Friday, July 10, 2009

Calvin on Birthdays - Don't Overdo It

Calvin wrote:
With regard to what Moses records, that Pharaoh celebrated his birthday by a great feast, we know that this custom has always been in use, not only among kings, but also among plebeian men. Nor is the custom to be condemned, if only men would keep the right end in view; namely, that of giving thanks unto God by whom they were created and brought up, and whom they have found, in innumerable ways, to be a beneficent Father. But such is the depravity of the world, that it greatly distorts those things which formerly were honestly instituted by their fathers, into contrary corruptions. Thus, by a vicious practice, it has become common for nearly all to abandon themselves to luxury and wantonness on their birthday. In short, they keep up the memory of God, as the Author of their life, in such a manner as if it were their set purpose to forget Him.
- John Calvin, Commentary on Genesis 40:19

The real Francis Turretin on: Continuing vs. Abrogated Portions of Civil Law

One of the areas where I might disagree (with respect to some of the nuances) with the real Francis Turretin, is in his treatment of the Old Testament civil law. Nevertheless, as Andrew Myers has (at Virginia is for Hugenots) kindly provided a quotation from Turretin on this subject (along with other interesting related material), perhaps you'd like to see what he says: (link).

To the glory of our Most High Law-giver!


Thursday, July 09, 2009

Bellisario (by Proxy) on the Papacy - Part 2

Although I could not find any other published debates, articles, or podcasts from Mr. Bellisario specifically on the papacy, I did find one book review that is of interest. Mr. Bellisario recommends Mr. Adrian Fortescue's "The Early Papacy" as being: "full of great apologetics material for substantiating the Papacy in the early Church." One presumes that Mr. Bellisario may rely on what Mr. Fortescue has written in his presentation on the Dividing Line today.

Mr. Fortescue writes: "let us see what [the pope's] authority really is, as defined by the Catholic Church today. We shall then be able to show that it was the same in the first four and a half centuries." (pp. 34-35) Mr. Fortescue seems to recognize that the immediate objection to his claim is that the doctrine of the papacy developed. Mr. Fortescue responds thus: "Has the papacy grown? In a sense it has, just as every Dogma of the Church may be said to have grown. We come here to that question of the development of doctrine, of which much might be said." (p. 35) After briefly qualifying the kinds of development, Mr. Fortescue concludes: "But we do not admit that this development means any real addition to the faith; it is only a more explicit assertion of the old faith, necessary in view of false interpretations." (p. 35)

Mr. Fortescue, in his brief discussion, had compared the development of the papacy to the development of the doctrine of the Trinity. In Mr. Fortescue's view, the decision of the Council of Nicaea "grew" the doctrine of the Trinity. In his view, the Fourth Lateran Council's use (in the 13th century) of the term "transubstantiation" and Vatican I's definition of papal infallibility (in the 19th century) are analogous developments to Nicaea. They are simply making explicit something that was already the old faith.

There is a serious problem with Mr. Fortescue's argument: the Nicaean definition can be shown historically to be simply a restatement of ancient doctrine. We can prove (from Scripture) that the Trinity was the teaching of the Apostles. The same is not the case for transubstantiation or papal infallibility. With respect to those views one is essentially left taking Rome's word for it: the historical evidence (whether Scriptural or patristic) does not substantiate Rome's claim that transubstantiation and papal infallibility were the faith of the Apostles.

Mr. Fortescue tries to make a positive case for papal infallibility being the ancient faith. He writes:
A conspicuous case of this is the declaration of papal infallibility by the First Vatican Council. The early Church recognized that the Pope has the final word in matters of faith, no less than in those of discipline, that she herself is protected by God against heresy. Put that together, and you have, implicitly, what the Council defined.
(p. 35)

Again, Mr. Fortescue's argument is seriously flawed - in this case on at least three levels. First, it has been shown that the early church fathers did not view the bishop of Rome as having the final word in matters of discipline. In fact, to the contrary, we can demonstrate from history that this is not the case. In lieu of making this an unbearably long article, let me post a two historians (as quoted in William Webster's book, the Matthew 16 Controversy (available here):
Rome itself never either exercised or claimed to exercise 'patriarchal' rights over the entire West. Such ‘patriarchal’ jurisdiction of Rome existed de facto over the so-called suburbicarian dioceses, which covered a relatively large territory - ten provinces - which were within the civil jurisdiction of the prefect of Rome. The power of the pope upon this territory was, in every way, comparable to the jurisdiction of the Eastern patriarchs.
(John Meyendorff, Imperial Unity and Christian Division (Crestwood: St. Vladimir’s, 1989), p. 328)
Nicaea I, which took place during Sylvester’s episcopate, is of interest...because of canon 6. It invoked ancient customs in assigning Egypt, Libya, and the Pentapolis to the bishop of Alexandria, affirming the customary jurisdiction of the bishop of Rome, and asserting the traditional authority of the bishop of Antioch and of the provincial metropolitans. The canon does not fix the boundaries of Roman regional power. But the expansion of the canon in Rufinus (345?–410) seems to limit Rome’s authority to the suburbicarian sees. This may reflect the actual jurisdictional situation at the end of the fourth century...Nicaea presupposes a regional leadership of Rome, but indicates nothing more. Thus one concludes that down through the Council of Nicaea, a Roman universal primacy of jurisdiction exists neither as a theoretical construction nor as de facto practice awaiting theoretical interpretation.
(Paul Empie and Austin Murphy, Ed., Papal Primacy and the Universal Church (Augsburg: Minneapolis, 1974), Lutherans and Catholics in Dialogue V, pp. 72, 77)

A second weakness is that even if there is evidence of an eventual widespread jurisdiction of the papacy in the West, there is not corresponding evidence that the papacy had "the final word in matters of faith." In fact, as late as 1418, the "ecumenical" Council of Constance stated that: “legitimately assembled in the holy Spirit, constituting a general council and representing the Catholic church militant, it has power immediately from Christ; and that everyone of whatever state or dignity, even papal, is bound to obey it in those matters which pertain to the faith, the eradication of the said schism and the general reform of the said church of God in head and members.” According to the Council of Constance, ecumenical councils, not the pope, had the final say in matters of faith.

A third weakness is that even if there were evidence both of teachings of universal disciplinary jurisdiction (which there is not) and universal "final say" in matters of faith (which there is not), it would not follow that the early church fathers viewed the bishop of Rome as infallible in himself. In other words, one could still reject the portion of Vatican I's definition: "such definitions of the Roman pontiff are of themselves, and not by the consent of the church, irreformable." In a hypothetical world in which the bishop of Rome has "veto" authority over even ecumenical councils (contrary to what the Council of Constance said), the bishop of Rome would still not be infallible in himself, but only by the consent (as expressed by the council) of the church. He could prevent a definition from being made, but he could not make one himself, much as the American President can veto laws, but he cannot legislate.

We could go on and on, but why belabor the point? These sorts of arguments that the doctrine was "implicitly" there in the early church fathers is almost as crushing an admission as that provided by Roman Catholic Cardinal John Henry Newman who, speaking of his theory of the development of the papacy, wrote:
It will be said that all this is a theory. Certainly it is: it is a theory to account for facts as they lie in the history, to account for so much being told us about the Papal authority in early times, and not more; a theory to reconcile what is and what is not recorded about it; and, which is the principal point, a theory to connect the words and acts of the Ante-nicene Church with that antecedent probability of a monarchical principle in the Divine Scheme, and that actual exemplification of it in the fourth century, which forms their presumptive interpretation. All depends on the strength of that presumption. Supposing there be otherwise good reason for saying that the Papal Supremacy is part of Christianity, there is nothing in the early history of the Church to contradict it.
(An Essay on the Development of Christian Doctrine, p. 154 of the London:1878 edition)

In short, Newman has to admit that all he has is a theory, not historical documentation. A theory that he does not find contradicted by the evidence, but one that cannot be supported from the evidence (for if it could, the theory itself would not be a theory). It is a theory that "all depends on the strength of [Newman's] presumption" and more specifically the notion that there is "otherwise good reason for saying that the Papal Supremacy is part of Christianity."

Whether Fortescue's approach of seeking to find implicit teachings of the doctrine or whether Newman's approach of reading the doctrine in via external presumption is more fair, I leave to the reader's judgment. It is sufficient that both of these gentlemen are forced to admit that there is no clear teaching of such essential doctrines of Roman Catholicism as papal infallibility in the early church. Let us hope that, in his discussion on the Dividing Line today, Mr. Bellisario is as candid regarding the absence of explicit and clear patristic evidence as the scholars of his church are.


Bellisario (by Proxy) on the Papacy - Part 1

Mr. Matthew Bellisario has, as far as I can tell, only a single blog post directly on issues relating to the papacy (although there are a number of contra-Lutheran and contra-contraceptive posts that mention the papacy)(link to MB's post).

Even in this instance, however, Mr. Bellisario is merely providing a quotation from another author. The author Bellisario quotes is Cornelius a'Lapide, a Flemish Jesuit Theologian/Exegete who died in 1637. Mr. a'Lapide's commentary is certainly interesting.

One interesting admission from Mr. a'Lapide is that Augustine denied that Peter is the Rock. To combat Augustine, a'Lapide appeals to a mythical Syriac/Hebrew original Gospel of Matthew and claims:
To S. Augustine it is replied that he was misled by his ignorance of the Hebrew and Syriac languages, and, therefore, thought that Petrus was something different from Petra, and that Peter was, as it were, called appellatively from it “rock-like,” although it is clear from the Syriac that Petrus and Petra are the same.
Mislead by ignorance! I wonder if Mr. Bellisario will be so bold?

But, since Mr. Bellisario simply quotes from a theologian of his church (who in turn purports to derive his opinions from the fathers), perhaps it is an adequate rebuttal to point to a theologian of our church who has extensively studied the fathers with the benefit of a few hundred additional years of scholarship: (link to "The Patristic Exegesis of the Rock of Matthew 16:18: The Most Extensive Documentation of the Patristic Understanding of the Rock of Matthew 16 in the English Language, Spanning the Third to the Eighth Centuries" by William Webster)


The real Francis Turretin on: the Duty of Faith

Beng at Call it Grace has just discovered Francis Turretin and provided some good quotations from the real Francis Turretin on the duty that men have to believe on the Lord Jesus Christ (link).


Gregory of Nyssa on Rome

In a first post, we examined what Gregory of Nyssa considered to be inspired (link). In a second post, we discussed Gregory's view of who was sinless: answer was Christ alone (link). In this post, we are going to examine Gregory's view of Rome, to see whether he was some kind of proto-papist, or whether he accorded Rome nothing more than pride of place or cultural/imperial preeminence. It turns out he gives it even less attention than that.

Perhaps even now it is thought something foolish, as things appear to men, when one is not able to do much from poverty, or is slighted because of meanness of extraction, not of character. But who knows whether the horn of anointing is not poured out by grace upon such an one, even though he be less than the lofty and more illustrious? Which was more to the interest of the Church at Rome, that it should at its commencement be presided over by some high-born and pompous senator, or by the fisherman Peter, who had none of this world's advantages to attract men to him ? What house had he, what slaves, what property ministering luxury, by wealth constantly flowing in? But that stranger, without a table, without a roof over his head, was richer than those who have all things, because through having nothing he had God wholly. So too the people of Mesopotamia, though they had among them wealthy satraps, preferred Thomas above them all to the presidency of their Church; the Cretans preferred Titus, the dwellers at Jerusalem James, and we Cappadocians the centurion, who at the Cross acknowledged the Godhead of the Lord, though there were many at that time of splendid lineage, whose fortunes enabled them to maintain a stud, and who prided themselves upon having the first place in the Senate. And in all the Church one may see those who are great according to God's standard preferred above worldly magnificence.

- Gregory of Nyssa, Letter 13

Notice how, in this letter, Gregory does seem to think that Peter initially presided over the church at Rome (although without the regal trappings of the modern papacy). If one stopped there, one might get the sense that Gregory had similar views to modern Roman Catholics. However, one should have paid closer attention. Gregory uses the expression "church at Rome," because he viewed it as its own church, not as the head of all the churches. Likewise, he goes on to treat other regional churches as having their own respective founders: Mesopotamia has Thomas, Crete has Titus, Jerusalem has James, and Cappadocia has the Centurion who personally witnessed the crucifixion. Each church has its own "founder" in Gregory's view, and each is treated as (to some extent) a separate entity.

For by how many appellations, say, is the created firmament called according to the varieties of language? For we call it Heaven, the Hebrew calls it Samaim, the Roman cœlum, other names are given to it by the Syrian, the Mede, the Cappadocian, the African, the Scythian, the Thracian the Egyptian: nor would it be easy to enumerate the multiplicity of names which are applied to Heaven and other objects by the different nations that employ them. Which of these, then, tell me, is the appropriate word wherein the great wisdom of God is manifested? If you prefer the Greek to the rest, the Egyptian haply will confront you with his own. And if you give the first place to the Hebrew, there is the Syrian to claim precedence for his own word, nor will the Roman yield the supremacy, nor the Mede allow himself to be outdone; while of the other nations each will claim the prize. What, then, will be the fate of his dogma when torn to pieces by the claimants for so many different languages?

- Gregory of Nyssa, Answer to Eunomius' Second Book

This admittedly is not very close to dealing with the Roman church as such. The problem is, this is about as close as one can find to anything dealing with the Roman church. The Romans here are simply treated as yet another ethnic group with their own language and nomenclature. Latin is certainly not given any preference, and Gregory doesn't see a common tongue that serves as the lingua franca of a mythical institutionally unified church.

There are a few other uses of "Roman" in Gregory's works, typically to essentially irrelevant things like "Roman soldiers" and the like. Nothing else suggesting that Gregory viewed Rome with any special regard or as being the seat of an earthly head of the church.


Wednesday, July 08, 2009

Although it's just bread ...

... if you do this (link) you are just begging to be lambasted by folks who worship it. What that guy did was a bad idea, don't copy it.

Gregory of Nyssa on Sinlessness: Only Jesus Sinless

Some folks like to paint Gregory of Nyssa as though he were a Roman Catholic. Certainly, of course, there are points where his theology contains errors. His beliefs would not have squared with the Westminster Confession of Faith in every respect. So, to be clear, Gregory of Nyssa was neither a "Roman Catholic" nor a "Reformed Presbyterian." He was an early churchman, and more specifically a Cappadocian.

