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Physis : World Creation  

Gregory of Nyssa : THE MAKING OF MAN

A Contemplation of the Divine Utterance Which Said-"Let Us Make Man After Our Image and Likeness"; Wherein is Examined What is the Definition of the Image, and How the Passible and Mortal is Like to the Blessed and Impassible, and How in the Image There are Male and Female, Seeing These are Not in the Prototype

Patrologia Graeca 44.177-185  * Greek Fonts


Page 7

However, let us pass by our argument upon this point: let us turn our inquiry to the question before us,-how it is that while the Deity is in bliss, and humanity is in misery, the latter is yet in Scripture called "like" the former?

We must, then, examine the words carefully: for we find, if we do so, that that which was made "in the image" is one thing, and that which is now manifested in wretchedness is another. "God created man," it says; "in the image of God created He him ." There is an end of the creation of that which was made "in the image": then it makes a resumption of the account of creation, and says, "male and female created He them." I presume that every one knows that this is a departure from the Prototype: for "in Christ Jesus," as the apostle says, "there is neither male nor female ." Yet the phrase declares that man is thus divided.

Thus the creation of our nature is in a sense twofold: one made like to God, one divided according to this distinction: for something like this the passage darkly conveys by its arrangement, where it first says, "God created man, in the image of God created He him ," and then, adding to what has been said, "male and female created He them ,"-a thing which is alien from our conceptions of God.

[181] Ἀλλ' ὁ μὲν περὶ τούτων λόγος ἀφείσθω͵ πρὸς δὲ τὸ προκείμενον ἐπιστρεπτέον τὴν ζήτησιν· πῶς καὶ τὸ θεῖον μακάριον καὶ ἐλεεινὸν τὸ ἀνθρώπινον καὶ ὅμοιον ἐκείνῳ τοῦτο παρὰ τῆς Γραφῆς ὀνομάζεται.

Οὐκοῦν ἐξεταστέον μετ' ἀκριβείας τὰ ῥήματα. Εὑρήσομεν γὰρ ὅτι ἕτερον μέν τι τὸ κατ' εἰκόνα γενόμενον͵ ἕτερον δὲ τὸ νῦν ἐν ταλαιπωρίᾳ δεικνύμενον. Ἐποίησεν ὁ Θεός͵ φησί͵ τὸν ἄνθρωπον, κατ' εἰκόνα Θεοῦ ἐποίησεν αὐτόν. Τέλος ἔχει ἡ τοῦ κατ' εἰκόνα γεγενημένου κτίσις. Εἶτα ἐπανάληψιν ποιεῖται τοῦ κατὰ τὴν κατασκευὴν λόγου͵ καί φησιν, Ἄρσεν καὶ θῆλυ ἐποίησεν αὐτούς. Παντὶ γὰρ οἶμαι γνώριμον εἶναι͵ ὅτι ἔξω τοῦτο τοῦ πρωτοτύπου νοεῖται· Ἐν γὰρ Χριστῷ Ἰησοῦ͵ καθώς φησιν ὁ Ἀπόστολος͵ οὔτε ἄῤῥεν οὔτε θῆλύ ἐστιν. Ἀλλὰ μὴν εἰς ταῦτα διῃρῆσθαι ὁ λόγος φησὶ τὸν ἄνθρωπον.

Οὐκοῦν διπλῆ τίς ἐστιν ἡ τῆς φύσεως ἡμῶν κατασκευή͵ ἥ τε πρὸς τὸ Θεῖον ὡμοιωμένη͵ ἥ τε πρὸς τὴν διαφορὰν ταύτην διῃρημένη. Τοιοῦτον γάρ τι ὁ λόγος ἐκ τῆς συντάξεως τῶν γεγραμμένων αἰνίττεται͵ πρῶτον μὲν εἰπὼν ὅτι Ἐποίησεν ὁ Θεὸς τὸν ἄνθρωπον͵ κατ' εἰκόνα Θεοῦ ἐποίησεν αὐτόν, πάλιν δὲ τοῖς εἰρημένοις ἐπαγαγὼν ὅτι Ἄρσεν καὶ θῆλυ ἐποίησεν αὐτούς͵ ὅπερ ἀλλότριον τῶν περὶ Θεοῦ νοουμένων ἐστίν.

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Cf. St Basil the Great, On the Creation of the World (Hexaemeron)

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