Due to the influence that Gnosticism has had on popular media and Christianity itself in recent decades, an examination of the basic beliefs of the Gnostic worldview would be helpful.

!!Core beliefs

Gnosticism at no point constituted a monolith, but rather a wide variety of sects, schools and even religions that maintained an at least vaguely similar set of beliefs. These beliefs can be synthesized in four points.

* The material world, that is, the universe we perceive through our senses, is not the true manifestation of existence. Instead, it is a [[PlatonicCave prison, a trap, a dream, an illusion or even a torture chamber]] made of gross matter that is meant either intentionally or unintentionally to keep us here.
* Beyond the material world there is a dimension of non-material existence, often called the Pleroma. This is the place where true existence lies, usually considered to be in a timeless, thoughtless state analogous to the Buddhist experience of Nirvana. If there is a creator god, this is where it resides in, along with its godly light and possibly derivates.
* Human existence is a mixture of both dimensions. Gnosticism postulates humans were originally spiritual beings or [[OurSoulsAreDifferent sparks of divine light from the Pleroma]] who got trapped in the material universe, forming the combination of soul and body we are, and who must endeavor to free themselves and their kin from the misery of matter.
* There's only a way to escape the material world and return to the Pleroma, and it is ''gnosis'', that is, a specialized form of experiential knowledge that comes to a human being when they recognize the universe as being a prison. Gnosis usually entails both demonstrating love and compassion and striving to escape from materialism.

!!Gnostic mythology

Gnosticism was both a religious and an intellectual movement, which pretty much guaranteed the developed of an elaborated, multiculturally-influenced mythology. Although there were dominant currents that codified most of it, most specifically those called Syriac-Egyptian Gnosticism, different groups would hold doctrines that mixed-and-matched or varied from the below list in their own ways. Gnosticism was also highly syncretic, tending to merge with any other religion it came into contact with, creating a new Gnostic sect of that religion or forming a new religion altogether.

* Gnostic beliefs were dualistic as often as monistic. The former entailed believing in a balance of forces of spirit and matter, a concept similar to the Yin-Yang where the force that ruled the physical world (the "bad" God) was as old and powerful as the force that ruled the spiritual plane (the "good" God). The latter, on the other hand, believed matter and its ruler to be an accidental subproduct of spirit. This is roughly what Syriac-Egyptianism preached, although it was by no means the only or more popular interpretation.
* In many Gnostic sects, the "good" God receives the name of the Monad, also known as The One or The Absolute. It is the high source of the Pleroma and its divine light, is hermafroditic (or asexual) and omnipotent, and goes often accompanied by a pantheon of emanations or minor deities called the Aeons. These are often separated in male and female and gathered in pairs called syzygies, although some texts give also a hermafroditic aeon named Barbelo as the first and father of all them, inferior only to the Monad.
* The most distant aeon from the Monad, named Sophia, a female entity named Sophia (Greek for "wisdom"), [[FallenAngel fell into error]]. Some versions say that she tried to emanate a universe without her male counterpart, others say that she tried to take on the mind of the Source in its entirety. Whatever the reason, she fell out of communion with the rest of the aeons and became trapped in the primordial material universe. Some say that [[PiecesOfGod Sophia was destroyed and her remnants would become human souls.]]
* From the matter that solidified out of Sophia's divine power, a false god (the "bad" one) was born, known as the Demiurge or Yaldabaoth, the Gnostic equivalent of [[Franchise/CthulhuMythos Azathoth]]. The Demiurge then creates the physical universe, which is isolated from the higher dimensions above, and elects himself as its ruler. He's accompanied by a myriad of created servants called the Archons, which are identified as the angels and demons of the Old Testament. Some sects specify the archons are actually only six and are rulers of six celestial bodies, with the Demiurge being the septh and ruling the Earth.
* The reason why [[CrapsackWorld suffering and evil exist in this world]] is because it is actually governed by this flawed Demiurge who mistakenly believes himself to be the absolute God and demands arrogantly to be worshipped as such. This is the deity worshiped by many Abrahamic religions (Judaism, Christianity, Islam and others) who are materialistic, vicious and not in possession of true spiritual wisdom. He is, thus, analogous to Mahabrahma in Hinduism and some forms of Buddhism, who also mistakenly believes himself to be the ultimate authority while the rest of the gods snigger behind his back. In any case, the Demiurge and his archons manipulate humanity into violence and misery to feed themselves and further their egotistical projects.
* There are many versions about how humans came to be. Some say the Demiurge originally created a bunch of soulless apes out of matter, and that Sophia took pity on them and breathed sparks from the Pleroma into them, trapping the sparks in their material bodies but also giving the bodies the capacity for intelligence, hence the evolution of humanity. Others say that the sparks were the destroyed remnants of Sophia herself, imprisoned and tortured by the Demiurge. Sometimes also considered a reinterpretation of the story of Genesis, with Sophia herself as the Tree of Knowledge[=/=]Prometheus-equivalent (her name implies that role) who gave intelligence and souls to the ignorant animals who then became mankind.
* Despite the anti-Abrahamic nature of Gnosticism, [[JesusWasWayCool Jesus has a free pass in their teachings]], being described as come to Earth to spread the Gospel of the True God, which explains the discrepancy between the Old and New Testaments. Their beliefs about his nature varied radically: some believed he was fully divine and his physical form an illusion, some believed he was a divine being who temporarily inhabited a human shell and was "freed" at death. Anyways, to show how important he was in their beliefs, he was often considered to be an aeon by itself, sometimes the intended counterpart of Sophia who came too late. With the true knowledge of the universe he imparted, others could hope to achieve freedom from the Demiurge's clutches.

It is difficult even to tell where Gnosticism came from. By that time there was already influence of Asian religion flowing over into the Western world and having its merry way with Platonism and Stoicism; it may have also came from esoteric Judaic mystic teachings privy to only scholars, its difficult to trace considering there is so little information on it. Gnosticism was also highly secretive, being practiced mostly by elites who had the leisure time necessary to contemplate its mysteries. Although it is largely extinct today, remnants of it still leave influences. Much of what we know about the Gnostics is fairly fragmentary-few of their original works survive to this day. Furthermore, much of what we have learned about the Gnostics comes from early Christian writings which were often critical of these perceived "heretics."

Additionally it is both distinct yet incredibly close to some other religions, often causing it to pair within media possibly with the intention of playing with viewer expectations. Other belief systems can have enough traits to be within the family of gnosticism, which is pretty much what this page is for, but if you're having a conversation about gnosticism specifically rather than gnostic religions or parallel religions this is probably not your page. It is distinct enough that it is debatable whether it should be thrown into serious conversation with Lurianic Jewish tradition, Jewish mysticism and Kabbalah, Mandaeism, Manichaeism, Christian Cabbala, Orphic or other greco-roman mysteries, new age beliefs, ascetic beliefs, and certain Southeast Asian philosophies and mythologies.

!!Gnostic scripture

Because the Gnostics had largely died off as a movement during the Middle Ages, there was no one to preserve their texts through reproduction, and many of their texts were lost through time. Until the 1950s, most of what was known about the Gnostic religion as it flourished in ancient times came from the writings of its detractors-such as St. Irenaeus of Lyons, who wrote a five-volume work ''Against Heresies'' in AD 180, explaining what the Gnostics believed and why it conflicted with Christianity. That is, until a remarkable event took place in the Egyptian desert. Two brothers digging for fertilizer in a cave on their way to avenge their father's murder discovered an earthenware jar that contained an ancient book. Before realizing its value, some of the text was used for kindling by the family, but they eventually realized its age and sold it to a collector in Cairo. The manuscripts were split up and traded all over the world. Amazingly, the recovered manuscript contained dozens of books written in Coptic that were still in legible condition. Take a look over here [[http://www.gnosis.org/naghamm/nhlcodex.html if you'd like to read English translations of the Coptic texts yourself.]] Standouts include:

* The Gospel of Thomas
* The Gospel of Mary Magdalene
* The Hypostasis of the Archons
* On the Origin of the World
* The Thunder, Perfect Mind


Founded by Marcion of Sinope (85-160), Marcionism was an ancient Christian sect created 100 years of Jesus' life. It is not always considered a full-fledged Gnostic movement, as it lacked the Hellenistic and Egyptian polytheistic flavor of its successors and didnít taught about any kind of gnosis yet (instead, it postulated the key to salvation was in the Gospel of Paul), but its system of beliefs was massively influential in posterior currents, to the point it could be considered a prototype of Gnosticism.

This tradition was founded or at least influenced by Valentinius (100-180), a former Christian bishop who almost became Pope. This and the Sethian sects (called Syriac-Egyptian together) pretty much codified the philosophical corpus and popular perception of Gnosticism altogether, their doctrine composing most of what you just read about the Aeons and the Demiurge in the mythology above. However, unlike other Gnostic schools, Valentinianism was deeply ecumenical and preached universal salvation of all sentient beings; even the malevolent Demiurge will eventually be rescued from his ignorance with the redeeming of Sophia by Christ, as all things containing the spark of creation are inexorably moving towards redemption.

