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Three Millennia of Greek Literature
Physis : World Creation  

Gregory of Nyssa : THE MAKING OF MAN

That He Who Confesses the Beginning of the World's Existence Must Necessarily Also Agree as to Its End

Patrologia Graeca 44.209-12  * Greek Fonts


UT if some one, beholding the present course of the world, by which intervals of time are marked, going on in a certain order, should say that it is not possible that the predicted stoppage of these moving things should take place, such a man clearly also does not believe that in the beginning the heaven and the earth were made by God; for he who admits a beginning, of motion surely does not doubt as to its also having an end; and he who does not allow its end, does not admit its beginning either; but as it is by believing that "we understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God," as the apostle says, "so that things which are seen were not made of things which do appear ," we must use the same faith as to the word of God when He foretells the necessary stoppage of existing things.

The question of the "how" must, however, be put beyond the reach of our meddling; for even in the case mentioned it was "by faith" that we admitted that the thing seen was framed from things not yet apparent, omitting the search into things beyond our reach. And yet our reason suggests difficulties on many points, offering no small occasions for doubt as to the things which we believe.

Ὅτι ὁ τὴν ἀρχὴν τῆς τοῦ κόσμου συστάσεως ὁμολογῶν͵ ἀναγκαίως καὶ περὶ τοῦ τέλους συνθήσεται

Εἰ δέ τις τὴν νῦν τοῦ κόσμου φορὰν εἱρμῷ τινι διεξαγομένην βλέπων͵ δι' ἦς τὸ χρονικὸν θεωρεῖται διάστημα͵ μὴ ἐνδέχεσθαι λέγοι τὴν προαγγελθεῖσαν τῶν κινουμένων στάσιν γενήσεσθαι, δῆλος ὁ τοιοῦτός ἐστι͵ μηδὲ ἐν ἀρχῇ γεγενῆσθαι παρὰ τοῦ Θεοῦ τὸν οὐρανὸν καὶ τὴν γῆν πιστεύων. Ὁ γὰρ ἀρχὴν τῇ κινήσει διδούς͵ οὐκ ἀμφιβάλλει πάντως καὶ περὶ τέλους, καὶ ὁ τὸ τέλος μὴ προσδεχόμενος͵ οὐδὲ τὴν ἀρχὴν παρεδέξατο. Ἀλλ' ὥσπερ κατηρτίσθαι τοὺς αἰῶνας τῷ ῥήματι νοοῦμεν τοῦ Θεοῦ͵ πιστεύοντες͵ καθώς φησιν ὁ Ἀπόστολος͵ ἐκ τῶν μὴ φαινομένων τὰ βλεπόμενα γεγονέναι, τῇ αὐτῇ πίστει χρησόμεθα περὶ τὸ ῥῆμα τοῦ Θεοῦ͵ τοῦ τὴν ἀναγκαίαν τῶν ὄντων στάσιν προαγορεύσαντος.

Τὸ δὲ πῶς͵ ἐξαιρετέον τῆς πολυπραγμοσύνης καὶ γὰρ κἀκεῖ πίστει κατηρτίσθαι τὸ βλεπόμενον ἐκ τῶν μηδέπω φαινομένων κατεδεξάμεθα͵ παραδραμόντες τῶν ἀνεφίκτων τὴν ζήτησιν. Καίτοι περὶ πολλῶν ἡμῖν ὁ λόγος ἀπορεῖν ὑπετίθετο͵ οὐ μικρὰς παρέχων ἀφορμὰς πρὸς τὴν τῶν πεπιστευμένων ἀμφιβολίαν.

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

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