Reference address :

ELPENOR - Home of the Greek Word

Three Millennia of Greek Literature
Physis : World Creation  

Gregory of Nyssa : THE MAKING OF MAN

An Argument Against Those Who Say that Matter is Co-Eternal with God

Patrologia Graeca 44.212-3  * Greek Fonts


Page 2

If, then, colour is a thing intelligible, and resistance also is intelligible, and so with quantity and the rest of the like properties, while if each of these should be withdrawn from the substratum, the whole idea of the body is dissolved; it would seem to follow that we may suppose the concurrence of those things, the absence of which we found to be a cause of the dissolution of the body, to produce the material nature: for as that is not a body which has not colour, and figure, and resistance, and extension, and weight, and the other properties, while each of these in its proper existence is found to be not the body but something else besides the body, so, conversely, whenever the specified attributes concur they produce bodily existence. Yet if the perception of these properties is a matter of intellect, and the Divinity is also intellectual in nature, there is no incongruity in supposing that these intellectual occasions for the genesis of bodies have their existence from the incorporeal nature, the intellectual nature on the one hand giving being to the intellectual potentialities, and the mutual concurrence of these bringing to its genesis the material nature.

Let this discussion, however, be by way of digression: we must direct our discourse once more to the faith by which we accept the statement that the universe took being from nothing, and do not doubt, when we are taught by Scripture, that it will again be transformed into some other state.


Εἰ τοίνυν νοητὸν μὲν τὸ χρῶμα͵ νοητὴ δὲ καὶ ἡ ἀντιτυπία καὶ ἡ ποσότης καὶ τὰ λοιπὰ τῶν τοιούτων ἰδιωμάτων͵ ἕκαστον δὲ τούτων εἰ ὑφαιρεθείη τοῦ ὑποκειμένου͵ πᾶς ὁ τοῦ σώματος συνδιαλύεται λόγος, ἀκόλουθον ἂν εἴη͵ ὧν τὴν ἀπουσίαν τῆς τοῦ σώματος λύσεως αἰτίαν εὕρομεν͵ τούτων τὴν συνδρομὴν ἀποτίκτειν τὴν ὑλικὴν φύσιν ὑπολαμβάνειν. Ὡς γὰρ οὐκ ἔστι σῶμα͵ ᾧ τὸ χρῶμα καὶ τὸ σχῆμα καὶ ἡ ἀντιτυπία καὶ ἡ διάστασις καὶ τὸ βάρος καὶ τὰ λοιπὰ τῶν ἰδιωμάτων οὐ πρόσεστιν͵ ἕκαστον δὲ τούτων σῶμα οὐκ ἔστιν͵ ἀλλ' ἕτερόν τι παρὰ τὸ σῶμα κατὰ τὸ ἰδιάζον εὑρίσκεται, οὕτω κατὰ τὸ ἀντίστροφον͵ ὅπου δ' ἂν συνδράμῃ τὰ εἰρημένα͵ τὴν σωματικὴν ὑπόστασιν ἀπεργάζεται. Ἀλλὰ μὴν εἰ νοητὴ τῶν ἰδιωμάτων τούτων ἡ κατανόησις͵ νοητὸν δὲ τῇ φύσει τὸ Θεῖον, οὐδὲν ἀπεικὸς ἐκ τῆς ἀσωμάτου φύσεως τὰς νοερὰς ταύτας ἀφορμὰς πρὸς τὴν τῶν σωμάτων γένεσιν ὑποστῆναι͵ τῆς μὲν νοητῆς φύσεως τὰς νοητὰς ὑφιστώσης δυνάμεις͵ τῆς δὲ τούτων πρὸς ἄλληλα συνδρομῆς τὴν ὑλώδη φύσιν παραγούσης εἰς γένεσιν.

Ἀλλὰ ταῦτα μὲν κατὰ τὸ πάρεργον ἡμῖν παρεξετάσθω, ἡμῖν δὲ πάλιν ἐπὶ τὴν πίστιν ἐπανακτέον τὸν λόγον͵ δι' ἧς ἐκ τε τοῦ μὴ ὄντος ὑποστῆναι τὸ πᾶν ἐδεξάμεθα καὶ πάλιν εἰς ἄλλην τινὰ μεταστοιχειοῦσθαι κατάστασιν παρὰ τῆς Γραφῆς διδαχθέντες͵ οὐκ ἀμφιβάλλομεν.

First Page of this chapter

Previous chapter  *  Index  *  Next chapter

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

Septuagint Genesis Septuagint Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, Deuteronomomy Septuagint Psalms Septuagint Job, Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, Song of Songs, Wisdom, Sirach Septuagint Isaiah, Jeremiah, Baruch, Lamentations, Ezekiel, Daniel Septuagint Hosea, Joel, Amos, Obadiah, Jonah, Micah, Nahum, Habakkuk, Zephaniah, Haggai, Zechariah, Malachi The Authentic Greek New Testament Bilingual New Testament I

Gregory of Nyssa Home Page


Learned Freeware

Reference address :