Nag Hammadi Library, a collection of thirteen ancient codices containing over fifty texts,
was discovered in upper Egypt in 1945. This immensely important discovery includes a large
number of primary Gnostic scriptures -- texts once thought to have been entirely destroyed
during the early Christian struggle to define "orthodoxy" --
scriptures such as the Gospel of Thomas, the Gospel of Philip, and the Gospel of Truth. The
Gnostic Society Library
Translated by George W. MacRae
The Apocalypse of Adam
The revelation which Adam taught his son Seth in the seven hundredth year, saying:
Listen to my words, my son Seth. When God had created me out of the earth, along with Eve,
your mother, I went about with her in a glory which she had seen in the aeon from which we
had come forth. She taught me a word of knowledge of the eternal God. And we resembled the
great eternal angels, for we were higher than the god who had created us and the powers with
him, whom we did not know.
Then God, the ruler of the aeons and the powers, divided us in wrath. Then we became two aeons.
And the glory in our heart(s) left us, me and your mother Eve, along with the first knowledge
that breathed within us. And it (glory) fled from us; it entered into [...] great [...] which
had come forth, not from this aeon from which we had come forth, I and Eve your mother. But
it (knowledge) entered into the seed of great aeons. For this reason I myself have called you
by the name of that man who is the seed of the great generation or from whom (it comes). After
those days, the eternal knowledge of the God of truth withdrew from me and your mother Eve.
Since that time, we learned about dead things, like men. Then we recognized the God who had
created us. For we were not strangers to his powers. And we served him in fear and slavery.
And after these things, we became darkened in our heart(s). Now I slept in the thought of my
And I saw three men before me whose likeness I was unable to recognize, since they were not
the powers of the God who had created us. They surpassed [...] glory, and [...] men [...] saying
to me, "Arise, Adam, from the sleep of death, and hear about the aeon and the seed of
that man to whom life has come, who came from you and from Eve, your wife."
When I had heard these words from the great men who were standing before me, then we sighed,
I and Eve, in our heart(s). And the Lord, the God who had created us, stood before us. He said
to us, "Adam, why were you (both) sighing in your hearts? Do you not know that I am the
God who created you? And I breathed into you a spirit of life as a living soul." Then
darkness came upon our eyes.
Then the God who created us, created a son from himself and Eve, your mother. I knew sweet
desire for your mother, for [...] in the thought of my [...] I knew a sweet desire for your
mother. Then the vigor of our eternal knowledge was destroyed in us, and weakness pursued us.
Therefore the days of our life became few. For I knew that I had come under the authority of
Now then, my son Seth, I will reveal to you the things which those men whom I saw before me
at first revealed to me: after I have completed the times of this generation and the years
of the generation have been accomplished, then [...] slave [...]. (p.68 blank)
For rain-showers of God the almighty will be poured forth, so that he might destroy all flesh
[of God the almighty, so that he might destroy all flesh] from the earth on account of the
things that it seeks after, along with those from the seed of the men to whom passed the life
of the knowledge which came from me and Eve, your mother. For they were strangers to him. Afterwards,
great angels will come on high clouds, who will bring those men into the place where the spirit
of life dwells [...] glory [...] there, [...] come from heaven to earth. Then the whole multitude
of flesh will be left behind in the waters.
Then God will rest from his wrath. And he will cast his power upon the waters, and he will
give power to his sons and their wives by means of the ark along with the animals, whichever
he pleased, and the birds of heaven, which he called and released upon the earth. And God will
say to Noah - whom the generations will call 'Deucalion' - "Behold, I have protected <you> in
the ark, along with your wife and your sons and their wives and their animals and the birds
of heaven, which you called and released upon the earth. Therefore I will give the earth to
you - you and your sons. In kingly fashion you will rule over it - you and your sons. And no
seed will come from you of the men who will not stand in my presence in another glory."
Then they will become as the cloud of the great light. Those men will come who have been cast
forth from the knowledge of the great aeons and the angels. They will stand before Noah and
the aeons. And God will say to Noah, "Why have you departed from what I told you? You
have created another generation so that you might scorn my power." Then Noah will say, "I
shall testify before your might that the generation of these men did not come from me nor from
my sons. [...] knowledge.
And he will [...] those men and bring them into their proper land, and build them a holy dwelling
place. And they will be called by that name and dwell there six hundred years in a knowledge
of imperishability. And the angels of the great Light will dwell with them. No foul deed will
dwell in their heart(s), but only the knowledge of God.
