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Physis : World Creation  

Gregory of Nyssa : THE MAKING OF MAN

Why Man Appeared Last, After the Creation

Patrologia Graeca 44.132-3  * Greek Fonts


OR not as yet had that great and precious thing, man, come into the world of being; it was not to be looked for that the ruler should appear before the subjects of his rule; but when his dominion was prepared, the next step was that the king should be manifested. When, then the Maker of all had prepared beforehand, as it were, a royal lodging for the future king (and this was the land, and islands, and sea, and the heaven arching like a roof over them), and when all kinds of wealth had been stored in this palace (and by wealth I mean the whole creation, all that is in plants and trees, and all that has sense, and breath, and life; and-if we are to account materials also as wealth-all that for their beauty are reckoned precious in the eyes of men, as gold and silver, and the substances of your jewels which men delight in-having concealed, I say, abundance of all these also in the bosom of the earth as in a royal treasure-house), he thus manifests man in the world, to be the beholder of some of the wonders therein, and the lord of others; that by his enjoyment he might have knowledge of the Giver, and by the beauty and majesty of the things he saw might trace out that power of the Maker which is beyond speech and language.

Διὰ τί μετὰ τὴν κτίσιν τελευταῖος ὁ ἄνθρωπος

Οὔπω γὰρ τὸ μέγα τοῦτο καὶ τίμιον χρῆμα ὁ ἄνθρωπος τῷ κόσμῳ τῶν ὄντων ἐπεχωρίαζεν. Οὐδὲ γὰρ ἦν εἰκὸς τὸν ἄρχοντα πρὸ τῶν ἀρχομένων ἀναφανῆναι͵ ἀλλὰ τῆς ἀρχῆς πρότερον ἑτοιμασθείσης ἀκόλουθον ἦν ἀναδειχθῆναι τὸν βασιλεύοντα͵ ἐπειδὴ τοίνυν οἷόν τινα βασίλειον καταγωγὴν τῷ μέλλοντι βασιλεύειν ὁ τοῦ παντὸς ποιητὴς προηυτρέπισεν. Αὕτη δὲ ἦν γῆ τε καὶ νῆσοι καὶ θάλαττα καὶ οὐρανὸς ὑπὲρ τούτων ὀρόφου δίκην ἐπικυρτούμενος· πλοῦτος δὲ παντοδαπὸς τοῖς βασιλείοις τούτοις ἐναπετέθη. Πλοῦτον δὲ λέγω πᾶσαν τὴν κτίσιν͵ ὅσον ἐν φυτοῖς καὶ βλαστήμασι͵ καὶ ὅσον αἰσθητικόν τε καὶ ἔμπνουν καὶ ἔμψυχον. [133] Εἰ δὲ χρὴ καὶ τὰς ὕλας εἰς πλοῦτον καταριθμήσασθαι͵ ὅσαι διά τινος εὐχροίας τίμιαι τοῖς ἀνθρωπίνοις ὀφθαλμοῖς ἐνομίσθησαν͵ οἷον χρυσίον τε καὶ ἀργύριον καὶ τῶν λίθων δὴ τούτων ἃς ἀγαπῶσιν οἱ ἄνθρωποι· καὶ τούτων πάντων τὴν ἀφθονίαν καθάπερ τισὶ βασιλικοῖς θησαυροῖς τοῖς τῆς γῆς κόλποις ἐγκατακρύψας͵ οὕτως ἀναδείκνυσιν ἐν τῷ κόσμῳ τὸν ἄνθρωπον͵ τῶν ἐν τούτῳ θαυμάτων τῶν μὲν θεατὴν ἐσόμενον͵ τῶν δὲ κύριον͵ ὡς διὰ μὲν τῆς ἀπολαύσεως τὴν σύνεσιν τοῦ χορηγοῦντος ἔχειν͵ διὰ δὲ τοῦ κάλλους τε καὶ μεγέθους τῶν ὁρωμένων τὴν ἄῤῥητόν τε καὶ ὑπὲρ λόγον τοῦ πεποιηκότος δύναμιν ἀνιχνεύειν.

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

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