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Three Millennia of Greek Literature
Physis : World Creation  

Gregory of Nyssa : THE MAKING OF MAN

What We Must Answer to Those Who Raise the Question-"If Procreation is After Sin, How Would Souls Have Came into Being If the First of Mankind Had Remained Sinless"

Patrologia Graeca 44.188-192  * Greek Fonts


T is better for us however, perhaps, rather to inquire, before investigating this point, the solution of the question put forward by our adversaries; for they say that before the sin there is no account of birth, or of travail, or of the desire that tends to procreation, but when they were banished from Paradise after their sin, and the woman was condemned by the sentence of travail, Adam thus entered with his consort upon the intercourse of married life, and then took place the beginning of procreation. If, then, marriage did not exist in Paradise, nor travail, nor birth, they say that it follows as a necessary conclusion that human souls would not have existed in plurality had not the grace of immortality fallen away to mortality, and marriage preserved our race by means of descendants, introducing the offspring of the departing to take their place, so that in a certain way the sin that entered into the world was profitable for the life of man: for the human race would have remained in the pair of the first-formed, had not the fear of death impelled their nature to provide succession.

Τί χρὴ λέγειν πρὸς τοὺς ἐπαποροῦντας͵ εἰ μετὰ τὴν ἁμαρτίαν ἡ παιδοποιΐα͵ πῶς ἂν ἐγένοντο αἱ ψυχαί͵ εἰ ἀναμάρτητοι διέμειναν οἱ ἐξ ἀρχῆς ἄνθρωποι

Μᾶλλον δὲ πρὶν τὸ προκείμενον διερευνῆσαι͵ κρεῖττον ἴσως τοῦ προφερομένου παρὰ τῶν μαχομένων ἡμῖν ἐπιζητῆσαι τὴν λύσιν. Λέγουσι γὰρ πρὸ τῆς ἁμαρτίας μήτε τόκον ἱστορεῖσθαι͵ μήτε ὠδῖνα͵ μήτε τὴν πρὸς παιδοποιΐαν ὁρμήν, ἀποικισθέντων δὲ τοῦ παραδείσου μετὰ τὴν ἁμαρτίαν καὶ τῆς γυναικὸς τῇ τιμωρίᾳ τῶν ὠδίνων κατακριθείσης͵ οὕτως ἐλθεῖν τὸν Ἀδὰμ εἰς τὸ γνῶναι γαμικῶς τὴν ὁμόζυγον καὶ τότε τῆς παιδοποιΐας τὴν ἀρχὴν γενέσθαι. Εἰ οὖν γάμος ἐν τῷ παραδείσῳ οὐκ ἦν͵ οὔτε ὠδὶς οὔτε τόκος͵ ἀνάγκην εἶναί φασιν ἐκ τοῦ ἀκολούθου λογίζεσθαι͵ μὴ ἂν ἐν πλήθει γενέσθαι τὰς τῶν ἀνθρώπων ψυχάς͵ εἰ μὴ πρὸς τὸ θνητὸν ἡ τῆς ἀθανασίας χάρις μετέπεσε καὶ ὁ γάμος διὰ τῶν ἐπιγινομένων συνετήρει τὴν φύσιν͵ ἀντὶ τῶν ὑπεξιόντων τοὺς ἐξ αὐτῶν ἀντεισάγων͵ ὥστε λυσιτελῆσαι τρόπον τινὰ τὴν ἁμαρτίαν ἐπεισελθοῦσαν τῇ ζωῇ τῶν ἀνθρώπων. Ἔμεινε γὰρ ἂν ἐν τῇ τῶν πρωτοπλάστων δυάδι τὸ ἀνθρώπινον γένος͵ μὴ τοῦ κατὰ τὸν θάνατον φόβου πρὸς διαδοχὴν τὴν φύσιν ἀνακινήσαντος.

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

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