|This article does not cite any sources. (November 2006)|
The idea, most common to Gnosticism but also present in most Western Mystical Traditions such as Kabbalah and Sufism that all of mankind contains within itself the Divine Spark of God which is contained or imprisoned in the body.
In these theologies, the purpose of life is to enable the Divine Spark to be released from its captivity in matter and reestablish its connection with or simply return to God who is perceived as being the source of the Divine Light. In the Gnostic Christian tradition (e.g. the Valentinian Church, the Cathars, the modern Lectorium Rosicrucianum etc.) Christ is seen as an Avatar of the Light which has taken human form in order to lead humanity back to the Light. The Cathars in particular saw this idea expressed most powerfully in the opening words of the Gospel of St John