On the Origin of the World

On the Origin of the World

Translated by Hans-Gebhard Bethge and Bentley Layton

SEEING THAT EVERYBODY, GODS OF THE WORLD AND MANKIND, says that nothing existed prior to chaos, I, in distinction to them, shall demonstrate that they are all mistaken, because they are not acquainted with the origin of chaos, nor with its root. Here is the demonstration.

How well it suits all men, on the subject of chaos, to say that it is a kind of darkness! But in fact it comes from a shadow, which has been called by the name ‘darkness’. And the shadow comes from a product that has existed since the beginning. It is, moreover, clear that it existed before chaos came into being, and that the latter is posterior to the first product. Let us therefore concern ourselves with the facts of the matter; and furthermore, with the first product, from which chaos was projected. And in this way the truth will be clearly demonstrated.

After the natural structure of the immortal beings had completely developed out of the infinite, a likeness then emanated from Pistis (Faith); it is called Sophia (Wisdom). It exercised volition and became a product resembling the primeval light. And immediately her will manifested itself as a likeness of heaven, having an unimaginable magnitude; it was between the immortal beings and those things that came into being after them, like […]: she (Sophia) functioned as a veil dividing mankind from the things above.