On Seeing Double:

Thomas and Didymus, Science and Religion

Blog by Joe Masterleo


The Gospel of Thomas is a gospel of light, even more so than the Gospel of John, but in a different, complementary way. Much in the way God-identity (Spirit) dwelling innermost in humans as light beings complements the CMBR discovery (cosmic microwave background radiation) that verified light as central to the Big Bang moment of creation when (light/fire) created and immersed (baptized) all things outermost in the universe with and into itself. Connecting the religio-scientific dots, if all things are truly One (say monotheistic religions) or entangle as one at the quantum level (say physicists), then that in which/whom all things consist and hold together as one, must truly BE one, identical or similar in primary organic composition innermost and outermost at all scales in the universe.
As every part of fire is fire, every part of light is light throughout, visible and invisible, natural and preternatural, inside and outside. And that, as solid as a gold coin, or a sparkling diamond, and right as rain.
According to Jesus (via apostle Thomas), since we all come from the realm of light, in substance we are alike as him innately, awaiting discovery and realization. Arguably, with a little help from Thomas, the New Testament, quantum physics, Genesis 1, and Big Bang CMBR, light appears to be the odds-on-favorite to be the star of the New Universe Story. If so, it’s only fitting that its theater and stage, the vast electromagnetic spectrum of light in all its glorious frequency vibes, measurable and immeasurable, visible and invisible, be given a closer look. Along with co-star gravity as only constants in the universe, consideration must be given to light as the main Holy Grail nominee for THE G.O.A.T. (greatest of all time) interbeing element joining all things. Traditionally the best supporting actor in the creation-evolution drama, s/he by which all things are made visible, has been traditionally overlooked by science and religion alike in their search for the lead role all-inclusive story of creation. Light is the only element that can render divinity truly cosmic or universal in all its material expressions, vibrational frequencies, masks, costumes, and varied cultural inflexions, dispersed as it has been over the entire cosmos, so silent and unobtrusively subtle and as to render itself, like the air, nearly invisible. It wouldn’t be God, after all, unless s/he was present everywhere (omnipresent) in the universe, streaming life and breath to all things freely, generously, and without fanfare or discrimination. Upon falling short of developing a unified field theory of the universe spending the last thirty years of his life trying, it’s no wonder Einstein lamented had he to do it over again, he would have paid more attention to the study of light as key to solving the grand synthesis mystery. Alas, in exploring the role of light in both science and spirituality, we just may be on to something truly profound. Divinity, after all, is always found where least expected.
“The stone that the builders rejected has become the chief cornerstone. This is the Lord’s doing; It is marvelous in our eyes” (Matt. 21:42).
In his gospel, Thomas records sayings of Jesus, 114 in all, that declare over and again that we (and all things) come from the realm of light, just as Jesus claims he does, and God in him manifest everywhere universally. Such harmonizes with both the Genesis 1 account of Creation (Let Light Be) and the Big Bang notions of same on origins, beginning with a spiraling swirl (hot breath) of intense light and heat energy. The Gospel of Thomas, discovered at Nag Hammadi in 1945, opens with a line that claims to offer the ‘secret sayings of the living Jesus’ (Cosmic or Universal Christ) which he entrusted only to certain disciples prepared to hear, remember, and record them. The source for same is the earliest of the synoptic gospels, that of Mark, which claims explicitly that Jesus did offer secret teachings to his closest disciples as to his (and their) identity in light, and of his Father’s universal interbeing presence dwelling in all things — hidden there “like leaven in bread” (Matt. 13:33). Unlike the disciples, Jesus did not perceive himself as being separate from all that is. He did not use words and his body as reference points, but as supporting metaphors that pointed beyond themselves to their referent and Source, the “Father of lights who sent me” (James 1:17, John 14:10). Like speechless children, the awestruck who felt his magnetic presence, and Thomas himself, who would not use words to utter what Jesus was like, heaven and earth are all manifestations of the One and undivided Cosmic Light that he embodied and came to declare is within and all around everyone ambiently.
I am he who exists from the undivided (Thomas, saying 16).
The disciples wanted to believe in the separate Jesus, and found a new religion after him, which he persistently declined, walking swiftly away upon hearing the invitation. The Cosmic One, the great ‘I Am That I Am’ wanted them to see that they, like heaven and earth, are cut from the same interbeing cloth, all part of the same eternal substance (Spirit), and process of coming and going. They, like all things in time are passersby. . . separate appearing manifestations whose material forms will sooner vanish, save for their hidden name, image, and God-identity incarnate as light beings. Such, he declared, is the eternal (transformative and evolutionary) dynamic at work in them drawing each toward life everlasting, a life that has no beginning and never ends. The Light of the World gave ample assurances that a spirit-soul cannot not exist.