One area where we can see his similarity to the Reformed camp and difference from the Roman camp is on the issue of the supposed immaculate conception of Mary. Like many of the church fathers, Gregory of Nyssa had no concept of the sinlessness of Mary. The only person Gregory of Nyssa ever describes as "sinless" is Christ, and Gregory viewed Christ as unique in this regard. Let's look at his discussion of that topic.

We next learn about the return of a person who has erred and the change from evil to enjoyment of the good. He [Christ] who has been tempted in all things and is without sin [Heb 4.15] holds converse with us in our human nature. He who assumed our weakness showed us a way out of evil through the infirmities of his human nature. "Instruct me in the Wisdom [Christ] according to the Solomon who was in the flesh which held converse with us." Once familiar with it, we are able to pass judgment on what men pursue.

- Gregory of Nyssa, Commentaries on Ecclesiastes, Second Homily

This is really just a quotation of the Biblical declaration of Christ's sinlessness.

The Christian Faith, which in accordance with the command of our Lord has been preached to all nations by His disciples, is neither of men, nor by men, but by our Lord Jesus Christ Himself, Who being the Word, the Life, the Light, the Truth, and God, and Wisdom, and all else that He is by nature, for this cause above all was made in the likeness of man, and shared our nature, becoming like us in all things, yet without sin.

- Gregory of Nyssa, Against Eunomius, Book II, Chapter 1

Again, this is just a quotation of the Biblical declaration of Christ's sinlessness.

Thus we say that this expression, as well as the other, admits of an orthodox interpretation. For He Who for our sakes became like as we are, was in the last days truly created—He Who in the beginning being Word and God afterwards became Flesh and Man. For the nature of flesh is created: and by partaking in it in all points like as we do, yet without sin, He was created when He became man: and He was created "after God [Ephesians 4:24]," not after man, as the Apostle says, in a new manner and not according to human wont.

- Gregory of Nyssa, Against Eunomius, Book II, Chapter 10

This too is just a quotation of the Biblical declaration of Christ's sinlessness.

Now sin is nothing else than alienation from God, Who is the true and only life. Accordingly the first man lived many hundred years after his disobedience, and yet God lied not when He said, "In the day that you eat thereof you shall surely die." For by the fact of his alienation from the true life, the sentence of death was ratified against him that self-same day: and after this, at a much later time, there followed also the bodily death of Adam. He therefore Who came for this cause that He might seek and save that which was lost, (that which the shepherd in the parable calls the sheep,) both finds that which is lost, and carries home on His shoulders the whole sheep, not its skin only, that He may make the man of God complete, united to the deity in body and in soul. And thus He Who was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin, left no part of our nature which He did not take upon Himself. Now the soul is not sin though it is capable of admitting sin into it as the result of being ill-advised: and this He sanctifies by union with Himself for this end, that so the lump may be holy along with the first-fruits.

- Gregory of Nyssa, Against Eunomius, Book II, Chapter 13

Here Christ's sinlessness is used to uniquely identify him. Although Gregory does not explicitly say that there is only one such person, he uses the expression as though it were a particular identifier.

Now if, in becoming Son of Man, he were without participation in human nature, it would be logical to say that neither does He share in the Divine essence, though He is Son of God. But if the whole compound nature of man was in Him (for He was "in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin" [Hebrews 4:15]), it is surely necessary to believe that every property of the transcendent essence is also in Him, as the Word "Son" claims for Him both alike— the Human in the man, but in the God the Divine.

- Gregory of Nyssa, Against Eunomius, Book III, Chapter 4

This is just another quotation of the Biblical declaration of Christ's sinlessness.

For he everywhere attributes to the Human element in Christ the dispensation of the Passion, when he says, "for since by man came death, by man came also the resurrection of the dead [1 Corinthians 15:21]," and, "God, sending His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, condemned sin in the flesh " (for he says, "in the flesh," not "in the Godhead"); and "He was crucified through weakness" (where by "weakness" he means "the flesh"), "yet lives by power [2 Corinthians 13:4]" (while he indicates by "power" the Divine Nature); and, "He died unto sin" (that is, with regard to the body), "but lives unto God [Romans 6:10]" (that is, with regard to the Godhead, so that by these words it is established that, while the Man tasted death, the immortal Nature did not admit the suffering of death); and again; "He made Him to be sin for us, Who knew no sin 2 Corinthians 5:21," giving once more the name of "sin" to the flesh.

- Gregory of Nyssa, Against Eunomius, Book VI, Chapter 1

This passage is interesting in the debate on the atonement with modern Roman Catholics, but as to the issue of Christ's sinlessness, it is simply a quotation of one of the Scriptural affirmations of that fact.

For we give the name of "passion" only to that which is opposed to the virtuous unimpassioned state and of this we believe that He Who granted us salvation was at all times devoid, Who "was in all points tempted like as we are yet without sin [Hebrews 4:15]." Of that, at least, which is truly passion, which is a diseased condition of the will, He was not a partaker; for it says "He did no sin, neither was guile found in His mouth [1 Peter 2:22]"; but the peculiar attributes of our nature, which, by a kind of customary abuse of terms, are called by the same name of "passion,"— of these, we confess, the Lord did partake,— of birth, nourishment, growth, of sleep and toil, and all those natural dispositions which the soul is wont to experience with regard to bodily inconveniences,— the desire of that which is lacking, when the longing passes from the body to the soul, the sense of pain, the dread of death, and all the like, save only such as, if followed, lead to sin.

- Gregory of Nyssa, Against Eunomius, Book VI, Chapter 3

Here Gregory emphasizes Christ's sinlessness with reference to several relevant passages.

Since, then, this was the sum of our calamity, that humanity was exiled from the good Father, and was banished from the Divine oversight and care, for this cause He Who is the Shepherd of the whole rational creation, left in the heights of heaven His unsinning and supramundane flock, and, moved by love, went after the sheep which had gone astray, even our human nature. For human nature, which alone, according to the similitude in the parable, through vice roamed away from the hundred of rational beings, is, if it be compared with the whole, but an insignificant and infinitesimal part. Since then it was impossible that our life, which had been estranged from God, should of itself return to the high and heavenly place, for this cause, as says the Apostle, He Who knew no sin is made sin for us, and frees us from the curse by taking on Him our curse as His own, and having taken up, and, in the language of the Apostle, "slain" in Himself "the enmity" which by means of sin had come between us and God—(in fact sin was "the enmity")— and having become what we were, He through Himself again united humanity to God.

- Gregory of Nyssa, Against Eunomius, Book XII, Chapter 1

This is another passage that is very interesting with respect to the atonement. It also tangentially touches on the theological point that a reason that Christ was a suitable mediator was his sinlessness. But again, as to our particular topic, Gregory is simply reiterating the Scriptural position that Christ had no sin.

"But I do not see," he rejoins, "how God can be above His own works simply by virtue of such things as do not belong to Him." And on the strength of this clever sally he calls it a union of folly and profanity, that our great Basil has ventured on such terms. But I would counsel him not to indulge his ribaldry too freely against those who use these terms, lest he should be unconsciously at the same moment heaping insults on himself. For I think that he himself would not gainsay that the very grandeur of the Divine Nature is recognized in this, viz. in the absence of all participation in those things which the lower natures are shown to possess. For if God were involved in any of these peculiarities, He would not possess His superiority, but would be quite identified with any single individual among the beings who share that peculiarity. But if He is above such things, by reason, in fact, of His not possessing them, then He stands also above those who do possess them; just as we say that the Sinless is superior to those in sin. The fact of being removed from evil is an evidence of abounding in the best. But let him heap these insults on us to his heart's content. We will only remark, in passing, on a single one of the points mentioned under this head, and will then return to the discussion of the main question.

- Gregory of Nyssa, Answer to Eunomius' Second Book

Here Gregory identifies "Sinless" and God, and uses "the Sinless" as a unique designator, even more clearly than in the previous instance above.

He became the image of the invisible God out of love so that in his own form which he assumed, you might be conformed through him to the stamp of archetypal beauty for becoming what he was from the beginning. If we are to become the invisible God's image, we must model the form of our life upon the pattern given us (Jn 13.15). What is this model? He who lives in the flesh does not live according to it (Rom 8.12). That prototype is the image of the invisible God; having become man through the Virgin, he was tempted in all things according to the likeness of human nature yet did not experience sin. "He committed no sin, neither was any guile found in his mouth" (1Pt 2.22).

- Gregory of Nyssa, On Perfection

This is a restatement and emphasis on the Scriptural teaching that Christ was and is sinless.

If we have become brothers of the Lord who became the First-Born among many brothers through a similar rebirth by water and the Spirit, certain characteristics in our lives should manifest a close relationship to him, the First-Born of creation, who was conformed to our life. What characteristics of that form has scripture taught us? We have often said that "He committed no sin, nor was deceit found in his mouth" (1Pt 2.22). If we are to be named brothers of him who brought us into birth, innocence of life will constitute our relationship with him provided that no impurity separates us from a union in innocence.

- Gregory of Nyssa, On Perfection

This is yet another quotation of the Scriptural doctrine that Christ was sinless.

However, the mediator of God and man (1Tim 2.5) who joined the human race to God through his own person brings into union with God only that person who is worthy of it. When Christ united man to himself by the power of his divinity, he assumed part of our common nature not subject to nature's passions which excite us to sin (for it says "He committed no sin, nor was deceit found in his mouth"). Christ will unite each person with his divinity provided that they have no hindrance preventing their union with God.

- Gregory of Nyssa, On Perfection

This is another restatement and emphasis on the Scriptural teaching that Christ was and is sinless.

Only the Lord is free from the adversary's possessions; he conformed himself to us and our passions yet had no sin [Heb 4.15]. "The prince of this world is coming and he has no power over me" [Jn 14.30]. Anyone who takes care to cleanse himself by repentance can observe persons who allow virtue to shine through. Paul despised the evil of unbelief by accepting the gift of prophecy [Gal 2.8-9] since it had the treasure he sought. Isaiah lost all impurity of word and thought through purification by the divine coal [Is 6.6-7] and was filled by the Holy Spirit. He lost every bit by participating in the good or anything he reckoned contrary to it. And so, the temperate man loses licentiousness, the righteous loses unrighteousness, the modest person loses arrogance, the benevolent loses jealousy and the loving person loses hostility. Similarly, the blind man in the Gospel found what he did not have and lost what he already had [Mk 8.22-26], that is, the splendor of light took the place of his blindness. Also the leper received the boon of health [Mt 8.1-4], and life was bestowed upon those who rose from the dead while death passed away [Mk 1.40-45]. Therefore our teaching claims that we cannot possess anything on high unless we lose our earthly, humble qualities.

- Gregory of Nyssa, Commentary on Ecclesiastes, Seventh Homily

This final quotation puts the nail in the coffin. If we did not have this quotation, we would have only indirect affirmations of the unique sinlessness of Christ, but this quotation makes it explicit: "Only the Lord."

What about Mary? Did Gregory of Nyssa view her as sinless and somehow absentmindedly forget about her above? There is nothing in his teachings to suggest that. He does use the adjective "immaculate" of her, but only (as was traditionally the case) with respect to her body: she was an immaculate virgin, not simply a technical virgin or something like that.

Let us attempt to clarify our position and offer our own view. Human nature subsists by union of the intellectual soul with the body. However, both have their existence from a certain material substance. Man's material existence has its origin in the divine power; if anyone supposes his existence does not spring from this creative power, matter is sterile and does not come to life through [God's] creative activity. Just as this creative power brings man into existence by a union of body and soul, so does the power of the Most High exercise itself with regard to the Virgin's immaculate body in an immaterial fashion through the Spirit's vivifying where incorruptibility assumes matter in the virgin's body to create a fetus. And so, the New Man is formed who first and alone received this means of existence. He was formed according to God, not man, since the divine power equally pervaded his entire constitution. As a result, both parts of his constitution partook of divinity with a harmonious composition of soul and body.

- Gregory of Nyssa, Against Apollinarius

Notice that it is the virgin's immaculate body. The immaculateness of her body relates to the fact that no man had lain with her before the conception. Thus, Christ's conception was the opposite, in a sense, of our own glorification:

1 Corinthians 15:53-54
53 For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality. 54 So when this corruptible shall have put on incorruption, and this mortal shall have put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written, Death is swallowed up in victory.

Furthermore, from the same passage of Gregory, we can see that he viewed Christ's immaculate conception to be unique: "the New Man is formed who first and alone received this means of existence." Now, of course, that is primarily referring to having God as a father instead of a human father, but the whole event is unique and unparalleled.

I believe that [Christ] is both man and God, a statement complying with faith's correct interpretation and not with [Apollinarius'] inscription. For neither is the divinity earthly nor is humanity divine as he maintains; rather, the power of the Most High comes from above through the Holy Spirit [Lk 1.35] which overshadowed our human nature, that is, this power took on form, the spotless Virgin nourished it in human flesh, and he who was born from her was named Son of the Most High. The divine power which has its origin with the Most High thus assumed fellowship with mankind.

- Gregory of Nyssa, Against Apollinarius

Again, notice that the "spotless" aspect of the Virgin is in regard to her flesh. She was a spotless Virgin, not having even marred her virginity by intercourse with Joseph during Jesus' pregnancy.

This, I think, was the reason why our Master, Jesus Christ Himself, the Fountain of all innocence, did not come into the world by wedlock. It was, to divulge by the manner of His Incarnation this great secret; that purity is the only complete indication of the presence of God and of His coming, and that no one can in reality secure this for himself, unless he has altogether estranged himself from the passions of the flesh. What happened in the stainless Mary when the fullness of the Godhead which was in Christ shone out through her, that happens in every soul that leads by rule the virgin life.

- Gregory of Nyssa, On Virginity, Chapter 2

Likewise here, the "stainless" aspect of Mary is her virginity. Of course, there is some ambiguity. If someone wanted to try to impose a view of Mary being sinless, this is doubtless where they would attempt to do so, since there is some parallel between Mary and "every soul." But, in context, it is referring to the fact that Mary was "estranged ... from the passions of the flesh," meaning that she did not know Joseph before Jesus was born.

