142. Why is the Gospel of Thomas not part of the Bible?

In early Christianity there existed traditions that were often localised and honoured a particular apostolic figure. Conservative Christians of the time honoured Matthew, Mark, Luke, John, Paul, James, Peter the most, and to a lesser extent Jude. The Church fathers of the 3rd and 4th centuries endorsed these apostles because they discerned that the Holy Spirit’s blessing and presence was detected in a greater way in their writings, and the truth in them was consistent with the teaching of Jesus Christ. Thomas was deemed to have been located in Syria. Writings associated with the ‘Thomas Tradition’ fell out of favour during the formation of the Canonisation of the Bible in 4th century. ‘The Gospel of Thomas’, ‘The Book of Thomas the Contender’ and ‘The Acts of Thomas’ have different origins. These books are promoted by the Gnostics – a term derived from the greek language meaning ‘knowledge’. In the first nineteen centuries gnostics were regarded as heretical teachers, but in the twentieth century gnosticism has been reshaped to mean those who possess ‘secret knowledge.’ Generally, gnostics traditionally did not believe that the supernatural world existed, and sought to define everything through logic. Dualism is usually a prominent feature of gnostic thinking. Dualism is a theology that sets one concept over another. For example the spiritual principle of evil as against the material world, or philosophy as against matter. ‘The Gospel of Thomas ‘ discovered half a century ago in the Egyptian desert and allegedly dating back to 130 – 250AD is commonly regarded as a later second or third century forgery created by the gnostics to advance their view of Jesus Christ. This ‘gospel’ starts by inviting the reader to listen to the hidden words of Jesus that Didymas Judas Thomas wrote down and he said: ‘Whoever finds the meaning of these words will not taste death.’ For gnostics who reject the supernatural world this death must mean physical death. There are no known gnostics that are still alive from the first and second century so this claim seems fallacious. Teachers of The Gospel of Thomas’ have called their book ‘The Fifth Gospel’ to try to enhance its status. New Agers have placed a good deal of importance on this ‘gospel’ to lead people away from the true teachings of Jesus Christ in the authenticated four gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John and into a mystical experience of Jesus that is secret and only a few possess it. Jesus came to make the ‘good news’ of the Kingdom of God available to all people, so a secret gospel that only a few know about is inconsistent with the major themes of his teaching on the grace and forgiveness of God for all mankind regardless of race or gender.

Islâmic leaders such as the Late Ahmed Deedat of the Islâmic Propagation Centre in South Africa did their cause a lot of damage by trying to discredit the Bible by using this disputed material. The argument for ‘The Gospel of Thomas’ is not credible. It misleads people away from The Right Path. The Gospel of Thomas is not mentioned in the Qur’an or the Hadith. Islâmic scholars commonly quote that the content of the Qur’an in Al Ma’idah surah 5 ayat 110 about Jesus making the figure of a bird out of clay, and breathing into it and causing it to fly away’. This story they say came from ‘The Gospel of Thomas.’ In fact this quote comes from another book attributed to Thomas called ‘The Infancy Gospel Thomas’ where it states in chapter 1 verses 2-4: ‘Then, taking soft clay from the mud, he formed twelve sparrows.[…] But Jesus, clapping his hands, commanded the birds with a shout in front of everyone and said, “Go, take flight, and remember me, living ones.’ The argument for the validity of this story if proof of the divinity of Jesus Christ in that He does that same act as God/Allâh in creation by taking dust or clay and breathing into it to make a living being. Jesus said in John 10 verse 30 ‘I and the Father (referring to God/Allâh) are One. If this story about Jesus is true then it is evidence of his Oneness with God and His divinity. However, Biblical scholars and theologians do not regard this document as authentic because of its inconsistencies with the canonised four gospels otherwise known as the Injeel.