The other great classic Gnostic tradition, the Sethian school was contemporaneous to the Valentinian, but it descended from such an old tradition that some even believe its foundations predated Christianity and Gnosticism itself. Sethianism told a DarkerAndEdgier version of the classic story, portraying the Demiurge and his archons as eviler and more monstrous and downplaying Christís role as savior of humanity in favor of Seth (Adamís third son) and the Edenís serpent, who are agents of Sophia. Naassenes and Ophites, two smaller and weirder Gnostic sects that also venerated the serpent, are thought to be forms or offshoots of Sethianism.

This sect was founded by Basilides of Alexandria. Although Syriac-Egyptian in kind like the previous two, itís actually very little what we know for sure about this school, as it was incredibly secretive and not even its Christian detractors were very sure what was up with it. Apparently, they believed the world was created with the rising of powerful yet innocent archons, or possibly during a violent rebellion among them in the line of the Christian War in Heaven. They were known, however, for practicing elaborate rituals and magic invocations.

Founded by Persian prophet Mani, Manichaeism was a wildly popular Gnostic sect, so much that it reached China, contended with Christianity for the spiritual control of Asia, and only disappeared when Christianity, Islam and Taoism ganged up on it. Its doctrine was significantly different from classic Gnosticism: it postulated humanity and the universe were created during a series of battles between two opposing and non-omnipotent twin deities, equivalent to God and Satan, and as such they believed matter was neutral instead of evil. However, matter had been used to trap sparks of God's light in Adam and his sons, and Jesus Christ and Mani had been sent to teach them to get free through gnosis.

A Christian-turned-Gnostic school created in the Byzantine Empire by Paul, Bishop of Antiochy. Paulicians were often mistaken for an offshoot of Manichaeism, but this was actually a BerserkButton for them, as they looked down at Mani and his followers due to Paulicianismís Christian heritage. Although they similarly taught that there were two opposing deities, God and the Demiurge, they ascribed the creation of the material world exclusively to the latter, and thus believed matter was an evil trap Jesus Christ had been sent (or maybe chosen) to preach against. Although persecuted, Paulicians survived through History under in diminutive communities, and it seems they were still active in 19th Century before merging back with Christianity.

The actionized version of Gnosticism, Priscillianism was a current developed in the Roman Hispania by a Manichaean noble named Priscillian. According to him, humans were once angelic beings sent by the ethereal Kingdom of Light to conquer the material Kingdom of Darkness, but they had been defeated and imprisoned in matter; only after many failed attempts by their comrades to rescue them, a spirit under the name of Jesus managed to pass humans the key of their freedom, gnosis. This sect was greatly popular in Spain for two centuries until being suppressed by Christianity.

A religion that it still lives today in Iraq, Mandaeans have a blurred history, but their set of beliefs is essentially a localized mixture of Gnostic doctrines (to the point that ''manda'' is the word for ''gnosis'' in Aramaic). They resemble Manichaeism due to the belief in two opposing dimensions of light and darkness, showing also some Valentinian flavor by teaching that matter belongs to the dark side, but they differ from most sects by clarifying that the material world, while certainly created and ruled by the "bad" god (not one, but ''three'' Ė Ptahil, Yushamin and Abathur), is not an evil prison, but more of an annoying waiting room. They also believe John the Baptist was the true prophet sent by the "good" god, with Jesus Christ being either evil or simply misguided.

The first Gnostic revival movement in the Middle Ages, Bogomilism was created in the first Bulgarian empire by the monk Bogomil (probably influenced by Paulicianism) as a current of both political and religious anarchism. According to their doctrine, God had two sons, Sataniel and Michael; the former revolted and created the material world, enslaving mankind there and founding Christianity out of arrogance, while the latter adopted the role of Jesus and came to the world to teach humans the way to escape. Bogomils were deeply social, rejecting any religious hierarchy beyond the rank of teacher and any temple beyond the human body, which meant it was their duty to travel far and wide to heal the sick and propagate their doctrine. Bogomilism was finally eradicated in the 13th century by both the Pope and the Ottoman Empire.

Catharism (from Greek "pure", etymologically the source of the German word ''Ketzer'' for a heretic, although it seems they called themselves ''Bons Hommes'' or "Good Men" rather than any other title) was a Gnostic revival school that grew out in Southern Europe, where Paulician and Bogomilian influences spread into. Their members believed the God of Ancient Testament was actually Satan and humans were angels trapped in his world of matter, which they could escape through vows of ascetism and celibacy. Cathars became highly influential in France and amassed a fair amount of wealth, castles, and prestige, which eventually made the Catholic Church to feel threatened by [[TallPoppySyndrome making them look bad]]. So, the usual campaign of book burning and priest killing was embarked upon with the usual devastating consequences. Still, the legacy of Catharism lived on, turning through centuries into a fountain of legends and (pseudo)historical theories.


