The Gnostic story of Sophia has several versions. The confusion around Sophia is exacerbated because there are in fact two Sophias. The first is sometimes described as the Female Face of God, or the Mirror of God. The creative impulse that begins in God manifests only after being reflected through this Divine Sophia. Then there is Sophia’s daughter, also named Sophia. It is this younger Sophia that wandered out of the pleroma, the divine plane where her parents reside, and got lost in the lower realm. Lost and confused, this Sophia attempted to create something to keep her company. What she created, however, was a half serpent, half lion whom she called Ildabaoth (Ilda means child and Baoth means chaos). Seeing the monster she created, Sophia became terrified and created a barrier around him, thus separating the earth from the underworld.

There are different versions of who created humankind, this younger Sophia or Ildabaoth. What seems to be most relevant in understanding the story and its purpose is to interpret this young Sophia as a metaphor for the human soul. She is lost and confused, but she still carries the spark of the divine Sophia within her.

Seeing her daughter in such pain and confusion, the elder Sophia sends her son, Christ, down to rescue his sister. Christ then descends and rescues his sister by revealing her true nature, the Divine Wisdom of the elder Sophia to her. In this way Christ rescues humanity by unveiling their souls and reuniting them with Sophia, the Divine Wisdom of God.