I searched in vain for additional references to Mary being "immaculate" in any sense in Gregory's writings. No further references were forthcoming. Nevertheless, some additional uses of that term (or terms like it) were to be found in Gregory's writings:

Such is the God of heresy. But what we, who, in the words of the Apostle, have been called to liberty by Christ, Who has freed us from bondage, have been taught by the Scriptures to think, I will set forth in few words. I take my start from the inspired teaching, and boldly declare that the Divine Word does not wish even us to be slaves, our nature having now been changed for the better, and that He Who has taken all that was ours, on the terms of giving to us in return what is His, even as He took disease, death, curse, and sin, so took our slavery also, not in such a way as Himself to have what He took, but so as to purge our nature of such evils, our defects being swallowed up and done away with in His stainless nature.

- Gregory of Nyssa, Against Eunomius, Book X, Chapter 4

The nature of Christ is stainless according to Gregory - no similar comment is ever made (that we can find) by Gregory of Mary.

For our Lord has announced that the life after our resurrection shall be as that of the angels. Now the peculiarity of the angelic nature is that they are strangers to marriage; therefore the blessing of this promise has been already received by him who has not only mingled his own glory with the halo of the Saints, but also by the stainlessness of his life has so imitated the purity of these incorporeal beings.

- Gregory of Nyssa, On Virginity, Chapter 13

In this example, the "stainlessness" that Gregory seems to have in mind is Christ's own virginity, although it could perhaps refer to Christ's sinlessness.

Indeed it has been revealed in the oracles of God, on what occasion to conceive and to bring forth is a good thing, and what species of fecundity was desired by God's saints; for both the Prophet Isaiah and the divine Apostle have made this clear and certain. The one cries, "From fear of You, O Lord, have I conceived;" the other boasts that he is the parent of the largest family of any, bringing to the birth whole cities and nations; not the Corinthians and Galatians only whom by his travailings he moulded for the Lord, but all in the wide circuit from Jerusalem to Illyricum; his children filled the world, "begotten" by him in Christ through the Gospel. In the same strain the womb of the Holy Virgin, which ministered to an Immaculate Birth, is pronounced blessed in the Gospel; for that birth did not annul the Virginity, nor did the Virginity impede so great a birth.

- Gregory of Nyssa, On Virginity, Chapter 19

Here we find further confirmation of the same principle. This is the only "immaculate birth" of which Gregory is aware (the only one that appears in his writings that we can find). It is the immaculate birth of Christ. Now, to be sure, there is some doctrine in Gregory's comments here that sounds more like a Gnostic or Roman Catholic view (especially the idea that "birth did not annul the Virginity, nor did the Virginity impede so great a birth"). But we can just accept the fact that Gregory was neither a Roman Catholic nor a Reformed Presbyterian. Like any Christian, his teachings were imperfect, but we must take him as he was, not try to change him into something he was not as our Romanist adversaries sometimes try.


Response from James Anderson

I am pleased to report that Mr. Anderson has replied (here) to my previous post (here) regarding irresolvable paradoxes.

Mr. Anderson indicates that he does not accept the following:

(P1) The situation that both proposition P is true and P is false (at the same time and in the same way) is a possible situation for any given P.

This is, at least to my mind, some progress in our discussion. I view P1 as being representative of a general acceptance of paradoxes.

I do recall that Mr. Manata had characterized Mr. Anderson's position thus: "James Anderson sets out to show that certain doctrines of the Christian faith are paradoxical, but may be reasonably believed in spite of this feature (if not because of it). Anderson also argues that these doctrines are not actually contradictory, but merely apparent." (source - emphasis omitted)

I don't have a problem with merely apparent contradictions. I have a problem with actual contradictions. Given that Mr. Anderson does not appear to subscribe to what I have called the "general acceptance" view of paradoxes, I wonder whether Mr. Anderson would even subscribe to "special acceptance" view?

The special acceptance view would be (continuing the numbering from my previous article:

(P5) The situation that both proposition P is true and P is false (at the same time and in the same way) is a possible situation for a given proposition P iff further condition FC is met.

P5 is not liable to the same critique as P1 if (for P5) FC is met. However, I'm not aware of any good reasons to accept P5. However, again, I'm not sure that Mr. Anderson accepts P5. In fact, Mr. Manata characterized Mr. Anderson's position as: "If real contradictions could be true, then the desire to preserve orthodox interpretations is gone. Indeed, one could no longer object to heterodox statements." Assumed, of course, is that the desires to preserve orthodoxy is not gone. I should point out that I do fully agree with Mr. Anderson in this regard.

This makes me think that Mr. Anderson also would not accept P5. I hope he'll stop by and confirm that he does not accept P5.

In fact, I think part of the issue is that I am using "paradox" in a rather stronger form from Mr. Anderson. Mr. Manata claimed that Mr. Anderson defines paradox with the following:

"X is paradoxical [iff] X amounts to a set of claims which taken in conjunction appear to be logically inconsistent."

But, of course, I have no problem with apparent logical inconsistencies, so long as they are merely apparent contradictions (MACs). My problem is when apparent logical inconsistencies are also actual logical inconsistencies. Mr. Anderson's definition is broad enough to include actual and apparent inconsistencies (AACs), which is all that my narrower definition includes. My definition excludes merely apparent contradictions, while his includes them.

Now, I notice that Mr. Anderson's definition could be made to be completely separate in domain from mine if he were to add the word "only" before "appear." In other words, with that additional qualifier Mr. Anderson's definition would no longer include AACs, whereas mine would consist solely of AACs.

(There is a further category we could add to the discussion: non-apparent actual contradictions (NACs). This category isn't especially useful to our discussion, although it serves to remind us that there may be undiscovered contradictions.)

Furthermore, some of Mr. Manata's comments in his review of Mr. Anderson's work appear to reflect an understanding that the "only" that is missing from Mr. Anderson's definition should be implied. Mr. Manata writes:
Note well the qualifier ‘apparent.’ Thus, a paradox does not entail a logical inconsistency per se, just the appearance of logical inconsistency. This definition “presupposes that a meaningful distinction can be made between apparent and real contradiction.”
(internal quotation apparently from Mr. Anderson)

As a strictly logical matter, the definition quoted above does not presuppose that a meaningful distinction can be made between apparent and real contradictions. It evades that issue, since real contradictions often are also apparent (though sometimes they are secret).

Anyhow, rather than continue to speculate, I'd just pose the question to Mr. Anderson who (I hope) has not given up on reading my comments here.

Is P5 your position?

Did you mean to imply "only" in the definition of paradox that you provided?


The real Francis Turretin on: the Hypostatic Union

Henry Bartsch at the Like a Bell blog, has provided an interesting post on the hypostatic union. His focus is on Calvin's Institutes but he provides an interesting quotation on the subject from that leading Calvinist theologian, the real Francis Turretin (link).



Tuesday, July 07, 2009

Biblical Model of Family Should be Avoided??

I came across this conclusion to a post seemingly against the Biblical mandate of patriarchy for family government:
Patriarchy is the result of man's sinful desire to control and dominate and should be, by God's grace, avoided at all costs.

I realize that there are many feminists (of both sexes) out there, but it is absolutely ridiculous to the point of absurdity to suggest that Christians should seek to rebel against God's mandate of patriarchy. The article that concludes with the comment above shows a lack of sense so profound that, at first, I figured that the author must be joking.

The article is wrong on so many levels it is tough to summarize them.

1) Patriarchy is Not the Result of the Fall

Yes, the specific statement that Adam would rule over Eve was given upon the fall, but Eve was created under Adam's headship: a help meet for him, from his rib. It was in Adam's sin that mankind fell (not in Adam's and Eve's sin).

2) Human Government Necessary Because of Fall

However, further, human government is necessary because of sin. If men were angels, we would not need a government. This is true in all spheres of authority: it is necessary for children to have parents, for wives to have husbands, for servants to have masters, for citizens to have kings, and for the church to have elders.

3) The Powers that be are Ordained by God

This, again, is true in all spheres of authority. Parents are ordained over their children - husbands over their wives - masters over their servants - kings over their subjects - and the elders over the church.

Mr. Wade Burleson's idea of trying to undermine the headship of husbands on the grounds of his misconception that this headship is the result of the fall is tragic and at the same time outlandish. Until the modern times, virtually every society on Earth has remained aware of the propriety of husbands ruling over their wives - the mythical race of the Amazons has to be discovered. That men are to be the rulers over their wives is something so clear that one might think Scriptural revelation unnecessary, because the general revelation in the light of nature is so clear. But sadly, its opponents are unafraid to publish their criticism of it.

Remember this, however: the Husband/Wife motif is one of the illustration of Christ's role to us, believers. To the extent that you seek to undermine the husband's headship role, you are (at least implicitly) undermining its analogy. If you think it bad for the husband to rule over the wife, you are questioning the model of Christ's headship over the church. I doubt many of these egalitarian Christians would actually seek to dethrone Jesus from his rightful headship, but they do not realize that their opposition to Biblical patriarchy accomplishes that end, not only be opposing the explicit teaching of Scripture, but by demolishing the image of our relationship to our Groom, the Lord Jesus Christ.


The real Francis Turretin on: Theology and the Creator/Creature Distinction

At Against Heresies, Martin Downes has provided some thoughts on theology in general including some interesting quotations on the subject of theology as well as its relation to the Creator/Creature distinction. (source)

God is great!


Monday, July 06, 2009

Edwards Comparing the real Francis Turretin and Peter van Mastricht

Edwards on the real Francis Turretin and Peter van Mastricht in comparison:

"Turretine is on Polemical divinity; on the 5 Points, & all other Controversial Points; & is much larger in these than Mastrict; & is better for one that desires only to be thoroughly versed in Controversies. But take Mastrict for divinity in general, doctrine Practice & Controversie; or as an universal system of divinity; & it is much better than Turretine, or any other Book in the world, excepting the Bible, in my opinion." (source)

Both, of course, are excellent - and we hope to see an English translation of van Mastricht in the next few years.


Benedict XVI vs. James White

No, there is no such debate scheduled yet (though I'd love to see that debate). No, I'm pointing out an area where Dr. White has moved a technological step ahead of the Roman Catholic pope.

Dr. White is on Twitter. (although TurretinFan is not)

Pope Benedict XVI is not on Twitter.
(although Patrick Madrid is)


Vatican Praise for Calvin?

"Vatican newspaper praises French Protestant John Calvin" that's the AP headline for this article (link). The paper apparently called Calvin extraordinary and emphasized that Calvin was a Christian. Isn't interesting how times change?

The real Francis Turretin on: Salvation of the Old Testament Saints by Grace through Faith

Martin Downes, at Against Heresies, has posted some interesting thoughts from the real Francis Turretin on the fact that the Old Testaments saints were saved by grace through faith in Christ

I hope it's edifying!


Sunday, July 05, 2009

What Gregory of Nyssa Considered Inspired

Over at the Beggars All Reformation blog, in the comment box, I encountered a commenter who was seemingly sure that Gregory of Nyssa viewed the council of Nicaea as inspired. My own research does not confirm this claim. On the contrary, Gregory of Nyssa practically always only uses "inspired" of the Scriptures themselves or the authors of Scripture. Occasionally, it appears Gregory of Nyssa also used the term of prophets more generally. Thus, he once refers to King Saul as inspired, and he seems to refer to a few of his contemporaries as "inspired" (although I have not checked to see what words he used in each case.

The following is a fairly comprehensive survey of most of the translated writings of Gregory of Nyssa, although there may be additional examples out there. In particular, I will be asking that commenter to substantiate his claim, particular in view of the weight of the evidence that follows. Perhaps he will bring some additional evidence to light.

I've divided the evidence into sections by the translation collection in which it is found. In at least one instance a work gets double coverage (Gregory's comments regarding infants who die in infancy).

If one takes the time to read the material presented, one will reach the conclusion that Gregory of Nyssa practiced at least some form of Sola Scriptura. When it came to contradicting the Macedonians, the one authoritative source was the Scripture for Gregory. When it came to defeating Euonomius, Gregory goes constantly and repeatedly to Scripture, but does not rely on some other authoritative tradition. The same in defeating Apollinarius - Gregory of Nyssa relies on the authority only of Scripture. When it comes to his disagreement with Eustathius the judge between them is not the pope, not the councils, but Scripture.

First Section are from the Schaff/Wace Collection

Let the inspired Scripture, then, be our umpire, and the vote of truth will surely be given to those whose dogmas are found to agree with the Divine words.

- Gregory of Nyssa, On the Holy Trinity (To Eustathius)

But our argument in reply to this is ready and clear. For any one who condemns those who say that the Godhead is one, must necessarily support either those who say that there are more than one, or those who say that there is none. But the inspired teaching does not allow us to say that there are more than one, since, whenever it uses the term, it makes mention of the Godhead in the singular; as—"In Him dwells all the fullness of the Godhead [Colossians 2:9]"; and, elsewhere—"The invisible things of Him from the foundation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead [Romans 1:20]."

- Gregory of Nyssa, On the Holy Trinity

Such is the conception of Him that possesses them; and the logical consequence of it is that the Spirit has in Himself none of those marks which our devotion, in word or thought, ascribes to a Divine nature. What then, shall be our way of arguing? We shall answer nothing new, nothing of our own invention, though they challenge us to it; we shall fall back upon the testimony in Holy Scripture about the Spirit, whence we learn that the Holy Spirit is Divine, and is to be called so. Now, if they allow this, and will not contradict the words of inspiration, then they, with all their eagerness to fight with us, must tell us why they are for contending with us, instead of with Scripture. We say nothing different from that which Scripture says.— But in a Divine nature, as such, when once we have believed in it, we can recognize no distinctions suggested either by the Scripture teaching or by our own common sense; distinctions, that is, that would divide that Divine and transcendent nature within itself by any degrees of intensity and remission, so as to be altered from itself by being more or less.

- On the Holy Spirit: Against the Macedonians

Again, according to the view of the inspired Paul, the people itself, by passing through the Red Sea, proclaimed the good tidings of salvation by water.

