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The Gnostic heresy of Valentinus, who lived in Rome from about A.D. 136 to 165, when he seceded from the Church. The Valentinians claimed that the God of the Old Testament created the visible world. But only the invisible world is real. Christ was a spirit who came to deliver humankind from its bondage to matter, becoming united to the man Jesus at his baptism. Those who followed Valentinus became Gnostics, that is, knowers, destined to enter into a spiritual heaven; Catholics could at best attain to the middle realm of the Old Testament deity; and the rest of humankind, being engrossed in matter, would go into eternal perdition.
All items in this dictionary are from Fr. John Hardon's Modern Catholic Dictionary, © Eternal Life. Used with permission.