Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Chapter Three in My New Book

When we try to piece together the history of the early Church the 'go to' book is the Acts of the Apostles.  Acts is an extremely important text.  It was received into our received New Testament canon and was placed immediately after the four gospels.  The presumed author of Acts is the evangelist Luke.  Luke claims to explain to an otherwise unknown person named 'Theophilus' the historical development of the worldwide Church.  The narrative starts with Jesus's charge to the apostles to spread the gospel throughout the world.  It proceeds to introduce a number of important personalities in the early Church including a hitherto unknown figure known as Paul.  Acts tells of Paul's eventually reconciliation with Peter at Antioch which is presented as marking the first time people were called 'Christians'.  The narrative concludes with a focus on Paul in Rome in its words “teaching about the Lord Jesus Christ with all boldness and without hindrance” (28:31).

Acts is the glue which holds together our understanding of how the religion of Jesus began.  It is for this reason that some have called it 'the bible of the Bible' owing to the definitive stamp it casts on how Christianity should be interpreted.  Acts doesn't just introduce history; it fashioned new myths for the faithful to believe in.  Its portrait of the early Church is not without its detractors.  A number of modern scholars have argued that rather than being a historical eyewitness of companion of the apostles, it is pseudepigraphon or 'falsely attributed work' attempting to reshape the history of Christianity more in keeping with 'bourgeois' sensibilities.  As the great evangelical scholar Frederick Fyvie Bruce sums it up, Acts was directed at "a member of the middle class in Roman society in some sections of which an interest had been kindled in this new faith."[1]  Among its many innovations, the text promotes the idea that "those who have more should voluntarily, not by compulsion, share with the have-nots."[2]

Of course scholars have ignored the question of a revised understanding of Christian marriage or sexuality because they either assumed there was no controversy to speak of.  Indeed the topics of love and marriage never emerge in the text whatsoever.  One can argue that the material simply assumes that all the apostles were celibate missionaries nevertheless even this might represent a revaluation away from earlier assumptions about the apostolic age.  The Roman Church as we shall see in a subsequent chapter preserves a very ancient understanding of Peter and Paul as saints mystically yoked together by some unknown supernatural power.  They were the embodiment of the idea of one divine soul being shared by two individuals.

It is important to note that this doctrine was not preserved by the author of the Acts of the Apostles.  This was undoubtedly one of many reasons why Acts was rejected by the majority of early Christian communities.  The late second century Church Father Irenaeus makes it clear that aside from denying Acts central claim about the existence of an apostle named 'Paul' these heretics "make Luke to be a liar" rejecting almost every detail of Acts as "wholly spurious."[3]  Indeed Irenaeus refers to accepting the gospel of Luke and Acts as something of a litmus test for Christian believers.  He says that "God set forth very many Gospel truths through Luke's instrumentality which all should esteem it necessary to use, in order that all persons, following his subsequent testimony, which treats upon the acts and the doctrine of the apostles, and holding the unadulterated rule of truth, may be saved."[4]

Indeed when we read the opening words of Luke as well as Irenaeus interpretation of his role in the early Church, it would appear that this evangelist was actively involved in challenging and correcting the heretical opinions of earlier generations.  Irenaeus repeats over and over again that there is 'danger' for those who do not believe in Luke's transformation of traditional Christian doctrine.  When Luke says at the beginning of his gospel that he has undertaken to write a "narration" based on things already established "by those who from the first were eyewitnesses and servants of the word" Irenaeus takes this to mean that all previous to Luke "just received doctrine as they were able to hear it" but that Luke at the very end of development of the New Testament finally established all things according to "the rule of truth."[5]

It is important to note that Irenaeus is quite explicit about what this "rule of truth" is.  He repeatedly emphasizes that this understanding rejects any secret teaching in the Church or in Irenaeus's own words that Luke's "testimony, therefore, is true, and the doctrine of the apostles is open and stedfast, holding nothing in reserve; that they did not teach to one in secret, and another in public." [6]  It is impossible to believe that this understanding is not related to the discovery at Mar Saba.  Indeed long before the discovery of the Letter to Theodore many scholars already noted that Irenaeus's attacks against the heretics puts Clement's Alexandrian tradition directly in his cross hairs.