- Gregory of Nyssa, On the Baptism of Christ

And the inspired David, foretelling also the voice which the Father uttered from heaven upon the Son at His Baptism, that He might lead the hearers, who till then had looked upon that low estate of His Humanity which was perceptible by their senses, to the dignity of nature that belongs to the Godhead, wrote in his book that passage, "The voice of the Lord is upon the waters, the voice of the Lord in majesty." But here we must make an end of the testimonies from the Divine Scriptures: for the discourse would extend to an infinite length if one should seek to select every passage in detail, and set them forth in a single book.

- Gregory of Nyssa, On the Baptism of Christ

Well, then, we affirm that human nature is one of these productions; and a word of the inspired Teaching helps us in this, which declares that when God had brought all things else upon the scene of life, man was exhibited upon the earth, a mixture from Divine sources, the god-like intellectual essence being in him united with the several portions of earthly elements contributed towards his formation, and that he was fashioned by his Maker to be the incarnate likeness of Divine transcendent Power. It would be better however to quote the very words: "And God created man, in the image of God created He him [Genesis 1:27]."

- Gregory of Nyssa, On Infants' Early Deaths

Has a man who looks at such spectacles procured for himself only a slight power for the enjoyment of those delights beyond? Not to speak of the studies which sharpen the mind towards moral excellence, geometry, I mean, and astronomy, and the knowledge of the truth that the science of numbers gives, and every method that furnishes a proof of the unknown and a conviction of the known, and, before all these, the philosophy contained in the inspired Writings, which affords a complete purification to those who educate themselves thereby in the mysteries of God.

- Gregory of Nyssa, On Infants' Early Deaths

In answer to this we will give, to those who are inclined to receive it favourably, a reason such as follows: viz. that oftentimes the existence of those whose life has been a good one operates to the advantage of their offspring; and there are hundreds of passages testifying to this in the inspired Writings, which clearly teach us that the tender care shown by God to those who have deserved it is shared in by their successors, and that even to have been an obstruction, in the path to wickedness, to any one who is sure to live wickedly, is a good result.

- Gregory of Nyssa, On Infants' Early Deaths

Nay, we entrust iron, to make vessels with, not to those who know nothing about the matter, but to those who are acquainted with the art of the smith; ought we not therefore to trust souls to him who is well-skilled to soften them by the fervent heat of the Holy Spirit, and who by the impress of rational implements may fashion each one of you to be a chosen and useful vessel? It is thus that the inspired Apostle bids us to take thought, in his Epistle to Timothy [1 Timothy 3:2], laying injunction upon all who hear, when he says that a Bishop must be without reproach. Is this all that the Apostle cares for, that he who is advanced to the priesthood should be irreproachable?

- Gregory of Nyssa, Letter 13 (to the Church at Nicomedia

Seeing, then, that this inseparable train of moral diseases has entered once for all into the world, one single way of escape is pointed out to us in the exhortations of the inspired writings; and that is to separate ourselves from the life which involves this sequence of sufferings. If we haunt Sodom, we cannot escape the rain of fire; nor if one who has fled out of her looks back upon her desolation, can he fail to become a pillar of salt rooted to the spot. We cannot be rid of the Egyptian bondage, unless we leave Egypt, that is, this life that lies under water, and pass, not that Red Sea, but this black and gloomy Sea of life.

- Gregory of Nyssa, On Virginity, Chapter 4

Just as, in the case of the sunlight, on one who has never from the day of his birth seen it, all efforts at translating it into words are quite thrown away; you cannot make the splendour of the ray shine through his ears; in like manner, to see the beauty of the true and intellectual light, each man has need of eyes of his own; and he who by a gift of Divine inspiration can see it retains his ecstasy unexpressed in the depths of his consciousness; while he who sees it not cannot be made to know even the greatness of his loss. How should he? This good escapes his perception, and it cannot be represented to him; it is unspeakable, and cannot be delineated. We have not learned the peculiar language expressive of this beauty. An example of what we want to say does not exist in the world; a comparison for it would at least be very difficult to find.

- Gregory of Nyssa, On Virginity, Chapter 10

All, maybe, know that; but there are those who, as might have been expected, wish besides this to discover, if possible, a process by which we may be actually guided to it. Well, the Divine books are full of such instruction for our guidance; and besides that many of the Saints cast the refulgence of their own lives, like lamps, upon the path for those who are "walking with God." But each may gather in abundance for himself suggestions towards this end out of either Covenant in the inspired writings; the Prophets and the Law are full of them; and also the Gospel and the Traditions of the Apostles. What we ourselves have conjectured in following out the thoughts of those inspired utterances is this.

- Gregory of Nyssa, On Virginity, Chapter 11

Alternative translation for the immediately preceding quotation:

The divine books are filled with pertinent suggestions, and many of the saints set before those on their way to God their own lives as guiding lights. It is possible for each of us to gather a wealth of suggestions from both Testaments. For there is much in the prophets and in the Law and much in the evangelical and apostolic tradition to take in abundance.

As presented in Fathers of the Church, Vol. 58, Ascetical Works, p. 42.

If any of the inspired words are required to aid our pleading, the Truth Itself will be sufficient to corroborate the truth when It inculcates this very kind of teaching in the veiled meaning of a Gospel Parable: the good and eatable fish are separated by the fishers' skill from the bad and poisonous fish, so that the enjoyment of the good should not be spoilt by any of the bad getting into the "vessels" with them.

- Gregory of Nyssa, On Virginity, Chapter 18

Much moved by these words, I said: To any one who reflects indeed, your exposition, advancing as it does in this consecutive manner, though plain and unvarnished, bears sufficiently upon it the stamp of correctness and hits the truth. And to those who are expert only in the technical methods of proof a mere demonstration suffices to convince; but as for ourselves, we were agreed that there is something more trustworthy than any of these artificial conclusions, namely, that which the teachings of Holy Scripture point to: and so I deem that it is necessary to inquire, in addition to what has been said, whether this inspired teaching harmonizes with it all. And who, she replied, could deny that truth is to be found only in that upon which the seal of Scriptural testimony is set? So, if it is necessary that something from the Gospels should be adduced in support of our view, a study of the Parable of the Wheat and Tares will not be here out of place.

- Gregory of Nyssa, On the Soul and the Resurrection

Even in the case of things which are quite within the grasp of our understanding and of which we have sensible perception, it would be impossible for the speculative reason to grasp the "how" of the production of the phenomenon; so much so, that even inspired and saintly men have deemed such questions insoluble. For instance, the Apostle says, "Through faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God, so that things which are seen are not made of things which do appear [Hebrews 11:3]." He would not, I take it, have spoken like that, if he had thought that the question could be settled by any efforts of the reasoning powers.

- Gregory of Nyssa, On the Soul and the Resurrection

The argument has not yet touched the most vital of all the questions relating to our Faith. I mean, that the inspired Writings, both in the New and in the Old Testament, declare most emphatically not only that, when our race has completed the ordered chain of its existence as the ages lapse through their complete circle, this current streaming onward as generation succeeds generation will cease altogether, but also that then, when the completed Universe no longer admits of further increase, all the souls in their entire number will come back out of their invisible and scattered condition into tangibility and light, the identical atoms (belonging to each soul) reassembling together in the same order as before; and this reconstitution of human life is called, in these Writings which contain God's teaching, the Resurrection, the entire movement of the atoms receiving the same term as the raising up of that which is actually prostrate on the ground.

- Gregory of Nyssa, On the Soul and the Resurrection

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 you, then, are not ignorant of any of the things in your hand, do you deem the knowledge of God to be feebler than your own power, that it should fail to discover the most minute of the things that are within the compass of the Divine span?

- Gregory of Nyssa, On the Making of Man, Chapter XXVI, Section 2

But should it be the Jew who gainsays these arguments, our discussion with him will no longer present equal difficulty, since the truth will be made manifest out of those doctrines on which he has been brought up. For that there is a Word of God, and a Spirit of God, powers essentially subsisting, both creative of whatever has come into being, and comprehensive of things that exist, is shown in the clearest light out of the Divinely-inspired Scriptures. It is enough if we call to mind one testimony, and leave the discovery of more to those who are inclined to take the trouble. "By the Word of the Lord," it is said, "the heavens were established, and all the power of them by the breath of His mouth. "

- Gregory of Nyssa, The Great Catechism, Part I, Chapter 4

Now, if in our representation of the Gospel mystery we had so stated the matter as that it was the Divine will that the Faith should be so granted away among mankind that some men should be called, while the rest had no share in the calling, occasion would be given for bringing such a charge against this Revelation. But if the call came with equal meaning to all and makes no distinction as to worth, age, or different national characteristics (for it was for this reason that at the very first beginning of the proclamation of the Gospel they who ministered the Word were, by Divine inspiration, all at once enabled to speak in the language of any nation, viz. in order that no one might be destitute of a share in the blessings of evangelical instruction), with what reasonableness can they still charge it upon God that the Word has not influenced all mankind?

- Gregory of Nyssa, The Great Catechism, Part II, Chapter 30

In fact he designates each projection of the Cross by its proper appellation. The upper part he calls height, the lower depth, and the side extensions breadth and length; and in another passage [Philippians 2:10] he makes his thought still clearer to the Philippians, to whom he says, "that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth." In that passage he includes in one appellation the centre and projecting arms, calling "things in earth" all that is in the middle between things in heaven and things under the earth. Such is the lesson we learn in regard to the mystery of the Cross. And the subsequent events which the narrative contains follow so appropriately that, as even unbelievers must admit, there is nothing in them adverse to the proper conceptions of the Deity. That He did not abide in death, that the wounds which His body had received from the iron of the nails and spear offered no impediment to His rising again, that after His resurrection He showed Himself as He pleased to His disciples, that when He wished to be present with them He was in their midst without being seen, as needing no entrance through open doors, and that He strengthened the disciples by the inspiration of the Holy Ghost, and that He promised to be among them, and that no partition wall should intervene between them and Him, and that to the sight He ascended to Heaven while to the mind He was everywhere; all these, and whatever like facts the history of Him comprises, need no assistance from arguments to show that they are signs of deity and of a sublime and supereminent power.

- Gregory of Nyssa, The Great Catechism, Part II, Chapter 32

Let him choose which of these he will—either to deny the Godhead of the Son, or to introduce into his creed a plurality of Gods. For whichever of these he chooses, it is all one as regards impiety: for we who are initiated into the mystery of godliness by the Divinely inspired words of the Scripture do not see between the Father and the Son a partnership of Godhead, but unity, inasmuch as the Lord has taught us this by His own words, when He says, "I and the Father are one," and "he that has seen Me has seen the Father. " For if He were not of the same nature as the Father, how could He either have had in Himself that which was different [John 17:10]?

- Gregory of Nyssa, Against Eunomius, Book II, Chapter 6

But to say that the Son has no part in His Father's royal throne argues an extraordinary amount of research into the oracles of God on the part of Eunomius, who, after his extreme devotion to the inspired Scriptures, has not yet heard, "Seek those things which are above, where Christ sits on the right hand of God [Colossians 3:1]," and many similar passages, of which it would not be easy to reckon up the number, but which Eunomius has never learned, and so denies that the Son is enthroned together with the Father.

- Gregory of Nyssa, Against Eunomius, Book II, Chapter 6

For if He is first-born, He differs from those born after Him only by priority in time, while there must be some one else by Whom the power to be at all is imparted alike to Him and to the rest. But that we may not by our objections give any unfair opponent ground for an insinuation that we do not receive the inspired utterances of Scripture, we will first set before our readers our own view about these titles, and then leave it to their judgment which is the better.

- Gregory of Nyssa, Against Eunomius, Book II, Chapter 7

The mighty Paul, knowing that the Only-begotten God, Who has the pre-eminence in all things, is the author and cause of all good, bears witness to Him that not only was the creation of all existent things wrought by Him, but that when the original creation of man had decayed and vanished away, to use his own language, and another new creation was wrought in Christ, in this too no other than He took the lead, but He is Himself the first-born of all that new creation of men which is effected by the Gospel. And that our view about this may be made clearer let us thus divide our argument. The inspired apostle on four occasions employs this term, once as here, calling Him, "first-born of all creation [Colossians 1:15]," another time, "the first-born among many brethren [Romans 8:29]," again, "first-born from the dead," and on another occasion he employs the term absolutely, without combining it with other words, saying, "But when again He brings the first-born into the world, He says, And let all the angels of God worship Him [Hebrews 1:6]."

- Gregory of Nyssa, Against Eunomius, Book II, Chapter 8

And now that we have thus distinguished the various modes of generation, it will be time to remark how the benevolent dispensation of the Holy Spirit, in delivering to us the Divine mysteries, imparts that instruction which transcends reason by such methods as we can receive. For the inspired teaching adopts, in order to set forth the unspeakable power of God, all the forms of generation that human intelligence recognizes, yet without including the corporeal senses attaching to the words.

- Gregory of Nyssa, Against Eunomius, Book II, Chapter 9

If then all things that came into being were made by Him, and the Word is one of the things that came into being, who is so dull as not to draw from these premises the absurd conclusion that our new creed-monger makes out the Lord of creation to have been His own work, in saying in so many words that the Lord and Maker of all creation is "not uncreate"? Let him tell us whence he has this boldness of assertion. From what inspired utterance? What evangelist, what apostle ever uttered such words as these? What prophet, what lawgiver, what patriarch, what other person of all who were divinely moved by the Holy Ghost, whose voices are preserved in writing, ever originated such a statement as this? In the tradition of the faith delivered by the Truth we are taught to believe in Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. If it were right to believe that the Son was created, how was it that the Truth in delivering to us this mystery bade us believe in the Son, and not in the creature? And how is it that the inspired Apostle, himself adoring Christ, lays it down that they who worship the creature besides the Creator are guilty of idolatry? For, were the Son created, either he would not have worshiped Him, or he would have refrained from classing those who worship the creature along with idolaters, lest he himself should appear to be an idolater, in offering adoration to the created. But he knew that He Whom he adored was God over all [Romans 9:5], for so he terms the Son in his Epistle to the Romans.

- Gregory of Nyssa, Against Eunomius, Book II, Chapter 9

But by what sacred utterance was He ever taught His list of so many obediences? Nay, on the contrary every inspired Scripture attests His independent and sovereign power, saying, "He spoke the word and they were made: He commanded and they were created ":— for it is plain that the Psalmist says this concerning Him Who upholds "all things by the word of His power [Hebrews 1:3]," Whose authority, by the sole impulse of His will, framed every existence and nature, and all things in the creation apprehended by reason or by sight.