* AGodAmI: The Demiurge, who mistakenly believes himself to be the absolute authority. He has the power to create and destroy worlds, but he is still the lowest totem on the celestial pole, beneath the insight of even enlightened humans.
* AKindOfOne: Three Phoenixes are described in ''On the Origin of the World''.
* AboveGoodAndEvil: The difference between the sides is more defined as Chaos (Monad and Eons) vs. Order (Demiurge and Archons). The Chaotic side is ChaoticGood (Valentinianism) or ChaoticNeutral (several sects). The Orderly side is LawfulEvil (most sects) or LawfulNeutral (as in Valentinianism).
** To quote the Gnostic Gospel of Philip:
-->''Light and darkness, life and death, the right and the left are each other's brothers. [[BalanceBetweenGoodAndEvil They cannot separate from one another]]. Therefore, [[AboveGoodAndEvil the good are not good, nor are the evil evil]], [[NietzscheWannabe nor is life life, nor death, death]].''
* AllMythsAreTrue: Gnostic cosmology is a hybrid of personal experience and self-conscious mythology-it's a worldview that seems capable of assimilating any supernatural creature or miracle it runs into. The original Gnostic scriptures seem to contain a patois of Greek philosophy, Egyptian paganism, and Judeo-Christian tradition.
* AllThereInTheManual: The Gnostic scriptures are the manual that they believed contain all their knowledge needed for salvation by gnosis. Unfortunately, big chunks of the manual are lost.
* AlternateCharacterInterpretation:
** Gnostic scriptures such as "On the Origin of the World" contain a radically different exegesis of Abrahamic traditions. The Creator is ignorant and malevolent, the Serpent in Eden was Sophia (or Jesus), Noah was a faithless jerk, and the Creator's angels are agents of violence and repression.
** The Abrahamic God is split into two different entities, the good god Jehova and the bad god "Adunay", who dedicated Jerusalem as a city of wickedness.
** The Gospel of Judas has Judas as the only one who really understood what Jesus meant and Jesus specifically instructing Judas to betray him, and Judas {{Wangst}}ing about it.
** Thomas, not John, was presented as Jesus' favored disciple.
** Or alternately, Mary Magdalene. Who is also sometimes implied to have a romantic relationship with Jesus. Probably not sexual though-the Gnostics were really into asceticism.
** In some versions, the Serpent of Eden was Lucifer. Who, after realizing how flawed and malevolent The Creator was, rebelled against him and gifted mankind with the knowledge to free themselves.
* AlternateContinuity: The reason for the suppression of the Gnostic teachings by the Roman Catholic Church.
* AncientRome: And AncientEgypt, AncientGreece, AncientAfrica, et cetera.
* AnthropomorphicPersonification: Many of the aeons represent/are abstract qualities like Bliss, Life, and Silence.
* ApocalypseHow: Several texts describe the end of the world, like [[NonIndicativeName On The Origin Of The World]] (everything obliterated by light).
* ApocalypseMaiden: Sophia, but {{subverted}} by the fact that she will do this in order to stop the BigBad.
* AscendToAHigherPlaneOfExistence: The stated goal of Gnostics for their souls, trapped as they are in the material universe.
* AssimilationPlot: Some say that human souls are Sophia trying to reform herself into a single whole again.
* BeautyEqualsGoodness: Especially Sophia, always depicted as beautiful and almost always naked.
* BodyHorror: The Gnostics had great contempt for biology. In fact, the physical body, the world, and the Demiurge are the three most reviled things in Gnosticism!
* BrotherSisterIncest: The Aeon family tree gives you the first male Aeon and first female Aeon emanating two Aeons who emanate two Aeons which starts a pattern for six or seven generations or more.
* CatchPhrase: Jesus gains one during the Gospel of Thomas.
-->''"Anyone here with two good ears had better listen!"''
* CampbellCountry / EldritchLocation: [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Religious_significance_of_Jerusalem Jerusalem]] !
** In Mandaeism, Jerusalem is considered a city of wickedness, dedicated to the god of Judaism, whom they call Adunay (Adonai) or Yurba (possibly YHWH) and consider to be an evil spirit. According to Sidra d-Yahia 54, Jerusalem is "the stronghold that Adunay built ... [he] brought to it falsehood in plenty, and it meant persecution against my tarmidia (Manda d-Hiia's disciples)." In the Ginza Rba (15.11), it is said to have come into being as a result of the incestuous union of the seven planets with their evil mother Ruha d-Qudsha, who "left lewdness, perversion, and fornication in it. They said: 'Whoever lives in the city of Jerusalem will not mention the name of God.'" (elsewhere, however, it more prosaically says the city was built by Solomon). However, Yahya (John the Baptist), an important figure in the religion, is said to have been born there.
* CapturedSuperEntity: Humans.
* CelibateHero:
** Possibly hinted to be {{averted}} in the Nag Hammadi. A curious passage in the Gospel of Philip has a disciple asking Jesus, "Why do you love her more than us?" after Jesus and Mary Magdalene share a kiss. Jesus sardonically replies, "Why do I not love you like I love her?"
** However, the Cathars were encouraged to avoid sexual relationships or at least marriage, and the Perfecti (the ascetic elders of Catharism) were strictly chaste.
* CelestialBureaucracy: There is a complex hierarchy of both angels and demons, and there are even references to the administration of the Demiurge.
* CessationOfExistence: The Gospel of Judas says that this will be the fate of the Hylics, since they're TheSoulless.
* ChaoticGood: The Aeon Christ (not to be confused with his persona, Jesus).
* ChildEater: According to the ancient Christian writer Epiphanius, at least one Gnostic sect (the Borborites) ritually consumed aborted fetuses as part of their secret ceremonies. However, some modern scholars doubt the reliability of his account. More mainstream Christians were also accused of cannibalism by the Romans-Communion was misinterpreted as this, either accidentally or not.
* CosmicRetcon: The approach of Gnostic scriptures to preexisting Abrahamic views.
* CrapSaccharineWorld[-/-]CrapsackWorld: Depends on people's lot in life and various other factors effecting how they view the world. Crapsack if their life is obviously bad, Crapsaccharine if deceptively good.
* CrossoverCosmology:
** The original Gnostic scriptures included many themes from Kemetic and Abrahamic religions, as well as Greek philosophical developments. Modern tales with a Gnostic bent tend towards AllMythsAreTrue.
** Manicheanism attempted to combine Christianity, Zoroastrianism and Buddhism, Mani believing the work of their founders was not yet complete.
* CrucifiedHeroShot: {{Averted}}, {{subverted}}, mocked, and even {{played straight}}. Some tellings have Jesus lacking a material body, making his crucifixion an illusion. In others, he trades places with a man named Simon of Cyrene and then [[WhatTheHellHero stands aside laughing as Simon slowly dies]]. However, the orthodox Christian position was also held by some.
* DarkWorld: The physical universe.
* DawnOfAnEra: Sophia will return with Jesus, redeem the souls trapped in the material universe, kick the asses of the Evil God and his Archons, then there will be cake.
* {{Demonization}}
** To Platonists the Demiurge was a perfect image of the supreme good and the archetype of all existing things. Any perceived imperfections in the work based off of it were just natural decay as things got further away from the source and this decay was not impossible to correct. They were not amused by most gnostic teachings of an evil Demiurge and the universe it made as a CrapsackWorld, especially Plontinus who pioneered much of the cosmology.
** It also demonizes the Platonist StarsAreSouls idea by making the stars evil rulers instead of heavenly homes for those who live justly.
** The archons are most obviously this to angels, what with many sharing names, but that they can also be read as "powers" brings to mind the netjeru or "godly powers", which is what ancient Kemet/Egypt called the heads of its pantheon and Demiurge was an alternate name of Ptah, who was the supreme god of Mennefer/Memphis when it was capital. Egypt was often mocked in Gnostic writings so it's doubtful this is all coincidental.
* DirtyCoward: The Gnostics were considered this by many because, unlike early Christians such as Ignatius and Polycarp, they were not prepared to [[DoomedMoralVictor suffer martyrdom]] for their faith.
* DoesThisRemindYouOfAnything:
** In one version of Sophia's fall, it's because [[ADateWithRosiePalms she wanted to emanate without her male partner.]] He is Theletos/Theletus, just in case you wanted to know his name.
** If you look at the table of Aeons, it looks like a male Aeon and a female Aeon emanates new Aeons every so often.
** Others say that her counterpart was Jesus.
* DoubleEntendre: Some of the female Aeons' names have sexual implications i.e. Mixis (Commingling), Henosis (Union), [[TheHedonist Hedone (Bliss/Pleasure)]], Syncrasis/Synkrasis (Blending/Commixture), [[OutWithABang Macaria/Makaria (Deadly Destiny/Death/Destined Death/Destiny/Happiness)]].
* EldritchAbomination: All of the archons' true forms qualify as this.
* EpiphanicPrison: The material universe. The general gist of it is that the universe wasn't created by God but Her misguided offspring, the Demiurge. Human souls are trapped in the material world and must, through mystical experiences, learn the right secrets (hence "gnosis", "knowledge") that will get them past the Archons after they die, so that they can ascend to the higher, spiritual reality where the true God resides and souls originate.
* EvilCounterpart: The Demiurge to the Monad and the Archons to the Aeons.
* EvilIsCool:
** The Gnostic sect of the Cainites, who-you guessed it-took their name from [[CainAndAbel the first murderer]]. They believed that since the God of the Bible was evil, everyone who opposed him must be good, so they took up Cain, [[TheEmperor Pharaoh]], the people of [[WretchedHive Sodom]] and [[PsychoSupporter Gomorrha]] ... basically every ''villain'' in the Old Testament ... as their heroes and role models.
** It should be noted that they are ALighterShadeOfBlack in EvilVersusEvil against the Demiurge. It should also be noted that the Demiurge was the MagnificentBastard ManipulativeBastard TheChessmaster who used a XanatosGambit to orchestrate their StartOfDarkness. This is especially with regards to Cain and Pharaoh. Cain was pushed over the edge to killing his brother Abel because the Demiurge liked him better. Actually, the Demiurge creates several enemies using this same "love the younger brother, hate the older brother" strategy i.e. love Abel hate Cain, love Isaac hate Ishmael, love Jacob hate Esau, love Judah hate Israel, etc. The Pharaoh was needed to play the role he did because the Demiurge was really really invested in a 400+ year old XanatosGambit to cause the Exodus. Similar to god on trial if you think about it. Sodom and Gommorah was ArsonMurderAndJaywalking because of the jaywalking part, i.e. deviant sexuality, which is one of the Demiurge's {{Berserk Button}}s.
* EvilIsSexy:
** {{Averted}}, the Demiurge (BigBad) is a lion headed serpent who is also really ugly. Unlike modern Christian interpretations of evil, evil in Gnosticism is usually boneheaded and bureaucratic in nature, more like a supernal [[Literature/NineteenEightyFour Oceania]] than a whorehouse. Its paragons have unattractive names like "Quarrelsomeness" and "Bitter Weeping."
** Also {{inverted}}, with [[BeautyEqualsGoodness Sophia]], who is always depicted as beautiful and generally depicted as naked.
* EvilIsSterile: Some Gnostics believed that the material universe had gone through countless cycles of destruction and re-creation, as the demiurge is repeatedly failing to achieve his vision of a perfect universe. Because an imperfect god cannot create perfection.
* EvolutionaryLevels: In most Gnostic systems, there are three categories of people. First, the Pneumatics, or "Spirit-Men," who will AscendToAHigherPlaneOfExistence. Then, the Psychics, or "Soul-Men," who won't ascend but maybe still live after death [[WhoWantsToLiveForever somehow]] (the books [[ContinuitySnarl contradict themselves]] on this matter). Finally, the Hylics, or "Flesh-Men," who are [[EmptyShell soulless cattle]] who have [[WhatMeasureIsANonSuper no real life at all]], but are mere puppets of the Demiurge. These are by far the most numerous of the three.
* ForbiddenFruit: {{Subverted}}. Eating the forbidden fruit opened Adam and Eve's eyes to the fact they were prisoners.
* GhostInTheMachine: The basis for most Westerners having this view of the soul, as opposed to it being: [[OurSoulsAreDifferent a) breath, b) your life force, c) your conscience, d) a shield from demons, e) your free will, f) your goodness, g) dependent on your body, h) protection from comas, i) your glamour, j) your ticket to heaven, k) your ticket to surviving death, etc.]] Some of these aspects are compatible with this view and some are incompatible in and of themselves, but taken as standalone statements they can lead in a different direction.\\\
Also, this is the reason why most people have a concept of FluffyCloudHeaven. It is based on a concept of the Soul that was popular before this one predominated due to Existentialism. This needs mention of FireAndBrimstoneHell, a concept more closely associated with traditional religion. Thus, this belief has been considered heretical several times. Ask any follower of a traditional religion about heaven-you will likely get a lot of descriptions that assume that people have bodies in heaven, even though some will give a description of heaven consistent with this view.
* GodIsEvil[-/-]GodIsFlawed: The Creator of our world, the Demiurge, is presented at best as ignorant and petty, and at worst as a megalomaniacal sadist.
* GodIsGood: The Monad. Sort of. It is described in the ''Apocryphon of John'' as being without quality or quantity, not partaking of goodness but far surpassing it.
* HeManWomanHater: Gnostic opinion of femininity varies. Some groups held it equal to maleness, but those who presented it as negative tended to comically do so. The Gospel of Thomas is a good example of the latter- it ends with Jesus saying that women had to make themselves male to enter the Kingdom of Heaven.
** Not that THEY must, but that Jesus will. Not as awful as it sounds, considering the contemporary view of sex at the time, that women were a subset of men cursed to not mature fully (grow facial hair, deepen their voices,) so the idea that a woman would be made a man in the Kingdom of Heaven was a statement that there would be no differences between the sexes.
* IgnorantOfTheirOwnIgnorance: The Demiurge.
* IHaveManyNames: The Monad and the Demiurge. The Monad is also known as {{God}}, the One, the Absolute, the Reality, the Ultimate Reality, Aion teleos, the Perfect Aeon, Bythos (another Aeon has this name as well), Pro Arche, He Arche, the Ineffable Parent, etc. The Demiurge is also known as Ariael (Hearth God, Lion God), Saklas (Fool), Sammael (Blind God, Senseless God, {{Satan}}), and Yaldabaoth (Come Child).
* IKissYourHand[-/-]IKissYourFoot: Jesus to Mary Magdalene in the Gospel of Philip, but where he kissed her is missing in the lacuna where just the location is missing and the rest of the text before and after it is intact.
* JesusWasWayCool: No matter what their interpretation of Yahweh, all branches of Gnosticism present Jesus as an emissary of the good God. The one exception to this are the Mandaeans who hold Jesus to be a false messiah who perverted the teachings of the prophet John the Baptist, the main figure of the religion. Interestingly, despite the heresy Mandaeism is the sole historic gnostic sect which remains extant.
