Reference address :

ELPENOR - Home of the Greek Word

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


Page 3

But if any one finds a difficulty in an inquiry as to the manner of the generation of souls, had man not needed the assistance of marriage, we shall ask him in turn, what is the mode of the angelic existence, how they exist in countless myriads, being one essence, and at the same time numerically many; for we shall be giving a fit answer to one who raises the question how man would have been without marriage, if we say, "as the angels are without marriage;" for the fact that man was in a like condition with them before the transgression is shown by the restoration to that state.

Now that we have thus cleared up these matters, let us return to our former point,-how it was that after the making of His image God contrived for His work the distinction of male and female. I say that the preliminary speculation we have completed is of service for determining this question; for He Who brought all things into being and fashioned Man as a whole by His own will to the Divine image, did not wait to see the number of souls made up to its proper fulness by the gradual additions of those coming after; but while looking upon the nature of man in its entirety and fulness by the exercise of His foreknowledge, and bestowing upon it a lot exalted and equal to the angels, since He saw beforehand by His all-seeing power the failure of their will to keep a direct course to what is good, and its consequent declension from the angelic life, in order that the multitude of human souls might not be cut short by its fall from that mode by which the angels were increased and multiplied,-for this reason, I say, He formed for our nature that contrivance for increase which befits those who had fallen into sin, implanting in mankind, instead of the angelic majesty of nature, that animal and irrational mode by which they now succeed one another.

Hence also, it seems to me, the great David pitying the misery of man mourns over his nature with such words as these, that, "man being in honour knew it not" (meaning by "honour" the equality with the angels), therefore, he says, "he is compared to the beasts that have no understanding, and made like unto them ." For he truly was made like the beasts, who received in his nature the present mode of transient generation, on account of his inclination to material things.

Εἰ δὲ στενοχωρεῖταί τις ἐπιζητῶν τὸν τῆς γενέσεως τῶν ἀνθρώπων τρόπον͵ εἰ μὴ προσεδεήθη τῆς διὰ τοῦ γάμου συνεργίας ὁ ἄνθρωπος͵ ἀντερωτήσομεν καὶ ἡμεῖς τὸν τῆς ἀγγελικῆς ὑποστάσεως τρόπον͵ πῶς ἐν ἀπείροις μυριάσιν ἐκεῖνοι, καὶ μία οὐσία ὄντες καὶ ἐν πολλοῖς ἀριθμούμενοι. Τοῦτο γὰρ προσφόρως ἀποκρινούμεθα τῷ προφέροντι͵ Πῶς ἂν ἦν δίχα τοῦ γάμου ὁ ἄνθρωπος, εἰπόντες͵ ὅτι καθώς εἰσι γάμου χωρὶς οἱ ἄγγελοι· τὸ γὰρ ὅμοιον ἐκείνοις τὸν ἄνθρωπον εἶναι πρὸ τῆς παραβάσεως͵ δείκνυσιν ἡ εἰς ἐκεῖνο πάλιν ἀποκατάστασις.

Τούτων οὖν ἡμῖν οὕτω διευκρινηθέντων͵ ἐπανιτέον ἐπὶ τὸν πρότερον λόγον, πῶς μετὰ τὴν κατασκευὴν τῆς εἰκόνος͵ τὴν κατὰ τὸ ἄῤῥεν καὶ θῆλυ διαφορὰν ὁ Θεὸς ἐπιτεχνᾶται τῷ πλάσματι. Πρὸς τοῦτο γάρ φημι χρήσιμον εἶναι τὸ προδιηνυσμένον ἡμῖν θεώρημα. Ὁ γὰρ τὰ πάντα παραγαγὼν εἰς τὸ εἶναι καὶ ὅλον ἐν τῷ ἰδίῳ θελήματι τὸν ἄνθρωπον πρὸς τὴν θείαν εἰκόνα διαμορφώσας͵ οὐ ταῖς κατ' ὀλίγον προσθήκαις τῶν ἐπιγινομένων ἀνέμεινεν ἰδεῖν ἐπὶ τὸ ἴδιον πλήρωμα τὸν ἀριθμὸν τῶν ψυχῶν τελειούμενον, ἀλλ' ἀθρόως αὐτῷ πληρώματι πᾶσαν τὴν ἀνθρωπίνην φύσιν διὰ τῆς προγνωστικῆς ἐνεργείας κατανοήσας͵ καὶ τῇ ὑψηλῇ τε καὶ ἰσαγγέλῳ λήξει τιμήσας͵ ἐπειδὴ προεῖδε τῇ ὁρατικῇ δυνάμει μὴ εὐθυποροῦσαν πρὸς τὸ καλὸν τὴν προαίρεσιν καὶ διὰ τοῦτο τῆς ἀγγελικῆς ζωῆς ἀποπίπτουσαν, ὡς ἂν μὴ κολοβωθείη τὸ τῶν ψυχῶν τῶν ἀνθρωπίνων πλῆθος͵ ἐκπεσὸν ἐκείνου τοῦ τρόπου͵ καθ' ὃν οἱ ἄγγελοι πρὸς τὸ πλῆθος ηὐξήθησαν, διὰ τοῦτο τὴν κατάλληλον τοῖς εἰς ἁμαρτίαν κατολισθήσασι τῆς αὐξήσεως ἐπίνοιαν ἐγκατασκευάζει τῇ φύσει͵ ἀντὶ τῆς ἀγγελικῆς μεγαλοφυῖας τὸν κτηνώδη τε καὶ ἄλογον τῆς ἐξ ἀλλήλων διαδοχῆς τρόπον ἐμφυτεύσας τῇ ἀνθρωπότητι.

Ἐντεῦθέν μοι δοκεῖ καὶ ὁ μέγας Δαβὶδ κατοικτιζόμενος τοῦ ἀνθρώπου τὴν ἀθλιότητα͵ τοιούτοις λόγοις καταθρηνῆσαι τὴν φύσιν, ὅτι Ἄνθρωπος ἐν τιμῇ ὢν οὐ συνῆκε, τιμὴν λέγων τὴν πρὸς τοὺς ἀγγέλους ὁμοτιμίαν. Διὰ τοῦτο͵ φησί͵ παρασυνεβλήθη τοῖς κτήνεσι τοῖς ἀνοήτοις καὶ ὡμοιώθη αὐτοῖς. Ὄντως γὰρ κτηνώδης ἐγένετο ὁ τὴν ῥοώδη [192] ταύτην γένεσιν τῇ φύσει παραδεξάμενος διὰ τὴν πρὸς τὸ ὑλῶδες ῥοπήν.

Previous / First Page of this chapter

Previous chapter  *  Index  *  Next chapter

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

Septuagint Genesis Septuagint Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, Deuteronomomy Septuagint Psalms Septuagint Job, Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, Song of Songs, Wisdom, Sirach Septuagint Isaiah, Jeremiah, Baruch, Lamentations, Ezekiel, Daniel Septuagint Hosea, Joel, Amos, Obadiah, Jonah, Micah, Nahum, Habakkuk, Zephaniah, Haggai, Zechariah, Malachi The Authentic Greek New Testament Bilingual New Testament I

Gregory of Nyssa Home Page


Learned Freeware

Reference address :