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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


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For this reason man was brought into the world last after the creation, not being rejected to the last as worthless, but as one whom it behoved to be king over his subjects at his very birth. And as a good host does not bring his guest to his house before the preparation of his feast, but, when he has made all due preparation, and decked with their proper adornments his house, his couches, his table, brings his guest home when things suitable for his refreshment are in readiness, in the same manner the rich and munificent Entertainer of our nature, when He had decked the habitation with beauties of every kind, and prepared this great and varied banquet, then introduced man, assigning to him as his task not the acquiring of what was not there, but the enjoyment of the things which were there; and for this reason He gives him as foundations the instincts of a twofold organization, blending the Divine with the earthy, that by means of both he may be naturally and properly disposed to each enjoyment, enjoying God by means of his more divine nature, and the good things of earth by the sense that is akin to them.

Διὰ ταῦτα τελευταῖος μετὰ τὴν κτίσιν εἰσήχθη ὁ ἄνθρωπος͵ οὐχ ὡς ἀπόβλητος ἐν ἐσχάτοις ἀποῤῥιφθεὶς͵ ἀλλ' ὡς ἅμα τῇ γενέσει βασιλεὺς εἶναι τῶν ὑποχειρίων προσήκων. Καὶ ὥσπερ τις ἀγαθὸς ἑστιάτωρ οὐ πρὸ τῆς παρασκευῆς τῶν ἐδωδίμων τὸν ἑστιώμενον εἰσοικίζεται͵ ἀλλ' εὐπρεπῆ τὰ πάντα παρασκευάσας καὶ φαιδρύνας τοῖς καθήκουσι κόσμοις τὸν οἶκον͵ τὴν κλισίαν͵ τὴν τράπεζαν͵ ἐφ' ἑτοίμοις ἤδη τοῖς πρὸς τὴν τροφὴν ἐπιτηδείοις͵ ἐφέστιον ποιεῖται τὸν δαιτυμόνα, κατὰ τὸν αὐτὸν τρόπον ὁ πλούσιός τε καὶ πολυτελὴς τῆς φύσεως ἡμῶν ἑστιάτωρ παντοίοις κάλλεσι κατακοσμήσας τὴν οἴκησιν καὶ τὴν μεγάλην ταύτην καὶ παντοδαπῆ πανδαισίαν ἑτοιμασάμενος͵ οὕτως εἰσάγει τὸν ἄνθρωπον͵ ἔργον αὐτῷ δοὺς οὐ τὴν κτῆσιν τῶν μὴ προσόντων͵ ἀλλὰ τὴν ἀπόλαυσιν τῶν παρόντων. Καὶ διὰ τοῦτο διπλᾶς αὐτῷ τῆς κατασκευῆς τὰς ἀφορμὰς καταβάλλεται τῷ γηΐνῳ τὸ θεῖον ἐγκαταμίξας, ἵνα δι' ἀμφοτέρων συγγενῶς τε καὶ οἰκείως πρὸς ἑκατέραν ἀπόλαυσιν ἔχῃ τοῦ Θεοῦ μὲν διὰ τῆς θειοτέρας φύσεως͵ τῶν δὲ κατὰ τὴν γῆν ἀγαθῶν διὰ τῆς ὁμογενοῦς αἰσθήσεως ἀπολαύων.

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

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