It is interesting to note that in the place of the added narrative in the Alexandrian edition of the gospel of Mark about 'naked man and naked man' the gospel of Luke explicitly tells the reader that no secret narrative was ever there.  Whereas Clement tells us in Mark after "'And they were in the road going up to Jerusalem' and what follows, until 'After three days he shall arise' the secret Gospel brings the following material word for word 'And they come into Bethany ...'  Luke interestingly has "and on the third day he will rise.” But they understood none of these things and this was the matter that was kept secret from them, and they did not grasp the things that were spoken."

It becomes clear then that the reason that the 'heretics' rejected Luke's authority was because he was actively curbing their received tradition.  In the case of the material cited in the Letter to Theodore he tells the reader the 'hidden words' never existed and he directs them instead to the last of three explicit statements from Jesus to his disciples that he is about to die in Jerusalem.  It is hard to construe how these words could be the 'matter' (Gk. rhema) kept secret from them when neither Mark nor Matthew adds this explanation to the outspoken sttatement of the coming end to his ministry.

Yet once we understand that Irenaeus makes absolutely clear that it was Luke who reshaped the New Testament away from the teachings of Secret Mark we can begin to see where we should look for an alternative view of history.  Acts never mentions the presence of Christians in Alexandria in the apostolic era.  Luke also avoids mentioning Peter and Paul being as being present in the city of Rome as one divinely established 'syzygy.'  With all that we have seen so far there is a fair probability that Acts was developed against a shared mystical understanding of same-sex union between the shared traditions of Rome and Alexandria.  Of course it now becomes our job to prove what amounts to being little more than an intuitive 'hunch' so far on our part.

The starting point of anything resembling 'history' in the church of Alexandria is the strange figure of Demetrius the bishop of Alexandria at the end of the second century.  Most people are not aware that the papacy did not originate in Rome but at Alexandria.  The title 'Papa' or Pope is still the title which distinguishes the patriarch of Alexandria from all his other colleagues in the Orthodox Church.  When the Roman Catholic tradition split from the Eastern churches the bishop of Rome simply took over the title traditionally associated with his Alexandrian namesake.

Demetrius is the first Alexandrian Pope that we have any detailed information.  Most of our information comes from much later sources including most notably the tenth century History of the Coptic Patriarchs.  The story here while quite late is certainly based on earlier sources.  This becomes clear by the unflattering portrait that lies beneath its account of Father Demetrius who was apparently as a complete stranger to the Alexandria tradition when he picked to be its Pope.  According to the Coptic History "when the patriarch Julian (179 - 189 CE) was dying, an angel of the Lord came to him in a dream, on the night before his death, and said to him : 'The man who shall visit thee to-morrow with a bunch of grapes shall be patriarch after thee.' Accordingly, when it was morning, a peasant came to him, who was married, and could neither read nor write; and his name was Demetrius ...  and the patriarch Julian said to the bystanders : 'This man shall be your patriarch: for so the angel of the Lord last night declared to me.'"[7]

We don't need to accept the existence of angels and the power of dreams to accept the story here as having a kernel of historical truth.  The real Demetrius of history likely knew nothing of the doctrines of the Church.  He was as we have already noted an outsider who was constantly at odds with the established presbyters of the Alexandrian tradition like the famous theologians Clement and Origen.  Yet nowhere was his conflict with the traditional hierarchy more evident that with regards to his status as a heterosexual.  Another story that is preserved in the History of the Coptic Patriarchs tells us that this status as a married man caused a great deal of consternation among the faithful.  It was simply unthinkable to have a heterosexual sitting on the throne of St Mark in Alexandria.  The grumbling got so bad apparently that according to the Coptic History the same angel came down to assist Demetrius in winning over the congregation.

The angel told Demetrius that he had to gather the leaders of the Christian community around his throne.  Once an audience was present Demetrius and his wife were supposed to prove that they weren't heterosexuals.  Their marriage was really a sham, a contrivance to make their parents happy.  In order to prove that Demetrius was a eunuch and his wife a virgin they had to set themselves on fire.  So we read in the Coptic History the new bishop exclaim to those assembled there:

