The Hilariously Bad Gospel of Thomas

Much has been made of the so-called “lost gospels.” Many people have asked, “Were other Gospels made during the same time as the four canonical Gospels which the early church suppressed because they contained doctrines and historical testimony that was contrary to accepted Christian orthodoxy?” Did the early church suppress other versions of Christianity that taught differently or writings that bear witness to a more historical Jesus? The answer is a resounding “no.” The “lost gospels” are second and third century fictional writings which are heavily influenced by gnosticism and Greek philosophy. Besides that, they were written long after the original four Gospels were written in order to prop up false teaching. The New Testament bears witness to false teachers infiltrating the church in the accounts of Galatians, Colossians, and 1 John so we should not be surprised to find heretical writings that claim to be authoritative. The most well-known of these is the Gospel of Thomas. If those who claim Thomas is a true Gospel which reflects early Christian beliefs would just read the document, its fictional and absurd nature would be exposed. The following selections from Thomas will show you why:

14. Jesus said to them, “If you fast, you will bring sin upon yourselves, and if you pray, you will be condemned, and if you give to charity, you will harm your spirits.”

Jesus taught that fasting is a normal part of the Christian life in Matthew 6:17: “When you fast,” not “if you fast.” Fasting was also part of early Christian worship (Acts 13:2-3; 14:23). Jesus himself taught us to pray in the Lord’s Prayer in Matthew 6:9-13 and prayed for his people in John 17. Jesus commanded us to give to others in Matthew 5:42 and commanded the rich young ruler to give to the poor in Matthew 19:21. The author of Thomas evidently had little to no knowledge of the Sermon on the Mount.

22. Jesus saw some babies nursing. He said to his disciples, “These nursing babies are like those who enter the kingdom.” They said to him, “Then shall we enter the kingdom as babies?” Jesus said to them, “When you make the two into one, and when you make the inner like the outer and the outer like the inner, and the upper like the lower, and when you make male and female into a single one, so that the male will not be male nor the female be female, when you make eyes in place of an eye, a hand in place of a hand, a foot in place of a foot, an image in place of an image, then you will enter the kingdom.”

The kindest thing that can be said here is that this doesn’t sound like the Jesus of the Bible.

30. Jesus said, “Where there are three deities, they are divine. Where there are two or one, I am with that one.”

Thomas presupposes a polytheistic and gnostic worldview with multiple gods and emanations proceeding from the highest deity who is too pure to create the world because gnostics believe the physical world is intrinsically evil so you have to have an emanation of lesser deities who are not as pure as the first deity until you reach one who can create the physical world. On the other hand, Jesus is a biblical monotheist (Mark 10:18; 12:32; John 5:44; 17:3).

37. His disciples said, “When will you appear to us, and when will we see you?” Jesus said, “When you strip without being ashamed, and you take your clothes and put them under your feet like little children and trample them, then you will see the son of the living one and you will not be afraid.”

The only people who could say “Amen” to this are nudists. Clothing was given to us by God after the fall as a reminder that we need the shedding of blood to cover us and cover over our sins because an animal had to die for Adam and Eve to be forgiven pointing to Christ’s sacrifice (Gen 3:21; Heb 9:22; 10:4).

87. Jesus said, “How miserable is the body that depends on a body, and how miserable is the soul that depends on these two.”

112. Jesus said, “Damn the flesh that depends on the soul. Damn the soul that depends on the flesh.”

These statements reflect a gnostic view of the body that sees the body and the physical world as intrinsically evil. The Bible teaches that death is the unnatural separation of the soul from the body and is not something to be desired in and of itself. The resurrection of our body is the ultimate goal, not the intermediate state, when the curse will be reversed and our bodies will be without any defect or sin resembling our risen savior (Phil 3:21).

114. Simon Peter said to them, “Make Mary leave us, for females don’t deserve life.” Jesus said, “Look, I will guide her to make her male, so that she too may become a living spirit resembling you males. For every female who makes herself male will enter the kingdom of Heaven.”

The irony of this statement is that many of the advocates for “gnostic Christianity” are also feminists but these words run contrary to any sense of equality between men and women. Paul said that men and women are equal in Christ in Galatians 3:28 and Jesus healed many women in his ministry without ever turning them into men (Luke 13:16).


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