* {{Karma}}: Goes along with {{Reincarnation}}.
* LightIsGood[-/-]LightIsNotGood: On one side, there's the Aeons, who live in greater realms of light. On the other, there's the Archons, who are pretty much evil angels, and one of them is a solar deity.
* MissingEpisode: Almost the entire written record of the religion, but for the chance discovery of the Nag Hammadi texts in 1945. Still, many other scriptures are referenced in this extant collection that have not been recovered.
* MoralDissonance: Gnosticism tries to solve the problem of God's apparent tyranny in the Old Testament by subverting it completely and presenting the Old Testament God as the equivalent of {{Satan}}.
* MoreThanMindControl:
** Essentially the only power of the Archons and Demiurge is their ability to create illusions that we souls subsequently participate in and give power.
** The Church Father Irenaeus of Lyons alleges that a Gnostic cult leader named Marcus used this on his congregation to gather followers.
* TheMultiverse: The material universe is the heaviest and slowest projection of divine energy. Interpenetrating matter are increasingly subtle Heavens, each one an order of magnitude more vast and energetic than the last.
* NightmareFuel:
** Some texts (Gospel of Truth, Gospel of Philip, Treatise on the Resurrection) hint that the fate of hylics (the lowest form of humanity) will be this; some even go as far to say being hylic in and of itself is this.
** In the Docetic Gnostic tradition, Christ is portrayed as a disembodied force rather than a mortal man, with Jesus himself being either a host possessed by the spirit of Christ or simply an illusion. Particularly strange is one passage in the [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Second_Treatise_of_the_Great_Seth Second Treatise of the Great Seth]] in which the true Christ [[AttendingYourOwnFuneral watches the Crucifixion]] and laughs at the gullibility of his persecutors. Depending on [[AlternateCharacterInterpretation how one interprets the scene]], this is either [[GuileHero really cool]], [[GodIsEvil really creepy]], or [[MagnificentBastard some combination]] [[CreepyAwesome of the two]].
** Most of [[MindScrew the general]] [[FridgeHorror implications]] of Gnostic thought may be this for some people.
* OmniscientMoralityLicense: Definitively {{averted}}.
* OneSteveLimit: The Monad has Bythos as one of his/its names as well as a female Aeon who also has Bythos as her name. Another male Aeon has the name Bythios (an extra i sort of makes it not the same name).
* OntologicalMystery[=/=]PlatonicCave: One of the major themes, with the early Gnostics being influenced by Platonism.
* OrderVersusChaos: The Monad and the Aeons are ChaoticGood (or ChaoticNeutral), versus the LawfulEvil [[GodIsEvil Demiurge]] and Archons.
* OriginalMan: Some discourses describe the original human race as already dwelling among the worlds of light with the aeons while man on Earth is just a copy the demiurge made when he saw one of them and did not understand what he was looking at. Since Manichean religion is often grouped with Gnostic religion it is worth noting that Mani's original man was created by God to defend creation from TheAntiGod's invading forces. Modern man is an accidental result of TheAntiGod's invasion. You may be an inferior copy/thing that should not be, but Jesus loves you anyway.
* OurAngelsAreDifferent: The Archons, who are the Demiurge's agents and forces of oppression; the most notable apparently correspond to the planets of the solar system, [[CelestialBureaucracy forming a group of seven entities alongside the Demiurge]], called the Hebdomad. The Aeons can also be called angels, though they are technically more like gods. Some systems include actual angels who tend to rank below Aeons and become imprisoned in the world of matter, though they're a little quicker to realize things were not right than humans were, as well as the first to recognize Jesus for what he was.
* PathOfInspiration[=/=]TheHeretic: Thought to be this by the early Christian church fathers, as well as most modern-day Christian denominations.
* PiecesOfGod: The original single consciousness is now split into infinite conciousnesses.
* PerspectiveFlip: The Nag Hammadi neatly presents Yahweh as the opposite of everything he's ever claimed to be. Well, except a jealous, violent dictator.
* {{Pride}}: The Tripartite Tractate states Logos created the universal defects who are responsible for most of the evil in the universe through mistaken pride that he could create as well as God. He and the other aeons were at a loss at how to handle the defects Logos accidentally created until Jesus came from the Father to help them.
* RageAgainstTheHeavens:
** Certain forms of dualism make the assertion that the thing worshiped as God in this world is actually an evil impostor, but that a true benevolent deity worthy of being called "God" exists beyond this world. The Gnostics believed that God (the deity worshiped by Jews, Christians, Muslims and Greek Pagan philosophers like Platonists) was really an evil creator or demiurge that stood between us and some greater, more truly benevolent real deity, although there is no reason given why the higher deity allows the realm of the evil demiurge as flawed and unjust to continue to exist. Similarly, Marcionites held beliefs deemed maltheistic in nature, depicting God as represented in the Old Testament as a wrathful, genocidal, malicious demiurge.
** Ironically, the Father, the "true God" is often seen as much a creator deity as the Demiurge, only unlike the demiurge His creation is not of matter and is much like human imagination or thought, or even dreams. He does not actively, physically create, as the demiurge does, but His every thought and mental image becomes real as soon as it is thought. This is how the Aeons, cosmic constructs which are personifications of concepts, ideas and emotions, were formed, and it is also, in turn, how the Aeons themselves are able to create. This, in fact, is how the demiurge came to be, from a misguided thought brought about by Sophia.
** And some forms of Gnosticism state that all of this is a method, an ongoing project directed at one single goal, which aims to reunite the original singularity of awareness into one single thing again. This is called Salvation in certain of the scriptures. The whole of reality is basically God Himself/Itself seeking something like Buddhist Nirvana, on an unfathomably cosmic level. Think about that for a while.
* [[ViewerGenderConfusion Reader Gender Confusion]]:
** The Monad, based on all of it's genderless descriptions, gets confused by being listed with the male Aeons in the family tree of Aeons.
** Also, the Aeon Metricos/Metrikos (Maternal/Mother) is the AnthropomorphicPersonification of motherhood and maternality despite being listed as a male Aeon.
* Really700YearsOld: Norea, who is the twin sister of Seth and eventual wife of Noah. It doesn't say when she dies, but you can infer she lived a really long time. It's easily longer than either Methusaleh or even Cain.
* {{Reincarnation}}: Referenced in some Gnostic texts.
* SatanIsGood:
** Since Gnostics seek gnosis, that is, spiritual knowledge, many believe that the tempting serpent in Eden was really the spirit of Jesus (sometimes Sophia or her servant Ophis) trying to redeem humanity with knowledge. Luciferianism is a belief system that venerates the essential characteristics that are affixed to Lucifer. The tradition, influenced by Gnosticism, usually reveres Lucifer not as the Devil, but as a liberator or guiding spirit or even the true god as opposed to the Demiurge.
** Gnostics had a complex relationship with the devil. Opinions on the devil, and his relationship to the Demiurge, varied. The Ophites held that he and his demons constantly oppose and thwart the human race, as it was on their account the devil was cast down into this world. According to one variant of the Valentinian system, the Demiurge is besides the maker, out of the appropriate substance, of an order of spiritual beings, the devil, the prince of this world, and his angels. But the devil, as being a spirit of wickedness, is able to recognise the higher spiritual world, of which his maker the Demiurge, who is only animal, has no knowledge. The devil resides in this lower world, of which he is the prince, the Demiurge in the heavens; his mother Sophia in the middle region, above the heavens and below the Pleroma. The Valentinian Heracleon interpreted the devil as the principle of evil, that of hyle (matter). As he writes in his commentary on John 4:21, The mountain represents the Devil, or his world, since the Devil was one part of the whole of matter, but the world is the total mountain of evil, a deserted dwelling place of beasts, to which all who lived before the law and all Gentiles render worship. But Jerusalem represents the creation or the Creator whom the Jews worship... You then who are spiritual should worship neither the creation nor the Craftsman, but the Father of Truth. This vilification of the Creator was held to be inimical to Christianity by the early fathers of the church. In refuting the views of the Gnostics, Irenaeus observed that "Plato is proved to be more religious than these men, for he allowed that the same God was both just and good, having power over all things, and Himself executing judgment."
* SaveTheVillain: At least in Valentinian Gnosticism, it's expected that eventually even the most wicked people and deities will be redeemed. It sort of helps that the Demiurge and the Archons are categorized as belonging to the psychics group and not the hylics group. Some books, however, do say quite clearly that not all humans even have souls that can be saved.
* SecretIdentity: Several of the female Aeons have a penchant for disguises.
* SexIsEvil: Gnostics were a diverse group and had equally diverse opinions on sex. Some were strict ascetics and believed that sex, masturbation, and even wet dreams were vile temptations of the material plane. Others thought sex was a normal part of creation (Sophia and all that) and indeed the world was created through a kind of sexual relationship between dimorphic aeons. And yet more Gnostics were antimonians who believed that all rules were created by an evil God to control his subjects, and so ''every single sin'' must be committed before a human can escape from the prison of the world. Whew! (Actually, we only know of the anti-nomian sects from Catholic and Orthodox theologians. Whether they existed in fact is up to debate.) Some Gnostics believed that the material world was a harsh and evil place, and therefore it was sinful to ''have children''.
* ShadesOfConflict: Depending on if you cast the Aeonic side as ChaoticGood or ChaoticNeutral and the Archonic side as LawfulEvil or LawfulNeutral gives you four possible scenarios, while ignoring the obvious OrderVersusChaos. WhiteAndBlackMorality has Aeons as ChaoticGood and Archons as LawfulEvil. WhiteAndGrayMorality has ChaoticGood Aeons and LawfulNeutral Archons. GrayAndGrayMorality has ChaoticNeutral Aeons who are ALighterShadeOfGray than the LawfulNeutral Archons. BlackAndGrayMorality has ChaoticNeutral Aeons and LawfulEvil Archons.
* SignificantAnagram: Sophia and her servant Ophis are anagrams of each other with an extra a left over.
* SpellMyNameWithAnS: The Archons Iao/Jao/Yao and Ialdaboath/Ialtabaoth/Jaldaboath/Jaltaboath/Yaladabotah/Yaltabaoth.
* SpinOff: Neoplatonism is a merger of Platonism with various influences including Gnosticism. Notice Aeons are called hypercosmic gods and Archons, cosmic gods.
* SlidingScaleOfVillainEffectiveness:'''[[color:red:High]] - Infinite''': The Demiurge naturally due to being several of the tropes under this category. EldritchAbomination, CosmicHorrorStory, GodIsEvil, etc. but also some tropes from the high category as well. MagnificentBastard, ManipulativeBastard, TheChessmaster, NoNonsenseNemesis, etc.
* TheSoulless: A good deal of humanity are Hylics, who have no souls are merely part of the physical universe.
* StockSuperpowers: All of the Aeons and quite a few of the humans.
* TangledFamilyTree: The Aeonic family tree of generational emanations. Note: This list is the fusion of various sources ie Valentinius, Valentinians, Tertullian (Hereseologist), Ptolmey, Colorbasus, etc. Some lists list their names all in Greek, some lists traslate some names into Latin. Different lists sometimes give different meanings to each name. Also, other Aeons like Abrasax/Abrasax, Barbelo, etc. aren't list in the family tree.
** The Monad (The One)
** The Monad (The One) & Bythos (Depth/Profoundity) Charis (Grace/Love) Enonoia (Intent/Thought) Sige (Silence)
** Caen (Power) & Akhana (Immensity/Love)
** Nous/Nus (Mind) & Aletheia/Veritas (Truth)
** Logos/Sermo (Word) & Vita/Zoe (Life)
*** Bythios (Deep/Profound) & Mixis (Commingling), Ageratos (Ageless/Decayless/Unageing/Undecaying) & Henosis (Union), Autophues/Autophyes (Self-Existent/Growth) & Hedone (Bliss/Pleasure), Acinetos/Akinetos (Immovable) & Syncrasis/Synkrasis (Blending/Commixture), Monogenes (Common Origin/Only-Beggoten) & Macaria/Makaria (Deadly Destiny/Death/Destined Death/Destiny/Happiness)
** Anthropos/Homo (Humanity) & Ecclessia/Ekklessia (Assembly/Church)
*** Paracletus/Parakletos (Comforter/Helper) & Pistis (Faith), Patricas/Patrikos (Father/Paternal) & Elpsis (Hope), Metricos/Metrikos (Maternal/Mother) & Agape (Love), Ainos (Ever-Lasting/Praise) & Synesis (Intellignece/Understanding), Eccclessiasticus/Ekklessiastikos (Son of the Assembly/Son of the Church) & Macariotes/Macariotes (Blessedness/Bliss/Happiness), Theletos/Theletus (Longed-For/Longing/Perfection/Will/Willed-For) & Sophia (Wisdom)
** Christ (Annointed One) & Hagia Pneuma (Holy Spirit)
* TheDreaded: The Mandeans have a particularly negative and fearful attitude toward [[UsefulNotes/TheProphetMuhammad a certain fellow]] who was active militarily in the seventh century CE, known alternatively as "[[BloodKnight Whom Mars accompanies]]", "[[PathOfInspiration The Most Deranged of The False Prophets]]", "[[KillEmAll The Son of Slaughter]]", "[[ILied The Seal Of The Prophets Of The Lie]]" and "[[ArsonMurderAndJaywalking The Arab]]". They think he is still alive and that his reign will last 4000 years (about 3600 left) during which time pollution and every kind of evil creature will multiply. Then he will be usurped by the false messiah Jesus who will be welcomed simply because he will appear to be a messiah by comparison to his predecessor.
* TheUbermensch: Some of the Aeons have been know to act like this and to encourage other too.
* TheUnfettered: Jesus' sin is an illusion speech in the Gospel of Mary.
* ThroughTheEyesOfMadness: Gnosis, or personal revelatory experience, is often interpreted by the psychological profession as schizophrenia, due to the incompatibility between theophony and a strictly materialist viewpoint.
* TurnedAgainstTheirMasters: The Archon Sabaoth, who was created to preside over the Sixth Heaven, renounced the Demiurge in disgust upon hearing the voice of Sophia and discovering that the Demiurge was not the ultimate authority he claimed to be.
* UnreliableNarrator: Heresiologists were dismissed by academics for awhile. The finds at Nag Hammadi showed they got a lot of the cosmology right (though they went out of their way to make it sound stupid).
* VillainWithGoodPublicity: The Demiurge who is known to most as {{God}} (plus as GodIsGood to most of those most).
* WordOfDante: Gnosticism is mostly known due to the Dantesque popular culture references way more so than actual Gnostic texts themselves.

