INNER CIRCLE: The Final Saying

INNER CIRCLE: The Final Saying June 14, 2024


IMAGE: Keith Giles

Saying 114

Simon Peter said to them, “Mary should leave us, for females are not worthy of life.” Jesus said, “See, I will lead her to make her male so that she too might become a living spirit that resembles you males. For every female that makes herself male will enter the kingdom of heaven.”


If you read any other commentary on this final saying from the Gospel of Thomas you’ll find notes about how the early Christians viewed women, or how the Gnostics spiritualized the meaning of male and female and used them as metaphors for enlightenment and the unenlightened mind. But, for me, none of those really seem to properly explain the meaning of this saying. Especially when we have so many examples in this Gospel of the disciples missing the point and Jesus responding in ways that play along with their ignorance, as in saying 12, and when there are many sayings prior to this one where Jesus obliterates the notions of male and female, up and down, inside and outside, as in saying 22.

So, for me, this final saying is best understood by going back to sayings 12 and 22 and reminding ourselves what Jesus has said before.

As I read it, Peter exposes his misogynistic perspective to Jesus regarding females who are “not worthy of life.” The last thing in the world Jesus would do here is to say, “You’re right, Peter. Women aren’t worthy of life.” But, since he can see that Peter is convinced that this is true, he responds by alluding to something he has already said in saying 22 about “making the female male”, adding “For every female that makes herself male will enter the Kingdom of heaven.” But, what did Jesus actually say about making the female male in saying 22? Let’s take a look:

When you make the two one and make the inside like the outside and the outside like the inside and the above like the below, and that you might make the male and the female be one and the same, so that the male might not be male nor the female be female, when you make eyes in place of an eye and a hand in place of a hand and a foot in place of a foot, an image in place of an image – then you will enter the Kingdom.

Not only did Jesus tell his disciples that they needed to “make the two one” but that they needed to “make the male and the female one and the same” so that “the male might not be male, nor the female be female” and that then, and only then, “…you will enter the Kingdom.”

So, what’s going on here? Is Jesus agreeing with Peter that women aren’t worthy of life? No. Is Jesus agreeing with Peter that Mary must be made male to enter the Kingdom?

Not exactly. What he’s saying is that if Mary must be made like the male to enter the Kingdom, then Peter must be made like the female to enter as well.

This wouldn’t make any sense without realizing that what really must happen is this: “They both must be made one…[so that] the male and the female will be one and the same.”

In other words, those distinctions of male and female are illusions. They are two false concepts that have no place in the Kingdom.

This is why the Apostle Paul said in Galatians 3, “There is neither male nor female, for you are all one in Christ,” and in Colossians 3:11 that “Christ is all and is in all.”

Jesus is playing along with Peter’s anti-women mindset by suggesting that he will make Mary male, but in doing so, he’s calling into remembrance the full picture he painted for us in saying 22 where both the male and the female become one and those distinctions of sex and gender fade away and the two become one.

This idea of the two becoming one is also a direct call back to the creation of Adam and Eve in Genesis where the original state of humanity was both male and female in one person. Jesus is saying that the oneness men and women once knew in the Garden prior to the separation into men and women is now restored in Christ and those designations are revealed to be illusions that have no place in the Kingdom of God.

NOTE: We’re done! I can’t believe we’ve covered every single saying from the Gospel of Thomas together. Thank you for keeping up.

If you enjoyed this series, I know you will LOVE the new book that compiles all of these Inner Circle posts as well as a large introduction, background, history, and more, now available on Amazon HERE>

NOW WHAT? Well, starting next Friday we’ll begin a brand-new weekly INNER CIRCLE looking at the Gospel of Truth which was also discovered alongside the Gospel of Thomas at Nag Hammadi.

This is going to be so much fun!


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Keith Giles is the best-selling author of the Jesus Un series. He has appeared on CNN, USA Today, BuzzFeed, and John Fugelsang’s “Tell Me Everything.” He hosts the Second Cup with Keith podcast, and co-hosts the Apostates Anonymous podcast, and the Heretic Happy Hour Podcast.

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