Gnostics

Collision of Plotinus with the Gnostics —The Difficulties of tins Controversy for Plotinus—His Objection to the Idea of an evil Demiwrgus—His Defence of the Sensible World against the Gnostic Pessimism—The Heavenly Bodies and Man— Opposition of Plotinus to the Optimistic Aspect of Christianity —His Explanations of Evil—His Attack upon Fatalism—The Individual as Master of his Fate—Difficulty as to the Accidental Action of the Absolute—Possibility of Regarding the Fall into the Sensible World as a Stage in the Soul's Development—Evil and Matter—The Idea of the Necessity of Difference and Antagonism—The Stage-play of Life and the Soul's Transmigration through various Personae—Evil as Self-seeking and Ignorance—Evil as a Means to Greater Good—The Last Word of Plotinus as to the Relation of Man's Freedom to the Divine Unity, 317-346

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