The error of Gnosticism is observed by a classic distortion of the true nature of God as He has revealed Himself in the Bible. In 1 Corinthians chapter 1, Paul describes the foolishness of people who seek to understand God by their knowledge or intellect.
For it is written: “I will destroy the wisdom of the wise, and bring to nothing the understanding of the prudent.” Where is the wise? Where is the scribe? Where is the disputer of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of this world? ~1 Corinthians 1:19-20
At the very basis of Gnosticism, the word means “knowledge.” Adherents to this heresy believe that they have been given superior knowledge that allows them to have knowledge that the rest of the world cannot obtain. This is a common attribute of all cults which claim superior revelation of the Bible, or the mind of God. In reality, God intended that all of man’s knowledge about Him would come only from His revelation of Himself as observed in the Bible.
Gnosticism was observed in the world before Jesus church was founded by Him. The basic premise is that God cannot be known because man lives in an evil world. For this reason, God generated lesser divinities, or emanations. Chief amongst these is the desire for wisdom to know the unknowable God. From this desire to know God, an evil god was formed and it was satan who created the universe. Along with archons or angels, satan kept human beings in bondage and prevented the pure spirit souls from ascending to god after the their death.
In the minds of the Gnostics, everything material in the universe is evil and the only redemption from this evil world is by special revelation from Gnostic teachers. Jesus came into the world to teach mankind about salvation, but only the Gnostics have this true knowledge.
What we learn from this basic understanding of Gnosticism is their premise that God reveals Himself only to special individuals. People must go to these unique Gnostic teachers in order to know God. This is the same basic error that all cult churches utilize today. People hear that these unique persons are the only way they can know God and they look to these spiritual leaders and obey everything they command.
We have seen the tragedy of this error in the Branch Davidians of David Koresh, Jim Jones and today’s false Christian cult churches.
The Bible is intended as sufficient knowledge about God for all human beings. There is no requirement to approach any particular man or woman in order to obtain a revelation of God. He comes to each person to reveal Himself, depending upon the sincerity and diligence of the individual. Anyone can learn who God is and the true purpose of their life simply by reading the Bible personally.
The teachings of Gnosticism can be understood by the writings of Hippolytus, Tertullian, Origen, Irenaeus and other eighteenth century writings such as the “Codex Bruce, the Codex Askew and the Berlin Gnostic Codes. Many new discoveries have come in our own lifetime from the Nag Hammadi collection.”
See The Article: The Lost Letters Of Christ Are Lies a recent assertion from the Nag Hammadi.
The fatal error of Gnosticism is observed in the distortion of Jesus’ true nature as God who came to us in human flesh. By demoting Jesus to the Gnostic interpretation, the Jesus who is left cannot save anyone because the Gnostic interpretation of Jesus is not God and He is unable to pay for the sins of all people.