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Physis : World Creation // Download  

Gregory of Nyssa : THE MAKING OF MAN

To Those Who Say, "If the Resurrection is a Thing Excellent and Good, How is It that It Has Not Happened Already, But is Hoped Far in Some Periods of Time?"

Patrologia Graeca 44.204-9  * Greek Fonts

ELPENOR EDITIONS IN PRINT

ET us give our attention, however, to the next point of our discussion. It may be that some one, giving his thought wings to soar towards the sweetness of our hope, deems it a burden and a loss that we are not more speedily placed in that good state which is above man's sense and knowledge, and is dissatisfied with the extension of the time that intervenes between him and the object of his desire. Let him cease to vex himself like a child that is discontented at the brief delay of something that gives him pleasure; for since all things are governed by reason and wisdom, we must by no means suppose that anything that happens is done without reason itself and the wisdom that is therein.

You will say then, What is this reason, in accordance with which the change of our painful life to that which we desire does not take place at once, but this heavy and corporeal existence of ours waits, extended to some determinate time, for the term of the consummation of all things, that then man's life may be set free as it were from the reins, and revert once more, released and free, to the life of blessedness and impassibility?

Well, whether our answer is near the truth of the matter, the Truth Itself may clearly know; but at all events what occurs to our intelligence is as follows. I take up then once more in my argument our first text:-God says, "Let us make man in our image, after our likeness, and God created man, in the image of God created He him." Accordingly, the Image of God, which we behold in universal humanity, had its consummation then ; but Adam as yet was not; for the thing formed from the earth is called Adam, by etymological nomenclature, as those tell us who are acquainted with the Hebrew tongue-wherefore also the apostle, who was specially learned in his native tongue, the tongue of the Israelites, calls the man "of the earth" χοϊκοί, as though translating the name Adam into the Greek word.

Πρὸς τοὺς λέγοντας͵ εἰ καλόν τι καὶ ἀγαθὸν ἡ ἀνάστασις͵ τί οὐχὶ ἤδη γέγονεν͵ ἀλλὰ χρόνων τισὶ περιόδοις ἐλπίζεται

Ἀλλὰ τῆς ἀκολουθίας τῶν ἐξητασμένων ἐχώμεθα. Ἴσως γάρ τις πρὸς τὸ γλυκὺ τῆς ἐλπίδος πτερωθεὶς τὴν διάνοιαν͵ ἄχθος ἡγεῖται καὶ ζημίαν τὸ μὴ θᾶττον ἐν τοῖς ἀγαθοῖς ἐκείνοις γενέσθαι͵ ἃ ὑπὲρ αἴσθησίν τε καὶ γνῶσιν ἀνθρωπίνην ἐστί, καὶ δεινὴν ποιεῖται τὴν διὰ μέσου πρὸς τὸ ποθούμενον τοῦ χρόνου παράτασιν. Ἀλλὰ μὴ στενοχωρείσθω͵ καθάπερ τις τῶν νηπίων τὴν πρὸς ὀλίγον ἀναβολὴν τῶν καθ' ἡδονὴν δυσχεραίνων. Ἐπειδὴ γὰρ ὑπὸ λόγου καὶ σοφίας τὰ πάντα οἰκονομεῖται͵ ἀνάγκη πᾶσα μηδὲν ἄμοιρον ἡγεῖσθαι τῶν γινομένων αὐτοῦ τε τοῦ λόγου καὶ τῆς ἐν αὐτῷ σοφίας.

Ἐρεῖς οὖν, Τίς οὗτος ὁ λόγος ἐστί͵ καθ' ὃν οὐκ εὐθὺς ἐπὶ τὸ ποθούμενον ἡ τοῦ λυπηροῦ βίου μετάστασις γίνεται͵ ἀλλ' εἰς χρόνους τινὰς ὡρισμένους ἡ βαρεῖα καὶ σωματώδης αὕτη παραταθεῖσα ζωὴ ἀναμένει τὸ πέρας τῆς τοῦ παντὸς συμπληρώσεως͵ ἵνα τὸ τηνικαῦτα καθάπερ χαλινοῦ τινος ἐλευθερωθεῖσα ἡ ἀνθρωπίνη ζωή͵ πάλιν ἄνετός τε καὶ ἐλευθέρα πρὸς τὸν μακάριον καὶ ἀπαθῆ βίον ἐπαναδράμοι·

Ἀλλ' εἰ μὲν ἐγγίζει τῇ ἀληθείᾳ τῶν ζητουμένων ὁ λόγος͵ αὐτὴ ἂν εἰδείη σαφῶς ἡ Ἀλήθεια͵ ὃ δ' οὖν ἐπὶ τὴν ἡμετέραν ἦλθε διάνοιαν͵ τοιοῦτον ἐστί͵ Λέγω δὴ τὸν πρῶτον πάλιν ἐπαναλαβὼν λόγον, Ποιήσωμεν͵ φησὶν ὁ Θεός͵ ἄνθρωπον κατ' εἰκόνα καὶ ὁμοίωσιν ἡμετέραν. Καὶ ἐποίησεν ὁ Θεὸς τὸν ἄνθρωπον, κατ' εἰκόνα Θεοῦ ἐποίησεν αὐτόν. Ἡ μὲν οὖν εἰκὼν τοῦ Θεοῦ͵ ἡ ἐν πάσῃ τῇ ἀνθρωπίνῃ φύσει θεωρουμένη͵ τὸ τέλος ἔσχεν. Ὁ δὲ Ἀδὰμ οὔπω ἐγένετο, τὸ γὰρ γήϊνον πλάσμα κατά τινα ἐτυμολογικὴν ὀνομασίαν λέγεται Ἀδάμ͵ καθώς φασιν οἱ τῆς Ἑβραίων φωνῆς ἐπιίστορες. Διὸ καὶ ὁ Ἀπόστολος διαφερόντως τὴν πάτριον τῶν Ἰσραηλιτῶν πεπαιδευμένος φωνήν͵ τὸν ἐκ γῆς ἄνθρωπον χοϊκὸν ὀνομάζει͵ οἱονεὶ μεταβαλὼν τὴν τοῦ Ἀδὰμ κλῆσιν εἰς τὴν Ἐλλάδα φωνήν.

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