Monday, June 18, 2007

The Name Above All Things

My friend Brian got his copy of the Nag Hammadi Library today -- mostly as a favor to me, probably. I told him to start with the Gospel of Philip. Here's my favorite part:
One single name is not uttered in the world, the name which the Father gave to the Son; it is the name above all things: the name of the Father. For the Son would not become Father unless he wore the name of the Father. Those who have this name know it, but they do not speak it. But those who do not have it do not know it.

All I can say is that this is true. Any guesses as to what this mysterious name might be? -- of course, there's no chance anyone will get the right answer, because those who know it do not say it. Still, for my amusement. Anyone want to admit to knowing it? Brian, did you figure this out yet? I'll offer only this commentary: there is a profound reason why the one who knows this unutterable name does not speak it -- it is not an ethical reason, nor is it a kind of "secret knowledge." It is not so much that the name is unspeakable as unhearable.

Not incidentally, the preceding paragraph (in Philip), which I've quoted before, offers some substantial clues:
Names given to the worldly are very deceptive, for they divert our thoughts from what is correct to what is incorrect. Thus one who hears the word "God" does not perceive what is correct, but perceives what is incorrect. So also with "the Father" and "the Son" and "the Holy Spirit" and "life" and "light" and "resurrection" and "the Church (Ekklesia)" and all the rest - people do not perceive what is correct but they perceive what is incorrect, unless they have come to know what is correct. The names which are heard are in the world [...] deceive. If they were in the Aeon (eternal realm), they would at no time be used as names in the world. Nor were they set among worldly things. They have an end in the Aeon.

2 comments:

Daniel said...

Your first quote reminds me of one of the Bruce Campbell commercials for Old Spice where he waxes philosophic on experience: "If you have it, you don't need it. If you need it, you don't have it. If you have it, you need more of it. If you have more of it, you don't need less of it. You need it to get it, and you certainly need it to get more of it. . . ."

I prefer his Hungry Like the Wolf commercial, though.

Casey said...

Haha! -- Good call, Daniel.