"Attend, all of you, to what I say. Know that I have not done this seeking glory from men. My age is now sixty-three years. My wife who stands before you is my cousin ... I said to her : 'Listen to what I say. We must of necessity remain together in this chamber without being separated all our lives, but there must be no further connexion between us, until death shall part us; and, if we remain thus in purity, we shall meet in the heavenly Jerusalem, and enjoy one another's company in eternal bliss.' And when she heard this, she accepted my proposal; and her body remained inviolate. But my parents knew nothing of our compact. Then the wedding-guests demanded the customary proof of the consummation of the marriage, as you know is done by foolish men; but my mother said to them : "These two are young, and the days before them are many." Thus we kept our purity; and when my parents as well as her parents were dead, we remained orphans together. It is now forty-eight years since I married my wife, and we sleep on one bed and one mattress and beneath one coverlet; and the Lord, who knows and judges the living and the dead, and understands the secrets of all hearts, knows that I have never learnt that she is a woman, nor has she learnt that I am a man; but we see one another's face and no more. We sleep together, but the embraces of this world are unknown to us. And when we fall asleep, we see a form with eagle's wings, which comes flying and alights upon our bed between her and me, and stretches its right wing over me, and its left wing over her, until the morning, when it departs; and we behold it until it goes. Do not think, my brethren and ye people who love God, that I have disclosed this secret to you to gain the glory of this world which passes away, nor that I have told you this of my own will; but it is the command of the Lord, who bade me do it, for he desires the good of all men, and he is Christ our Saviour ... I am a man and have a body like all other men, but I will teach you how to answer the suggestions of the Devil. When my heart was troubled by evil thoughts, I remembered the compact I had made with Christ; and if I broke it, I feared that he would reject me in the kingdom of Heaven, before the Father and his holy angels. Moreover, when I saw the beauty and grace of her form, I thought of the corpses lying in their tombs and the foulness of their odour, so to keep myself from strange words, through fear of the fire that is not quenched, and the worm that sleepeth not, in the other world, where none can open his mouth

Of course the comedian in each of us might ask - why set your wife on fire when you can easily get a divorce? - forgetting of course Jesus prohibited divorce, a ban the Coptic Church still has in place to this day with absolutely no exceptions.  The point of course is that this rather silly story does provide us with two important pieces of information about the contemporary Alexandrian Church.  On the one hand, there was a clear and unmistakable hostility towards heterosexual unions.  On the other, Demetrius represents the beginning of a long road toward acceptance of traditional marriage in the tradition.

Yet it is important to note that in order to gain acceptance Demetrius presents himself as an example of how heterosexual unions could be made acceptable.  His argument is clearly that men and women could be modeled after the syzygies of angels, the traditional justification for same-sex pairing as we have already seen.  The Alexandrians traditionally looked to Jesus's own actions sending out the disciples out as male pairs.  Heterosexual pairs were traditionally viewed in terms of the 'dumb animals' engaging in wanton sexuality and the procreation of children.  Clement of Alexandria in fact repeatedly cites a gospel said to be 'according to the Egyptians' which reinforces this hostility to heterosexual relations and child birth.  This gospel has been identified by more than scholar to be likely one and the same with Secret Mark.[8]

It is important to recognize that Demetrius and his wife served as the first attempt to transfer the mystical understanding of divine friendship (Gk philia) and the sharing of one soul in two bodies to heterosexuals.  This as we have already noted had never been done before.  One can argue of course that in today's world, the idea of heterosexuals being locked a sexless marriage really isn't all that ridiculous.  It is said that over forty million Americans admit to being in a sexless marriage and this happens to be one of the most candid, oversexed countries in the world.

Nevertheless there is something inherently jarring to believers when they hear that the ideal Christian marriage was originally established among same sex couples and then transferred to 'traditionally married couples.'  The presupposition here of course is that the Church would 'naturally' have embraced what is commonly assumed to be 'normative' teachings about matrimony.  Indeed evangelicals inevitably go back to the simplistic notion that because Christianity developed from Judaism and the Jewish religion condemns homosexuality and embraces the 'fruitfulness' of heterosexual union, that there can be only model for orthodoxy in the Church.

We are very fortunate to have an 'on the ground' report of what was going on in the Christian community of Egypt at this time.  Clement of Alexandria wrote a work called the Instructor around the time that the new Pope was being seated on the papal throne. Clement was far more important to the history of Christianity than Demetrius, but for a short while at least Demetius was in effect Clement's 'boss.'  As Clement retained his position of authority within the Alexandrian presbytery it should not be surprising to see that in some sense Clement was actively supporting the cause of women and heterosexuals within the Church.  Nevertheless it is very important to note that he always makes clear that this was something of a contemporary innovation.  The traditional understanding of the blessed union of souls according to Clement was still clearly rooted in same sex coupling.

