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Three Millennia of Greek Literature
Physis : World Creation  

Gregory of Nyssa : THE MAKING OF MAN

To Those Who Say that the Enjoyment of the Good Things We Look for Will Again Consist in Meat and Drink, Because It is Written that by These Means Man at First Lived in Paradise

Patrologia Graeca 44.196-7  * Greek Fonts


UT some one perhaps will say that man will not be returning to the same form of life, if as it seems, we formerly existed by eating, and shall hereafter be free from that function. I, however, when I hear the Holy Scripture, do not understand only bodily meat, or the pleasure of the flesh; but I recognize another kind of food also, having a certain analogy to that of the body, the enjoyment of which extends to the soul alone: "Eat of my bread ," is the bidding of Wisdom to the hungry; and the Lord declares those blessed who hunger for such food as this, and says, "If any man thirst, let him come unto Me, and drink": and "drink ye joy ," is the great Isaiah's charge to those who are able to hear his sublimity. There is a prophetic threatening also against those worthy of vengeance, that they shall be punished with famine; but the "famine" is not a lack of bread and water, but a failure of the word:- "not a famine of bread, nor a thirst for water, but a famine of hearing the word of the Lord."

We ought, then, to conceive that the fruit in Eden was something worthy of God's planting (and Eden is interpreted to mean "delight"), and not to doubt that man was hereby nourished: nor should we at all conceive, concerning the mode of life in Paradise, this transitory and perishable nutriment: "of every tree of the garden," He says, "thou mayest freely eat ."

Πρὸς τοὺς λέγοντας͵ πάλιν ἐν βρώσει καὶ ἐν πόσει εἶναι τῶν ἐλπιζομένων ἀγαθῶν τὴν ἀπόλαυσιν͵ διὰ τὸ ἐξ ἀρχῆς ἐν τῷ παραδείσῳ γεγράφθαι διὰ τούτων τὸν ἄνθρωπον ζῇν

Ἀλλ' ἴσως τις οὐκ εἰς τὸ αὐτὸ πάλιν τῆς ζωῆς εἶδος ἐπανελεύσεσθαι λέγει τὸν ἄνθρωπον͵ εἴγε πρότερον μὲν ἐν τῷ ἐσθίειν ἦμεν͵ μετὰ ταῦτα δὲ τῆς τοιαύτης λειτουργίας ἀφεθησόμεθα. Ἀλλ' ἐγὼ τῆς ἁγίας ἀκούων Γραφῆς͵ οὐ μόνον σωματικὴν ἐπίσταμαι βρῶσιν͵ οὐδὲ τὴν διὰ σαρκὸς εὐφροσύνην͵ ἀλλά τινα καὶ ἑτέραν οἶδα τροφήν͵ ἀναλογίαν τινὰ πρὸς τὴν τοῦ σώματος ἔχουσαν͵ ἧς ἡ ἀπόλαυσις ἐπὶ μόνην τὴν ψυχὴν διαβαίνει. Φάγετε τῶν ἐμῶν ἄρτων͵ ἡ Σοφία τοῖς πεινῶσι διακελεύεται, καὶ μακαρίζει τοὺς τὴν τοιαύτην βρῶσιν πεινῶντας ὁ Κύριος. Καὶ εἴ τις διψᾷ͵ φησίν͵ ἐρχέσθω πρός με καὶ πινέτω. Καὶ ὁ μέγας Ἡσαΐας͵ Πίετε εὐφροσύνην͵ τοῖς δυνατοῖς ἐπαΐειν τῆς μεγαλοφυΐας αὐτοῦ ἐγκελεύεται. Ἔστι δέ τις καὶ ἀπειλὴ προφητικὴ κατὰ τῶν τιμωρίας ἀξίων͵ ὡς λιμῷ κολασθησομένων, ὁ δὲ λιμὸς οὐκ ἄρτου τίς ἐστιν ἀπορία καὶ ὕδατος͵ ἀλλὰ λόγου ἐπίλειψις. Οὐ λιμὸν γὰρ ἄρτου φησὶν ἢ δίψαν ὕδατος͵ ἀλλὰ λιμὸν τοῦ ἀκοῦσαι λόγων Κυρίου.

Οὐκοῦν τῆς τοῦ Θεοῦ φυτείας τῆς ἐν Ἐδὲμ (τρυφὴ δὲ ἡ Ἐδὲμ ἑρμηνεύεται) ἄξιόν τινα τὸν καρπὸν ἐννοῆσαι προσήκει, καὶ τρέφεσθαι διὰ τούτου μὴ ἀμφιβάλλειν τὸν ἄνθρωπον, καὶ μὴ πάντως τὴν παροδικὴν καὶ ἀπόῤῥυτον ταύτην τροφὴν ἐπὶ τῆς τοῦ παραδείσου διαγωγῆς ἐννοεῖν. Ἀπὸ παντός͵ φησί͵ ξύλου τοῦ ἐν τῷ παραδείσῳ βρώσει φάγῃ.

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