Gospel of Thomas Saying 83

Previous - Gospel of Thomas Home - Next

This Gospel of Thomas Commentary is part of the Gospel of Thomas page at Early Christian Writings.

Nag Hammadi Coptic Text

Gospel of Thomas Coptic Text


(83) Jesus said: The images are revealed to man, and the light which is in them is hidden in the image of the light of the Father. He will reveal himself, and his image is hidden by his light.


(83) Jesus said, "Images are visible to human beings. And the light within these (images) is hidden by the image of the father's light; it will be disclosed. And his image is hidden by his light."


87 [83]. Jesus says: "Images are visible to man, but the light which is in them is hidden. In the image of the light of the Father, it <this light> will be revealed, and his image will be veiled by his light."

Funk's Parallels

1 Tim 6:15-16, 2 Cor 3:18, 2 Cor 4:4-6.

Visitor Comments

This is my personal interpretation: Human beings look at too many things superficially, perhaps because we think that we do not have to worry about the details if god is looking after us, and god will make us understand these things. Godís true being is/will be too strong to be hidden by outward appearance.
- r2d2d3d4d5

The light is "of the innerself" or the mind (not the 'brain'). We, as humans, fail to allow the true intelligence of our mind to escape the darkness by "pondering" as to where we came from rather than where we are going.
- Dr. Lowell

Concepts are visible to people but the truth of the innate self within them is hidden by the concept of the innate parent. When the truth of the concept of the innate parent is known, the concept itself disappears.
- Rodney

A tree is a tree, a dog is a dog, a man is a man. We, in our search for knowledge have labeled and divide all we see. We see everything as individual entities. Instead of seeing a tree, a dog, and a man, is it possible to see one thing? Is it possible to see every thing (people, plants, animals, planets, stars, solar systems, etc.) as one thing? As all part of God.
- Jeffrey

One of the main functions of the Godhead according to the scriptures is the act of concealment. God creates the world for his own amusement and he hid himself in it, to trick even himself. How fun it is to rediscover oneself and know our true nature.
- Unknown

Scholarly Quotes

Marvin Meyer quotes Philo of Alexandria in Allegorical Interpretation of Genesis 1.31-32 commenting on Genesis 2:7 as follows: "'And God formed humankind by taking clay from the earth, and he breathed into the face the breath of life, and humankind became a living soul.' There are two kinds of human beings: One is heavenly, the other earthly. Now the heavenly is made in the image of God and is completely free of corruptible and earthly substance; but the earthly was constructed from matter scattered about, which he (that is, Moses) calls clay. Therefore he says that the heavenly human was not molded but was stamped in the image of God, while the earthly human is a molded thing, but not an offspring, of the Artisan. One must deduce that the human being from the earth is mind admitting but not yet penetrated by the body." (The Gospel of Thomas: The Hidden Sayings of Jesus, p. 100)

Marvin Meyer writes: "Elsewhere, in his tractate On the Creation of the World 134, Philo describes the heavenly human, created in God's image, as 'an idea or kind or seal, an object of thought, incorporeal, neither male nor female, incorruptible by nature.' In the gnostic Secret Book of John II 15,2-5 the demiurge Yaldabaoth may even distinguish between the image and the likeness when he says to his authorities, 'Come, let us create a human being in the image of God and in our likeness, so that the image of the human being may become a light for us.' In general, compare also 2 Corinthians 3:18; 4:4-6; 1 Timothy 6:14-16." (The Gospel of Thomas: The Hidden Sayings of Jesus, p. 100)

Jean Doresse writes: "The doctrine of images is of Platonic origin; they are the models or primordial unattainable ideas, which exist in the mind of God. Here, however, it is the images which are visible, while the light which is within them is invisible. It becomes visible, however, through the Father's light, while his image remains veiled by his light." (The Secret Books of the Egyptian Gnostics, p. 377)

F. F. Bruce writes: "The 'image of the Father's light' is presumably Christ (cf. 2 Corinthians 4.4; Colossians 1.15), who cannot be adequately perceived by those are are still in mortal body. When mortality is at last sloughed off, he will be fully manifest (cf. Colossians 3.4; 1 John 3.2)." (Jesus and Christian Origins Outside the New Testament, pp. 144-145)

Stevan Davies writes: "I read for saying 83 not 'he will be manifest...' but 'It [the light of the Father] will be manifest....' That the Father Himself becomes manifest while His image does not is, I think, an absurdity in the context of Thomas." (http://www.misericordia.edu/users/davies/thomas/jblprot.htm)

Gerd Ludemann writes: "The logion defines the relationship between image, light and Father. Cf. Gospel of Philip 67: 'The truth did not come naked into the world, but came in types and images. It (= the world) will not (be able to) receive it otherwise.' See further 50.1-2." (Jesus After 2000 Years, p. 631)

Funk and Hoover write: "This saying makes use of the language of the Platonic schools, which were active at the time the Christian movement began. According to Plato, God or the Demiurge brought the world into being, but crafted it according to an eternal archetype or 'image' (sometimes called a 'form'). The sensory world was contrasted in Platonism with the world of 'images' or 'forms,' which were eternal and fixed. Platonism influenced Philo, a Jewish philosopher of considerable stature liviing in Alexandria, Egypt, at the time of Jesus. A little later, Clement of Alexandria, and Origen, another Egyptian Christian philosopher-theologian, began to integrate Platonism and Christian thought. This saying in Thomas thus reflects early Christian attempts to formulate its theology in Greek philosophical terms, something entirely alien to Jesus, but quite common in many parts of Christendom." (The Five Gospels, p. 518)

Stephen Patterson writes: "Thom. 83 probably also has to do with instruction on what to look for when one encounters God in the beatific vision. It deals with the theme of 'light,' or the experience of luminosity that is often associated with visionary experience. In distinction from the light that is hidden within the human likeness, God's light is overwhelming." (The Fifth Gospel, p. 64)

If you like the site, please buy the CD to support its work and get bonus stuff!
Copyright 2012 Peter Kirby <E-Mail>. See the Gospel of Thomas Bibliography & Credits.

Gospel of Thomas Saying 83

Previous - Gospel of Thomas Home - Next