The Gospel of Truth

Nag Hammadi manuscript the Gospel of Truth
The Gospel of Truth is part of the ancient Nag Hammadi library, found buried in the Egyptian desert in 1945. This lost Gospel is thought to have first been written in the First or Second Century.

The Gospel of Truth

1. The Gospel of Truth is joyous to those who have been given the mercy of knowing the Creator of Truth through the power of the Wisdom that rose from the spiritual realm, and the Savior, who is in the heart and mind of the Creator: Being named for the work he does for the deliverance of those who did not know the Creator. For within the name of the Gospel is the potential of hope – the discovery of those who search for Him.

2. The creation was inside of Him who is unlimited and inconceivable – and greater than every thought. But ignorance of the Creator produced fear and anxiety. Anxiety enveloped them like a fog, blinding their vision. Thus wickedness became strong and operated foolishly within its own matter, being ignorant of the Truth. From this, the substitute for Truth was born into creation with strength and beauty.

3. For this was then not a humbling before Him, the Eternal, Inconceivable One. Because it was simply suffering in ignorance and the embodiment of illusion – whereas the eternal Truth is unchangeable, unaffected and perfectly beautiful.

4. Therefore, do not abide in wickedness, as it has no foundation. It was covered by the fog with respect to the Creator. It was engaged in deeds of forgetfulness and fears, so that these may entice those of the middle and imprison them.

5. The ignorance of wickedness was not revealed. It did not [missing text] with the Creator. Ignorance does not exist in the Creator, although it exists because of Him. What exists with the Creator is knowledge, revealed in order to destroy ignorance so they might come to know the Creator. If they come to know the Creator, their ignorance will cease to exist.

6. This is the Gospel of Him – whom they search for – revealed perfectly through the mercies of the Creator – the hidden mystery – by Jesus the Anointed of God [Messiah, Christ]. Through him those who were in the darkness of ignorance were enlightened. He enlightened them and showed them the path of the Truth that he taught them.

7. Because of this, wickedness abhorred him, denied him, persecuted him, and removed him. He was nailed to a tree. He became the means of knowing the Creator.

8. Consuming this causes no destruction from its acceptance. Rather, those who accept it become happy by discovering it, and discover themselves in the process.

9. Regarding the unfathomable, unknowable One, the Creator, the Perfect One who made everything – within Him is the creation, and the creation depends upon Him. While He retained the perfection within Himself that he hadn’t given to the creation, the Creator is never envious. Certainly, envy between Himself and His children does not arise, for this dimension had received the perfection [missing text] the Creator.

10. He maintains their perfection within Himself, bestowing it upon them to return to Him, and as uniquely perfect knowledge.

11. He created everything, and within Him is everything – and everything depends upon Him.

12. As for persons who are ignorant, He wants them to come to know Him and love Him. Then why does the creation have this need of knowledge regarding the Creator?

13. He became a peaceful and gentle guide. He appeared within schools, speaking the Wisdom as a teacher. Those who were wise in their own estimation approached and tested him. But he confounded them, for they were foolish. They despised him, for they were not actually wise.

14. Afterwards, humble children approached – to whom belongs the knowledge of the Creator. After being strengthened, they learned of the Creator’s characteristics. They came to know and were known: They glorified, and were glorified. In their hearts became manifested the essential wisdom of life – written from the heart and mind of the Creator, which from before the creation of everything, was unknowable: That which no one was able to receive, as it is left to one who will sacrifice everything for it.

15. The appearance of that wisdom became manifest among those who trust in salvation. Thus the merciful, faithful Jesus persisted in accepting suffering until receiving that wisdom, for he knew his persecution meant life for others.

16. Just as the wealth of the deceased householder lay hidden within the will, the creation lies hidden while the Creator of everything was unseen. This is from Him, from whom every universe originates. As a result, Jesus appeared;. He availed that wisdom. He was nailed to a tree. He broadcast the will of the Creator on the stake.

17. Yes, it is a great teaching. He allowed his body to die, while eternal life clothes him. Having disrobed himself of perishable rags, he dressed in immortality, which no one can possibly remove. After entering the dimension of fears, he passed by those disrobed by ignorance of knowledge and perfection. They proclaimed things of the heart [missing text] guiding those who will accept the teaching.

18. Yet they who accept the teaching are alive. They are inscribed in the wisdom of the living. They receive instruction regarding themselves – receiving it from the Creator as they return to Him. Since the creation’s perfection is within the Creator, the creation must ascend to Him. As such, one who has knowledge accepts what is given to him and acknowledges them.

