Assuming the arrogant pose of a solar deity, Yaldabaoth falsely believes himself to be the only god in the entire cosmos.
Thus, for Gnostics, the identification of Yaldabaoth with Jehovah of the Old Testament, a deity who suffers from this very complex of cosmic egotism, is a foregone conclusion, prefigured in the Sophianic origin myth.
Being blind, he cannot perceive the Pleroma (galactic core), nor does he recognize Sophia, the cosmic current that surged from the core and produced him in the first place.
He becomes infatuated, bloated with grandiosity, causing Sophia to feel shame and want to hide him from the sight of the Pleromic Aeons.
“She cast him away from her radiance, so that no one among the immortal ones might see him… She joined a luminous cloud with him, and placed a throne in the middle of the cloud.”
(Apoc John BG 38, 1-10)
The Aeon Sophia is that cosmic current whose impact organizes the dema and produces the Archons.
This happens because She acts unilaterally in Her plunge from the galactic core, but Sophia does not unilaterally cause the birth of the Sun. This is a process continually occurring in the galactic limbs, due to the physics of the limb structure itself. In an action that might be compared to a mill wheel grinding stones, the galactic armature churns and refines elementary matter, constantly producing star-birth, the promise of new worlds of experience.
The key to the unique status of our planetary system is the convergence of Sophia’s impact with the nebular expulsion of a newborn star. The material of the Archons is incorporated into that material vortex that forms around this star, and Sophia herself fixes the chief Archon centrally (“enthroned”) in the center of the proto-planetary disk (“luminous cloud”).
Overseen by Yaldabaoth, the Archons now proceed to fabricate the planetary system from the inorganic elements of which them themselves are composed. As they have no intentionality (ennoia) and no creative capacity (epinoia) of their own, they can only do this by imitation.
The Apocryphon of John (II, 10, 24-25) describes how the Lord Archon “produced for himself cyclic worlds (orbiting bodies) from the luminous spark that still shines in the sky.” Thus, he draws upon the vortex power of the central star, the newborn Sun, to organize the matter swirling in the proto-planetary disk.
Yaldabaoth originates nothing, however. He can only copy the model of the Pleroma, without even knowing that he does so:
And he was amazed by his own arrogance, for he seemed to beget material powers (exousiai, “authorities”) out of his own solitary power, but after the patterns of the imperishable Aeons… And so there came to be a stereoma (“firmament”) corresponding to the cyclic formations of the Pleroma.
(II, 10, 26-28, and 12, 25)
Gnostic teachings constantly emphasize that the Archons are imitators who cannot produce anything original, yet they arrogantly claim they can.
The Lord Archon is called antimimon pneuma, “counterfeit spirit.” (Apoc John III, 36:17. The term occurs several times in different texts.) The cosmos he produces is described by the Coptic term hal, “simulation.” The vast planetary system of the Archons is a stereoma, a virtual reality projection in simulation of a higher dimensional pattern.
Typically, the Archontic framework of the planetary system has been depicted by “armillary bands” that surround the Earth. (Illustration from A. Cellarius, Harmonia Macrocosma, 1660.) Taken in many esoteric systems (Hermetics and Rosicrucianism) as the preeminent image of cosmic harmony, the model of the planetary spheres reflects a mindless imitation of divine design, not the living reality of the cosmos.
Yaldabaoth, the presumed all-mighty creator God, really creates nothing; instead, he copies from “archetypal” patterns in the Pleroma. The planetary stereoma of his making is like a plastic copy of an abalone shell. Only someone who does not know the reality of the abalone shell, and what living miracle of nature is required to produce it, would accept the plastic substitution. Here again, the cosmic-noetic parallel applies: Archons simulate in the cosmos at large, and they also simulate in the human mind. This is a key indication of their effect, a clue to their subtle intrusion tactics.
The main cosmological texts in the Nag Hamadi Library (NHL), On the Origin of the World, The Hypostasis of the Archons, and The Apocryphon of John, are consistent in describing how the solar system arises as an inorganic simulation of the living pattern of the eternal Aeons. Here is further insight into “the generation of error.”
One might be excused (but just barely) for mistaking plastic for pearl, but it would be terrible ignorance indeed to be unaware that it takes an entire ocean and a living, symbiotic biosphere to produce a pearl. Yet such is the ignorance of the Archons that they cannot comprehend the living miracle of divine order, rooted in the Pleroma, even when they are imitating it.
The stereoma of the Archons is truly a grandiose accomplishment, rather like the many-roomed Venetian palace of a Mafia don afflicted with religious grandiosity and a militaristic sense of the command chain:
Now the prime parent (archigenetor), the master breeder of the Archons, since he commanded vast orbiting worlds, produced heavens for each of his offspring… beautiful dwellings, and in each heaven Yaldabaoth produced glorious decor, seven times excellent: thrones and mansions and temples, and also chariots and celestial virgins… consigning to each one its own heaven-like realm, and providing them with mighty armies of gods and commanders and messengers and overseers, in countless myriads, so that they might all serve and be served. (On the Origin of the World, 19.)
Readers familiar with the archetypal psychology of C. G. Jung will recognize in this passage all the elements of the heaven archetype common to the mainstream religions:
virgins on order
choirs of angels arranged with military precision
The stereoma is loaded with spiritual kitsch.
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