So Jesus came to this world in the flesh of a man, died and rose again: For we have known the Son of Man, and we have believed that he rose from among the dead. This is he of whom we say, “He became the destruction of death, as he is a great one in whom they believe.” Great are those who believe.^74 In less esoteric language we are told (3)that Jesus died, (4)rose again and (5) thereby destroyed death for those who believe in him.
We are told of Jesus’ resurrection in other passages as well: The Savior swallowed up death. . . . He transformed [himself] into an imperishable Aeon and raised himself up, having swallowed the visible by the invisible, and he gave us the way of our immortality.^75
70 Ibid., 32:10–11; 43:9–12; cf. 42:13–36.
71 See chapter 5, where such Gnostic tendencies are evaluated in comparison to the canonical Gospels.
72 Malcolm L. Peel, “Introduction” in James Robinson, The Nag Hammadi Library, p. 50.
73 The Treatise on Resurrection44:13–36.
74 Ibid., 46:14–21; cf. 44:27–29.
75 Ibid., 45:14–23.
Do not think the resurrection is an illusion. It is no illusion, but it is truth. Indeed, it is more fitting to say that the world is an illusion, rather than the resurrection which has come into being through our Lord the Savior, Jesus Christ.^76 These two quotations even present an interesting contrast on the subject of Jesus’ death and resurrection. While the first statement is mixed with Gnostic terminology, the second assures believers that the resurrection was not an illusion, which reminds us of some Gnostic tendencies to deny the actual, physical death of Christ.^77
Since Jesus has been raised the author counseled Rheginos that “already you have the resurrection . . . why not consider yourself as risen and (already) brought to this?” Thus he is encouraged not to “continue as if you are to die.”^78 The resurrection of Jesus thereby provides practical considerations in causing the believer to realize that he already has eternal life presently and should not live in fear of death. This teaching is similar to that of the New Testament (Col. 3:1–4; Heb. 2:14–15) and gives added significance to Lucian’s report of Christians who believed that they were immortal and thus unafraid of death.