19. For one in ignorance is empty, and what he needs is significant, because he lacks what will make him perfect. Because the perfection of the creation is within the Creator, the creation must ascend to Him. And in order for each to accept what is his, he prepared them in advance to serve those who appeared from Him.

20. Those who consider themselves first are summoned by Him last. The Creator calls on those who have knowledge. For one without knowledge is ignorant. Indeed, how is one to hear if he is not considered? For one who is ignorant to the end is trapped by forgetfulness, and they will be lost in it Otherwise, how is it these unhappy people are not considered, so that they are not called?

21. Therefore, one’s knowledge is given from above. He hears if he is summoned. He answers, and he turns to Him who is calling him. Then he ascends to Him. He understands why he is called. With this knowledge, he works to please the One who called him. He wants to be pleasing to Him. He takes shelter. Everyone who is considered returns to Him. One who understands this knows where he comes from and where he is going. He knows as someone who had become drunk, then turned away from his drunkenness, has fixed everything and returned to himself.

22. He has turned many away from wickedness. He has appeared before them within their places, from which they left on account of the depth of Him who surrounds everything, while no one surrounds Him.

23. It was a great miracle they were with the Creator but didn’t know Him. They were able to appear by themselves, because they couldn’t understand or know Him within whom they are. Because if one’s will didn’t come from Him – He revealed it by showing the knowledge from which all emanations concur. This is the knowledge of the wisdom of life, revealed to the spiritual ones with the end of his letters, not the vowels nor consonants, or that one reading them might be fooled. But they are letters of Truth, which speak alone for one who knows them. Each letter is complete, like a complete scroll, since they are letters written by bond: The Creator wrote them for the spiritual beings so they may come to know Him.

24. Since His wisdom determines the Doctrine, and his Teaching expresses it – His knowledge is revealed. Since determination is crowned, His pleasure harmonizes with it. His glory exalts it. His image reveals it. It provides shelter in Him. His love created a body of it. His trustworthiness embraced it. In such a manner, the wisdom of the Creator is extended to everything. The fruit of His heart and the vision of His will. Yet this supports everything, purifying them and returning them to the Creator by the mother Jesus of the eternal sweetness.

25. The Creator reveals His heart. Yes, His heart is the Holy Spirit – revealing what is hidden. That which is hidden is His representative. Through the Creator’s mercies, the spiritual children know Him and take shelter in Him, and don’t have to work in search of the Creator. They know He provides refuge.

26. After He completed what was not yet complete, He abandoned matter. This world is the servant of matter. Because that place where there are enviousness and struggles is empty. But the place where there is union is perfect.

27. Ever since the imperfection came into being due to not knowing the Creator: Once the Creator is known, from that time forward, the imperfection will no longer exist. Just as the ignorance of a person vanishes when one becomes aware, one’s ignorance disappears of itself. Just as darkness vanishes when light appears, so shall ignorance disappear with the perfection.

28. From that time forward, matter is not critical, as it vanishes with the relationship of union. For with the relationship of union, now those works lay spread through time. Union will perfect the emptiness. Within spiritual union, each of us finds our self. Using knowledge, one will cleanse oneself of duplicity through spiritual union – consuming material contamination within oneself like a fire – just as darkness is consumed by light, and death is consumed by life.

29. Should these changes occur for each of us, we will see above all that the house is holy and the spiritual union is eternal. This is the manner of some who departed their houses with vessels that were sometimes not so good. These would ruin them, and the householder suffered no loss. Instead, they were glad, for in place of the bad vessels one became full and made perfect.

30. For this is the determination that has come from above. Judgment is passed on to everyone – it is a drawn sword, double-edged to cut on each side. When wisdom is revealed by the One within the heart of those who speak it, it is not just a sound. Rather, it became a body. The vessels were greatly troubled, for some were empty while others were filled. Some were provided for. Others were poured out. Some had been cleansed, while others were broken. Every region was shaken and disturbed, for they had no foundation or stability. Imperfection was distraught, not knowing what to do. Due to ignorance, it was afflicted with grieving and mourning. When knowledge and its byproducts became available, imperfection was fallen, being empty with nothing within.