[[folder:Examples in popular media]]
Many recent works, especially those of a {{postmodern}}ist and [[UsefulNotes/{{Existentialism}} existentialist]] bent, reflect Gnostic influences (whether unconsciously or intentional). Characteristic, though not always, of the Gnostic worldview are vast (and often contradictory) cosmologies, uncertainty, unreliable narrators, and the value of personal interpretation. Protagonists slowly come to the realization that the world is not quite what it seems--they are privy to secret, inside information about reality. Due to the reliance on personal revelation implicit in Gnosticism, it is not surprising when multiple narratives tell the same story without quite lining up. Reason is presented as but one tool that humans can use to understand the world, but logical reasoning is not the whole truth. Examples may range from containing some elements/influences to outright endorsement/promotion. These include:

[[AC:{{Anime}} and Manga]]
* ''Anime/NeonGenesisEvangelion'' mixes Gnosticism with both the Kabbalah (a Jewish Gnostic variant that proposes we are all [[PiecesOfGod pieces of Adam Kadmon]]) and a mystic reinterpretation of the Jewish story of Genesis where Adam's original first wife wasn't Eve, but Lilith, who fell into error (Sophia-equivalent) thus paving the plot for Eve's creation, humanity's acquisition of the Fruit of Knowledge and the resulting Fall of Man from Eden into biological bodies. Some versions say Lilith or Sophia was the Tree of Knowledge or at least gave the Fruit of Knowledge to Eve in the first place (the RetCon of the Serpent as BigBad Lucifer was due to WordOfDante and Christian "ignorance is bliss" ideology), if you would consider the theory that Sophia gave a part of herself to humans as souls resulting in the evolution of human intelligence.
** [[spoiler:Rei Ayanami]], the soul of Lilith, the original mother of all humanity, is Sophia, and as ThePhilosopher lives up to that symbolism. Her flawed fragmented daemonic children, the Lilin [[spoiler:(humans)]] are the Demiurge, technological creators capable of [[HumansAreBastards cruelty against each other]], after all [[Theatre/NoExit Hell is Other People]]. The referral to [[spoiler:humans]] with such a daemonic name is likely from a Gnostic influence. The fall of Sophia [[spoiler:(Lilith/Rei, who literally fell to Earth)]] is responsible for the birth of the Demiurge (the evolution of biological life, and the suffering that it has brought), but Sophia's fragments still exist in this world in the form of our souls (humanity as the bearer of the Fruit of Knowledge), and thus it is possible to redeem ourselves from our daemonic existence (human individual bodies and prone to disease, despair and death) and reconcile with her. The central dogma of an AncientConspiracy called [[TheOmniscientCouncilOfVagueness SEELE]] is the reunification of Lilith with her lost male counterpart, Adam (analogous to reuniting Sophia with her lost male counterpart), that shall lead to their [[AscendToAHigherPlaneOfExistence Messianic Ascension and Universal Salvation]] from their Original Sin of existence under the Demiurge[=/=]Lilin[=/=]Human Bodies. In ''the End of Evangelion'', it does happen: [[spoiler:Rei absorbs Adam, takes control of Lilith, reawakens, turns into a Giant Naked Rei[=/=]Adam Kadmon[=/=]Sophia, destroys all human bodies, and [[AssimilationPlot merges all souls into a gestalt God-superconsciousness]].]]
** Although it is also implied that [[FauxSymbolism all the Gnostic and Jewish mystic symbolism were maybe just put there to sound exotic]], and SEELE is just a neo-Gnostic CargoCult associating a bunch of alien {{precursors}} with {{God}}.
** ''Neon Genesis Evangelion'' does more research than people give it credit for, but the Gnosticism is almost certainly an accident.
* A popular {{Epileptic Tree|s}} about ''[[LightNovel/HaruhiSuzumiya The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya]]'' is that [[spoiler:[[JerkassGods Haruhi]], as the [[ComedicSociopathy unconsciously cruel and capricious creator of the material universe]], is the Demiurge, and in fact, the real unconscious God is the narrator, Kyon. Haruhi aka the Demiurge is either an aspect of his personality, or a convenient person to work his power through. Note his dialogue at the beginning of the series; he once wanted to believe in time travel, aliens, and espers, but has learned to suppress it. Having someone else have god-like powers to create these things allows him denial. Plus, what better way to throw someone off of their own powers to destroy everything than by telling them to keep someone else in check. In ''Haruhi'' theology and fandom, "[[WMG/HaruhiSuzumiyaKyonIsGod Kyon is God]]" theories are the equivalent of Gnosticism.]]
* ''Manga/FullmetalAlchemist'' mixes Gnostic elements with Eastern and Jewish Kabbalah influences plus CosmicHorrorStory. It's also subverted, considering how unpleasant it is dealing and facing the Truth.
* ''Anime/RevolutionaryGirlUtena'' heavily references Demian with the themes about breaking out of the world's shell, Demian itself being a work based on Gnosticism. [[spoiler:Dios and Akio]]'s story is one of a fallen and split god.
* ''Anime/SerialExperimentsLain''. Many characters express a desire to give up their bodily existence and live on in the Wired. [[spoiler: Lain herself]] is it at one point referred to as a "scattered god", possibly refencing Sophia, while [[spoiler:Masami Eiri]] represents the Demiurge - Lain even calls him an "acting god".
%%* ''Anime/HaibaneRenmei''
%%* ''Anime/TheBigO''
* ''Anime/{{Texhnolyze}}'': The further into this series you get, the more Gnostic symbolism and saturation shows up, with some of the darker and more paranoid ideas becoming increasingly warped and played with in a highly [[MindScrew Mind Screwy]] manner. For example, [[spoiler: the disturbing way in which Doc increasingly mirrors Sophia, or Kano mirrors the demiurge]]. And then of course, there's [[MessianicArchetype Ran]].
** Who Kano keeps calling "Theoria" for no obvious reason. Naturally, this is yet another Gnostic concept meaningless to a casual viewer.
* In ''LightNovel/ACertainMagicalIndex'', some of the magical characters are surprised when they learn of Academy City's ambition to create a Level 6 Esper; it may be a scientific project, but the concept is similar to teachings in Gnosticism.
%%* ''Manga/VenusVersusVirus''
%%* ''Dead End'' by Shohei Manabe
%%* There are some highly suspicious parallels in ''Manga/{{Blame}}'' to Gnostic ideology, particularly in the later parts of the series.
%%* Very surprisingly for a {{shonen}} manga, but a case could definitely be made for ''Manga/SoulEater''s inclusion in this list, particularly as of the Book chapters.
%%* Manga/EdenItsAnEndlessWorld draws on Gnosticism to an extent, primarily in character names.
%%* Literature/MardockScramble
%%* ''Manga/HekikaiNoAION''
%%* Anime/TimeOfEve
%%* Franchise/GhostInTheShell
%%* Anime/LastExile
%%* Anime/SolBianca
* Anime/PuellaMagiMadokaMagicaTheMovieRebellion has [[spoiler: Homura]] turn into a sort of a mixture of the Demiurge, [[UsefulNotes/{{Buddhism}} Mara]], and a Literature/ParadiseLost-like Lucifer: she becomes corrupted by love and [[spoiler: rips Madoka, the proper God of the setting, from her position and takes her power herself, trapping all of the characters in a magical world where their desires have been granted but their true powers and nature suppressed]]. Notably, this Demiurge is not a piece of the Source, but a servant of it who takes its place in order to protect it.
* ''Anime/ShamanicPrincess'' boils down to an OntologicalMystery which is solved through the revelation that [[AboveGoodAndEvil the concepts of good and evil are irrelevant]]. This knowledge does not really let the heroine ''overcome'' the self-centered creator deity that's toying with her. It lets her restore balance and make it easier for everyone to co-exist.

