What I remember from my youth was an overwhelming sense of completion and wholeness. As I grew older and more critical of the world, more curious, god became suspect. I grew angry with him for his judgment of me, for the guilt that abused me, and angst came to replace the younger, brilliant version of a god of sureal wholeness.
I remember the last most vivid god emotion, seven years ago, crying over a Flannery O'Connor story in my basement apartment. I believed suddenly and completely in the battered, wounded god of my youth, the crusified man-god that came to Mary in visions.
The claim of the Christians was extreme: a god that defied the normal cycles of life and death to return--traditionally this is known as a zombie/between life and death/ a most grotesque form...however, the Biblical Gospels reassure us that Christ was fully alive--to walk among the living one final time. I always think it is written this way as a proof, a way of redeeming their murdered god; as many must have said, if you are a god, come down from the cross and destroy your assailants. Beauty is not a form of domination. It is an understanding that one gradually comes to: Life is both beautiful and hideous. The murdered god never came back as zombie/psedo-man.
From the Gospel of Thomas, as quoted by Elaine Pagels in her book, The Gnostic Gospels: Since it has been said that you are my twin and true companion, examine yourself so that you may understand who you are...I am the knowledge of the truth. So while you accompany me, although you do not understand (it), you already have come to know, and you will be called 'the one who knows himself'. For whoever has not known himself has known nothing, but whoever has known himself has simultaneously achieved knowledge about the depth of all things.
She then quotes the gnostic teacher Theodotus, "each person recognizes the Lord in his own way, not all alike."
And finally, she writes, "Like circles of artists today, gnostics considered original creative invention to be the mark of anyone who becomes spiritually alive. Each one...expected to express his own perceptions by revising and transforming what he was taught. Whoever merely repeated his teacher's words was considered immature."