31. The Truth was revealed – its adherents understood it. They welcomed the Creator of Truth with a perfect devotion that binds them to the Creator. For each loves Truth because Truth is the mouth of the Creator. His tongue is the Holy Spirit, who joins them with the Creator. Because everyone who loves the Truth receives the Holy Spirit. One who is bound to the Truth bound to the Creator’s mouth with one’s tongue – for this is the manifestation of the Creation, and his revelation to His spiritual children.

32. He manifested what was hidden about Himself. He explained it. For who, if not the Creator, is full? Everyone emanates from Him. They know that they arose from Him, just as children arose from an adult man. They understood they had not yet received a material body, nor a material name, each of which is born from the Creator. Once they do receive a material body through His wisdom, even though through Him, they don’t know Him. If He pleases, He manifests by giving one a material body and a material name. He delivers into material existence those who became ignorant of Him who created them.

33. I am not saying those who have yet to come into the world are nothing. Rather, they are with Him, and will only come to the world when He wishes it – should that time come. Before anything is manifested, He knows what He will create. Yet the fruit not manifest knows nothing, nor acts. As a result, every element is from the Creator who eternally exists and produced it from nothing.

34. For one without root has no fruit, even though he thinks, ‘I exist.’ Yet by himself, he will perish. Then again, one who never existed will never exist. Why did he want to be self-centered, thinking, ‘I exist like the silhouettes and ghosts of the night?’ When light illuminates a person’s fears, he becomes aware they don’t exist.

35. Those who do not see Him are ignorant of the Creator – because they do not see Him. Because of fear, confusion, instability, lack of faith, and separation, many illusions come into play with unfulfilled fiction – as if they found themselves slumbering in sleep with nightmares: In either place they are fleeing from; or lacking the power to escape after chasing others; or involved in punching others; or are being punched themselves; or falling from high places; or lifting off into the air without wings. Repeatedly, at times experiencing being murdered, even if no one is even chasing them; or murdering their brothers and being stained with their blood. When those going through these things awaken, they see nothing. They were in the middle of so many disturbing situations, but now they see nothing.

36. This is how one can cast ignorance – like sleep – not giving it any importance: Nor considering its activities as having a solid foundation. Rather, they leave them behind like a dream in the night. They consider knowing the Creator as daybreak. Each one of them carried this out, as if ignorance is a time when one is asleep. Such is the path – as if one has been awakened. Fortunate is the man who awakens and returns. And blessed is one who has opened the eyes of the blind.

37. Then the Spirit came to him immediately, raising him up. He reached out His hand to one lying prostrate on the ground. He brought him up to his feet, for he had not been standing. He gave them the means to understand the knowledge of the Creator and the revelation of His representative. For when they saw him and heard from him, He allowed them to taste, smell and touch His beloved representative.

38. Then he appeared and taught them about the Creator – the Boundless One. He inspired them from his mind – doing His will. Many received this illumination and turned towards Him. Because the materialistic people were foreign, they didn’t see His appearance, and didn’t come to know Him.

39. Because he came via a body of flesh, nothing blocked his path because his integrity is boundless. Thus he continued to speak new things, speaking about the heart of the Creator – bringing forth the faultless wisdom.

40. Through his mouth he spoke illumination. From his voice came life. He gave them reason and understanding; mercy and salvation; and the Spirit of strength originating from the boundless sweet Creator.

41. He caused suffering and violence to cease. For these had caused many who needed mercy to fall away from Him in error and in chains. He powerfully devastated them and chastised them with knowledge. He provided a path for those who fell away and knowledge to those who were ignorant -- a revelation for those who were seeking – and shelter for those who shivered – and purification for those who became defiled.

42. He is the shepherd who left behind the ninety-nine sheep that had not strayed and went searching for the one that went astray. He rejoiced when he found it. For ninety-nine is a number in the left hand that holds them. But as soon as the one is found, the entire amount is handed over to the right. The right which is lacking the one takes the deficiency from the left side and passes to the right, making the number one hundred. This number represents the Creator, who is present within sound.

43. Even on the Sabbath did he work hard for those sheep he found fallen into the pit. He gave life to the sheep, bringing them up from the pit, so that you – the representatives of inner knowledge – may know fully what is the Sabbath. It is a day during which it is not fitting for salvation to remain idle – so that you may speak on that day from above: From that which has no night, and from an illumination that does not sink, because it is perfect.

44. Speak then from the heart, as you are the perfect creation, and within you dwells the light that never fails. Speak the Truth to those who search for it, with the knowledge of those who in error have committed wickedness. Stabilize the feet of those who have stumbled, and stretch out your hands to those who are sick. Feed those who hunger, and give peace to those who are troubled. Lift up those who want to be lifted up, and wake up those who are asleep. For you provide the understanding that carries forth. If the strong does this, they become stronger.

