On account of the reality of the authorities, (inspired) by the spirit of the father of truth, the great apostle – referring to the “authorities of the darkness” – told us that “our contest is not against flesh and blood; rather, the authorities of the universe and the spirits of wickedness.” I have sent this (to you) because you inquire about the reality of the authorities.
Their chief is blind; because of his power and his ignorance and his arrogance he said, with his power, “It is I who am God; there is none apart from me.” When he said this, he sinned against the entirety. And this speech got up to incorruptibility; then there was a voice that came forth from incorruptibility, saying, “You are mistaken, Samael” – which is, “god of the blind.”
His thoughts became blind. And, having expelled his power – that is, the blasphemy he had spoken – he pursued it down to chaos and the abyss, his mother, at the instigation of Pistis Sophia. And she established each of his offspring in conformity with its power – after the pattern of the realms that are above, for by starting from the invisible world the visible world was invented.
They took Adam and put him the garden, that he might cultivate it and keep watch over it. And the rulers issued a command to him, saying, “From every tree in the garden shall you eat; yet from the tree of recognizing good and evil do not eat, nor touch it; for the day you eat from it, with death you are going to die.”
The rulers took counsel with one another and said, “Come, let us cause a deep sleep to fall upon Adam.” And he slept. – Now the deep sleep that they “caused to fall upon him, and he slept” is Ignorance. – They opened his side like a living woman. And they built up his side with some flesh in place of her, and Adam came to be endowed only with soul.
And the spirit-endowed woman came to him and spoke with him, saying, “Arise, Adam.” And when he saw her, he said, “It is you who have given me life; you will be called ‘mother of the living’. – For it is she who is my mother. It is she who is the physician, and the woman, and she who has given birth.”
Then the authorities came up to their Adam. And when they saw his female counterpart speaking with him, they became agitated with great agitation; and they became enamored of her. They said to one another, “Come, let us sow our seed in her,” and they pursued her. And she laughed at them for their witlessness and their blindness; and in their clutches she became a tree, and left before them her shadowy reflection resembling herself; and they defiled it foully. – And they defiled the stamp of her voice, so that by the form they had modeled, together with their (own) image, they made themselves liable to condemnation.
Then the female spiritual principle came in the snake, the instructor; and it taught them, saying, “What did he say to you? Was it, ‘From every tree in the garden shall you eat; yet – from the tree of recognizing good and evil do not eat’?”
The carnal woman said, “Not only did he say ‘Do not eat’, but even ‘Do not touch it; for the day you eat from it, with death you are going to die.'”
And the snake, the instructor, said, “With death you shall not die; for it was out of jealousy that he said this to you. Rather your eyes shall open and you shall come to be like gods, recognizing evil and good.” And the female instructing principle was taken away from the snake, and she left it behind, merely a thing of the earth.
And the carnal woman took from the tree and ate; and she gave to her husband as well as herself; and these beings that possessed only a soul, ate. And their imperfection became apparent in their lack of knowledge; and they recognized that they were naked of the spiritual element, and took fig leaves and bound them upon their loins.
From The Hypostasis of the Archons
(The Reality of the Rulers)
The Nag Hammadi Library
Translated by Bentley Layton