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Physis : World Creation  

Gregory of Nyssa : THE MAKING OF MAN

That the Resurrection is Not Beyond Probability

Patrologia Graeca 44.224-5  * Greek Fonts


HERE are, however, some who, owing to the feebleness of human reasoning, judging the Divine power by the compass of our own, maintain that what is beyond our capacity is not possible even to God. They point to the disappearance of the dead of old time, and to the remains of those who have been reduced to ashes by fire; and further, besides these, they bring forward in idea the carnivorous beasts, and the fish that receives in its own body the flesh of the shipwrecked sailor, while this again in turn becomes food for men, and passes by digestion into the bulk of him who eats it: and they rehearse many such trivialities, unworthy of God's great power and authority, for the overthrow of the doctrine, arguing as though God were not able to restore to man his own, by return through the same ways.

But we briefly cut short their long circuits of logical folly by acknowledging that dissolution of the body into its component parts does take place, and not only does earth, according to the Divine word, return to earth, but air and moisture also revert to the kindred element, and there takes place a return of each of our components to that nature to which it is allied; and although the human body be dispersed among carnivorous birds, or among the most savage beasts by becoming their food, and although it pass beneath the teeth of fish, and although it be changed by fire into vapour and dust, wheresoever one may in argument suppose the man to be removed, he surely remains in the world; and the world, the voice of inspiration tells us, is held by the hand of God. If thou, then, art not ignorant of any of the things in thy hand, dost thou deem the knowledge of God to be feebler than thine own power, that it should fail to discover the most minute of the things that are within the compass of the Divine span?


Ὅτι οὐκ ἔξω τοῦ εἰκότος ἡ ἀνάστασις

Ἀλλ' εἰσί τινες͵ οἳ διὰ τὴν τῶν ἀνθρωπίνων λογισμῶν ἀτονίαν͵ πρὸς τὰ ἡμέτερα μέτρα τὴν θείαν δύναμιν κρίνοντες͵ τὸ ἡμῖν ἀχώρητον οὐδὲ Θεῷ δυνατὸν εἶναι κατασκευάζουσι. Δεικνύουσι γὰρ τῶν τε ἀρχαίων νεκρῶν τὸν ἀφανισμόν͵ τῶν τε διὰ πυρὸς ἀποτεφρωθέντων τὰ λείψανα καὶ ἔτι πρὸς τούτοις τὰ σαρκοβόρα τῶν ζώων τῷ λόγῳ προφέρουσι καὶ τὸν ἰχθὺν τῷ ἰδίῳ σώματι τὴν σάρκα τοῦ ναυαγήσαντος ἀναλαβόντα καὶ τοῦτον πάλιν τροφὴν ἀνθρώπων γενόμενον καὶ εἰς τὸν τοῦ βεβρωκότος ὄγκον μετακεχωρηκότα διὰ τῆς πέψεως, καὶ πολλὰ τοιαῦτα μικροπρεπῆ καὶ τῆς μεγάλης τοῦ Θεοῦ δυνάμεως καὶ ἐξουσίας ἀνάξια͵ ἐπ' ἀνατροπῇ τοῦ δόγματος διεξέρχονται, ὡς οὐ δυναμένου τοῦ Θεοῦ πάλιν διὰ τῶν αὐτῶν ὁδῶν͵ δι' ἀναλύσεως ἀποκαταστῆσαι τῷ ἀνθρώπῳ τὸ ἴδιον.

Ἀλλ' ἡμεῖς ἐν ὀλίγῳ τὰς μακρὰς αὐτῶν τῆς λογικῆς ματαιότητος περιδρομὰς ὑποτεμνώμεθα͵ ὁμολογοῦντες τὴν μὲν διάλυσιν τοῦ σώματος εἰς τὰ ἐξ ὧν συνέστηκε γίνεσθαι͵ καὶ οὐ μόνον τὴν γῆν κατὰ τὸν θεῖον λόγον εἰς τὴν γῆν ἀναλύεσθαι, ἀλλὰ καὶ τὸν ἀέρα καὶ τὸ ὑγρὸν προσχωρεῖν τῷ ὁμοφύλῳ καὶ ἑκάστου τῶν ἐν ἡμῖν πρὸς τὸ συγγενὲς τὴν μεταχώρησιν γίγνεσθαι͵ κἂν τοῖς σαρκοβόροις ὀρνέοις͵ κἂν τοῖς ὠμοτάτοις θηρίοις ἀναμιχθῇ τὸ ἀνθρώπινον σῶμα διὰ τῆς βρώσεως͵ κἂν ὑπὸ τὸν ὀδόντα τῶν ἰχθύων ἔλθῃ͵ κἂν εἰς ἀτμοὺς καὶ κόνιν μεταβληθῇ τῷ πυρί. Ὅπου δ' ἄν τις καθ' ὑπόθεσιν περιενέγκῃ τῷ λόγῳ τὸν ἄνθρωπον͵ ἐντὸς τοῦ κόσμου πάντως ἐστί, τοῦτον δὲ τῇ χειρὶ τοῦ Θεοῦ περικρατεῖσθαι ἡ θεόπνευστος διδάσκει φωνή. Εἰ οὖν σύ τι τῶν ἐν τῇ σῇ παλάμῃ οὐκ ἀγνοεῖς͵ ἆρ' οἴει τῆς σῆς δυνάμεως [225] ἀτονωτέραν εἶναι τὴν τοῦ Θεοῦ γνῶσιν͵ ὡς μὴ ἂν ἐξευρεῖν τῶν ἐμπεριεχομένων ὑπὸ τῆς θείας σπιθαμῆς τὴν ἀκρίβειαν;

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

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