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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 9

What, then, do we learn from this? Let no one, I pray, be indignant if I bring from far an argument to bear upon the present subject. God is in His own nature all that which our mind can conceive of good;-rather, transcending all good that we can conceive or comprehend. He creates man for no other reason than that He is good; and being such, and having this as His reason for entering upon the creation of our nature, He would not exhibit the power of His goodness in an imperfect form, giving our nature some one of the things at His disposal, and grudging it a share in another: but the perfect form of goodness is here to be seen by His both bringing man into being from nothing, and fully supplying him with all good gifts: but since the list of individual good gifts is a long one, it is out of the question to apprehend it numerically. The language of Scripture therefore expresses it concisely by a comprehensive phrase, in saying that man was made "in the image of God": for this is the same as to say that He made human nature participant in all good; for if the Deity is the fulness of good, and this is His image, then the image finds its resemblance to the Archetype in being filled with all good.

Τί οὖν διὰ τούτου μανθάνομεν; Καί μοι μηδεὶς νεμεσάτω πόῤῥωθεν προσάγοντι [184] τὸν λόγον τῷ προκειμένῳ νοήματι. Θεὸς τῇ ἑαυτοῦ φύσει πᾶν ὅτι περ ἔστι κατ' ἔννοιαν λαβεῖν ἀγαθόν͵ ἐκεῖνό ἐστι, μᾶλλον δὲ παντὸς ἀγαθοῦ τοῦ νοουμένου τε καὶ καταλαμβανομένου ἐπέκεινα ὤν͵ οὐ δι' ἄλλο τι κτίζει τὴν ἀνθρωπίνην ζωήν͵ ἢ διὰ τὸ ἀγαθὸς εἶναι. Τοιοῦτος δὲ ὢν καὶ διὰ τοῦτο πρὸς τὴν δημιουργίαν τῆς ἀνθρωπίνης φύσεως ὁρμήσας͵ οὐκ ἂν ἡμιτελῆ τὴν τῆς ἀγαθότητος ἐνεδείξατο δύναμιν͵ τὸ μέν τι δοὺς ἐκ τῶν προσόντων αὐτῷ͵ τοῦ δὲ φθονήσας τῆς μετουσίας· ἀλλὰ τὸ τέλειον τῆς ἀγαθότητος εἶδος ἐν τούτῳ ἐστίν͵ ἐκ τοῦ καὶ παραγαγεῖν τὸν ἄνθρωπον ἐκ τοῦ μὴ ὄντος εἰς γένεσιν͵ καὶ ἀνενδεῆ τῶν ἀγαθῶν ἀπεργάσασθαι. Ἐπεὶ δὲ πολὺς τῶν καθ' ἕκαστον ἀγαθῶν ὁ κατάλογος͵ οὐ μὲν οὖν ἔστιν ἀριθμῷ ῥᾳδίως τοῦτον διαλαβεῖν. Διὰ τοῦτο περιληπτικῇ τῇ φωνῇ ἅπαντα συλλαβὼν ὁ λόγος ἐσήμανεν͵ ἐν τῷ εἰπεῖν κατ' εἰκόνα Θεοῦ γεγενῆσθαι τὸν ἄνθρωπον. Ἶσον γάρ ἐστι τοῦτο τῷ εἰπεῖν ὅτι παντὸς ἀγαθοῦ μέτοχον τὴν ἀνθρωπίνην φύσιν ἐποίησεν. Εἰ γὰρ πλήρωμα μὲν ἀγαθῶν τὸ Θεῖον͵ ἐκείνου δὲ τοῦτο εἰκών, ἄρ' ἐν τῷ πλῆρες εἶναι παντὸς ἀγαθοῦ͵ πρὸς τὸ ἀρχέτυπον ἡ εἰκὼν ἔχει τὴν ὁμοιότητα.

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

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