Clement's famous work - the Instructor - was written while all this conflict was brewing over having a married  Patriarch sitting on the throne of St Mark.  It can plausibly be interpreted as Clement's attempt to 'brown nose' his boss.  The Instructor represents a systematic effort to justify what was clearly seen as a breach of tradition in the eyes of other leading voices in Alexandria.  Yet Clement managed to survive and thrive in Alexandria precisely because of his skills in obscuring his true meaning.  As the Coptic History makes clear - Demetrius was something of an ignoramus.  As long as Clement skillfully wove the right doctrines explicitly into his narrative, he would skillfully avoid the fate of his student Origen whom Demetrius spent his whole career unsuccessfully hunting down much like the Coyote in the Roadrunner cartoons.

The Instructor provides unmistakably clear evidence that heterosexual marriage was not traditionally sanctioned among ecclesiastical officials.  Clement only gets around this objection by a series of attempts to justify opposite sex marriage as a lower, but ultimately acceptable form of the ideal state of being 'married in the Lord.' (1 Cor 7:39)  As Clement acknowledges near the beginning of this work, heterosexual union was not originally understood to be sanctioned by Jesus.  It was traditionally held to be something belonging to irrational animals rather than the truth established by Jesus during his ministry.  It is important to note that not once does Clement cite 'tradition,' 'established opinion' or 'orthodoxy' while arguing that his community should change its traditional rejection of heterosexual union among its members.  Over and over again he prefaces his remarks by acknowledging he is speaking wholly on his own authority in his advocating a revaluation of the tradition rejection of marriage.

Here is an example of the typical manner in which Clement makes his case.  In the fourth chapter of the first of three books of the Instructor Clement declares to his readers:

Let us, then, embracing more and more this good obedience, give ourselves to the Lord; clinging to what is surest, the cable of faith in Him, and understanding that the virtue of man and woman is the same. For if the God of both is one, the master of both is also one; one church, one temperance, one modesty; their food is common, marriage an equal yoke; respiration, sight, hearing, knowledge, hope, obedience, love all alike. And those whose life is common, have common graces and a common salvation; common to them are love and training. "For in this world," he says, "they marry, and are given in marriage," in which alone the female is distinguished from the male; "but in that world it is so no more." There the rewards of this paired and holy life, which is based on syzygies, are laid up, not for male (arreni) and female (theleia), but for man (anthrwpw), the sexual desire which divides into two being removed.[10]

Again we have a remarkable consistency about the low opinion that Jesus had about heterosexual unions.  The established opinion in Alexandria was that they belonged to another God - the Creator - a being who was established as a kind of poor copy of Jesus.  This 'original accident' interpretation of Creation was extremely pervasive in Egypt.  According to this understanding the present world was ultimately a mistake which needed the 'correction' introduced by Jesus to let us escape.  The angelic powers want us to procreate in order to trap our souls in this material realm.  This is clearly why early Christians like Clement's student Origen castrated themselves.  It made it impossible for them to partake in angelic conspiracy.

Clement responds to this doctrine by saying Jesus really didn't think that heterosexual sex was 'evil.'  In fact the gospel makes clear that he tolerated this 'animal pairing' in the here and now but came to establish a better pairing or syzygy 'in the world to come.'  Of course the obvious question is now - when was the 'world to come' supposed to come?  The very concept of 'the world to come' is Jewish.  The Jews believed that it represented the world that would come with the advent of the messiah.  In other words, it was the messianic age.  This is rather straightforward and corresponds to the gospel terminology - the kingdom of God or heaven.  This is clearly what Clement meant by the term.[11]  Nevertheless it is important to not that later Church Fathers wanted to avoid this understanding likely owing to the implications that it had on Christian marriage.

For reasons that are never fully explained Jesus is now argued to have been the messiah but that the messianic age would come at the end of time, in a final judgement which was completely divorced from Jesus's original coming.  The original understanding of Christians is demonstrated again and again by the Church Fathers to have been that 'the here and now' was the kingdom of heaven.  The later Church Fathers actively fought against this view.  They wanted to present Christianity as a respectable religion which compatible with traditional Roman values.  This is why the example of Demetrius's marriage becomes such an important turning point in the history of the Church.  It makes explicit the abstract theological struggles within the community.

