Archon or Archons were referred to in antiquity as the servants of the Demiurge, the creator god Standing between the human race and a transcendent God that could only be reached through knowledge of humanity’s real nature as divine, leading to the deliverance of the divine spark within humanity from the constraints of earthly existence.
Archon is also Greek word meaning “ruler,” which was also often used in ancient times as the title of a certain public office in a government.
If we take a look at Archons from a Gnostic point of view, we will understand that in this context, they were considered the angels and demons of the old testament.
Hypostasis of the Archons—the divine creators of the universe and humanity
The rulers laid plans and said, “Come, let us create a man that will be soil from the earth.” They modeled their creature as one wholly of the earth. Now the rulers […] body […] they have […] female […] is […] with the face of a beast. They had taken some soil from the earth and modeled their man after their body and after the image of God that had appeared to them in the waters. They said, “Come, let us lay hold of it by means of the form that we have modeled, so that it may see its male counterpart […], and we may seize it with the form that we have modeled” – not understanding the force of God, because of their powerlessness. And he breathed into his face, and the man came to have a soul (and remained) upon the ground many days. But they could not make him arise because of their powerlessness. Like storm winds, they persisted (in blowing), that they might try to capture that image, which had appeared to them in the waters. And they did not know the identity of its power. (Source)
Also called The Reality of the Rulers, the Hypothesis of Archons is an exegesis—a critical interpretation of a religious text—on the Book of Genesis 1–6 and expresses Gnostic mythology of the divine creators of the cosmos and humanity.
The Book of Genesis is the first book of the Hebrew Bible (the Tanakh) and the Christian Old Testament.
This ancient text was revered among many other from the Nag Hammadi Library. The Nag Hammadi library also called the “Chenoboskion Manuscripts,” or the “Gnostic Gospels” is a collection of a number of ancient Christian and Gnostic Texts found in Upper Egypt in 1945.
The Reality of the Rulers is believed to have been written sometime during the third century CE. Researchers believe it originated from a traditional period in Gnosticism when it was converting from a purely mythological state into a philosophical phase.
The writing is presented as an instruction on the theme of the dominators (archons) of the world mentioned by St. Paul.
The express intention of this writing is to teach the truth about the powers that have authority over this world.
The story begins with the boast of the demiurge, the supreme archon, in words attributed to the God of the Bible: “I am who I am, God is nothing separated from me.”
The Reality of the Rulers is presented as a learned treatise where a teacher approaches a topic suggested by the dedicatee of the work. The treatise starts off with a fragment of cosmogony, which guides to a revisionistic “true history” of the events in the Genesis creation story, revealing a Gnostic distrust of the material world and the demiurge that conceived it. An “angelic revelation dialogue” emerges within this narrative where an angel repeats and elaborates the author’s fragment of cosmogonic myth in much broader scope, concluding with a historical prophecy of the coming of the savior and the end of days.
Bentley Layton, Professor of Religious Studies (Ancient Christianity) and Professor of Near Eastern Languages and Civilizations (Coptic) at Yale University writes, “The Reality of the Rulers (‘Hypostasis of the Archons’) recounts the gnostic story from the creation of Yaldabaoth down to Noah and the great flood and finalizes with a prediction of the final advent of the savior, the destruction of demonic powers, and the victory of the Gnostics.
As noted by Roger A. Bullard in his book “The Hypostasis of the Archons: The Coptic Text with Translation and Commentary“, the beginning and conclusion to the text are Christian Gnostic, but the remaining of the material is a mythological account about the origin and nature of the archontic powers peopling the skies between Earth and the Ogdoad, and how these ancient events influence the destiny of man.
According to the Hypostasis of the Archons, these are the Mythic characters:
The Parent of the Entirety: The invisible virgin spirit
The Child: Presides over the entirety
The Four Luminaries: Eleleth and three others
The True Human Being
The Undominated Race
Wisdom: Sophia or Pistis Sophia
Zoe (Life): daughter of Sophia
Yaldabaoth: The chief ruler also called Sakla and Samael
Sabaoth: One of Yaldabaoth’s first seven offspring
Adam: The first human being
Eve: Adam’s wife and counterpart
Cain: Eve’s son begotten by the rulers
Abel: Eve’s son begotten by Adam
Seth: a son through god
Norea: Eve’s daughter
Featured image credit: Used with Permission from Klaus Wittmann Concept art.