- Gregory of Nyssa, Against Eunomius, Book II, Chapter 10

Can it possibly be such a form of "likeness" as this, that he is continually attributing to the Son? Nay, surely he cannot be so infatuated as to discover deceptive similarity in Him Who is the Truth. Again, in the inspired Scriptures, we are told of another kind of resemblance by Him Who said, "Let us make man in our image, after our likeness [Genesis 1:26];" but I do not suppose that Eunomius would discern this kind of likeness between the Father and the Son, so as to make out the Only-begotten God to be identical with man.

- Gregory of Nyssa, Against Eunomius, Book II, Chapter 12

For after those sapient and carefully-considered expressions, that He is not like either as Father to Father, or as Son to Son,— and yet there is no necessity that father should invariably be like father or son like son: for suppose there is one father among the Ethiopians, and another among the Scythians, and each of these has a son, the Ethiopian's son black, but the Scythian white-skinned and with hair of a golden tinge, yet none the more because each is a father does the Scythian turn black on the Ethiopian's account, nor does the Ethiopian's body change to white on account of the Scythian—after saying this, however, according to his own fancy, Eunomius subjoins that "He is like as Son to Father. " But although such a phrase indicates kinship in nature, as the inspired Scripture attests in the case of Seth and Adam, our doctor, with but small respect for his intelligent readers, introduces his idle exposition of the title "Son," defining Him to be the image and seal of the energy of the Almighty. "For the Son," he says, "is the image and seal of the energy of the Almighty."

- Gregory of Nyssa, Against Eunomius, Book II, Chapter 12

Their object in such a malignant perversion of the true doctrine, is to show that the less exalted statements, which our Lord utters in His humanity, are to be thought to have issued from the Godhead Itself, that so they may show their blasphemy to have a stronger case, if it is upheld by the actual acknowledgment of the Lord. For this reason it is that Eunomius says, "He who in the last days became man did not take upon Himself the man made up of soul and body." But, after searching through all the inspired and sacred Scripture, I do not find any such statement as this, that the Creator of all things, at the time of His ministration here on earth for man, took upon Himself flesh only without a soul. Under stress of necessity, then, looking to the object contemplated by the plan of salvation, to the doctrines of the Fathers, and to the inspired Scriptures, I will endeavour to confute the impious falsehood which is being fabricated with regard to this matter. The Lord came "to seek and to save that which was lost."

- Gregory of Nyssa, Against Eunomius, Book II, Chapter 13

For this reason it is that, suppressing the name appointed by the Lord in the formula of the faith, he says, "We believe in the Comforter." But I have been taught that this very name is also applied by the inspired Scripture to Father, Son, and Holy Ghost alike. For the Son gives the name of "Comforter" equally to Himself and to the Holy Spirit; and the Father, where He is said to work comfort, surely claims as His own the name of "Comforter."

- Gregory of Nyssa, Against Eunomius, Book II, Chapter 14

For when the Lord said "The Spirit of Truth," He immediately added "Which proceeds from the Father," a fact which the voice of the Lord never asserted of any conceivable thing in creation, not of anything visible or invisible, not of thrones, principalities, powers, or dominions, nor of any other name that is named either in this world or in that which is to come. It is plain then that that, from share in which all creation is excluded, is something special and peculiar to uncreated being. But this man bids us believe in "the Guide of godliness." Let a man then believe in Paul, and Barnabas, and Titus, and Silvanus, and Timotheus, and all those by whom we have been led into the way of the faith. For if we are to believe in "that which guides us to godliness," along with the Father and the Son, all the prophets and lawgivers and patriarchs, heralds, evangelists, apostles, pastors, and teachers, have equal honour with the Holy Spirit, as they have been "guides to godliness" to those who came after them. "Who came into being," he goes on, "by the only God through the Only-begotten." In these words he gathers up in one head all his blasphemy. Once more he calls the Father "only God," who employs the Only-begotten as an instrument for the production of the Spirit. What shadow of such a notion did he find in Scripture, that he ventures upon this assertion? By deduction from what premises did he bring his profanity to such a conclusion as this? Which of the Evangelists says it? What apostle? What prophet? Nay, on the contrary every scripture divinely inspired, written by the afflatus of the Spirit, attests the Divinity of the Spirit. For example (for it is better to prove my position from the actual testimonies), those who receive power to become children of God bear witness to the Divinity of the Spirit. Who knows not that utterance of the Lord which tells us that they who are born of the Spirit are the children of God?

- Gregory of Nyssa, Against Eunomius, Book II, Chapter 14

Now the inspired Scripture teaches us to affirm all these attributes of the Spirit, when it predicates of the Spirit the terms "good," and "wise," and "incorruptible," and "immortal," and all such lofty conceptions and names as are properly applied to Godhead. If then He is inferior in none of these respects, by what means does Eunomius determine the inequality of the Son and the Spirit?

- Gregory of Nyssa, Against Eunomius, Book II, Chapter 15

And moreover the fact that he says these statements are confirmed, in that they abide by the knowledge possessed from above, is a strong additional support to the orthodox view touching the designation of "Son," seeing that the inspired teaching of the Scriptures, which comes to us from above, confirms our argument on these matters.

- Gregory of Nyssa, Against Eunomius, Book III, Chapter 1

The Church knows as saints those whose hearts were divinely guided by the Holy Spirit—patriarchs, lawgivers, prophets, evangelists, apostles. If any among these is found to declare in his inspired words that God over all, Who "upholds all things with the word of His power," and grasps with His hand all things that are, and by Himself called the universe into being by the mere act of His will, is a thing created and a product, he will stand excused, as following, as he says, the "use of the saints " in proceeding to formulate such doctrines. But if the knowledge of the Holy Scriptures is freely placed within the reach of all, and nothing is forbidden to or hidden from any of those who choose to share in the divine instruction, how comes it that he endeavours to lead his hearers astray by his misrepresentation of the Scriptures, referring the term "creature," applied to the Only-begotten, to "the use of the saints"? For that by Him all things were made, you may hear almost from the whole of their holy utterance, from Moses and the prophets and apostles who come after him, whose particular expressions it would be tedious here to set forth. Enough for our purpose, with the others, and above the others, is the sublime John, where in the preface to his discourse on the Divinity of the Only-begotten he proclaims aloud the fact that there is none of the things that were made which was not made through Him, a fact which is an incontestable and positive proof of His being Lord of the creation, not reckoned in the list of created things.

- Gregory of Nyssa, Against Eunomius, Book III, Chapter 1

And if he says that he has some of the saints who declared Him to be a slave, or created, or made, or any of these lowly and servile names, lo, here are the Scriptures. Let him, or some other on his behalf, produce to us one such phrase, and we will hold our peace. But if there is no such phrase (and there could never be found in those inspired Scriptures which we believe any such thought as to support this impiety), what need is there to strive further upon points admitted with one who not only misrepresents the words of the saints, but even contends against his own definitions?

- Gregory of Nyssa, Against Eunomius, Book III, Chapter 1

Perhaps that passage in the Proverbs might be brought forward against us which the champions of heresy are wont to cite as a testimony that the Lord was created— the passage, "The Lord created me in the beginning of His ways, for His works." For because these words are spoken by Wisdom, and the Lord is called Wisdom by the great Paul [1 Corinthians 1:24], they allege this passage as though the Only-begotten God Himself, under the name of Wisdom, acknowledges that He was created by the Maker of all things. I imagine, however, that the godly sense of this utterance is clear to moderately attentive and painstaking persons, so that, in the case of those who are instructed in the dark sayings of the Proverbs, no injury is done to the doctrine of the faith. Yet I think it well briefly to discuss what is to be said on this subject, that when the intention of this passage is more clearly explained, the heretical doctrine may have no room for boldness of speech on the ground that it has evidence in the writing of the inspired author. It is universally admitted that the name of "proverb," in its scriptural use, is not applied with regard to the evident sense, but is used with a view to some hidden meaning, as the Gospel thus gives the name of "proverbs" to dark and obscure sayings; so that the "proverb," if one were to set forth the interpretation of the name by a definition, is a form of speech which, by means of one set of ideas immediately presented, points to something else which is hidden, or a form of speech which does not point out the aim of the thought directly, but gives its instruction by an indirect signification.

- Gregory of Nyssa, Against Eunomius, Book III, Chapter 2

For, by the arguments wherewith he endeavours to destroy the truth, he is often himself unwittingly drawn into an advocacy of the very doctrines against which he is contending. Some such thing the history tells us concerning Saul, that once, when moved with wrath against the prophets, he was overcome by grace, and was found as one of the inspired, (the Spirit of prophecy willing, as I suppose, to instruct the apostate by means of himself,) whence the surprising nature of the event became a proverb in his after life, as the history records such an expression by way of wonder, "Is Saul also among the prophets 1 Samuel 19:24?"

- Gregory of Nyssa, Against Eunomius, Book III, Chapter 4

For those who are called in a certain sense "children of light," and "children of the day [1 Thessalonians 5:5]," are not the same with light and day in respect of the definition of their nature, and the stones are made Abraham's children when they claim their kindred with him by faith and works; and those who are "led by the Spirit of God," as the Apostle says, are called "Sons of God [Romans 8:14]," without being the same with God in respect of nature; and one may collect many such instances from the inspired Scripture, by means of which deceit, like some image decked with the testimonies of Scripture, masquerades in the likeness of truth.

- Gregory of Nyssa, Against Eunomius, Book III, Chapter 6

That no created thing is deserving of man's worship, the divine word so clearly declares as a law, that such a truth may be learned from almost the whole of the inspired Scripture. Moses, the Tables, the Law, the Prophets that follow, the Gospels, the decrees of the Apostles, all alike forbid the act of reverencing the creation. It would be a lengthy task to set out in order the particular passages which refer to this matter; but though we set out only a few from among the many instances of the inspired testimony, our argument is surely equally convincing, since each of the divine words, albeit the least, has equal force for declaration of the truth.

- Gregory of Nyssa, Against Eunomius, Book V, Chapter 1

Since, then, neither is that God which was before God, nor is that God which is after God, (for that which is after God is the creation, and that which is anterior to God is nothing, and Nothing is not God—or one should rather say, that which is anterior to God is God in His eternal blessedness, defined in contradistinction to Nothing —since, I say, this inspired utterance was spoken by the mouth of the prophet, we learn by his means the doctrine that the Divine Nature is one, continuous with Itself and indiscerptible, not admitting in Itself priority and posteriority, though it be declared in Trinity, and with no one of the things we contemplate in it more ancient or more recent than another.

- Gregory of Nyssa, Against Eunomius, Book V, Chapter 1

If then these are the doctrines which we have learned from inspired teaching, how do we refer the cause of our salvation to an ordinary man? And if we declare the word "made" employed by the blessed Peter to have regard not to the pre-temporal existence, but to the new dispensation of the Incarnation, what has this to do with the charge against us? For this great Apostle says that that which was seen in the form of the servant has been made, by being assumed, to be that which He Who assumed it was in His own Nature. Moreover, in the Epistle to the Hebrews we may learn the same truth from Paul, when he says that Jesus was made an Apostle and High Priest by God, "being faithful to him that made Him so [Hebrews 3:1-2]."

- Gregory of Nyssa, Against Eunomius, Book VI, Chapter 2

Well, we may safely allow nurses and old wives to jest with children, and to lay down the meaning of dreams as they choose: but when inspired Scripture is set before us for exposition, the great Apostle forbids us to have recourse to old wives' tattle. When I hear "the Cross" spoken of, I understand the Cross, and when I hear mention of a human name, I understand the nature which that name connotes. So when I hear from Peter that "this" one was made Lord and Christ, I do not doubt that he speaks of Him Who had been before the eyes of men, since the saints agree with one another in this matter as well as in others.

- Gregory of Nyssa, Against Eunomius, Book VI, Chapter 4

But seeing that the inspired writing on the one side says, "the Lord is the Spirit," and Eunomius says on the other, "Lordship is essence," I do not know where he finds support for his statement, unless he is prepared to say again that the word "Spirit" stands in Scripture for "essence."

- Gregory of Nyssa, Against Eunomius, Book VII, Chapter 1

Then how will you make it fit with what follows? For when Paul says, "Now the Lord is the Spirit," he goes on to say, "and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty." If then "the Lord is the Spirit," and "Spirit" means "essence," what are we to understand by "the essence of the essence"? He speaks again of another Spirit of the Lord Who is the Spirit—that is to say, according to your interpretation, of another essence. Therefore in your view the Apostle, when he writes expressly of "the Lord the Spirit," and of "the Spirit of the Lord," means nothing else than an essence of an essence. Well, let Eunomius make what he likes of that which is written; what we understand of the matter is as follows. The Scripture, "given by inspiration of God," as the Apostle calls it, is the Scripture of the Holy Spirit, and its intention is the profit of men. For "every scripture," he says, "is given by inspiration of God and is profitable"; and the profit is varied and multiform, as the Apostle says— "for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness [2 Timothy 3:16]." Such a boon as this, however, is not within any man's reach to lay hold of, but the Divine intention lies hid under the body of the Scripture, as it were under a veil, some legislative enactment or some historical narrative being cast over the truths that are contemplated by the mind. For this reason, then, the Apostle tells us that those who look upon the body of the Scripture have "a veil upon their heart [2 Corinthians 3:15]," and are not able to look upon the glory of the spiritual law, being hindered by the veil that has been cast over the face of the law-giver. Wherefore he says, "the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life," showing that often the obvious interpretation, if it be not taken according to the proper sense, has an effect contrary to that life which is indicated by the Spirit, seeing that this lays down for all men the perfection of virtue in freedom from passion, while the history contained in the writings sometimes embraces the exposition even of facts incongruous, and is understood, so to say, to concur with the passions of our nature, whereto if any one applies himself according to the obvious sense, he will make the Scripture a doctrine of death. Accordingly, he says that over the perceptive powers of the souls of men who handle what is written in too corporeal a manner, the veil is cast; but for those who turn their contemplation to that which is the object of the intelligence, there is revealed, bared, as it were, of a mask, the glory that underlies the letter. And that which is discovered by this more exalted perception he says is the Lord, which is the Spirit. For he says, "when it shall turn to the Lord the veil shall be taken away: now the Lord is the Spirit [2 Corinthians 3:16-17]." And in so saying he makes a distinction of contrast between the lordship of the spirit and the bondage of the letter; for as that which gives life is opposed to that which kills, so he contrasts "the Lord" with bondage. And that we may not be under any confusion when we are instructed concerning the Holy Spirit (being led by the word "Lord" to the thought of the Only-begotten), for this reason he guards the word by repetition, both saying that "the Lord is the Spirit," and making further mention of "the Spirit of the Lord," that the supremacy of His Nature may be shown by the honour implied in lordship, while at the same time he may avoid confusing in his argument the individuality of His Person. For he who calls Him both "Lord" and "Spirit of the Lord," teaches us to conceive of Him as a separate individual besides the Only-begotten; just as elsewhere he speaks of "the Spirit of Christ [Romans 8:9]," employing fairly and in its mystic sense this very term which is piously employed in the system of doctrine according to the Gospel tradition.