The opponents of Demetrius's marriage - and Clement's superficial attempts to justify its legitimacy - argued that this material from the gospel reinforces that a divine syzygy would be introduced immediately "after the resurrection."[12]   In other words after the resurrection described in the gospel.  These Alexandrian teachers consistently rejected the 'resurrection of bodies' in some future age.[13]  As such, we can safely say that the original Alexandrian understanding held that immediately following the resurrection of Christ, a syzygy or pairing would be introduced which would end traditional marriage - i.e. "they will neither marry nor be given in marriage; they will be like the angels in heaven."

At this point we can see another wrinkle in the formulation emerging.  The new syzygy or pairing that was introduced by Jesus the angel was like the union of angels  in heaven.  The angels were not divided into male and females so the humans who followed Jesus after the resurrection were similarly paired in same sex unions.  As Clement noted in the earlier citation - "there the rewards of this paired and holy life, which is based on syzygies, are laid up, not for male and female, but for man (anthrwpw), the sexual desire which divides into two being removed."  In short, the original model for the pairing established by Jesus was a 'heretical' notion of the conjoining of powers in heaven.

The source of Clement's ideas here come from an early generation of Alexandrians - those who lived before Demetrius and his forcing heterosexual unions onto the Church.  Luckily, Clement preserved for us the writings of one such earlier Alexandrian writer - an otherwise unknown figure named Theodotus (150 CE?) where we see many of these same ideas developed in much fuller detail.  According to these earlier Alexandrians the "syzygies" Jesus established among humans were "brought down from divine emanations above" - in other words, the heavenly realm where the angels exist.[14]  Theodotus also says that in this heavenly fullness "where unity reigns each of the aeons has its own fullness, that is, the syzygy."[15]  In other words, all the powers exist in a paired state in heaven.

There is of course a very elaborate mysticism which develops in these writings which is beyond our immediate concern.  We can summarize Theodotus's mystical world view by saying that only the Father, the power which is invisibly behind all things is One, while all that proceeds from him is an 'image' or eikones of this hidden unity.[16]  This is very significant because it helps explain an obvious objection to Christian 'spiritual marriages' on earth - namely how come the two angels or two people never physical 'rejoin' as one person?  The answer we get from Theodotus and Clement is to acknowledge in effect that we can't see the perfection of the highest God on earth.  Instead we can only the unity reflected in the 'fullness' of the syzygy established among the angels or people.[17]  This is what makes it 'hidden' or 'secret.'  Only the initiated can see it or partake in the spirit.

It cannot be coincidence then that Luke is said to have opposed not only the 'secret god' of the heretics but also their secret teachings.  The Catholics were actively trying to root this Alexandrian doctrine from the Church.  The secret narratives of the Alexandrian gospel of Mark consistently presented Jesus as bringing 'lost' individuals into the fullness of the pleroma.[18]  This is also the point of the passage from Secret Mark taken to its final consummation.  Throughout the whole gospel Jesus is declaring that is going to introduce a new baptism, that he is going to heal the break in the divine syzygy from Adam.  This is accomplished in the passage cited in Clement's Letter to Theodore where he introduces a new union which would replace traditional marriage among the elite.

This same sex union, the very thing referenced as 'naked man with naked man' in the letter, is developed in conscious imitation of the syzygy of powers in heaven.  As the angels in heaven were all paired into same sex couples, so too would those imitated here on earth.  Theodotus tells us that in the original Alexandrian rite after baptism, the initiates enter into something called 'the bridal chamber' which clearly and unmistakably unites their souls with another individual of the same sex.  As we read "for as long as we were children of the female only, as if of a base intercourse, incomplete and infants and senseless and weak and without form, brought forth like abortions, we were children of the woman, but when we have received form from the Saviour, we have become children of a husband and a bride chamber." (Ex Theod 68)

The important thing to note here is that a heretical doctrine that found its way to us by means of the apocryphal Letter of Titus can now be associated with a struggle within a specific Christian community.  Clement doesn't just reference this Theodotos as holding this hostile view of heterosexuality.  The same views are associated with another earlier figure named 'Cassian' in association with the already mentioned 'gospel according to the Egyptians.'[19]  Indeed Clement seems to intimate that many heretical groups were using this text, deemed authoritative to his native Alexandrian tradition to establish hold fast to essentially the same mystical truths.