Then Noah will divide the whole earth among his sons, Ham and Japheth and Shem. He will say
to them, "My sons, listen to my words. Behold, I have divided the earth among you. But
serve him in fear and slavery all the days of your life. Let not your seed depart from the
face of God the Almighty. [...] I and your [...] son of Noah, "My seed will be pleasing
before you and before your power. Seal it by your strong hand, with fear and commandment, so
that the whole seed which came forth from me may not be inclined away from you and God the
Almighty, but it will serve in humility and fear of its knowledge."
Then others from the seed of Ham and Japheth will come, four hundred thousand men, and enter
into another land and sojourn with those men who came forth from the great eternal knowledge.
For the shadow of their power will protect those who have sojourned with them from every evil
thing and every unclean desire. Then the seed of Ham and Japheth will form twelve kingdoms,
and their seed also will enter into the kingdom of another people.
Then [...] will take counsel [...] who are dead, of the great aeons of imperishability. And
they will go to Sakla, their God. They will go in to the powers, accusing the great men who
are in their glory.
They will say to Sakla, "What is the power of these men who stood in your presence, who
were taken from the seed of Ham and Japheth, who will number four hundred <thousand> men?
They have been received into another aeon from which they had come forth, and they have overturned
all the glory of your power and the dominion of your hand. For the seed of Noah through his
sons has done all your will, and (so have) all the powers in the aeons over which your might
rules, while both those men and the ones who are sojourners in their glory have not done your
will. But they have turned (aside) your whole throng."
Then the god of the aeons will give them (some) of those who serve him [...]. They will come
upon that land where the great men will be who have not been defiled, nor will be defiled,
by any desire. For their soul did not come from a defiled hand, but it came from a great commandment
of an eternal angel. Then fire and sulphur and asphalt will be cast upon those men, and fire
and (blinding) mist will come over those aeons, and the eyes of the powers of the illuminators
will be darkened, and the aeons will not see them in those days. And great clouds of light
will descend, and other clouds of light will come down upon them from the great aeons.
Abrasax and Sablo and Gamaliel will descend and bring those men out of the fire and the wrath,
and take them above the aeons and the rulers of the powers, and take them away [...] of life
[...] and take them away [...] aeons [...] dwelling place of the great [...] there, with the
holy angels and the aeons. The men will be like those angels, for they are not strangers to
them. But they work in the imperishable seed.
Once again, for the third time, the illuminator of knowledge will pass by in great glory,
in order to leave (something) of the seed of Noah and the sons of Ham and Japheth - to leave
for himself fruit-bearing trees. And he will redeem their souls from the day of death. For
the whole creation that came from the dead earth will be under the authority of death. But
those who reflect upon the knowledge of the eternal God in their heart(s) will not perish.
For they have not received spirit from this kingdom alone, but they have received (it) from
a [...] eternal angel. [...] illuminator [...] will come upon [...] that is dead [...] of Seth.
And he will perform signs and wonders in order to scorn the powers and their ruler.
Then the god of the powers will be disturbed, saying, "What is the power of this man
who is higher than we?" Then he will arouse a great wrath against that man. And the glory
will withdraw and dwell in holy houses which it has chosen for itself. And the powers will
not see it with their eyes, nor will they see the illuminator either. Then they will punish
the flesh of the man upon whom the holy spirit came.
Then the angels and all the generations of the powers will use the name in error, asking, "Where
did it (the error) come from?" or "Where did the words of deception, which all the
powers have failed to discover, come from?"
Now the first kingdom says of him that he came from [...]. A spirit [...] to heaven. He was
nourished in the heavens. He received the glory of that one and the power. He came to the bosom
of his mother. And thus he came to the water.
And the second kingdom says about him that he came from a great prophet. And a bird came,
took the child who was born, and brought him onto a high mountain. And he was nourished by
the bird of heaven. An angel came forth there. He said to him "Arise! God has given glory
to you." He received glory and strength. And thus he came to the water.
The third kingdom says of him that he came from a virgin womb. He was cast out of his city,
he and his mother. He was brought to a desert place. He was nourished there. He came and received
glory and strength. And thus he came to the water.
