along the horizon of dusk, celestial messenger that brings to the Gods the prayers of men and to men the blessings of the Gods. Divine word, binding of the intelligences, lead our speeches, so that the diversity of beliefs does not alter the friendship of the hearts. Divine psuchopompos (guide) of the souls, as you brought to this banquet the friends that have already accomplished before our time their terrestrial destiny, come to great us at the time of our deliverance and lead us to them in the dwelling of the light and peace.