29 Jesus said: If the flesh has come into being because of the spirit, it is a marvel; but if the spirit (has come into being) because of the body, it is a marvel of marvels. But as for me, I marvel at this, how this great wealth has settled in this poverty.
Which is scarier? That spirit might be the cause/origin of flesh or that it is flesh that is the cause/origin of spirit?
Perhaps this life is a soul-making factory. Perhaps we aren't born with spirits but they are created in us as we turn our attentions our consciousness away from life as it is and imagine a life that could be and there find ourselves confronted by a God waiting for us.
How I read this passage is conditioned by all sorts of prior reading hearing knowing and half-knowing.
When I read Paul and the many many many spiritual writers from within the Christian traditions that followed him - and I'm thinking especially of writers like the anonymous author of Theologia Germanica -- I hear the word flesh and think not meat blood and bone but that spirit that reigns and rules in me despite my better intentions -- that spirit of self-will whose constant mantra is me, my, mine.
But when I hear this in Thomas I'm less certain of the sense of it. That prior reading hearing knowing and half-knowing tells me Thomas was a Gnostic -- or more cozy with them than John and Paul were. And I associate Gnosticism with those folks who have swerved from the truth by claiming that the resurrection has already taken place (2 Timothy 2:18). For them flesh is matter and matter doesn't matter. For them they have already entered the kingdom in its fullness. The Ranters that George Fox distanced himself from. Those who felt they had attained the divinity that Christ was the seal and promise of.
But also I know that all I know of these people is the preserved writings of those who disagreed with them and who disagreed so violently they were willing to imagine a just and loving God consign these people to flames throughout eternity.