%%* Creator/AlanMoore comics, especially ''ComicBook/{{Promethea}}'' and ''ComicBook/VForVendetta''
* Creator/GrantMorrison loves this.
** One arc of ''ComicBook/DoomPatrol'' features what are basically gnostics from another dimension, the Cult of the Unwritten Book, who have their very own ''de''creator. Later on, the Shadowy Mr. Evans outright calls God Yaldabaoth.
** In ''ComicBook/TheInvisibles'', the antagonists are called archons and represent order.
%%* [[ComicBook/TheSandman Sandman]]

%%* ''Film/DarkCity''
%%* ''Film/TheIsland''
* ''Film/TheMatrix'' is a modernization of the idea of the physical world being an illusion, which became a popular TropeCodifier in America, making it indirectly responsible for a lot of gnostic themes' proliferation today.
%%* ''Film/{{Pleasantville}}''
%%* ''Series/ThePrisoner''
%%* ''Film/TheThirteenthFloor''
%%* ''Film/TheTrumanShow''
%%* ''Film/{{Stigmata}}''
%%* ''Film/TheyLive''
%%* ''Film/TheAdjustmentBureau''
* ''Film/WakingLife'' references Gnosticism in its last few minutes, when the main character is trapped in a dream he can't wake up from. He comes across another character who proceeds to give him advice - that living is simply the individual's constant negation of God's invitation to become one with the universe, how dreams offer a glimpse into the infinite nature of reality and that in order to be free from the illusion called life, the individual need only to accept God's invitation.

