The Red Book: A Reader’s Edition (Philemon)

The Second Sermon

During the night the dead stood along the walls and shouted: “We want to know about God! Where is God? Is God dead?”

—God is not dead; he is as much alive as ever. God is the created world, inasmuch as he is something definite and therefore he is differentiated from the Pleroma. God is a quality of the Pleroma and everything that I have stated in reference to the created world is equally true of him.

God is distinguished from the created world, however, inasmuch as he is less definite and less definable than the created world in general. He is less differentiated than the created world, because the ground of his being is effective fullness; and only to the extent that he is definite and differentiated is he identical with the created world; and thus he is the manifestation of the effective fullness of the Pleroma.

Everything we do not differentiate falls into the Pleroma and is cancelled out along with its opposite. Therefore if we do not discern God, then the effective fullness is cancelled out for us. God also is himself the Pleroma, even as the smallest point within the created world, as well as within the uncreated realm, is itself the Pleroma.

The effective emptiness is the being of the Devil. God and Devil are the first manifestations of the nothingness, which we call the Pleroma. It does not matter whether the Pleroma is or is not, for it cancels itself out in all things. The created world, however, is different. Inasmuch as God and Devil are created beings, they do not cancel each other out, rather they stand against each other as active opposites. We need no proof of their being; it is sufficient that we must always speak about them. Even if they did not exist, the created being would forever (because of its own differentiated nature) bring them forth out of the Pleroma.

All things which are brought forth from the Pleroma by differentiation are pairs of opposites; therefore God always has with him the Devil.

This interrelationship is so close, as you have learned, it is so indissoluble in your own lives, that it is even as the Pleroma itself. The reason for this is that these two stand very close to the Pleroma, in which all opposites are cancelled out and unified.

God and Devil are distinguished by fullness and emptiness, generation and destruction. Activity is common to both. Activity unites them. It is for this reason that activity stands above both, being God above God, for it unites fullness and emptiness in its working.

There is a God about whom you know nothing, because men have forgotten him. We call him by his name: ABRAXAS. He is less definite than God or Devil. In order to distinguish God from him we call God HELIOS, or the Sun.

Abraxas is activity; nothing can resist him but the unreal, and thus his active being freely unfolds. The unreal is not, and therefore cannot truly resist. Abraxas stands above the sun and above the devil. He is the unlikely likely one, who is powerful in the realm of unreality. If the Pleroma were capable of having a being, Abraxas would be its manifestation.

Although he is activity itself, he is not a particular result, but result in general.

He is still a created being, inasmuch as he is differentiated from the Pleroma.

The sun has a definite effect and so does the devil; therefore they appear to us more effective that the undefinable Abraxas.

For he is power, endurance, change.

—At this point the dead caused a great riot, because they were Christians.

But when Diahmon had ended his speech, one after another the dead also stepped back into the darkness once more and the noise of their outrage gradually died away in the distance. When all the clamor had passed, I turned to Diahmon and exclaimed:

“Pity us, wisest one! You take from men the Gods to whom they could pray. You take alms from the beggar, bread from the hungry; fire from the freezing.”

Diahmon answered and said, “My son, these dead have had to reject the belief of the Christians and therefore they can pray to no God. So should I teach them a God in whom they can believe and to whom they can pray? That is precisely what they have rejected. Why did they reject it?

They had to reject it because they could not do otherwise. And why did they have no other choice? Because the world, without these men knowing it, entered into that month of the great year where one should believe only what one knows. That is difficult enough, but it is also a remedy for the long sickness that arose from the fact that one believed what one did not know. I teach them the God whom both I and they know of without being aware of him, a God in whom one does not believe and to whom one does not pray; but of whom one knows.

I teach this God to the dead since they desired entry and teaching. But I do not teach him to living men since they did not desire my teaching. Why; indeed, should I teach them?

Therefore, I take away from them no kindly hearer of prayers, their father in Heaven. What concern is my foolishness to the living? The dead need salvation, since they are a great waiting flock hovering over their graves, and long for the knowledge that belief and the rejection of belief have breathed their last. But

whoever has fallen ill and is near death wants knowledge, and he sacrifices pardon.”

“It appears,” I replied, “as if you teach a terrible and dreadful God beyond measure, to whom good and evil and human suffering and joy are nothing.”

“My son,” said Diahmon, “Did you not see that these dead had a God of love and rejected him? Should I teach them a loving God?

They had to reject him after already having long since rejected the evil God whom they call the devil. Therefore they must know a God to whom everything created is nothing, because he himself is the creator and everything created and the destruction of everything created. Have they not rejected a God who is a father,

a lover, good and beautiful? One whom they thought to have particular qualities and a particular being? Therefore I must teach a God to whom nothing can be attributed, who has all qualities and therefore none, because only I and they can know such a God.”

“But how, Oh my father, can men unite in such a God? Does the knowledge of such a God not amount to destroying human bonds and every society based on the good and the beautiful?”

Diahmon answered: “These dead rejected the God of love, of the good and the beautiful; they had to reject him and so they rejected unity and community in love, in the good and the beautiful. And thus they killed one another and dissolved the

community of men. Should I teach them the God who united them in love and whom they rejected? Therefore I teach them the God who dissolves unity; who blasts everything human, who powerfully creates and mightily destroys. Those whom love does not unite, fear compels.”

And as Diahmon spoke these words, he bent down swiftly to the ground, touched it with his hand, and disappeared. ~Carl Jung; Red Book.