“When he was alone, those who were with him asked him about the parables. And he said to them, ‘To you the secret of the kingdom of God has been given, but for those outside, everything is in parables, so that they may look, but not perceive, and they may listen, but not understand” (Mark 4:10).
But Mark tells us nothing about such secret teaching, which Thomas’s gospel claims to reveal. As in the New Testament Gospel of John, the Gospel of Thomas suggests that the kingdom, Christ mind, or unitive consciousness (undivided seeing) is a state of being in which one may participate upon coming to know who they are innately, as had Jesus and all spiritually awakened and enlightened souls before and after him. And that when each spirit-soul awakens to same, s/he simultaneously comes to know God, self, other, and nature as sacred, seeing and understanding how divinity (light) embeds in creation innermost and outermost everywhere. And so, like enlightened Thomas, others may become likewise inspired and equipped to spread the word, witnesses giving firsthand testimony to same.
Only then, declared the Cosmic Equalizer, can human vision be clearest, characterized by full-access knowing — with rational, transrational, and intuitive components aligned, able to see things as undivided, with a “single eye filled with light” (Matt. 6:22). Only then can God, self, other, and nature be seen as they always have been, equally and seamlessly whole, co-present to one another joined by a universal interbeing element – light. Spirituality is foremost about seeing, not knowledge or intellect. Only when a person can see correctly can they perceive and think in wholes, recognizing divinity in all things, rendering them sacred and equal.
In short, a deficiency in one area of vision (spiritual sight) results in an utter deficiency and impairment in all areas of vision (spiritual blindness), and conversely; a correction in that one area of vision begins an utter restoration and acuity in all areas of vision, and of their interbeing nexus in and as light.
The seven days of Genesis begin with the Spirit (light) moving upon the waters, continue through six days in the movement of creation, and conclude with the Sabbath, a day of rest and repose. If the state of actualized humanity is that of the beginning – insofar as the beginning involves both creative movement AND silent repose – then the sign of the Father (Source) in actualized humanity still exits and repeats itself there as well, the eternal incarnated in the field of time (matter), seamlessly co-present and one with it in action (activity) and repose (meditation). Such fulfills the futuristic synthesis vision of the Universal Christ, and of scientist Teilhard de Chardin .  .  . that in the fullness of times he might gather together in one all things in Christ, both which are in heaven, and which are in earth; even in him (Eph. 1:10).
Being eternal, God has no need for gender, or to procreate. The universal Light of the World attested to same, declaring all human souls will be like angels in the afterlife, eternal beings who always existed and have no need of procreation or gender (Matt. 22:30). Adam, created in God’s image, also had no gender. It may well be that Adam’s gender (maleness) only appeared when he was “dis-integrated” (separated) from the female element in him to create Eve. As God divided day and night through the single act of dividing light from darkness, so too were male and female created in the same instant, in the moment they were separated from each other, unreconciled polarities yearning to seek, reunite, and complete themselves as one again. Being pure and undivided Source, God is One in the Singularity, and therefore exists in the “whole gender” state in which Adam and the Christ (anointed one) were created. The hidden image of humanity once reconciled to the divine is likewise androgynous in spirit, identity, perception, and thought no matter their outward form, gender, or appearance.
One must be careful with the words “male” and “man,” as they have dual meanings. The notion of “male” existed only after the female (Eve) was taken from his whole gender state, leaving a feminine deficit in him. And the notion of “man” is meant to convey the previous (divine) state of integration into One prior to the Fall, after which everything appeared split and divided in perception and thought via separation consciousness (dualistic thinking).
Having “fallen” from unitive consciousness (undivided seeing) to separation consciousness (divided seeing) largely unawares, a major flaw in human perception and thought followed, resulting in the perceived separation of wholes into parts, apparent contraries in need of redemption (re-integration). Such polarities are to be reconciled, restored to their wholeness/oneness again via a regenerated (renewed) Spirit. And with it, paradise (nirvana) regained. Thus, the perceived splits became as follows — mind from body, head from heart, male from female, left brain from right brain, Spirit from soul, Spirit from body, mind and matter, and sacred from secular, and all disciplines from each other. Lastly, followed by the granddaddy of all unreconciled divisions – between science from spirituality — an age-old rift sorely in need of mending.
