1Ti. 6:20. In reflecting on the theological problem of the origin, development, and continued existence of evil, these gnostic groups were at odds with developing orthodoxy.1 Gnosticism, a name indicating the assumption of superior capacity for knowledge (Gk. gnōsis, knowledge). Gnosticism in its diverse forms received its impulse, and in the main its guidance, from pagan philosophy. In different ways it denied the humanity of Christ, even to the extent of denying the reality of His human body.2 For the Gnostics, the nature of that which is truly man is spiritual, and the essential principle in the saved person is the spiritual seed or nature planted in him.3
1 Kurt Rudolph, Gnosticism, in David Noel Freeman, ed., The Anchor Bible Dictionary (New York, NY: Doubleday, 1996, c1992), 2:1033.
2 Merrill K. Unger, R. Harrison, Frederic F Vos, and Cyril J. Barber, The New Ungers Bible Dictionary (Chicago, IL: Moody Press, 1988), s.v. Gnosticism.
3 Everett Ferguson, Irenaeus: Adversary of the Gnostics, in John D. Woodbridge, ed., Great Leaders of the Christian Church (Chicago, IL: Houghton Mifflin, 1993), 45.