- Gregory of Nyssa, Against Eunomius, Book VII, Chapter 1

For how could any one, being but man, know the supercelestial converse of the Father with the Son? But being "in the Spirit" he said that the Lord spoke to the Lord those words which He has uttered. For if, He says, "David in the Spirit calls him Lord, how is He then his son ?" Thus it is by the power of the Spirit that the holy men who are under Divine influence are inspired, and every Scripture is for this reason said to be "given by inspiration of God," because it is the teaching of the Divine afflatus.

- Gregory of Nyssa, Against Eunomius, Book VII, Chapter 1

So, too, great David, in his discourses with himself, proclaims the same truth, in the sense that all the creation was brought into being by God, while He alone exists always in the same manner, and abides for ever, where he says, "But You are the same, and Your years shall not fail." When we hear these sayings, and others like them, from men inspired by God, let us leave all that is not from eternity to the worship of idolaters, as a new thing alien from the true Godhead.

- Gregory of Nyssa, Against Eunomius, Book VIII, Chapter 1

Now these modes of generation being well known to men, the loving dispensation of the Holy Spirit, in delivering to us the Divine mysteries, conveys its instruction on those matters which transcend language by means of what is within our capacity, as it does also constantly elsewhere, when it portrays the Divinity in bodily terms, making mention, in speaking concerning God, of His eye, His eyelids, His ear, His fingers, His hand, His right hand, His arm, His feet, His shoes, and the like—none of which things is apprehended to belong in its primary sense to the Divine Nature,— but turning its teaching to what we can easily perceive, it describes by terms well worn in human use, facts that are beyond every name, while by each of the terms employed concerning God we are led analogically to some more exalted conception. In this way, then, it employs the numerous forms of generation to present to us, from the inspired teaching, the unspeakable existence of the Only-begotten, taking just so much from each as may be reverently admitted into our conceptions concerning God.

- Gregory of Nyssa, Against Eunomius, Book VIII, Chapter 4

Let us listen to his arrogant utterance:— "Surely it would have been idle for the Lord to call Himself 'the door,' if there were none to pass through to the understanding and contemplation of the Father, and it would have been idle for Him to call Himself 'the way,' if He gave no facility to those who wish to come to the Father. And how could He be a light, without lightening men, without illuminating the eye of their soul to understand both Himself and the transcendent Light?" Well, if he were here enumerating some arguments from his own head, that evade the understanding of the hearers by their subtlety, there would perhaps be a possibility of being deceived by the ingenuity of the argument, as his underlying thought frequently escapes the reader's notice. But since he alleges the Divine words, of course no one blames those who believe that their inspired teaching is the common property of all.

- Gregory of Nyssa, Against Eunomius, Book X, Chapter 1

For truly He is at the same time a "door of encompassing " and a "house of defence" as David calls Him, and through Himself He receives them that enter, and in Himself He saves those who have come within, and again by Himself He leads them forth to the pasture of virtues, and becomes all things to them that are in the way of salvation, that so He may make Himself that which the needs of each demand—both way, and guide, and "door of encompassing," and "house of defence," and "water of comfort " and "green pasture " which in the Gospel He calls "pasture": but our new divine says that the Lord has been called "the door" because of the knowledge of the essence of the Father. Why then does he not force into the same significance the titles, "Rock," and "Stone," and "Fountain," and "Tree," and the rest, that so he might obtain evidence for his own theory by the multitude of strange testimonies, as he is well able to apply to each of these the same account which he has given of the Way, the Door, and the Light? But, as I am so taught by the inspired Scripture, I boldly affirm that He Who is above every name has for us many names, receiving them in accordance with the variety of His gracious dealings with us, being called the Light when He disperses the gloom of ignorance, and the Life when He grants the boon of immortality, and the Way when He guides us from error to the truth; so also He is termed a "tower of strength," and a "city of encompassing," and a fountain, and a rock, and a vine, and a physician, and resurrection, and all the like, with reference to us, imparting Himself under various aspects by virtue of His benefits to us-ward."

- Gregory of Nyssa, Against Eunomius, Book X, Chapter 1

For who does not know that he who is by nature a slave, and follows his avocation under the constraint imposed by a master, cannot be removed even from the emotion of fear? And of this the inspired Apostle is a witness, when he says, "You have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear [Romans 8:15]." So that they will be found to attribute, after the likeness of men, the emotion of fear also to their fellow-servant God.

- Gregory of Nyssa, Against Eunomius, Book X, Chapter 4

Such is the God of heresy. But what we, who, in the words of the Apostle, have been called to liberty by Christ, Who has freed us from bondage, have been taught by the Scriptures to think, I will set forth in few words. I take my start from the inspired teaching, and boldly declare that the Divine Word does not wish even us to be slaves, our nature having now been changed for the better, and that He Who has taken all that was ours, on the terms of giving to us in return what is His, even as He took disease, death, curse, and sin, so took our slavery also, not in such a way as Himself to have what He took, but so as to purge our nature of such evils, our defects being swallowed up and done away with in His stainless nature.

- Gregory of Nyssa, Against Eunomius, Book X, Chapter 4

But here he brings in the assertion that "in the creation of existent things He has been entrusted by the Father with the construction of all things visible and invisible, and with the providential care over all that comes into being, inasmuch as the power allotted to Him from above is sufficient for the production of those things which have been constructed." The vast length to which our treatise has run compels us to pass over these assertions briefly: but, in a sense, profanity surrounds the argument, containing a vast swarm of notions like venomous wasps. "He was entrusted," he says, "with the construction of things by the Father." But if he had been talking about some artizan executing his work at the pleasure of his employer, would he not have used the same language? For we are not wrong in saying just the same of Bezaleel, that being entrusted by Moses with the building of the tabernacle, he became the constructor of those things there mentioned, and would not have taken the work in hand had he not previously acquired his knowledge by Divine inspiration, and ventured upon the undertaking on Moses' entrusting him with its execution. Accordingly the term "entrusted" suggests that His office and power in creation came to Him as something adventitious, in the sense that before He was entrusted with that commission He had neither the will nor the power to act, but when He received authority to execute the works, and power sufficient for the works, then He became the artificer of things that are, the power allotted to Him from on high being, as Eunomius says, sufficient for the purpose.

- Gregory of Nyssa, Against Eunomius, Book XI, Chapter 5

Observing which things, who has not fancied that he has a sort of populace of souls crowded together in himself, each of the aforesaid passions differing widely from the rest, and, where it prevails, holding lordship over them all, so that even the rational faculty falls under and is subject to the predominating power of such forces, and contributes its own co-operation to such impulses, as to a despotic lord? What word, then, of the inspired Scripture has taught us the manifold and multiform character of what we understand in speaking of the soul?

- Gregory of Nyssa, Answer to Eunomius' Second Book

And as our power compared with God's, and our life with His life, is as nothing, and all else that is ours, compared with what is in Him, is "as nothing in comparison" with Him, as says the inspired Teaching, so also our word as compared with Him, Who is the Word indeed, is as nothing.

- Gregory of Nyssa, Answer to Eunomius' Second Book

But if this is not agreeable to our opponents, let it be as each of them pleases. In his ignorance, however, of the figures of Scripture, our opponent contradicts what is said. For if he had learned the Divine names, he must have known that our Lord is called a Curse and Sin [Galatians 3:13], and a Heifer [Hebrews 9:13], and a lion's Whelp [Genesis 49:9], and a Bear bereaved of her whelps [Hosea 13:3], and a Leopard [Hosea 13:7] and such-like names, according to various modes of conception, by Holy Scripture, the sacred and inspired writers by such names, as by well-directed shafts, indicating the central point of the idea they had in view; even though these words, when taken in their literal and obvious signification, seem not above suspicion, but each single one of them, unless we allow it to be predicated of God by some process of conception, will not escape the taint of a blasphemous suggestion. But it would be a lengthy task to bring them forward, and elucidate in every case how, in the general idea, these words have been perverted out of their obvious meanings, and how it is only in connection with the conceptive faculty that the names of God can be reconciled with that reverence which is His due. But to return. Such names are used of our Lord, and no one familiar with the inspired Scriptures can deny the fact.

- Gregory of Nyssa, Answer to Eunomius' Second Book

How, then, can you lay down the law that the Divine essence should be denoted by the word "ungenerate"— a term which none of the sacred writers can be shown to have handed down to us? For if this is the test of the right use of words, that only such shall be employed as the inspired word of Scripture shall authorize, the word "ungenerate" must be erased from your own writings, since none of the sacred writers has sanctioned the expression. But perhaps you accept it by reason of the sense that resides in it. Well, we ourselves in the same way accept the term "conception" by reason of the sense that resides in it.

- Gregory of Nyssa, Answer to Eunomius' Second Book

But if it were in any way possible by some other means to lay bare the movements of thought, abandoning the formal instrumentality of words, we should converse with one another more lucidly and clearly, revealing by the mere action of thought the essential nature of the things which are under consideration. But now, by reason of our inability to do so, we have given things their special names, calling one Heaven, another Earth, and so on, and as each is related to each, and acts or suffers, we have marked them by distinctive names, so that our thoughts in regard to them may not remain uncommunicated and unknown. But supramundane and immaterial nature being free and independent of bodily envelopment, requires no words or names either for itself or for that which is above it, but whatever utterance on the part of such intellectual nature is recorded in Holy Writ is given for the sake of the hearers, who would be unable otherwise to learn what is to be set forth, if it were not communicated to them by voice and word. And if David in the spirit speaks of something being said by the Lord to the Lord, it is David himself who is the speaker, being unable otherwise to make known to us the teaching of what is meant except by interpreting by voice and word his own knowledge of the mysteries given him by Divine inspiration.

- Gregory of Nyssa, Answer to Eunomius' Second Book

For if there were other names of stars, Holy Scripture would not have made mention of those which are in common use among the Greeks, Esaias saying, "Which makes the Pleiads, and Hesperus, and Arcturus, and the Chambers of the South," and Job making mention of Orion and Aseroth; so that from this it is clear that Holy Scripture employs for our instruction such words as are in common use. Thus we hear in Job of Amalthea's horn, and in Esaias of the Sirens, the former thus naming plenty after the conceit of the Greeks, the latter representing the pleasure derived from hearing, by the figure of the Sirens. As, then, in these cases the inspired word has made use of names drawn from mythological fables, with a view to the advantage of the hearers, so here it freely makes use of the appellations given to the stars by human fancy, teaching us that all things whatsoever that are named among men have their origin from God— the things, not their names. For it does not say Who names, but "Who makes Pleiad, and Hesperus, and Arcturus."

- Gregory of Nyssa, Answer to Eunomius' Second Book

And if we set forth the opinion of most commentators on these words of the Psalmist, that of Eunomius regarding them will be still more convicted of foolishness. For those who have most carefully searched out the sense of the inspired Scripture, declare that not all the works of creation are worthy of the Divine reckoning. For in the Gospel narratives of feeding the multitudes in the wilderness, women and children are not thought worthy of enumeration. And in the account of the Exodus of the children of Israel, those only are enumerated in the roll who were of age to bear arms against their enemies, and to do deeds of valour.

- Gregory of Nyssa, Answer to Eunomius' Second Book

For no one can be so infatuated, when Paul, by the power of the Spirit, has revealed to us the hidden mysteries, as to count Eunomius a more trustworthy interpreter of Divine things— a man who openly impugns the words of the inspired testimony, and who by his false interpretation of the word would fain prove that the various kinds of animals were not named by Adam.

- Gregory of Nyssa, Answer to Eunomius' Second Book

I would not, however, have mentioned this at all, if it had not placed a necessity upon me of proving our author's weakness both in thought and expression. As for all the passages from the inspired writings which he drags in, though quite unconnected with his object, formulating thereby a difference of immortality in angels and in men, I do not know what he has in his eye, or what he hopes to prove by them, and I pass them by.

- Gregory of Nyssa, Answer to Eunomius' Second Book

Second Section are from the McCambly/Salomon (link) collection

A Christian is ashamed at anything contrary to the faith and rejoices at praise coming from persons who love Christ much like those in the shadow of a notable person exult in his victories. Let us therefore concentrate upon the subject at hand and consider your notable deeds. Let us be silent about this world's glories despite their numerous accounts. Neither heaven which is the most beautiful and greatest object of creation, the heavenly luminaries, the earth's breadth, nor anything physical can compare with God's inspired word which alone is worthy of admiration. Because I am acquainted with the divine commandment, none of these wonders captivates me.

- Gregory of Nyssa, First Homily Concerning the Forty Martyrs, Part I

Instead, the [martyrs] remained steadfast knowing that patience which bears such trials will come to their aide. Daniel was inspired by God (Dan 1.8+). Although tempted to eat abundant sweet food and drink, he despised and rejected this offering to idols and preferred food made from wheat.

- Gregory of Nyssa, Concerning the Forty Martyrs - The Second Letter

When Christ is mentioned as the "splendor of glory and stamp of God's nature" (Heb 1.3), we recognize his majesty as worthy of adoration. As truly inspired and divinely instructed, Paul searched in the depths of the wealth of wisdom and knowledge of God for his hidden, secret mysteries (2Cor 12.4). He was divinely illumined with regard to the perception of unsearchable, unutterable matters because his tongue was too weak for his thoughts. Upon hearing [what was unutterable] he comprehended the mystery as through sparks, and he expressed himself as much as speech could serve his thought. Although our human constitution can recognize whatever pertains to the divine nature, God's transcendent essence is totally incomprehensible to human reasoning.