Writes commentator Stevan Davies; “As all things came from the light (Thomas, saying 77), so those who came from the light are distinguished not so much by their manner of origin, but by their realization of this fact. The place in which the light came into being is the place of Genesis 1:3. Because the light persists in the world as the liminal kingdom of God, there is no idea here of a fall of the light (only a fall of mankind from its first estate in unitive consciousness). A person who is the restored unmanifest image of God will manifest to himself and others the primordial light which is already upon the world (Thomas, sayings 22, 24, 83, 84). As in Genesis 1, light is the creative force in Thomas. As people are re-created through the light of the Father, declared the Universal Light, they are children of light or sons of the living Father (saying 3) or, equivalently, the elect of the living Father. Whereas all people are potentially children of the light, only those aware of, realize, and practice this fact are, in actuality, children, elect, offspring, etc. of the Highest. That is, as partakers of the higher frequency vibrations of light emanating from their Source in the eternal realm.
While water is a symbol for spirit worldwide, it cannot lay claim to being the true universal symbol for it, nor should water be considered the universal solvent. That honor belongs to light, because everything originates from (materializes in), and dissolves (returns) to it, the indivisible substance of all created form.
With unitive consciousness eclipsed, partly as a consequence of divinity divvying up things in creation, and partly aggravated by perceptual impairments resulting from the Fall, vision and thought became distorted, such that seeing the interbeing nature of all things was eclipsed or lost. The third and highest story of the body-soul-spirit temple of creation (Spirit), collapsed into its second story (soul/psyche), hindering clarity of third-eye seeing, hearing, and thought. Evolved as a half-truth, religion became a siloed discipline separated from, and wholly substituting for the recently discovered updates in the neurosciences and physics we’re only beginning to scratch the surface understanding. Likewise, as science came into its own, it continued its empirical pursuits separated from seeing Spirit (light) in things that it (and we) don’t yet fully see or acknowledge as the essence of all things, the ethereal substance of their material form. A half-truth is blind to the big picture, and an unreliable vantage point on which to build any cosmic knowledge base or informed Spirit-Science of the whole. Thus was born the artificial separation of sacred from secular, and science from religion, along with a host of other splits, divisions, rivals, and factions in a world that became, and continues to be a “house (terrestrial family) divided against itself” (Matt. 12:22-280. Such a chaotic, denominated, binary thinking world is what the Universal Christ came to caution and awaken uninformed humanity about, and offer a remedial, salvific global solution for.
(Suggest checking out the 3 min musical rendition of “double vision” by clicking on the Resource tab)
The remedial solution of two becoming one unites our five senses with Spirit consciousness which restores undivided seeing, along with joining our conscious and unconscious mind, enabling a person to see and think in greater wholes with broader, more tolerant views. So there are two levels of consciousness, and two points of focus, what the Cosmic Christ referred to as “the world” (defined by the five senses, devoid of spiritual seeing), and “My Kingdom” (God-consciousness, or undivided seeing). Between these two stood and stands the Universal Mediator who brings them together in unitive consciousness in order to see stereoscopically. Much like left and right brain, and left and right eye which see things from different angles, and by themselves contradict one another. Each side has half of the visual image the other requires in order to see and judge aright. Lacking same, they otherwise function independently, thereby creating double vision; God and Creation, Spirit and matter, science and religion, all having become twinned perceptions of a unified reality, which, properly perceived is One and undivided. According to Genesis, every act of creation, aggravated by the effects of the Fall, seems to have involved a division of one thing from another owing to their differentiation. It is as if what God has “put asunder” in both the acts of creation and consigning humanity to separation consciousness thereafter requires both a redemptory process, and a Redeemer, both aimed at making all things One again. The catalyst for said sacred process involves a personal transformation process by a divine infusion of primordial light that heals, restoring unity and wholeness of being whose image and likeness are more representative of God.
Experiencing the Absolute in a transformative moment relativizes everything, allowing perspectives on such friction generating topics as politics, economics, race, religion, and gender to gradually change. It also reveals overlearned, altogether human tendencies (temptations) toward dualistic, polarizing, argumentative, and biased ways of thinking, furthering radical changes in same leading to a higher (spiritualized) order of life. Such is exactly what happens to darkness when light shines on it. It disappears, seen for the illusion that it is.
