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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


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Now here again the true answer, whatever it may be, can be clear to those only who, like Paul, have been instructed in the mysteries of Paradise; but our answer is as follows. When the Sadducees once argued against the doctrine of the resurrection, and brought forward, to establish their own opinion, that woman of many marriages, who had been wife to seven brethren, and thereupon inquired whose wife she will be after the resurrection, our Lord answered their argument so as not only to instruct the Sadducees, but also to reveal to all that come after them the mystery of the resurrection-life: "for in the resurrection," He says, "they neither marry, nor are given in marriage neither can they die any more, for they are equal to the angels, and are the children of God, being the children of the resurrection ." Now the resurrection promises us nothing else than the restoration of the fallen to their ancient state; for the grace we look for is a certain return to the first life, bringing back again to Paradise him who was cast out from it. If then the life of those restored is closely related to that of the angels, it is clear that the life before the transgression was a kind of angelic life, and hence also our return to the ancient condition of our life is compared to the angels. Yet while, as has been said, there is no marriage among them, the armies of the angels are in countless myriads; for so Daniel declared in his visions: so, in the same way, if there had not come upon us as the result of sin a change for the worse, and removal from equality with the angels, neither should we have needed marriage that we might multiply but whatever the mode of increase in the angelic nature is (unspeakable and inconceivable by human conjectures, except that it assuredly exists), it would have operated also in the case of men, who were "made a little lower than the angels ," to increase mankind to the measure determined by its Maker.

Ἀλλ' ἐν τούτοις πάλιν ὁ μὴν ἀληθὴς λόγος͵ ὅστις ποτὲ ὢν τυγχάνει͵ μόνοις ἂν εἴη δῆλος τοῖς κατὰ Παῦλον τὰ τοῦ παραδείσου μυηθεῖσιν ἀπόῤῥητα. Ὁ δὲ ἡμέτερος τοιοῦτός ἐστιν· Ἀντιλεγόντων ποτὲ τῶν Σαδδουκαίων τῷ κατὰ τὴν ἀνάστασιν λόγῳ͵ καὶ τὴν πολύγαμον ἐκείνην γυναῖκα͵ τὴν τοῖς ἑπτὰ γενομένην ἀδελφοῖς͵ εἰς σύστασιν τοῦ καθ' ἑαυτοὺς δόγματος προφερόντων͵ εἶτα τίνος μετὰ τὴν ἀνάστασιν ἔσται πυνθανομένων͵ ἀποκρίνεται πρὸς τὸν λόγον ὁ Κύριος͵ οὐ μόνον τοὺς Σαδδουκαίους παιδεύων͵ ἀλλὰ καὶ πᾶσι τοῖς μετὰ ταῦτα τῆς ἐν τῇ ἀναστάσει ζωῆς φανερῶν τὸ μυστήριον. Ἐν γὰρ τῇ ἀναστάσει͵ φησίν͵ οὔτε γαμοῦσιν οὔτε γαμίσκονται, οὔτε γὰρ ἀποθανεῖν ἔτι δύναν ται, ἰσάγγελοι γάρ εἰσι καὶ υἱοὶ Θεοῦ εἰσι͵ τῆς ἀναστάσεως υἱοὶ ὄντες. Ἡ δὲ τῆς ἀναστάσεως χάρις οὐδὲν ἕτερον ἡμῖν ἐπαγγέλλεται ἢ τὴν εἰς τὸ ἀρχαῖον τῶν πεπτωκότων ἀποκατάστασιν. Ἐπάνοδος γάρ τίς ἐστιν ἐπὶ τὴν πρώτην ζωὴν ἡ προσδοκωμένη χάρις͵ τὸν ἀποβληθέντα τοῦ παραδείσου πάλιν εἰς αὐτὸν ἐπανάγουσα. Εἰ τοίνυν ἡ τῶν ἀποκαθισταμένων ζωὴ πρὸς τὴν τῶν ἀγγέλων οἰκείως ἔχει͵ δηλονότι ὁ πρὸ τῆς παραβάσεως βίος ἀγγελικός τις ἦν, διὸ καὶ ἡ πρὸς τὸ ἀρχαῖον τῆς ζωῆς ἡμῶν ἐπάνοδος τοῖς ἀγγέλοις ὡμοίωται. Ἀλλὰ μήν͵ καθὼς εἴρηται͵ γάμου [189] παρ' αὐτοῖς οὐκ ὄντος͵ ἐν μυριάσιν ἀπείροις αἱ στρατιαὶ τῶν ἀγγέλων εἰσίν, οὕτω γὰρ ἐν ταῖς ὀπτασίαις ὁ Δανιὴλ διηγήσατο. Οὐκοῦν κατὰ τὸν αὐτὸν τρόπον͵ εἴπερ μηδεμία παρατροπή τε καὶ ἔκστασις ἀπὸ τῆς ἀγγελικῆς ὁμοτιμίας ἐξ ἁμαρτίας ἡμῖν ἐγένετο͵ οὐκ ἂν οὐδὲ ἡμεῖς τοῦ γάμου πρὸς τὸν πληθυσμὸν ἐδεήθημεν. Ἀλλ' ὅστις ἐστὶν ἐν τῇ φύσει τῶν ἀγγέλων τοῦ πλεονασμοῦ τρόπος͵ ἄῤῥητος μὲν καὶ ἀνεπινόητος στοχασμοῖς ἀνθρωπίνοις͵ πλὴν ἀλλὰ πάντως ἐστίν, οὗτος ἂν καὶ ἐπὶ τῶν βραχύ τι παρ' ἀγγέλους ἠλαττωμένων ἀνθρώπων ἐνήργησεν͵ εἰς τὸ ὡρισμένον ὑπὸ τῆς βουλῆς τοῦ πεποιηκότος μέτρον τὸ ἀνθρώπινον αὔξων.

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

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