- Gregory of Nyssa, On Perfection

I do not wish you to remain ignorant, brethren, about what we have taught regarding death since the teaching inspired by the Holy Spirit is for those who are more perfect "that you do not be sad like those who have no hope" (1Thes 4.13). We believe in the Lord of all creation who brings us the resurrection from the dead. He has died and rose that we might believe in his resurrection and remain firm in that hope which for those who have died is free from sorrow. Our God and Lord Jesus Christ who comforts the humble will comfort your hearts and make his love firm through his mercy (1Pt 5.10). To him be glory forever and ever. Amen.

- Gregory of Nyssa, Concerning Those Who Have Died

I do not speak rhetorically and with knowledge and am confronted with resistance yet wish to carefully reflect upon this issue by considering its logical order. What exactly is this order? It consists in knowing the origins of human nature and [God's] grace which brings us into existence. If we remain constant, we will not err from our proposed interpretation. Since everything comes from God, what is seen in creation would be futile and no one, I believe, would assail our response when considering the truth of the matter. It is agreed that the universe has one cause and is not responsible for bringing itself into existence. But the universe as a whole is always uncreated, eternal, self-contained, transcends every concept of measurement, remains constant, is infinite and transcends all bounds. Its nature, time, space and everything in it lies beyond our grasp even if we could grasp anything which existed before it. Divinely inspired teaching also includes human nature. God brings everything into existence; man's created nature is composed of various elements; it is also carefully composed from what is both divine and intelligible. God intended this to be so for man when he endowed him with a living likeness of himself. In this instance I think it is better to quote Scripture: "And God made man in his image; in the image of God he created him" [Gen 1.27]. The source of this living creation which existed before us has a two-fold division which belongs to every creature and, as the Apostle says [Col 1.16], is visible and invisible (The invisible signifies what is intelligible and incorporeal while the visible belongs to the senses and the body).

- Gregory of Nyssa, Concerning Infants who have Died Prematurely

How do these observations which cannot be fully understood pertain to theological teachings about God? Can they delight a person who comprehends them and lead us to virtue? I mean geometry, astronomy, comprehension of the truth through numbers, the pursuit of what is unknown, the confirmation of what is understood and the philosophy of divinely inspired Scripture which cleanses persons instructed in divine mysteries.

- Gregory of Nyssa, Concerning Infants who have Died Prematurely

But why, as you say, does [God's] compassionate providence snatch someone away before his will develops the ability to do evil and permits this to happen to a person who has not yet been born [cf. Mt 26.24]? We respond to these more plausible objections by saying that there is often a better goal in mind for those who have lived well. Divinely inspired Scripture provides many witnesses where we learn about God's care for those worthy to share it. Since the text makes conjectures about unclear matters, our minds frequently lack proof. Not only is God gracious to parents responsible for bring a human being into existence by taking away a person from living immorally, but if nothing of the sort is found when they have been prematurely snatched away, it is sensible to consider which is more difficult: persons restrained from an immoral life or those known for living in sin. Many instances have taught us that nothing happens without God's aid. It is not without chance and logic that divine care administers everything when we know that God is the reason, wisdom, virtue and truth. He does not lack purpose, wisdom, virtue, truth, remains active and is not connected with anything untruthful.

- Gregory of Nyssa, Concerning Infants who have Died Prematurely

Of this the Apostle says, "The wisdom of the flesh is at enmity with God" [Rom 8.7] (for the flesh is not subject to God's law). He is speaking here of a person's capacity for free will which belongs to the intellect. For to chose either in a spirit of obedience or inflexibility with respect to the law rests with free choice which cannot be divorced from our intellectual faculty. This faculty belongs to the mind and is not found among infants. How can a person who opposes free will and reduces it to servility lack a mind? For our free will does not choose petty, evil things as demonstrated by persons who lack a mind; rather, those person who lack a good mind follow its lead. Divinely inspired scripture teaches us about that serpent, the originator and inventor of evil [Gen 3.1]. The serpent certainly does not lack reason, but is more prudent than all the other beasts.

- Gregory of Nyssa, Against Apollinarius

[Apollinarius] claims that this man is from heaven because the heavenly spirit took on flesh. Where does scripture speak of such a thing? Which author of the sacred text says that spirit became incarnate? Neither the Gospel nor the great Apostle [Paul] has taught us such a thing. Instead, the Gospel proclaims "the Word became flesh" [Jn 1.14] and the Spirit descended in the form of a dove [Mt 3.16]. Nothing is said here of the Spirit becoming incarnate with regard to the mystery of our faith. "His glory has dwelt in our land" [Ps 84.10]. "Truth has sprung from the earth" [Ps 84.12]. "God has manifested himself in flesh" [1Tm 3.126]. "Righteousness has looked down from heaven" [Ps 84.12]. These and other examples show that the divinely inspired scripture does not mention the Spirit's incarnation.

- Gregory of Nyssa, Against Apollinarius

It is difficult to interpret the difference between [Christ's] union with flesh and his assumption of man because union may be understood in various ways such as number, form, nature, purposes, teachings, properties of both evil or virtue and other considerations. For this reason we must explain the union with flesh, whether it pertains to [Christ] or to something else. We lack knowledge of how [Christ] assumed our humanity, the kind of union, its origin and how it came about. Since divine scripture fails to offer salt [to understand] this mystery, we are reduced to allow the faithful to trample underfoot the tasteless salt of pagan wisdom. What does the Gospel tell us of [Christ's] union with the flesh? What statement from the Apostles teaches us of humanity's assumption? What law, prophet, divinely inspired word, or teaching of which synod can convey this [mystery] to us? These two words [assumption and union] signify something in particular, for they lay claim to a special reality of which we were in doubt. We ascribe to neither term nor to both that we may uncover a difference, for both basically mean the same. Union indeed has one connotation and assumption another: each denotes a relation to the other, for assumption means union and unity is achieved by assumption.

- Gregory of Nyssa, Against Apollinarius

No reverent person would deny that the Lord is wisdom. As the convincing evidence of the holy Fathers and Apostles testify, he transcends every mind. Paul cries out, "God made [Christ] our wisdom" [1Cor 1.30]. Also, "The grace of salvation has appeared for us, training us to renounce impiety and worldly passions, and to live sober, upright, and godly lives in this world while awaiting our blessed hope" [Tit 2.11-13]. The Apostle has taught us that the Only-Begotten Son who is above, through and in all things, does not have an enfleshed mind. Neither do the saints hand on to us any novel teaching derived from divinely inspired scripture which describes [Christ] as having a monstrous nature.

- Gregory of Nyssa, Against Apollinarius

If the incarnation was not accomplished by [Christ's] self-determination and uncoerced mind, any deed completed in the flesh such as sin's abolition comes from another self-determined movement and the divine mind. Our own self-determined freedom partakes of sin's abolition when united to Christ." Can you see the inevitable result of such a statement? I think that we could use an enchanter and a diviner here who discerns the mysteries of dreams to interpret such novelties. "The mind is self-determined yet is moved by an external force; the flesh completes its work by the abolition [of sin]." But I prefer that children ridicule such notions as these while we continue with the rest of the tract. "If anything great acquires further addition it is done with effort, while Christ who lacks a human mind requires no such effort." How can we reconcile this with divinely inspired scripture? What is the origin of Beseleel's skill [Ex 31.1] and Solomon's knowledge? How does Amos, the pruner of sycamore trees, obtain the gift of prophecy from pasturing goats [Amos 7.14]? Similarly, none of these persons has descended from heaven nor did any of them exist in the beginning as an equal to God.

- Gregory of Nyssa, Against Apollinarius

How lovely is the inspiration exhibited by those who are good, and how sweet is the joy which they disclose! See, we acquire a feast from a feast and grace from grace. Yesterday the Lord of the universe welcomed us whereas today it is the [M.704] imitator [Stephen] of the Lord. How are they related to each other? One assumed human nature on our behalf while the other shed it for his Lord. One accepted the cave of this life for us, and the other left it for him. One was wrapped in swaddling clothes for us, and the other was stoned for him. One destroyed death, and the other scorned it.

- Gregory of Nyssa, Two Homilies concerning Saint Stephen, Protomartyr, First Sermon

All were overcome by shock and confusion with the widely diverse languages immediately which the disciples spoke according to the sound and wonder of tongues and to the astonishment of those from every nation who were dwelling in Jerusalem [cf. Acts 2.2-5]. This was not a result of training and study but was a gift in the form of speaking which suddenly came from the Spirit's inspiration. Those engaged in constructing an earthly tower must speak the same language when building the church's spiritual dwelling. And so, the Holy Spirit's wonderful dispensation introduced grace in order to diffuse it, thereby providing a common benefit for everyone through the medium of the human voice. In this way the preaching of piety might not be limited to one tongue and remain unprofitable for those persons who spoke various tongues.

- Gregory of Nyssa, Two Homilies concerning Saint Stephen, Protomartyr, First Sermon

But history presents us with another problem, namely, the weapon of impiety coming from the Christomachoi who condemn the Only Begotten [Son], for they consider the One present in the Father's glory to be inferior to his authority. What about Paul? How shall I answer them? What does the prophet David who lived earlier say when he explained the glory of the Only Begotten [Son] by the teaching of the Spirit? David says, "The Lord said to my Lord, `Sit at my right hand'" [Ps 109.1]. The Apostle says that the Lord is seated at the right hand of God's throne [Col 3.1, Heb 1.3]. If this represents either a place of inferiority or a seat of honor, testimony concerning its magnificence is added in order to signify the loftiness of honor and the reception of true piety. For the Spirit's grace teaches all these things. Stephen, being filled with the Holy Spirit, saw everything and spoke about what he knew. While in the Spirit, David calls "Lord" as the Gospel says [Mt 22.43]; when Paul, speaks of him, he mentions mysteries in the Spirit [1Cor 14.2]. Therefore if there is one teacher who is in complete harmony, the teaching is the Spirit of truth which was present in divinely inspired persons.

- Gregory of Nyssa, Two Homilies concerning Saint Stephen, Protomartyr, First Sermon

[The book of] Ecclesiastes is offered for our examination because it is especially useful and valuable for contemplation. When [the book of] Proverbs has exercised our minds by its obscure words, wise sayings, riddles and various twists of words as contained in the Introduction [1.6], we find an ascent for those persons who have advanced to more perfect lessons with regard to this lofty, divinely inspired book. If a toilsome, arduous meditation on Proverbs prepares us for these lessons, how much more laborious and difficult must it be to now examine such sublime matters proposed for our contemplation! Just as wrestlers in a gymnasium who exert themselves for greater contests strip down in order to exercise, so it seems to me that a meditation on Proverbs' teachings trains our souls and makes them supple for struggles on the Church's behalf. If we diligently carry out this meditation, what need is there to consider these struggles? Since no one can make a worthy presentation of this text's surpassing greatness, scripture employs [the example of] a stadium with regards to the greatness of these struggles for persons aspiring to strengthen their thoughts by athletic training. In this way they do not fall, but in every struggle with their thoughts they keep their minds upright through the truth. Since one of the divine precepts bids us to search the scriptures [Jn 5.39], it is indeed necessary that once our minds have pursued the truth even though we failed to attain the nobility of its thoughts, we are not perceived as despising the Lord's command in our effort to discharge our duty worthily. Therefore let us examine the scripture before us as best we can for he [God] who has bidden us to search will bestow the power [to preach]. As it is written, "The Lord will give a word to those who preach it with much power" [Ps 67.12].

- Gregory of Nyssa, Commentary on Ecclesiastes, First Homily

It would be opportune to present Ecclesiastes' divinely inspired words for our consideration. "There is a time to be born and a time to die" [3.2]. He does well to mention right away the binding union between birth and death; death necessarily follows birth, and each generation passes away.

- Gregory of Nyssa, Commentary on Ecclesiastes, Sixth Homily

Where do we gather stones to hurl against our foe? I have heard the prophet saying "for holy stones are rolled upon the land" [Zach 9.16, Septuagint]. We must gather into our soul's bosom these divinely inspired words which come down for use against our foes. Our casting of stones destroys the enemy, a deed closely associated [with the stone itself] because whoever casts the stone of temperance at an unchaste thought which feeds the fire through pleasure is victor and always bears a weapon in his hand. Once righteousness becomes a stone against injustice, it destroys this evil and is kept in our bosom. In this way everything we understand about the good which destroys evil is associated with a person who conducts himself virtuously. Thus our interpretation [of Ecclesiastes' words] requires a time to cast stones and a time to gather them that we may always cast goodness to destroy evil and never lack such weapons.

- Gregory of Nyssa, Commentary on Ecclesiastes, Seventh Homily

The words which now follow deal with opportune and inopportune times. The text reads "There is a time to embrace and a time to refrain from embracing" [3.5], words which will become clear only if we first look at them in the context of scripture and enable us to clearly know how the divinely inspired text is used for obtaining insight. The great David cries out in the Psalter "Walk around Zion, go round about her" [Ps 47.13]. Solomon himself made a spiritual connection by yoking our capacity for love to wisdom and utters other words to unite us to virtue, "Honor her in order that she will embrace you" [Prov 4.8]. If David bids us to walk around Zion and if Solomon says that wisdom will embrace those who honor her, we will not be mistaken about the meaning [of the text] before us which instructs us about an opportune time.

- Gregory of Nyssa, Commentary on Ecclesiastes, Seventh Homily

If we have gained knowledge about the enemy against whom we must fight and take up arms, we ought to learn about another part of the text, that is, when to make a treaty of peace. Who is the good commander? He enables me to win favor by peaceful means. Who is the leader of this army? The divinely inspired scriptures clearly depict the battle array of angels belonging to the heavenly army: "There was a multitude of the heavenly host praising God" [Lk 2.13]. Daniel saw a thousand thousands and thousand times ten thousand worshiping him [Dan 7.10]. The prophets testify to this, calling him the Lord of all the armies and Lord of hosts [Ps 23.10]. And to Joshua Nave, the powerful one in battle, he said, "I am the commander of the army [of the Lord]" [Jos 5.14].