Ironically, Didymus is the surname of Thomas, whose name means “double, twain, or twin,” inferring that Thomas was a twin. One can readily appreciate both the optical and metaphysical irony here. In optics, seeing double is a visual distortion of reality, where the eye sees two (twinned) images of a single object side by side. Thomas, or Didymus, represents the faculty of siloed reason, logic, and intellectual (empirical) understanding only, else he would have comprehended Jesus’ teachings straightaway, rendering unnecessary the multiple (farsighted) assurances and explanations that he always demanded from the Master at the outset. That is, from the start Thomas would have known and could not have doubted had he possessed the requisite transrational and intuitive faculties of a spiritually prepared or informed mind. Instead, like the lot of us in an empirically socialized, educated, and divided world, his understanding was altogether human, devoid entirely of any developed liminal faculties in awareness and perception regarding the universal “Kingdom” the Master spoke of that was readily available, within and all around him unawares.
As for seeing double, Scripture declares that “a double-minded man is unstable in all his ways” (James 1:8). Further, seeing double (in dualities) is referred to as seeing “with an evil eye” by Jesus, which he contrasts with the “single eye” vision (unitive consciousness, or undivided seeing) recorded in Matthew, If therefore thine eye by single, the whole body shall be full of light (6:22). Again, spirituality, wholeness, and whole making are foremost about seeing, something Adam lost after the Fall, and which all humans lack following their planetary birth, not knowing their innate self, original face, and deeper identity are of another world, one bathed entirely in primordial light. Without spiritual light (illumination) there can be spiritual sight. And without single eye vision, the two worlds appear to separate (expressed in double-vision), with divided souls rendered blind to their oneness, hampered in their ability to see and therefore come to a consensus on many things, including their God-identity and Origin Story. The full development of that story, still in progress, continues to evolve from a Singularity of primordial light, the universe becoming ever more conscious of itself in humans, and their awakened identity in same.
In another saying from Thomas’s Gospel (83), Jesus said, Images are visible to people, but the light within them is hidden in the image of the Father’s light. He will be disclosed, but his image is hidden by his light.
How and where do we seek and discover this light, wholeness and clarity of vision? While in the Christian tradition, the synoptic gospels like Mark have Jesus predict that the kingdom of God is coming at the end of time (Omega), the gospels of John and Thomas, on the contrary, point toward the beginning where it is to be found, untrammeled by our earthbound planetary bodies, cultural heritage, DNA, life experiences, sense-bound identity, perception, and thought. According to Thomas’s saying 18, when the disciples ask Jesus when the end will come, he replies:
Have you found the beginning, that you look to the end? To understand, one has to go back to the beginning (the beginning of time, as well as one’s planetary existence in it).
Yet how can anyone do that now? This can be answered in multiple ways, (1) the Creation Story in Genesis 1, (2) modern discoveries in quantum physics, (2) the CMBR discovery in the 1960’s, (3) the wondrous Webb Telescope discoveries, (4) the illuminations of divine Spirit in souls, and (5) Thomas’s author who clearly expects that the earnest seeker will go back to the Genesis account of creation to find out what existed before the beginning – even before the world’s creation, as the end is to be found in the beginning. For the creation story begins by saying that even before God created the world, s/he first called forth light: ‘and God said, “Let their be light, and there was light (Gen. 1:30.) Of significance, the word “light” appears ten separate times in the first chapter of Genesis in association with the act(s) of creation, as well as at other critical junctures of the redemption story throughout the biblical narrative.
Jewish teachers who discussed this passage often explained that this could not be ordinary light, since of course the world, with its sun, moon and stars, had not yet been created. Instead, this must be the primordial light as Source and image, the divine energy which brought the world into being. For since Israel’s God, unlike other gods, could not be imaged in in statues of graphic form, the only image the prophet Ezekiel could mention when describing his vision of the divine being on the heavenly throne was that of light – the glory of God (in Hebrew, kavod). Thus, the prophet says that he saw all around that throne, brilliance of jewels, emeralds, rainbows, a sea of crystal, fire – and light. And as recorded in the New Testament, when the Christ revealed his glorified body to three disciples on the Mount of Transfiguration (Mt. Tabor), he did so accompanied by Moses and Elijah, all three appearing as such dazzlingly ebullient figures of light that the disciples fell to the ground shielding their eyes from the overwhelming intensity of it all.
