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Three Millennia of Greek Literature
Physis : World Creation  

Gregory of Nyssa : THE MAKING OF MAN

How One Even of Those Who are Without May Be Brought to Believe the Scripture When Teaching of the Resurrection

Patrologia Graeca 44.213-224  * Greek Fonts


OME one, perhaps, having regard to the dissolution of bodies, and judging the Deity by the measure of his own power, asserts that the idea of the resurrection is impossible, saying that it cannot be that both those things which are now in motion should become stationary, and those things which are now without motion should rise again.

Let such an one, however, take as the first and greatest evidence of the truth touching the resurrection the credibility of the herald who proclaims it. Now the faith of what is said derives its certainty from the result of the other predictions: for as the Divine Scripture delivers statements many and various, it is possible by examining how the rest of the utterances stand in the matter of falsehood and truth to survey also, in the light of them, the doctrine concerning the resurrection. For if in the other matters the statements are found to be false and to have failed of true fulfilment, neither is this out of the region of falsehood; but if all the others have experience to vouch for their truth, it would seem logical to esteem as true, on their account, the prediction concerning the resurrection also. Let us therefore recall one or two of the predictions that have been made, and compare the result with what was foretold, so that we may know by means of them whether the idea has a truthful aspect.

Πῶς ἄν τις καὶ τῶν ἔξωθεν προσαχθείη πιστεῦσαι τῇ Γραφῇ περὶ τῆς ἀναστάσεως διδασκούσῃ

Ἀλλ' ἴσως τις πρὸς τὰ διαλυθέντα σώματα βλέπων καὶ πρὸς τὸ μέτρον τῆς ἰδίας δυνάμεως τὸ Θεῖον κρίνων͵ τὸν τῆς ἀναστάσεως λόγον ἀδύνατον εἶναί φησι͵ καὶ στήσεσθαι τὰ νῦν κινούμενα καὶ ἀναστήσεσθαι τὰ νῦν μὴ κινούμενα μὴ ἐνδέχεσθαι λέγων·

ἀλλ' ὁ τοιοῦτος πρῶτον μὲν καὶ μέγιστον ποιείσθω τεκμήριον τῆς κατὰ τὴν ἀνάστασιν ἀληθείας τὸ τοῦ κηρύγματος αὐτῆς ἀξιόπιστον, ἡ δὲ τῶν λεγομένων πίστις ἐκ τῆς τῶν λοιπῶν τῶν προῤῥηθέντων ἐκβάσεως τὸ ἀσφαλὲς ἔχει. Ἐπειδὴ γὰρ πολλούς τε καὶ παντοδαποὺς παρέθετο λόγους ἡ θεία Γραφή͵ δυνατόν ἐστιν ὅπως ἂν ἔχῃ ψεύδους ἢ ἀληθείας τὰ λοιπὰ τῶν εἰρημένων θεασαμένους͵ δι' ἐκείνων καὶ τὸ περὶ τῆς ἀναστάσεως δόγμα κατανοῆσαι. Εἰ μὲν γὰρ ἐν τοῖς ἄλλοις ψευδεῖς οἱ λόγοι καὶ διεσφαλμένοι τῆς ἀληθείας ἐλέγχονται͵ οὐδὲ τοῦτο πάντως ἐκτὸς ψεύδους ἐστίν. Εἰ δὲ τὰ ἄλλα πάντα μαρτυροῦσαν ἔχει τῇ ἀληθείᾳ τὴν πεῖραν͵ ἀκόλουθον ἂν εἴη δι' ἐκείνων καὶ τὴν περὶ τῆς ἀναστάσεως πρόῤῥησιν ἀληθῆ νομίσαι. Οὐκοῦν ἐπιμνησθῶμεν [216] ἑνὸς ἢ δυοῖν τῶν προκατηγγελμένων καὶ ἀντιπαραθῶμεν τοῖς προῤῥηθεῖσι τὴν ἔκβασιν͵ ὥστε γνῶναι δι' αὐτῶν͵ εἰ πρὸς τὴν ἀλήθειαν ὁ λόγος βλέπει.

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

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