It would seem that Demetrius's sitting on the throne was not an accident.  There was a conscious effort underway to reformulate Christianity in Egypt. The heterosexuals were attempting nothing short of a spiritual coup d'etat.  The efforts of 'Luke' to discredit these doctrines is embodied in the example of Demetrius.  For some reason this heterosexual was forced upon this community most opposed to all that heterosexuality represented.  Did Demetrius bring with him the Catholic canon which Irenaeus associated with 'Luke'?  It is difficult to say with any degree of certainty.  Yet there is one curious feature which shows up in the writings of Clement which deserves to mentioned alongside all that we have noted so far.  Clement seems to think 'Luke' wrote much more than just the gospel and Acts.

Clement attributes the canonical Epistle to the Hebrews to 'Luke' saying that he translated it into the Greek tongue.  His student Origen attributes this very same opinion to the ancients.  Many modern scholars have identified Luke as the likely author of the Pastoral epistles (to Timothy, to Titus) most notably S. G. Wilson in his Luke and the Pastoral Epistles.  The inescapable conclusion of this preliminary seems to be that it is entirely possible that Irenaeus was right.  Perhaps one man, the author of Luke, Acts, and disputed material associated with the apostle Paul was responsible for a complete overhaul of the traditional doctrines of the Church.  This is why it is so dangerous to use the history contained in the Acts of the Apostles uncritically - it amounts to little more than propaganda for one side in the historical debate over marriage and sexual identity.

If we truly want to embrace a historical understanding of Christianity without the partisan propaganda, we have to beyond Acts, beyond the material arranged to reinforce a particular understanding of 'how things should have been.'  This has been the way things have been carried out ever since Luke was successful in his efforts to reshape the tradition.  However as we have seen with the example of Demetrius, when we look closely at the actual history which emerges from the documents and traditions related to the period, it is impossible to pretend any longer that these beliefs represent the original understanding of the Church.  Indeed this will even become more difficult when we see in our next chapter that the first lady of the Roman Church was fittingly depicted as a whore ...


[7] The question of course is if heterosexual marriage only began to accepted by the authorities of the Alexandrian Church on these rather unusual terms - i.e. Demetrius in effect 'forcing' the issue upon them, it becomes clear that some other form of union (syzygia) - one that involved two males was originally argued to have been the heavenly gift brought to humanity by Jesus.  Clement of course had developed these arguments to help support his master Demetrius's scandalous marriage. They appear throughout his works.  Nevertheless, it is impossible not to read this information as attempts to reinforce an otherwise unknown teaching into Alexandria.  The original idea was that Jesus established some sort of sexless conjugal union between men which was similar to the syzygies of angels in heaven.  In many of Clement's sayings the original understanding still shines through: "For in this world they marry and and are given in marriage." But having done with the works of the flesh, and having been clothed with immortality, the flesh itself being pure, we pursue after that which is according to the measure of the angels. [Instructor 2:10] That is why he says: "Work not for the food which perishes, but for that which abides unto eternal life." Similarly they quote the saying: "The children of the age to come neither marry nor are given in marriage." But if anyone thinks care- fully about this question concerning the resurrection of the dead and those who asked it, he will find that the Lord is not rejecting marriage, but ridding their minds of the expectation that in the resurrection there will be carnal desire. The phrase "the children of this age" is not meant to make a contrast with the children of some other age, but is equivalent to saying "those who are born in this age," who are children because of birth; they beget and are begotten since without birth no one will come into this life.[Stromata 3.12] For souls, themselves by themselves, are equal. Souls are neither male nor female, when they no longer marry nor are given in marriage. And is not woman translated into man, when she is become equally unfeminine, and manly, and perfect? [Stromata 6.12]  Rightly, then, they reckon the number seven motherless and childless, interpreting the Sabbath, and figuratively expressing the nature of the rest, in which "they neither marry nor are given in marriage any more." For neither by taking from one number and adding to another of those within ten is seven produced; nor when added to any number within the ten does it make up any of them.[Stromata 6.16]
[14] (Strom 3.1)
[16] Theodotus adds that "whatever proceeds from a syzygy, they say, is fullness, whereas whatever proceeds from one single, is image” (Ex Theod. 32:1). Again, this distinction between fullness and image is used to introduce a deeper point about the heavenly realm and in turn about the 'union' between individuals who are purified through baptism which ultimately mirrors this situation in heaven.

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