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Physis : World Creation  

Gregory of Nyssa : THE MAKING OF MAN

An Establishment of the Doctrine that the Cause of the Existence of Soul and Body is One and the Same

Patrologia Graeca 44.233-240  * Greek Fonts


UT as man is one, the being consisting of soul and body, we are to suppose that the beginning of his existence is one, common to both parts, so that he should not be found to be antecedent and posterior to himself, if the bodily element were first in point of time, and the other were a later addition; but we are to say that in the power of God's foreknowledge (according to the doctrine laid down a little earlier in our discourse), all the fulness of human nature had pre-existence (and to this the prophetic writing bears witness, which says that God "knoweth all things before they be "), and in the creation of individuals not to place the one element before the other, neither the soul before the body, nor the contrary, that man may. not be at strife against himself, by being divided by the difference in point of time.

For as our nature is conceived as twofold, according to the apostolic teaching, made up of the visible man and the hidden man, if the one came first and the other supervened, the power of Him that made us will be shown to be in some way imperfect, as not being completely sufficient for the whole task at once, but dividing the work, and busying itself with each of the halves in turn.

Κατασκευὴ τοῦ μίαν καὶ τὴν αὐτὴν ψυχῇ τε καὶ σώματι τὴν αἰτίαν τῆς ὑπάρξεως εἶναι

Ἀλλ' ἑνὸς ὄντος τοῦ ἀνθρώπου͵ τοῦ διὰ ψυχῆς τε καὶ σώματος συνεστηκότος͵ μίαν αὐτοῦ καὶ κοινὴν τῆς συστάσεως τὴν ἀρχὴν ὑποτίθεσθαι͵ ὡς ἂν μὴ αὐτὸς ἑαυτοῦ προγενέστερός τε καὶ νεώτερος γένοιτο͵ τοῦ μὲν σωματικοῦ προτερεύοντος ἐν αὐτῷ͵ τοῦ δὲ ἑτέρου ἐφυστερίζοντος. Ἀλλὰ τῇ μὲν προγνωστικῇ τοῦ Θεοῦ δυνάμει͵ κατὰ τὸν μικρῷ πρόσθεν ἀποδοθέντα λόγον͵ ἅπαν προϋφεστάναι τὸ ἀνθρώπινον πλήρωμα λέγειν͵ συμμαρτυρούσης εἰς τοῦτο τῆς προφητείας͵ τῆς λεγούσης εἰδέναι τὰ πάντα τὸν Θεὸν πρὶν γενέσεως αὐτῶν. Ἐν δὲ τῇ καθ' ἕκαστον δημιουργίᾳ μὴ προτιθέναι τοῦ ἑτέρου τὸ ἕτερον͵ μήτε πρὸ τοῦ σώματος τὴν ψυχήν͵ μήτε τὸ ἔμπαλιν, ὡς ἂν μὴ στασιάζοι πρὸς ἑαυτὸν ὁ ἄνθρωπος τῇ κατὰ τὸν χρόνον διαφορᾷ [236] μεριζόμενος.

Διπλῆς γὰρ τῆς φύσεως ἡμῶν νοουμένης κατὰ τὴν ἀποστολικὴν διδασκαλίαν͵ τοῦ τε φαινομένου ἀνθρώπου καὶ τοῦ κεκρυμμένου, εἰ τὸ μὲν προϋπάρχοι͵ τὸ δὲ ἐπιγένοιτο͵ ἀτελής τις ἡ τοῦ δημιουργοῦντος ἀπελεγχθήσεται δύναμις͵ οὐ τῷ παντὶ κατὰ τὸ ἀθρόον ἐξαρκοῦσα͵ ἀλλὰ διαιρουμένη τὸ ἔργον καὶ ἀνὰ μέρος περὶ ἑκάτερον τῶν ἡμισευμάτων ἀσχολουμένη.

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

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