Several accounts envision Jesus himself as divine light: so, in the Gospel of John, he declares that “I am the light of the world,” and, in Thomas, “I am the light of the world, the light that is before all things; I am all things; all things come forth from meall things return to meSplit a piece of wood and I am there; lift up a rock and you will find me.” Yet the ‘good news’ of the Gospel of Thomas is not only about Jesus, but also everyone and everything. In short, being organically embedded everywhere in the created order, the Cosmic Christ is another name for EVERYTHING. So unlike in John’s account, in Thomas, Jesus tells his disciples, “you, too, come from the light; and so you shall return there again.”
In Thomas’s Gospel, it seems Jesus is expressing and reiterating the universal truth that transcends labels like “God” and “Father,” and all sectarian names for Creation’s Universal Source in the infinite invisible. Yet light remains a mystery, itself acting in ways that are elusive, playing perceptual tricks on our already hindered vision. Known as wave-particle duality, light sometimes behaves as a wave, and sometimes as a particle, depending on the observer, the circumstances, and/or the effect being observed. Ironic, in that light is not only marked by having properties of consciousness, but by having its own duality, along with multiple manifestations of itself on the electromagnetic spectrum, in the created order, and in the universe with respect to interdimensional and/or off-world intelligences.
In the baptismal sequence of Thomas’s gospel, Jesus instructs his disciples how to answer basic questions of who they are. When they say to you, ‘Where do you come from?’ say, we come from the light; where the light came into being from the beginning.’ And when they say, ‘Who are you/’ say, ‘We are children of light — children of the living father.’ Again, meaning the end is in the beginning; Alpha and Omega, first and last, beginning and end are the same place. Got it? Thomas finally seemed to, and when he awakened to same, it appears he was instructed to tell others in the gospel that bears his name. The life journey on earth, like the seasons and cycles of nature, is circuitous, “to arrive where we started, and know the place for the first time” (T.S. Eliot). And that place is non-local (everywhere), a theology of space over place, knowing no formal religion, creeds, race, or geography, nor temples made with human hands. The latter is to be realized firsthand, in enlightened consciousness with no clerical or sectarian mediation required.
As water the world over is known by many names, withal, its chemical consistency remains H2O everywhere, unarguably so. Ditto God as the Cosmic or Universal Light of the World, spoken of by the Universal Christ, and underscored by Thomas as One and undivided, fully present everywhere.
Contrary to religious tradition, rife with prejudice, error, and politics as any institutionalized endeavor, gospels like that of Thomas simply are no longer to be viewed with suspicion, written as ‘bad’ heretical gospels, but as the secret esoteric teachings of this Universal Light taught only to those equal to it. It included all those who had already received the ‘milk’ of the exoteric messages found in the New Testament gospels of Matthew, Luke, and John, and who were ready for the bread and stronger meat of the Master’s teaching. Having acquired the foundational truths, these disciples didn’t consider themselves as spiritually elite, like the Pharisees, Sadducees, and Essenes. Rather, they were eager to ingest and metabolize more solid spiritual food, and at more advanced levels broadening their vision, experience, understanding, and definition of God as universal and in all things.
Owing to the discovery of over 50 ancient texts, most of them completely unknown, it is now possible to rewrite the history of the Jesus Movement in a much more, rich, human, scientifically plausible and complex way than ever before. And more importantly, to unearth the foundational truths of material creation and the innate nature of our spirit-souls as having their origin and Source in light from a Cosmic Consciousness (Spirit) that the Cosmic embodied in his time.
Stories are meant to be told, and retold. As for telling a New Universe Story along all-inclusive lines in a way that reveals the universal substance of all created form, or for that matter the energy behind all religious deities, earnest truth seekers will not only be attracted to same, but will likewise awaken, and in great number. Religious teachings and practices are the most effective when they connect inner and outer worlds in a unified whole. That calls for education to be cosmo-theological (cosmotheandric) in scope, including Big Bang cosmology, quantum physics, consciousness studies, developmental psychology, systems biology, sacred geometry, comparative religion studies, and evolution, along with tradition and holy books. For those who diligently develop and crystallize that integrated center in themselves, the Cosmic Light of the World foretold that they would one day make greater, more integral wholes than s/he ever did, moving mountains along the way. But it will take a radical shift in perception, thought, and language in the direction of unitive consciousness to attain that globally.
Very truly I tell you, whoever believes in me will do the works I have been doing, and they will do even greater things than these . . . (John 14:12, NIV).
All things being One, joined by a single universal constant (light) should have been, and still can be Christology’s major contribution to a Spirit-Science synthesis, and key to world unity in these divided times.