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Physis : World Creation  

Gregory of Nyssa : THE MAKING OF MAN

That It is Possible, When the Human Body is Dissolved into the Elements of the Universe, that Each Should Have His Own Body Restored from the Common Source

Patrologia Graeca 44.225-9  * Greek Fonts


ET it may be thou thinkest, having regard to the elements of the universe, that it is a hard thing when the air in us has been resolved into its kindred element, and the warmth, and moisture, and the earthy nature have likewise been mingled with their own kind, that from the common source there should return to the individual what belongs to itself.

Dost thou not then judge by human examples that even this does not surpass the limits of the Divine power? Thou hast seen surely somewhere among the habitations of men a common herd of some kind of animals collected from every quarter: yet when it is again divided among its owners, acquaintance with their homes and the marks put upon the cattle serve to restore to each his own. If thou conceivest of thyself also something like to this, thou wilt not be far from the right way: for as the soul is disposed to cling to and long for the body that has been wedded to it, there also attaches to it in secret a certain close relationship and power of recognition, in virtue of their commixture, as though some marks had been imprinted by nature, by the aid of which the community remains unconfused, separated by the distinctive signs. Now as the soul attracts again to itself that which is its own and properly belongs to it, what labour, I pray you, that is involved for the Divine power, could be a hindrance to concourse of kindred things when they are urged to their own place by the unspeakable attraction of nature, whatever it may be? For that some signs of our compound nature remain in the soul even after dissolution is shown by the dialogue in Hades , where the bodies had been conveyed to the tomb, but some bodily token still remained in the souls by which both Lazarus was recognized and the rich man was not unknown.

Ὅτι δυνατόν ἐστιν εἰς τὰ τοῦ παντὸς στοιχεῖα τοῦ ἀνθρωπίνου σώματος ἀναλυθέντος͵ πάλιν ἐκ τοῦ κοινοῦ ἑκάστῳ τὸ ἴδιον ἀποσωθῆναι

Ἀλλὰ τυχὸν πρὸς τὰ στοιχεῖα τοῦ παντὸς βλέπων͵ δύσκολον οἴει τοῦ ἐν ἡμῖν ἀέρος πρὸς τὸ συγγενὲς στοιχεῖον ἀναχεθέντος καὶ τοῦ θερμοῦ τε καὶ ὑγροῦ καὶ τοῦ γεώδους ὡσαύτως τοῖς ὁμοφύλοις ἐγκαταμιχθέντων͵ πάλιν ἐκ τοῦ κοινοῦ τὸ οἰκεῖον ἐπὶ τὸ ἴδιον ἀναδραμεῖν.

Εἶτα οὐ λογίζῃ διὰ τῶν ἀνθρωπίνων ὑποδειγμάτων τὸ μηδὲ τοῦτο τῆς θείας δυνάμεως ὑπερβαίνειν τοὺς ὅρους; Εἶδές που πάντως ἐν ταῖς ἀνθρωπίναις οἰκήσεσι κοινὴν ἀγέλην ζώων τινῶν ἐκ κοινοῦ συνισταμένην. Ἀλλ' ὅταν πάλιν πρὸς τοὺς κεκτημένους αὐτὴ καταμερίζηται͵ ἥ τε πρὸς τοὺς οἴκους συνήθεια καὶ τὰ ἐπικείμενα σημεῖα τὸ ἴδιον ἑκάστῳ ἀποκαθίστησι. Τοιοῦτόν τι καὶ περὶ σεαυτὸν ἐννοῶν͵ οὐχ ἁμαρτήσεις τοῦ πρέποντος. Φυσικῇ γάρ τινι σχέσει καὶ στοργῇ πρὸς τὸ συνοικῆσαν σῶμα τῆς ψυχῆς διακειμένης͵ ἔστι τις κατὰ τὸ λεληθὸς αὐτῇ διὰ τῆς συνανακράσεως τοῦ οἰκείου σχέσις τε καὶ ἐπίγνωσις͵ οἷον σημείων τινῶν παρὰ τῆς φύσεως ἐπικειμένων͵ δι' ὧν ἡ κοινότης ἀσύγχυτος μένει διακρινομένη τοῖς ἰδιάζουσι. Τῆς τοίνυν ψυχῆς τὸ συγγενές τε καὶ ἴδιον ἐφ' ἑαυτὴν πάλιν ἑλκούσης͵ τίς πόνος͵ εἰπέ μοι͵ τῇ θείᾳ δυνάμει κωλῦσαι τῶν οἰκείων τὴν συνδρομήν͵ ἀῤῥήτῳ τινὶ τῇ τῆς φύσεως ὁλκῇ πρὸς τὸ ἴδιον ἐπειγομένων; Τὸ γὰρ ἐπιδιαμένειν τινὰ τῇ ψυχῇ καὶ μετὰ τὴν διάλυσιν σημεῖα τοῦ ἡμετέρου συγκρίματος δείκνυσιν ὁ κατὰ τὸν ᾅδην διάλογος͵ τῶν μὲν σωμάτων τῷ τάφῳ παραδοθέντων͵ γνωρίσματος δέ τινος σωματικοῦ ταῖς ψυχαῖς παραμείναντος͵ δι' οὗ καὶ ὁ Λάζαρος ἐγνωρίζετο καὶ οὐκ ἠγνοεῖτο ὁ πλούσιος.

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