Nag Hammadi Codex I

The third Adam is earthly


Before Adam of light withdrew in the chaos, the authorities saw him.

They laughed at the chief creator because he lied, saying, “I am god and there is no other god but me.” When they came to him, they said, “Is this not the god who ruined our work?”

He answered and said, “Yes, but if you wish that he not be able to ruin our work, come, let’s create a human being from the earth according to the image of our body and according to the likeness of this being,  to serve us, so that whenever this being sees his likeness, he may become enamored of it.

Then he will no longer ruin our work, but we shall make those who are born from the light our servants through all the time of this age.”

Now, all this came to pass according to the forethought of Pistis in order that humankind might appear after this likeness and condemn them on account of their fashioned bodies. And their fashioned bodies became fences for the light.

Then the authorities received knowledge necessary to create people. Sophia Zoe, who is with Sabaoth, anticipated them and laughed at their decision because they were blind—in ignorance they created him against themselves.

They do not know what they do. Because of this she anticipated them. She created her human being first in order that he might tell their fashioned body how to scorn them and thus to escape them.

Now, the birth of the instructor occurred in this way.  When Sophia let a drop of light fall, it floated on the water. Immediately a human being appeared, being androgynous.

She molded that drop first as a female body.

Afterward she molded it, with the body, in the likeness of the mother who appeared, and she finished it in twelve months.

An androgynous human being was conceived, whom the Greeks call Hermaphrodite,  while the Jews call his mother Eve of life, that is, the instructor of life.

Her child is the creature who is lord. Afterward, the authorities called it the beast in order to lead their fashioned bodies astray.

The meaning of the beast is the instructor, for it was found to be wiser than all beings.

Moreover, Eve is the first virgin who gave birth without a man. She is the one who functioned as her own midwife.


Then the authorities were informed that their fashioned body was alive, and had risen, and they were very much disturbed. They sent seven archangels to see what had happened.

They came to Adam, and when they saw Eve speaking with him, they said to one another, “What is this enlightened woman? For truly she resembles the likeness that appeared to us in the light.

Now come, let us seize her and cast our seed into her, so that when she is polluted she will not be able to ascend to her light, but those whom she bears will serve us.

But let us not tell Adam, because he is not from us. Rather, let us bring a stupor upon him, and suggest to him in his sleep that she came into being from his rib, so that the woman may serve and he may rule over her.”

Then Eve, since she existed as a power, laughed at their false intention. She darkened their eyes and secretly left her likeness there with Adam. She entered the tree of knowledge and remained there.

They pursued her, and she revealed to them that she had entered the tree and had become the tree. And when the blind ones fell into a great fear, they ran away.

Afterward, when they sobered up from the stupor, they came to Adam. And when they saw the likeness of that woman with him, they were troubled, thinking that this was the true Eve.

And they acted recklessly, and came to her and seized her and cast their seed upon her. They did it deceitfully, defiling her not only naturally but also abominably, first defiling the seal of her voice, which had spoken with them, saying, “What is it that exists before you?”

They meant to defile those who might say at the consummation of the age that they had been born of a true human by means of the word.

And they were deceived, not knowing that they had defiled their own body. It was the likeness that the authorities and their angels defiled in every way.


First Eve conceived Abel from the first ruler; and she bore the rest of the sons from the seven authorities and their angels.

Now, all this came to pass according to the forethought of the chief creator, so that the first mother might bear within herself every seed, mixed and joined together with the fate of the world and its configurations and justice.

A plan came into being because of Eve, so that the fashioned bodies of the authorities might become fences for the light. Then the light will condemn them through their fashioned bodies.

The first Adam of light is spiritual and appeared on the first day.

The second Adam is a person with soul and appeared on the sixth day, called Aphrodite.  

The third Adam is earthly, that is, a man of law, who appeared on the eighth day, after the rest of poverty, which is called Sunday.

Now, the progeny of the earthly Adam multiplied and was completed and produced within itself all the technical skill of the Adam with soul. But all were in ignorance.


Next, let me continue. When the rulers saw him and the woman who was with him erring in ignorance like beasts, they rejoiced greatly. When they learned that an immortal human was not going to pass them by, but that they would even have to fear the woman who had turned into a tree, they were troubled and said, “Is this, perhaps, the true human, who blinded us and taught us about this defiled woman who is like him, that we might be conquered?”

Then the seven took counsel. They came to Adam and Eve timidly, and they said to him, “The fruit of every tree created for you in paradise may be eaten, but beware, don’t eat from the tree of knowledge. If you do eat, you will die.” After they gave them a great fright, they withdrew up to their authorities.