45. Be wary about yourselves. Don’t be focused on those other matters you have cast from yourselves and dismissed. Don’t return to eat what you have vomited. Don’t be moths, or worms, for you have already cast these off. Don’t become a place for the devil, because you have already destroyed him.

46. Don’t strengthen your barriers, whose support will collapse. For the criminal will be ill treated – not the devoted one. Because the former commits crimes and harms himself, and the latter does righteous work among people.

47. But you will do what pleases the Creator because you are from Him. For the Creator is sweet, and what pleases Him is good. He takes care of everything for you so that you might find peace with them. For by the fruits one understands what you are, because the children of the Creator are His essence. For they come from the grace of His face.

48. Because of this, the Creator loves His essence, and this is manifested in every place. And should it mix with matter, He renders His essence with illumination, and within His refuge He makes it rise in every form, every sound. For no nostrils smell His fragrance. Rather, the spirit has the sense of smell and attracts the fragrance to itself, being immersed in the fragrance of the Creator – so that He provides shelter and returns it to where it came from – from the first fragrance that has since grown cold.

49. This is essentially mystical in composition, like cold water that has frozen – an earthly thing that isn’t solid. Those who see it think it is earth. But afterward, it will again dissolve. If it is drawn to spirit, it becomes hot. The essences are thus cold from the separation. This is why faith arose – it dissolved the separation and delivered the warm spiritual world of love, so the cold couldn’t occur again. But rather, it brought about the union of the perfect heart.

50. This wisdom of the Gospel – the discovery of the spiritual realm, for those who long for the salvation that comes from above. When they long to be longing for what they trust in – those who are illuminated with no shadow – then at that time, the spiritual realm begins to appear.

51. The limitations of matter arose not because of the boundlessness of the Creator – who appears to render the limits of time. Yet no one says that the Incorruptible One would appear in this way. But the extent of the Creator is exponential, and the spirit of error was not existing with Him. It is a matter of falling down – and a matter of again standing upright as one finds Him through one who was sent to bring him back. For this bringing-back is called a change of heart.

52. For this reason, integrity was infused. It pursued those who sinned, so they might have shelter. For forgiveness persists from the illuminated in the imperfection – the wisdom of the spiritual realm. The physician dashes to where there is illness, because of the desire within him. One who has imperfection does not mask it, because one has what the other lacks. So the spiritual realm, which has no imperfection, actually completes the imperfection. This is what one provides from within to complete what he lacks – so that he can receive Grace. For when he was imperfect, he did not have Grace.

53. That’s why decay exists in the place where there is no Grace. When that which decayed was received, it revealed what was lacking, specifically, the spiritual realm.
1. This is the discovery of the illuminated Truth which arose upon him because it is eternal.

54. This is why the Anointed of God [Messiah, Christ] was spoken about by them: So those who were troubled might have a change of heart, and he might anoint them with the ointment. This ointment is the mercy of the Creator, who placed mercy on them. But those whom He has anointed are the ones who have become perfect. Because filled vessels are the ones that are usually anointed. Yet when one’s anointing is dissolved, it is emptied.

55. The reason for imperfection is the essence of its ointment. Because at that time, inspiration draws in the power that comes with it. But for one with no imperfection, no covering is removed, nor is anything emptied, except what may be lacking to be filled again by the Creator.

56. He is awesome. He knows what is planted, because He planted them in His paradise. You see, His paradise is His peaceful respite. This is the perfection in devotion to the Creator. This is the wisdom of contemplation upon Him.

57. Each of His words is the work of His single purpose of revealing His wisdom. When they were still deep within His heart, this wisdom first came forth. He revealed them from the intellect that speaks the single Truth in quiet grace. It was called ‘spirit’ since they were within it before becoming manifest. Then it occurred that it was first to come forth – at a time that was pleasing to Him.

58. Nothing occurs without Him. Nor does anything happen without Him, nor does anything occur outside of the will of the Creator. Rather, His will is unfathomable. His will is His sign, but no one knows this or can judge this in order to take away from it. Rather, whatever He wishes will occur at the very moment He wishes it. Even if what is seen isn’t pleasing to anyone. It is God’s will. For the Creator knows them from their beginning to their end. Because at their end, He will directly examine them. You see, the end is the recognition of He who is hidden. This is the Creator, from whom the beginning came, and to whom all who came from Him will return. As they became manifest for the glorification and joy of His Name.