The fourth kingdom says of him that he came from a virgin. [...] Solomon sought her, he and
Phersalo and Sauel and his armies, which had been sent out. Solomon himself sent his army of
demons to seek out the virgin. And they did not find the one whom they sought, but the virgin
who was given them. It was she whom they fetched. Solomon took her. The virgin became pregnant
and gave birth to the child there. She nourished him on a border of the desert. When he had
been nourished, he received glory and power from the seed from which he was begotten. And thus
he came to the water.
And the fifth kingdom says of him that he came from a drop from heaven. He was thrown into
the sea. The abyss received him, gave birth to him, and brought him to heaven. He received
glory and power. And thus he came to the water.
And the sixth kingdom says that [...] down to the aeon which is below, in order to gather
flowers. She became pregnant from the desire of the flowers. She gave birth to him in that
place. The angels of the flower garden nourished him. He received glory there, and power. And
thus he came to the water.
And the seventh kingdom says of him that he is a drop. It came from heaven to earth. Dragons
brought him down to caves. He became a child. A spirit came upon him and brought him on high
to the place where the drop had come forth. He received glory and power there. And thus he
came to the water.
And the eighth kingdom says of him that a cloud came upon the earth and enveloped a rock.
He came from it. The angels who were above the cloud nourished him. He received glory and power
there. And thus he came to the water.
And the ninth kingdom says of him that from the nine Muses one separated away. She came to
a high mountain and spent (some) time seated there, so that she desired herself alone in order
to become androgynous. She fulfilled her desire and became pregnant from her desire. He was
born. The angels who were over the desire nourished him. And he received glory there, and power.
And thus he came to the water.
The tenth kingdom says of him that his god loved a cloud of desire. He begot him in his hand
and cast upon the cloud above him (some) of the drop, and he was born. He received glory and
power there. And thus he came to the water.
And the eleventh kingdom says that the father desired his own daughter. She herself became
pregnant from her father. She cast [...] tomb out in the desert. The angel nourished him there.
And thus he came to the water.
The twelfth kingdom says of him that he came from two illuminators. He was nourished there.
He received glory and power. And thus he came to the water.
And the thirteenth kingdom says of him that every birth of their ruler is a word. And this
word received a mandate there. He received glory and power. And thus he came to the water,
in order that the desire of those powers might be satisfied.
But the generation without a king over it says that God chose him from all the aeons. He caused
a knowledge of the undefiled one of truth to come to be in him. He said, "Out of a foreign
air, from a great aeon, the great illuminator came forth. And he made the generation of those
men whom he had chosen for himself shine, so that they could shine upon the whole aeon"
Then the seed, those who will receive his name upon the water and (that) of them all, will
fight against the power. And a cloud of darkness will come upon them.
Then the peoples will cry out with a great voice, saying, "Blessed is the soul of those
men because they have known God with a knowledge of the truth! They shall live forever, because
they have not been corrupted by their desire, along with the angels, nor have they accomplished
the works of the powers, but they have stood in his presence in a knowledge of God like light
that has come forth from fire and blood.
"But we have done every deed of the powers senselessly. We have boasted in the transgression
of all our works. We have cried against the God of truth because all his works [...] is eternal.
These are against our spirits. For now we have known that our souls will die the death."
Then a voice came to them, saying "Micheu and Michar and Mnesinous, who are over the
holy baptism and the living water, why were you crying out against the living God with lawless
voices and tongues without law over them, and souls full of blood and foul deeds? You are full
of works that are not of the truth, but your ways are full of joy and rejoicing. Having defiled
the water of life, you have drawn it within the will of the powers to whom you have been given
to serve them.
"And your thought is not like that of those men whom you persecute [...] desire [...].
Their fruit does not wither. But they will be known up to the great aeons, because the words
they have kept, of the God of the aeons, were not committed to the book, nor were they written.
But angelic (beings) will bring them, whom all the generations of men will not know. For they
will be on a high mountain, upon a rock of truth. Therefore they will be named "The Words
of Imperishability and Truth," for those who know the eternal God in wisdom of knowledge
and teaching of angels forever, for he knows all things."
These are the revelations which Adam made known to Seth, his son, And his son taught his seed
about them. This is the hidden knowledge of Adam, which he gave to Seth, which is the holy
baptism of those who know the eternal knowledge through those born of the word and the imperishable
illuminators, who came from the holy seed: Yesseus, Mazareus, Yessedekeus, the Living Water.
The Apocalypse of Adam