* Literature/TheSilmarillion should be counted in because of the "spiritual" hierarchy, beginning with Eru, supreme being, creating the Ainur, split in the Valar and the Maiar, then the Elves, and finally Humans. The tale is also gnostic because it states that while the world was created by Eru, the greater Ainur gave it form, and one of them (Melkor), broke out and claimed it for his own, being "the lord of the world". Maybe the linguistic way from Eon to "Ainu" is not that long after all.
** Read Tolkien's essay ''On Fairy-Stories'', particularly the chapter ''Recovery, Escape, Consolation''. When talking about escaping the harsh reality with the help of imagination (among other things), he uses such language:
--> ''Why should a man be scorned if, finding himself in prison, he tries to get out and go home? ... The world outside has not become less real because the prisoner cannot see it.''
** On purpose or not, the metaphor Tolkien chooses is blatantly Gnostic. Also, notice that he used to consider the possibility of Elves reincarnating.
** The hints of Gnosticism in Tolkien's works are fairly limited because the author himself was a devout Catholic. However, Natalia Vasilyeva, author of the unauthorized derivative work ''Black Book of Arda'', goes full rock and roll with all the Gnosticism. Here, Eru is obviously Ialdabaoth, the Valar are obviously Archons, and Melkor rebelled because he went outside Eru's little creation and saw the Pleroma there.
* Literature/{{Discworld}}: Creator/TerryPratchett explicitly, in a LemonyNarrator moment in ''Literature/SmallGods'', compares the actual state of things in Discworld (where gods are mostly created and sustained by human belief, although the stupider ones don't realise this) to "the good old Gnostic heresy, which tends to turn up all over the multiverse whenever men get up off their knees and start thinking for two minutes together, although the shock of the sudden altitude tends to mean the thinking is a little whacked."
* ''Literature/HisDarkMaterials'': ([[spoiler:the universe is, in a sense, self-aware; the Authority and, later, the Regent are demiurges]])
%%* ''Literature/NakedLunch''
* Anything written by Creator/PhilipKDick, who had a keen sense of the existential paranoia implicit in the Gnostic scriptures and a working knowledge of the recently-translated Nag Hammadi codices (and don't forget the ''I Ching''). Particularly of note are ''Literature/{{VALIS}}'', ''The Divine Invasion'', ''The Transmigration of Timothy Archer'', and ''Radio Free Albemuth''. However, prospective readers should be warned about the high MindScrew content and the possibility of their brain turning to liquid, pouring out of their ears, and reassembling itself in a smiley face twenty-five kilometres over the peak of Kilimanjaro--and no, that's not a highly confusing metaphor for insanity.
%% * Anything written by Creator/JorgeLuisBorges, UsefulNotes/CarlJung, Creator/WilliamBlake, Creator/UmbertoEco
* Creator/HermannHesse, whose novel ''Demian'' is what the egg speech in ''Anime/RevolutionaryGirlUtena'' was [[ShoutOut borrowed from]]. The whole novel is more or less a dissertation on questioning popular religion's philosophy.
* God have mercy on our souls, but Creator/DanBrown has done as much to raise Gnosticism into the public consciousness as the Wachowskis.
** It might be useful to point out that while the Wachowskis have ushered Gnosticism into the public consciousness through the underlying philosophical discussions in their films [[note]] with said discussion reaching into the fundamental ideology of Gnosticism and debating the arguments for and against the probable nature of reality, the delineation of the borders of reality, and playing with the idea of the demiurge and assessing sentient beings as contributors to the formation of an imperfect consensus reality[[/note]], Dan Brown has raised awareness of Gnosticism by flinging the term around so liberally in such a vague and arbitrary manner in his books that it drove most of his readers to look it up on Wiki/TheOtherWiki... where most of them found two things: 1) Gnosticism is incredibly detailed, ancient, and so deep and involving that you can spend days on a WikiWalk just scratching the surface, and 2) Creator/DanBrown has a very bad habit of CompletelyMissingThePoint when it comes to secular and philosophical ideology.
** Unfortunately, the "gnosticism" presented by Dan Brown in his books tends towards the polar opposite of actual Gnostic beliefs as expressed in their scriptures. He says they believed Jesus was completely human; Gnostics actually tended to think Jesus was completely god without a trace of the human. Dan also thinks the Gnostics respected women, which, while true of many Gnostic sects, was far from universal; a good number of Gnostics actually tended more towards the Greek idea that women were an inferior form of life incapable of spiritual understanding.
%%* Some works of Creator/IainBanks slide into this area in varying degrees, of note in ''Literature/TheCulture'' novels are ''Literature/{{Excession}}'', ''Look to Windward'', and ''Literature/UseOfWeapons''. In other books, ''The Algebraist'' is pulled deeply into Gnostic territory with a dark and snarky bent.
%%* Pretty much anything by Creator/CormacMcCarthy, especially Literature/BloodMeridian.
%%* You have to look pretty hard, but it has increasingly been suggested that ''Literature/ParadiseLost'' draws on Gnostic theology.
* In a meta example, the literary critic Harold Bloom developed Gnostic theory of artistic influence wherein new generations of poets seek to construct the predecessors as controlling antagonists against whom they can react.
* Daniel Gonzalez's science fiction short-story ''Sofia'' is about a parallel universe where Gnosticism and not Christianity became the worldís main religion. He gives a lot of information about Gnostic history, terminology and doctrine.
* Literature/CreationManAndTheMessiah by poet Creator/{{Henrik Wergeland}} is by far the most gnostic piece of literature written during the 19th century, telling how higher spirits intervened to ensoul humanity. The spirits are called Eons (or aions) here as well.
* Communities of Gnostics living in the Iberian Mountains play a major role in Harry Harrison's ''[[Literature/TheHammerAndTheCross King and Emperor]]''. They consider themselves the keeper of the Holy Grail.
* The novel ''Flicker'' by Theodore Roszak is an unusual example of a modern work that depicts Gnostics as outright villains. The novel's Gnostics are an AncientConspiracy, who briefly went overground as the Cathars, who believe that to liberate humans' souls from the grip of the Demiurge humanity must [[OmnicidalManiac cease to exist]]. However, as their moral principles block them from actually killing people, they attempt to put this into practice by seeding popular culture with subliminal and later overt messages that aim to convince people that the universe is meaningless and subconsciously suppress their libidos, both discouraging breeding in the hope that humanity will die out.
* Roz Kaveney's ''Rhapsody of Blood'' UrbanFantasy series is strongly influenced by Gnosticism, although in a variant form where Yahweh and Satan are old friends and both [[KnightTemplar Knights Templar]], who started as humans and, on becoming gods, tried to become top gods to genuinely help and protect humanity, but got lost in their roles.

[[AC:Live-Action TV]]
* Series/{{Lost}}'s mythology and underlying metaphysics were heavily rooted in Gnosticism, but the show never drew any explicit parallels to it except for a brief glimpse of Creator/PhilipKDick's ''Literature/{{VALIS}}'', which also blended Gnostic spirituality and sci-fi. This came back to bite the writers, as it's [[ViewersAreGeniuses kind of necessary]] to understand the [[TrippyFinaleSyndrome finale]], especially the part about personal revelation (i.e. what meaning the characters and the audience bring to events) being more important than authorial dogma (the writers telling everyone what happened and shooting down all but one theory).
* {{Series/Babylon5}} has Delenn of the Minbari, stating that "we are the universe made conscious, splitting itself apart to understand itself." By this and what little else we learn, Minbari religion appears to be similar.

%%* Music/{{Current 93}} makes continual reference to Gnostic texts.
* Music/JohnZorn: He has released several albums with a band called the Gnostic Trio: "The Gnostic Preludes" (2012), "The Mysteries" (2013) and "In Lambeth" (2013).
%%* Music/ToriAmos references Gnosticism in her album ''The Beekeeper''.
%%* Music/VirginSteele: Touched on most albums, but most notably on Invictus (1998) and Visions of Eden (2006).
%%* Arguably some of Music/{{Tool}}'s songs touch on Gnostic themes, "Parabola" being an example, though Maynard's lyrics are open to a great deal of interpretation.
* Coph Nia actually has a song called "Gnostic Mass", whose lyrics draw heavily on Gnostic beliefs (no surprises there.)

* ''TabletopGame/{{KULT}}''
* ''TabeltopGame/MageTheAscension'' and ''TabletopGame/MageTheAwakening'' both borrow from Gnostic traditions. ''Awakening'', in particular, is rife with this, with the Supernal (the Pleroma) being shut off to humanity by jealous wannabe gods (the Exarchs). Every mage has attained enough truth to see past the Lie of the Fallen World (Gnosis), and actively seeks Ascension (a return to the Source) by varying means.
* The cosmology of ''TabletopGame/WerewolfTheApocalypse'' borrows from Gnosticism. The [[EldritchAbomination Triatic Wyrm]] is a demiurge masquerading as the true Wyrm of balance, and much of the suffering in the WTA world can be laid at its feet. The Urge Wyrms and Maeljin Incarna can be likened to archons. The true Wyrm of balance, trapped in the fabric of reality and unable to fulfill its original purpose, is not unlike Sophia.
* ''[[http://www.indarkalleys.com/!IDA/ In Dark Alleys]]'' from [[http://www.vajraenterprises.com/ Vajra Enterprises]]. In Dark Alleys has several philosophies in the history of unpopular ideas section. Animism, Buddhism, Platonism, Neoplatonism, Gnosticism, Descartian Skepticism, Sadism, Marxism, Nihilism, Freudian Psychoanalysis, Surrealism, Existentialism, Jungian Psychology, Punk, Paglian Feminism, and Postmodernism.