59. Now the representative calls out to the Creator. He first gave His Name to the one who came forth from Himself, and He created him as a representative. He gave him His Name, which belonged to Him. To Him belongs everything that exists around the Creator. This is the Name, for he is its representative. Though one can see Him, the Name remains invisible, because it alone is the mystery of the invisible, which arises for ears that are fulfilled by Him. Because indeed, the Creator’s Name does not arise from speaking, but rather, becomes revealed through His representative.

60. For this reason, the Name is a great thing. Who, then, is able to speak a Name for Him – the Holy Name, except one to whom the Name belongs, and the representatives of the Name, with whom resides the Name of the Creator – who in turn reside themselves within His Name?

61. The Creator alone generated a Name for Himself, before He created the spiritual realms – so that the Creator’s Name provided guidance as Lord. This is the real Name, secured through His authority and by His Perfect Power. For the Name is neither words nor common names. Rather, it is unseen. He gave a Name to Himself alone since He alone sees Himself and because He alone was able to give Himself a Name. For one who doesn’t exist has no name. For what name could one give him who doesn’t exist?

62. However, He who exists with His Name, the Creator, also gave a Name to one who knows Him: The representative is his name. He didn’t, therefore, hide it away, but His representative became manifest. He himself also gave a Name for Him. The Name, then, is that of the Creator – just as the representative gave a Name for the Creator. Certainly, how could mercy be accounted for, except through the Creator?

63. Yet without a doubt, one will say to his brother, ‘Who would give a name to one who existed before himself – as if children didn’t receive a name from those who gave birth to them?’ We should consider this matter carefully: What is the Name? It is the Name of Truth. This is certainly the Name which came from the Creator – for He owns the Name. You see, He didn’t receive the Name on loan, as do others – due to the temporary forms into which each of us was born. Then this is the authoritative Name. He has given it to no one else. Yet He is indescribable, and unnamed until that time when one who is perfect saw and spoke about it.

64. When it pleased Him that His beloved Name given by His representative – that is, he who came from deep within Him – he spoke about His confidential matters, understanding that the Creator is without wickedness. For that reason, he revealed Him so he could speak about the place from which is His place of respite. And to glorify the spiritual realm, the greatness of His Name, and the sweetness of the Creator.

65. He will speak about the place each of us came from. And he will hasten to return again to that region where one became established, having received growth and a taste of sustenance from that place. And one’s own place of shelter is His spiritual realm.

66. Therefore, all emanations of the Creator are spiritual. And all of His emanations have their foundation in one who allows them to develop within himself. He determined their limits. Thus each becomes individually manifest so they can maintain their own thinking – for the place they can extend their thoughts is their foundation, raising them on high, towards the Creator.

67. As they reach His summit, they are given shelter. And as they approach Him, they are supported, as though to say they have embraced and kissed His face. Yet they don’t become manifest in this manner. Because they themselves are not exalted. Neither do they lack the glory of the Creator, nor do they consider Him insignificant – nor that He is harsh or full of wrath.

68. Rather, He is absent of wickedness. He is tranquil, sweet, all knowing of everything before it comes into being, and having no need to be instructed.

69. This is the path for those who receive from above the infinite greatness as they seek Him alone – the One who is always there for them. And they don’t descend into Hades, nor are they envious, nor complaining. Nor are they dead inside. Rather, they are given shelter within His refuge, without struggling or being frustrated in their search for Truth.

70. Rather, they themselves are the Truth, and the Creator is with them. And they are with the Creator because they are perfect and inseparable from Him who is awesome. They lack nothing in any manner; but they are given shelter and their spirit is refreshed.

71. And they heed their foundation. They will not lose their soul, but will focus on His foundation. This is where the blessed reside. This is their place.

72. As for the others, let them know that their places are not suitable for me, after having taken shelter fitting for me and having nothing more to say. But He is the One I shall be with so that I can devote myself always to the Creator of all, and the true brothers – those upon whom the love of the Creator is showered, and with whom there is no deficiency of Him.

73. Those who manifest in Truth within that pure eternal life and speak of the perfect illumination are filled with the seed of the Creator. This is in his heart and in the spiritual realm – while the spirit praises and glorifies Him within whom it existed – because the Creator is awesome.

74. And His children are perfect and worthy of His Name, for He is the Creator, and He loves these children.