Although both Adoptionists and Gnostics were Christians and in general their beliefs were closely connected, some of the Christian ideas had been considered in the different way. According to Oxtoby and Amore, the ideas and statements present in Bible were treated by people differently (138). A number of religious groups arose. Thus, the main postulates of Christianity such as the view of God, Jesus, and Salvation among the representatives of those two groups of Christians as Adoptionists and Gnostics were absolutely different.
The view of God of Adoptionists is based on the idea of monotheistic essence of God-father and God-son. They considered God as the supreme power; however, Jesus was seen as the part of this power. Adoptionists were not considered the dogma of Trinity. For Gnostics, this world is full of evil power and it could not be created by God. According to their beliefs, God is the supreme essence that has the universal knowledge. People also can get this knowledge by using of the spiritual practices.
For Adoptionists, Jesus is adopted as God’s Son, while Gnostics believe that Jesus came to earth in order to bring gnosis – supreme and universal knowledge. According to Oxtoby and Amore (2010), Adoptionists believe that from his birth Jesus was not Son of God and he was adopted only after the process of baptism. Besides, Adoptionists emphasized pre-existence of Jesus, they believed in several Logos of God where Jesus was only one of the incarnations.
Thus, Jesus was a good sinless man who was adopted by God. On the other hand, Gnostics also believed that Jesus was not God’s Son and they even considered Jesus as a false messiah. This principle is based on the idea of importance education, intellectual knowledge and self-development. Agnostics believed that only intellectually rich man can achieve the supreme knowledge. In this case, Jesus could not be God’s Son as well as he could not help people to achieve this pure and universal knowledge.
Salvation for Adoptionists was the main reason of why God sent Jesus to people. Jesus had to save all people on the earth and give them changes to get the salvation. Gnostics believed that God wanted to make a favor for people, providing them the chance to be saved. They also believed that the real existence is not physical, but spiritual.
Therefore, only after the death one can get the real life. This idea is similar to the main doctrine of Christianity. However, on the other hand, Gnostics did not considered sin as the significant issue that may prevent one from getting the salvation. For Gnostics, the main issue was to think about the sense of live and attempts to get more knowledge. Only one who seeks for the universal knowledge in this life will get the eternal life after the death.
Oxtoby, Willard G. and Roy Amore. World Religions: Western Traditions, 3rd ed. US; Oxford University Press, 2010. Print.