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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 8

I think that by these words Holy Scripture conveys to us a great and lofty doctrine; and the doctrine is this. While two natures-the Divine and incorporeal nature, and the irrational life of brutes-are separated from each other as extremes, human nature is the mean between them: for in the compound nature of man we may behold a part of each of the natures I have mentioned,-of the Divine, the rational and intelligent element, which does not admit the distinction of male and female; of the irrational, our bodily form and structure, divided into male and female: for each of these elements is certainly to be found in all that partakes of human life. That the intellectual element, however, precedes the other, we learn as from one who gives in order an account of the making of man; and we learn also that his community and kindred with the irrational is for man a provision for reproduction. For he says first that "God created man in the image of God" (showing by these words, as the Apostle says, that in such a being there is no male or female): then he adds the peculiar attributes of human nature, "male and female created He them ."

Οἶμαι γὰρ ἐγὼ δόγμα τι μέγα καὶ ὑψηλὸν διὰ τῶν εἰρημένων ὑπὸ τῆς θείας Γραφῆς παραδίδοσθαι. Τὸ δὲ δόγμα τοιοῦτόν ἐστι· Δύο τινῶν κατὰ τὸ ἀκρότατον πρὸς ἄλληλα διεστηκότων͵ μέσον ἐστὶ τὸ ἀνθρώπινον͵ τῆς τε θείας καὶ ἀσωμάτου φύσεως καὶ τῆς ἀλόγου καὶ κτηνώδους ζωῆς. Ἔξεστι γὰρ ἑκατέρου τῶν εἰρημένων ἐν τῷ ἀνθρωπίνῳ συγκρίματι θεωρῆσαι τὴν μοῖραν, τοῦ μὲν θείου τὸ λογικόν τε καὶ διανοητικόν͵ ὃ τὴν κατὰ τὸ ἄῤῥεν καὶ θῆλυ διαφορὰν οὐ προσίεται, τοῦ δὲ ἀλόγου τὴν σωματικὴν κατασκευὴν καὶ διάπλασιν εἰς ἄῤῥεν τε καὶ θῆλυ μεμερισμένην. Ἑκάτερον γὰρ τούτων ἐστὶ πάντως ἐν παντὶ τῷ μετέχοντι τῆς ἀνθρωπίνης ζωῆς. Ἀλλὰ προτερεύειν τὸ νοερόν͵ καθὼς παρὰ τοῦ τὴν ἀνθρωπογονίαν ἐν τάξει διεξελθόντος ἐμάθομεν͵ ἐπιγεννηματικὴν δὲ εἶναι τῷ ἀνθρώπῳ τὴν πρὸς τὸ ἄλογον κοινωνίαν τε καὶ συγγένειαν. Πρῶτον μὲν γάρ φησιν͵ ὅτι Ἐποίησεν ὁ Θεὸς κατ' εἰκόνα τοῦ Θεοῦ τὸν ἄνθρωπον͵ δεικνὺς διὰ τῶν εἰρημένων͵ καθώς φησιν ὁ Ἀπόστολος͵ ὅτι ἐν τῷ τοιούτῳ ἄῤῥεν καὶ θῆλυ οὐκ ἔστιν. Εἶτα ἐπάγει τῆς ἀνθρωπίνης φύσεως τὰ ἰδιώματα͵ ὅτι Ἄῤῥεν καὶ θῆλυ ἐποίησεν αὐτούς.

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

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