In the gnostic view, Yaldabaoth built the universe as a sort of cosmic penal colony where “dimensions, times, and seasons” were created in order to keep humans “blinded” and “bound” to the cycle of reincarnation.1
As a soul falls to the Earth on its way to be born, each archon attaches a particular “sin” (or instinct) to it; these same archons jealously prevent souls from leaving the hebdomad after death.
Instead, the souls of the ignorant are captured in the afterworld, their memories are removed, and they are returned to Earth to serve another sentence.
Gnostics who had acheived knowledge (or “gnosis”) could hope to overcome the influence of these evil planetary powers and escape the solar system entirely when they died.
- “The Secret Book of John.” The Secret Teachings of Jesus. Trans. Marvin W. Meyer. Vintage, 1984. 64. [↩]