The word Gnosticism is derived from a Greek word which means knowledge. Gnosticism was not a movement in classic sense because it had no unity of purpose or persons. In was a grab bag of many movements, all of which stressed philosophy and empirical knowledge rather than faith. There were many little groups, led by some guru who had his own particular slant on things. But in the end each came to the position of a superior mystical knowledge of the spiritual realm, not from faith or the gifts of the Holy Ghost, but through an eastern-meditation type of discipline.
The Gnostics were the forerunners of apologists. They accepted man’s need for salvation, and the idea of God and heavenly beings. They felt that they were an intellectual elite who had to purify religion of the crude and common ideas that they considered to be too materialistic. In the end, Gnosticism was a kind of dualism that believed the world to be divided between two cosmic forces-good and evil. Having much in common with Greek mythology, they believed that the evil forces were concerned with material things. Therefore they concluded that the creator of the material universe had to be evil. This creator could not have been david hoffmeister deity because a material creation was not only evil but indecent. They therefore explained creation by a series of emanations, as the rays emanate from the sun. There were supernatural powers who were capable of producing other inferior powers. Charles Bigg, the Oxford scholar, declared that they kept at this until they had produced “a long chain of divine creatures, each weaker than its parent,” and arrived in the end at “one who, while powerful enough to create, is silly enough not to see that creation is wrong.” This, in their opinion, was the God of this world and the God of the Jews. I am not certain whether the Gnostics thought that this was Satan, though many commentators believe that they did.