Then came the one who is wiser than all creatures, who was called the beast. When he saw the likeness of their mother, Eve, he said to her, “What is it that god said to you? ‘Don’t eat from the tree of knowledge’?” She said, “He said not only ‘Don’t eat from it’ but also ‘Don’t touch it, lest you die.’” He said to her, “Don’t be afraid! You certainly shall not die. For he knows that when you eat from it your mind will be sobered and you will become like gods, knowing the difference between evil and good people. For he said this to you because he is jealous, so that you would not eat from it.”

Now, Eve believed the words of the instructor. She looked at the tree and saw that it was beautiful and appealing, and she desired it. She took some of its fruit and ate, and she gave to her husband also, and he ate too. Then their minds opened. For when they ate, the light of knowledge shone for them. When they put on shame, they knew that they were naked with regard to knowledge. When they sobered up, they saw that they were naked, and they became enamored of one another. When they saw that their makers had beastly forms, they loathed them. They understood a great deal.


Then when the rulers knew that Adam and Eve had transgressed their commandment, they entered paradise and came to Adam and Eve in an earthquake and a great threat, to see the result of the help that was given.

Then Adam and Eve were very much disturbed and hid under the trees in paradise. The rulers did not know where they were and said, “Adam, where are you?” He said, “I am here.

But because of fear of you I hid after I became ashamed.” But they said to him, in ignorance, “Who is the one who spoke to you of the shame that you put on—unless you ate from the tree?”

He said, “The woman whom you gave me, she is the one who gave to me, and I ate.” Then they said to that woman, “What is this you have done?” She answered and said, “The instructor is the one who incited me, and I ate.”

Then the rulers came to the instructor. Their eyes were blinded by him so they were not able to do anything to him. They merely cursed him, since they were powerless.

Afterward they came to the woman, and they cursed her and her offspring. After the woman they cursed Adam and the earth and the fruit because of him.

And everything that they created they cursed. There is no blessing from them. Good cannot come from evil.

Since that day the authorities knew that truly there was something stronger than they. They would not have known except that their commandment was broken. They brought a great envy into the world only because of the immortal human.

Now, when the rulers saw that their Adam had acquired a different knowledge, they wanted to test him.

They gathered all the domestic animals and wild beasts of the earth and the birds of the heaven, and brought them to Adam to see what he would call them.

When he saw them, he gave names to their creatures. They were troubled because Adam had sobered up from all ignorance.

They gathered together and took counsel and said, “Look, Adam has become like one of us, so that he understands the difference between light and darkness.

Now perhaps he will be deceived as with the tree of knowledge and will come to the tree of life and eat from it and become immortal and rule and condemn us and regard us and all our glory as folly.

And then he will pass judgment on us and the world.

Come, let’s cast him out of paradise down to the earth, the place from where he was taken, so that he will no longer be able to know anything better than we can.”

And so they cast Adam and his wife out of paradise.

And what they had done did not satisfy them.

Rather, they were still afraid.

They came to the tree of life and they set great terrors around it, fiery living beings called cherubim; and they left a flaming sword in the midst, turning continually with a great terror, so that no one from among earthly beings might ever enter that place.

After these things, when the rulers had become jealous of Adam, they wanted to diminish the human lifetimes, but they were unable because of fate, which was established since the beginning.

For their lifetimes were determined: for each of the people one thousand years according to the circuit of the luminaries.

But although the rulers were not able to do this, each of the evildoers took away ten years.

So all of the remaining time amounts to nine hundred thirty years, and these are spent in grief and weakness and in evil distractions.

Thus life has gone, from that day until the consummation of the age.


Then when Sophia Zoe saw that the rulers of darkness cursed her companions, she was angry. And when she came out of the first heaven with every power, she chased the rulers from their heavens, and she cast them down to the sinful world, that they might dwell there as evil demons upon the earth.

She sent the bird that was in paradise so that, until the consummation of the age, it might spend the thousand years in the rulers’ world: a vital living being with soul, called the phoenix, which kills itself and reanimates itself for a witness to their judgment, because they dealt unjustly with Adam and his race.

There are three human beings and their descendants in the world until the consummation of the age: the spiritual and the psychical and the earthly.

This is like the three kinds of phoenixes of paradise: the first is immortal; the second attains one thousand years; as for the third, it is written in the Holy Book that it is consumed.

Likewise three baptisms exist: the first is spiritual, the second is by fire, the third is by water.

Just as the phoenix appears as a witness for the angels, so too the water serpents in Egypt have become a witness to those who go down for the baptism of a true person.

The two bulls in Egypt, insofar as they indicate the sun and the moon as a mystery, exist for a witness to Sabaoth, that Sophia of the world has been exalted above the sun and the moon, from the day when she created them and sealed her heaven until the consummation of the age.

And the worm that is brought forth from the phoenix is also a human being. It is written of it, “The just will sprout like the phoenix.” The phoenix first appears alive, and dies, and rises again, as a sign of what appears at the consummation of the age.

These great signs appeared only in Egypt, not in other lands, signifying that it is like the paradise of god.


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