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Physis : World Creation  

Gregory of Nyssa : THE MAKING OF MAN

An Examination of the Kindred of Mind to Nature: Wherein, by Way of Digression, is Refuted the Doctrine of the Anomoeans

Patrologia Graeca 44.137-40  * Greek Fonts


ND let no one suppose me to say that the Deity is in touch with existing things in a manner resembling human operation, by means of different faculties. For it is impossible to conceive in the simplicity of the Godhead the varied and diverse nature of the apprehensive operation: not even in our own case are the faculties which apprehend things numerous, although we are in touch with those things which affect our life in many ways by means of our senses; for there is one faculty, the implanted mind itself, which passes through each of the organs of sense and grasps the things beyond: this it is that, by means of the eyes, beholds what is seen; this it is that, by means of hearing, understands what is said; that is content with what is to our taste, and turns from what is unpleasant; that uses the hand for whatever it wills, taking hold or rejecting by its means, using the help of the organ for this purpose precisely as it thinks expedient.

If in men, then, even though the organs formed by nature for purposes of perception may be different, that which operates and moves by means of all, and uses each appropriately for the object before it, is one and the same, not changing its nature by the differences of operations, how could any one suspect multiplicity of essence in God on the ground of His varied powers? for "He that made the eye," as the prophet says, and "that planted the ear ," stamped on human nature these operations to be as it were significant characters, with reference to their models in Himself: for He says, "Let us make man in our image ."

Ἐξέτασις τῆς τοῦ νοῦ πρὸς τὴν φύσιν συγγενείας͵ ἐν ᾧ καὶ ἐκ παρόδου τὸ τῶν Ἀνομοίων διελέγχεται δόγμα

Καί με μηδεὶς οἰέσθω καθ' ὁμοιότητα τῆς ἀνθρωπίνης ἐνεργείας ἐν διαφόροις δυνάμεσι τὸ Θεῖον λέγειν τῶν ὄντων ἐφάπτεσθαι. Οὐ γάρ ἐστι δυνατὸν ἐν τῇ ἁπλότητι τῆς θειότητος τὸ ποικίλον τε καὶ πολυειδὲς τῆς ἀντιληπτικῆς ἐνεργείας κατανοῆσαι. Οὐδὲ γὰρ ἡμῖν πολλαί τινές εἰσιν αἱ ἀντιληπτικαὶ τῶν πραγμάτων δυνάμεις͵ εἰ καὶ πολυτρόπως διὰ τῶν αἰσθήσεων [140] τῶν κατὰ ζωὴν ἐφαπτώμεθα. Μία γάρ τίς ἐστι δύναμις͵ αὐτὸς ὁ ἐγκείμενος νοῦς͵ ὁ δι' ἑκάστου τῶν αἰσθητηρίων διεξιὼν καὶ τῶν ὄντων ἐπιδρασσόμενος. Οὗτος θεωρεῖ διὰ τῶν ὀφθαλμῶν τὸ φαινόμενον, οὗτος συνιεῖ διὰ τῆς ἀκοῆς τὸ λεγόμενον͵ ἀγαπᾷ τε τὸ κατευθύμιον καὶ τὸ μὴ καθ' ἡδονὴν ἀποστρέφεται καὶ τῇ χειρὶ χρῆται πρὸς τὸ ὅ τι βούλεται͵ κρατῶν δι' αὐτῆς καὶ ἀπωθούμενος ἅπερ ἂν λυσιτελεῖν κρίνῃ͵ τῇ τοῦ ὀργάνου συνεργίᾳ εἰς τοῦτο συγχρώμενος.

Εἰ τοίνυν ἐν τῷ ἀνθρώπῳ κἂν διάφορα τύχῃ τὰ πρὸς αἴσθησιν κατεσκευασμένα παρὰ τῆς φύσεως ὄργανα͵ ὁ διὰ πάντων ἐνεργῶν καὶ κινούμενος καὶ καταλλήλως ἑκάστῳ πρὸς τὸ προκείμενον κεχρημένος͵ εἷς ἐστι καὶ ὁ αὐτός͵ ταῖς διαφοραῖς τῶν ἐνεργειῶν οὐ συνεξαλλάσσων τὴν φύσιν, πῶς ἄν τις ἐπὶ τοῦ Θεοῦ διὰ τῶν ποικίλων δυνάμεων τὸ πολυμερὲς τῆς οὐσίας κατοπτεύσειεν; Ὁ γὰρ πλάσας τὸν ὀφθαλμόν͵ καθώς φησιν ὁ Προφήτης͵ καὶ ὁ φυτεύσας τὸ οὗς͵ πρὸς τὰ ἐν αὐτῷ παραδείγματα τὰς ἐνεργείας ταύτας οἶόν τινας γνωριστικοὺς χαρακτῆρας τῇ φύσει τῶν ἀνθρώπων ἐνεσημήνατο. Ποιήσωμεν γάρ͵ φησίν͵ ἄνθρωπον κατ' εἰκόνα ἡμετέραν.

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