* ''VideoGame/{{Aquaria}}'' is actually somewhat sympathetic to its Demiurge stand-in, [[spoiler: Eric--he's desperately trying to recreate his unconditionally-loving mother. Although given that his most successful mimic ''turns against him'', it may have been a fool's errand, and the Pleroma not even as noble as the Gnostics thought...]]
%%* ''VideoGame/DeusExInvisibleWar''
* [[OurElvesAreBetter Elven]] (especially Altmeri/High Elven) religious beliefs in ''Franchise/TheElderScrolls'' universe take a lot from Gnostic beliefs, specifically the belief that elvenkind is trapped in a world made by Lorkhan, a demiurge-like figure that tricked the [[{{Precursors}} divine ancestors of the elves]] into giving up their divinity and trapped them in material mortal forms. The fact that Lorkhan is also the "[[FeelingOppressedByTheirExistence God of Man]]" means that a lot of elves [[FantasticRacism do not like humans]].
* A few elements of this are in ''VideoGame/MakaiToshiSaGa'', featuring a Demiurge (The Creator) who created the world the heroes live in, apparently is from a higher dimension, and has archons (Ashura & his minions) who spread evil amongst the world ForTheEvulz. It's nowhere near as heavy as several ''Final Fantasy'' series (see below)
* ''VideoGame/FinalFantasyVII'' had the Lifestream, which is the Pleroma in all but name, the Cetra, who represent Gnostics as opposed to the materialistic Judeo-Christian-ish humans, Sephiroth (whose name is from a Jewish Gnostic variant called the Kabbalah) as the demiurge, and Jenova as Sophia in her AlternativeCharacterInterpretation of corrupter and destroyer of the world.
** Both Sephiroth and Jenova find their counterpart in Aerith, who represents Sophia (or Ophis) as a [[MessianicArchetype savior figure]]. Her connection to the Cetra ''and'' humans fits the "divine in human" mold, and she becomes the embodiment of humans' hope for freedom from Jenova's corruption. Even her death [[HeroicSacrifice helps save the world]] ([[ThanatosGambit albeit as a "Plan B"]]) and, in some ways, [[AscendToAHigherPlaneOfExistence made her a stronger force of good than ever]].
* On the subject of ''Final Fantasy'', ''VideoGame/FinalFantasyX'' had a more in-depth depiction of Gnosticism. The Pleroma is Zanarkand, and Sophia's fall from the Pleroma would be the destruction of the city, with Yu Yevon representing Sophia. Sin is the Demiurge: in the same way the Demiurge was created from Sophia's divine power, Sin was created from Yu Yevon's summoning talent. The Farplane also represents the Pleroma; everyone is made from the Pyreflies (divine sparks of light), and their soul returns to the Farplane after death. However, there are exceptions: anyone who died an unclean death, for example, will not stay in the Farplane and must be Sent there again. The Aeons also represent this, communicating with and helping humans from the Pleroma (Zanarkand) and fighting the Demiurge's influence. However, they can also represent Archons; in particular, Bahamut as Sabaoth, because they both turned against their masters in order to try and save humanity. The Yevon religion dislikes the idea that people can be free of Sin, and so they represent Christianity (in case it wasn't obvious enough already). At the end of the game, people are finally free from the influence of Sin, representing enlightenment and freedom from the Demiurge; but here it's a BittersweetEnding, because this requires peoples' souls to fade away from this existence into another, meaning that TheHeroDies as he was from the Pleroma, the same way that the Aeons were.
* ''VideoGame/GalacticCivilizations''--its Dark Mithrilar is ''very'' similar to the mid-range-in-malignity versions of the Demiurge, with the Dread Lords his archons. [[spoiler: Thanks to his xenophobia, he keeps destroying the universe, [[StableTimeLoop then traveling back in time to better remake the cosmos in his image--the Human image]].]] Snippets from the main designer's original stories suggest that an overarching theme is going to be this Demiurge's redemption, putting this partly in Valentinian territory.
* [[spoiler: The Mother]] in ''VideoGame/LaMulana'' appears to be a pastiche of Sophia and the Demiurge. [[spoiler: Like Sophia, she fell from the perfection of the heavens... although unlike her, she can't seem to get back on her own... and bears great understanding. Like the Demiurge, she created intelligent life expressly for her sake, namely to get her back up there--in a sense, to let her regain her glory. And every time, her children either turn against her, or extinguish themselves. Never mind that [[ShaggyDogStory the fact that she fell to begin with might mean that re-ascension was impossible from the very beginning]]--just as, in the more severe forms of Gnosticism, the Demiurge has no ability (or right) to become genuinely divine.]] Nonetheless, this character is [[AntiVillain rather sympathetic]]--[[spoiler: just being stuck on Earth is severely agonizing for her. She's not malevolent, but ''desperate''.]]
* ''Franchise/ShinMegamiTensei'' -- pick a game, any game, either from the main series or the spin-off series ''Franchise/ShinMegamiTenseiPersona'', and you'll find at least some Gnostic themes.
** Special mention goes to ''VideoGame/Persona5'', [[spoiler:where the final boss is Yaldabaoth, the Demiurge, and the protagonist's Ultimate Persona is Satanael, the Gnostic equivalent of Satan]].
* ''Franchise/SilentHill'' -- even the soundtrack lyrics have a Gnostic undertone. To clarify, Sophia would be Alessa[[spoiler:/Heather]], the human woman who created God and left it to the world, while the God herself would be the evil Demiurge, worshipped by misguided idiots. The story of God's creation also has Gnostic influences.
** It should be noted that Keiichiro Toyama, creator and writer of the original game, was big on demonology.
* ''VideoGame/StarOceanTillTheEndOfTime.'' Its Demiurge figure ([[MeaningfulName Lucifer]]) isn't sympathetic, but for once, the ''archons'' are. The whole ''reason'' Lucifer [[spoiler: created Eternal Sphere]] was to be able to completely control the 4D cities' populaces. The result is that the archons are agonizingly bored and unfulfilled. [[ItsAllAboutMe Lucifer, on the other hand...]]
* ''VideoGame/{{Xenogears}}'' is pretty much a straight retelling of it. [[spoiler:A good God (the Zohar) is pulled down from a higher dimension, and creates a woman from one of the sparks of light surrounding it (Elly). The Zohar is then used to create an evil god (Deus), which is followed by a false religion (-Ethos-), and while Deus created the world and rules it, using humans for its own purposes and letting its evil followers do whatever they like, the Zohar is the true, benevolent god.]]
%%* ''VideoGame/{{Xenosaga}}'' takes the Gnostic influence of ''Xenogears'' and unbelievably, cranks it UpToEleven. Seriously.
* ''VideoGame/{{Xenoblade}}'' -- At first, it seems like the Gnostic influence is toned down to a much lesser extent than its predecessors'. The [[LaserBlade Monad(o)]] and [[HumongousMecha Yaldabaoth]] are virtually the only references to it. But then the game's final act begins, in which case [[spoiler:Zanza is the Demiurge, who created the world in his image, with Meyneth serving as his Sophia, while Alvis is the real God, and the Monado represents personal truth/revelation]], among other things. It doesn't name-drop as heavily as the previous Xeno-games, but it's just as Gnostic as them.
%%* An aversion with ''VideoGame/XenobladeChroniclesX'': in spite of its impressive pedigree, there is almost no Gnostic influence in this game, and it plays the StandardSciFiSetting quite straight. Well, until the ending, when it [[spoiler: it takes the notion of TheSingularity and goes whole-hog with it, but suddenly subverts it (there is no Singularity at all) in TheStinger.]] It's possible a future sequel will bring the Gnostic influence back.
* [[EnfantTerrible The Firstborn]], the BigBad of ''VideoGame/CliveBarkersJericho'' is loosely based on the Demiurge. Rather than being created by Sophia, he is the first creation of God, who didn't come out [[UncannyValley quite right]], to the point that even his creator couldn't love him.
%%* Without spoiling anything in particular, let's just say that ''VideoGame/{{Pathologic}}'' definitely has this kind of thing going on.
%%* ''VideoGame/{{Persona 5}}'' doesn't immediately make it apparent, but in the last leg of the Trickster's rehabilitation [[spoiler: Igor is revealed to have actually been Yaldaboath the Demiurge, who has been playing a game with the MC where the winner decides the fate of humanity. It's only after the real Igor is returned that the team is made aware that the outcome has been rigged from the start, and that Yaldaboath is trying to use humanity's want for societal order as an excuse to become a God of Order.]] Bonus points for having the final four mini-bosses be four archangels and the game ends with [[spoiler: the main character summoning Satanael to finish Yaldaboath off]]

* ''WebComic/{{Homestuck}}'' has Yalbadaoth and Abraxas as characters, taking the roles of Denizens. A few characters' internet handles also namedrop Gnosticism.

* The ''Website/SCPFoundation'': The storylines about the Church of the Broken God and the Sarkic Cults are ''heavily'' based around this; the former being a sort of technological gnosticism with a dispersed god, with the latter being flesh-obsessed cultists whose god is, yes, outright called Yaldabaoth.

* ''WesternAnimation/AeonFlux'': From the name of the main character, Aeon, to questioning the nature of reality, to an actual appearance by a being known as The Demiurge.
%%* Surprisingly, as of the movies and season 6, ''WesternAnimation/{{Futurama}}''.
* ''WesternAnimation/TheLegoMovie'', believe it or not. [[spoiler:Specifically the "Man Upstairs" plot, when it fully enters the stage.]]