- Gregory of Nyssa, Commentary on Ecclesiastes, Eighth Homily

If for some mysterious reason the divinely inspired text says that the divine nature has wings, then the first man made according to God's image and likeness was in every way like its archetype.

- Gregory of Nyssa, Commentary on Song of Solomon, Cited as "447.15" and "447.16"

Elsewhere in a listed of references to use of the word for "inspired" in Gregory of Nyssa's Commenary on the Song of Solomon, we find the following:

THEOPNEUSTOS: divinely inspired

Song of Songs

4.16: there is nothing unusual in searching the divinely inspired scriptures with every means at our disposal.

5.12: all the inspired scriptures is Law for those who read them.

12.12: one could say that the inspired words, when not worked over by a more subtle contemplation, are food for irrational beasts.

25.5: not drag down the significance of the divine thoughts and words.

26.17: there are many songs in the divinely inspired teaching by which we acquire great knowledge about God.

173.5: first draw out the sense contained in the text and then accommodate the divinely inspired words to what we examined earlier.

269.12: by flying over the fields of divinely inspired words.

436.1: We come to know the usefulness of the divinely inspired Scriptures through spiritual contemplation.

447.14: If for some mysterious reason the divinely inspired text that the divine nature has wings.

(source for this list)

There are a couple of places that might seem to contradict the overwhelming number of examples above:

At that time Phaidimos presided over the church of the Amasenians and earnestly applied himself to foresee the future as divinely inspired by the Holy Spirit. He invested the great Gregory with leadership so that such a good might not be unfruitful and that his life might not go unnoticed. Having perceived this enticement to the priesthood, [Gregory] strove to conceal it while pursuing another form of solitude. Once he had experienced this trial, the great Phaidimos employed every means available which were unsuccessful in leading him to the priesthood. With many eyes upon him, he took precautions which were futile in persuading him to assume this office. Both men strove intensely: one desired to make a proper selection and the other wanted to take flight. One knew how to present himself as an offering pleasing to God, whereas the other was apprehensive that the priesthood's responsibility might hinder him from pursuing philosophy. Therefore Phaidimos was divinely inspired to undertake a journey of three days' distance which separated him from Gregory. Instead, he looked to God and said that God had at that time honored both himself and [Gregory]. Clutching Gregory's word instead of his hand, he consecrated him to God although he was not physically present and assigned the city to him. At that time the deceit of innumerable idols gripped the city so that both in it and the surrounding area no more than seventeen were present who committed themselves to the faith. Therefore [Gregory] submitted to the yoke of priestly office and once all the religious rites were completed, he was soon obliged to carefully attend to mystery [of faith] after his summons to the priesthood. As the Apostle says [Gal 1.16], he should no longer be attached to flesh and blood but should seek to manifest the hidden things of God and not proclaim it before the truth was revealed in him. At night he beheld the foundation of the faith. Various thoughts troubled him, for certain people perverted true teaching and often obscured it through persuasive, clever attempts.

- Gregory of Nyssa, Life of Gregory the Wonderworker

[Gregory] admonished everyone endowed with wealth to dispense it and not hoard it; that women act in a becoming manner, that children fulfill their obligation, that fathers discharge their duties in an appropriate manner and that everyone carry out their respective obligations. In this way the Spirit might help everyone and urge them to construct the temple which remains to the present day by contributing support through money and material. That great man immediately established the church by using his own priesthood as a foundation through divine inspiration and with this help, he soon fulfilled this task. When in our lifetime the city suffered a severe earthquake and almost every public and private dwelling was completely destroyed, the temple alone remained unscathed and unshaken, thereby testifying to that great man's strength and vigor.

- Gregory of Nyssa, Life of Gregory the Wonderworker

In this fashion [Gregory] spoke to the crowd and inspired by the divine nature, he loudly besought God's help. He then waved the staff which he carried in his hand over the demolished river bank. The wet, spongy earth easily relented before his heavy staff and outstretched hand. Then he entreated God to provide something like a bar for defense against the waters' insolence and showed by this deed that God accomplished everything through him. A short time later the staff which had struck the river banks turned into a tree and checked the flowing which until now is a visible testimony for the inhabitants. Whenever the Lukos River becomes full with rain and winter floods according to its usual custom and flows with frightful, devastating force, the swelling water withdraws at the tree's roots while just reaching to its top branches. As if it feared to approach the tree, the water bends around this place.

- Gregory of Nyssa, Life of Gregory the Wonderworker

Because the Spirit prospered every decision of that great man, it would be timely to give an account of his journey so that the grace bestowed upon one man might inspire everyone. It was clear that [Gregory] had a special zeal for learning in addition to consoling persons in need. Once two Hebrew men either seeing gain or wishing to disgrace someone who could be easily deceived, closely watched his arrival. One of them pretended to be dead by lying on his back in the road while the other feigned sounds of lamentation. He cried out to that great man who was passing by, "Suddenly death forced this miserable, naked man to lie down without preparations for burial." He besought the great man not to neglect the reverence due but to take pity on his poverty and to look upon the extreme condition of his body. After imploring [Gregory], he did not delay to donate his double cloak and continued on his way. After he passed by, the two men mocked him while the imposter changed his lamentation to derision and exhorted his friend to rise, laughing aloud over the pleasure of their deception at having made a dishonest gain. However, the man who shared the same pretence did not realize [Gregory's] words. He spoke louder and touched with his foot the friend lying down who did not speak nor feel the blow; instead, he just laid there in the same position which he had used as a ruse. This man was certainly dead, and had the same covering used for a truly dead person which they had used to dupe the great [Gregory]. Indeed the man of God who freely gave away his cloak was not deceived.

- Gregory of Nyssa, Life of Gregory the Wonderworker

What are you doing, O man of God? Why do you challenge us, having rebuked us as cowardly, and why are you bring these charges against us, not only regard to what is impossible, but in my opinion, to charge us with something of which we are not guilty? According to divine inspiration with regard to the world's creation about which the great Moses had philosophized, what on the surface seem as mere letters and as contradictory you have enjoined us to study its development in order to understand its progression as well as to show how Holy Scripture is in agreement. Furthermore, we have access to that divinely inspired study by our father [Basil the Great] whose exposition everyone treasures as not being inferior to what Moses had taught. I am quite certain that these people are correct because he who has this faculty resembles a grain from an ear of corn; although [Basil] was not this ear, he had the power to change into something great and beautiful and be endowed with a form with many facets. Should anyone maintain that the great Moses' voice can be explained through the distinguished Basil by having a clearer understanding--for the teacher's few words effect an increase--such appropriate utterances derive from a lofty philosophy; it is not the ear but the tree according to which the kingdom of heaven was compared, that is, a mustard seed. It increases in the heart through cultivation so that in every place its teaching spreads on all sides; in place of branches it imparts dogmas and piety which reach on high so that lofty, sublime souls which the Gospel calls birds of heaven can nest in its great branches [cf. Mt 13.31].

- Gregory of Nyssa, Hexaemeron

But the sense of these can be clarified by reading more:

If you diligently examine these and similar matter which reach on high and which Moses beheld lying in the darkness, you should pay close attention and not consider anything else but the grace present in you and the Spirit of revelation manifested through your prayers which searches the divine depths. The apostolic law obliges us to yield to one another through love; praiseworthy is that service which leads to the discharge of the dictates which I promptly wish to explain and make manifest. Before I begin, let me testify that there is nothing contradictory in what the saintly Basil wrote about the creation of the world since no further explanation is needed. They should suffice and alone take second place to the divinely inspired Testament. Let anyone who hearkens to our attempts through a leisurely reading be not dismayed if they agree with our words. We do not propose a dogma which gives occasion for calumny; rather, we wish to express only our own insights so that what we offer does not detract from the following instruction. Thus let no one demand from me questions which seem to fall in line with common opinion either from holy Scripture or explained by our teacher. My task is not to fathom those matters before us which appear contradictory; rather, permit me to employ my own resources to understand the text's objective. With God's help we can fathom what the text means which follows a certain defined order regarding creation. "In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth" [Gen 1.1], and the rest which pertains to the cosmogenesis which the six days encompass. I think that an exposition of the words should concur with the text because God's will must conform with his divine nature, for truly his will is wisdom.

- Gregory of Nyssa, Hexaemeron

Finally, the Clark translation of Gregory's Life of Macrina:

Well, the child was reared. Although she had her own nurse, yet as a rule her mother did the nursing with her own hands. After passing the stage of infancy, she showed herself apt in acquiring childish accomplishments' and her natural powers were shown in every study to which her parents' judgment directed her. The education of the child was her mother's task; she did not, however, employ the usual worldly method of education, which makes a practice of using poetry as a means of training the early years of the child. For she considered it disgraceful and quite unsuitable, that a tender and plastic nature should be taught either those tragic passions of womanhood which afforded poets their suggestions and plots, or the indecencies of comedy to be so to speak, defiled with unseemly tales of "the harem." But such parts of inspired Scripture as you would think were incomprehensible to young children were the subject of the girl's studies; in particular the Wisdom of Solomon, and those parts of it especially which have an ethical bearing. Nor was she ignorant of any part of the Psalter' but at stated times she recited every part of it. When she rose from bed, or engaged in household duties' or rested, or partook of food' or retired from table, when she went to bed or rose in the night for prayer, the Psalter was her constant companion, like a good fellow­traveller that never deserted her.

- Gregory of Nyssa, Life of Macrina, Macrina's childhood

Besides this, she discussed the future life, as if inspired by the Holy spirit, so that it almost seemed as if my soul were lifted by the help of her words away from mortal nature and placed within the heavenly sanctuary.

- Gregory of Nyssa, Life of Macrina, Macrina on her deathbed

And if my narrative were not extending to an unconscionable length I would tell everything in order, how she was uplifted as she discoursed to us on the nature of the soul and explained the reason of life in the flesh, and why man was made, and how he was mortal, and the origin of death and the nature of the journey from death to life again. In all of which she told her tale clearly and consecutively as if inspired by the power of the Holy spirit, and the even flow of her language was like a fountain whose water streams down uninterruptedly.

- Gregory of Nyssa, Life of Macrina, Macrina on her deathbed

The above should suffice to show the use of of Gregory of Nyssa when it comes to "inspired," "inspiration," and the like. However, negatively, we should also consider any references in Gregory of Nyssa to tradition, as such. Gregory does sometimes mention tradition, although we will see that sometimes even then he is simply referring to Scripture (since Scriptures is handed down or "traditioned" to us).

The argument which you state is something like this:— Peter, James, and John, being in one human nature, are called three men: and there is no absurdity in describing those who are united in nature, if they are more than one, by the plural number of the name derived from their nature. If, then, in the above case, custom admits this, and no one forbids us to speak of those who are two as two, or those who are more than two as three, how is it that in the case of our statements of the mysteries of the Faith, though confessing the Three Persons, and acknowledging no difference of nature between them, we are in some sense at variance with our confession, when we say that the Godhead of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Ghost is one, and yet forbid men to say "there are three Gods"? The question is, as I said, very difficult to deal with: yet, if we should be able to find anything that may give support to the uncertainty of our mind, so that it may no longer totter and waver in this monstrous dilemma, it would be well: on the other hand, even if our reasoning be found unequal to the problem, we must keep for ever, firm and unmoved, the tradition which we received by succession from the fathers, and seek from the Lord the reason which is the advocate of our faith: and if this be found by any of those endowed with grace, we must give thanks to Him who bestowed the grace; but if not, we shall none the less, on those points which have been determined, hold our faith unchangeably.

- Gregory of Nyssa, On "Not Three Gods" (but notice that Gregory goes on to defend the monotheistic position from Scripture, not from history)

Now to seek to build up our doctrine by rule of dialectic and the science which draws and destroys conclusions, involves a species of discussion which we shall ask to be excused from, as being a weak and questionable way of demonstrating truth. Indeed, it is clear to every one that that subtle dialectic possesses a force that may be turned both ways, as well for the overthrow of truth as for the detection of falsehood; and so we begin to suspect even truth itself when it is advanced in company with such a kind of artifice, and to think that the very ingenuity of it is trying to bias our judgment and to upset the truth. If on the other hand any one will accept a discussion which is in a naked unsyllogistic form, we will speak upon these points by making our study of them so far as we can follow the chain of Scriptural tradition.

- Gregory of Nyssa, On the Soul and the Resurrection (notice that in this instance, the tradition is Scripture)

For he says, "when it shall turn to the Lord the veil shall be taken away: now the Lord is the Spirit [2 Corinthians 3:16-17]." And in so saying he makes a distinction of contrast between the lordship of the spirit and the bondage of the letter; for as that which gives life is opposed to that which kills, so he contrasts "the Lord" with bondage. And that we may not be under any confusion when we are instructed concerning the Holy Spirit (being led by the word "Lord" to the thought of the Only-begotten), for this reason he guards the word by repetition, both saying that "the Lord is the Spirit," and making further mention of "the Spirit of the Lord," that the supremacy of His Nature may be shown by the honour implied in lordship, while at the same time he may avoid confusing in his argument the individuality of His Person. For he who calls Him both "Lord" and "Spirit of the Lord," teaches us to conceive of Him as a separate individual besides the Only-begotten; just as elsewhere he speaks of "the Spirit of Christ [Romans 8:9]," employing fairly and in its mystic sense this very term which is piously employed in the system of doctrine according to the Gospel tradition. Thus we, the "most miserable of all men," being led onward by the Apostle in the mysteries, pass from the letter that kills to the Spirit that gives life, learning from Him Who was in Paradise initiated into the unspeakable mysteries, that all things the Divine Scripture says are utterances of the Holy Spirit. For "well did the Holy Spirit prophesy [Acts 28:25],"— this he says to the Jews in Rome, introducing the words of Isaiah; and to the Hebrews, alleging the authority of the Holy Spirit in the words, "wherefore as says the Holy Spirit [Hebrews 3:7]," he adduces the words of the Psalm which are spoken at length in the person of God; and from the Lord Himself we learn the same thing—that David declared the heavenly mysteries not "in" himself (that is, not speaking according to human nature).

- Gregory of Nyssa, Against Eunomius, Book VII (notice that the term "tradition" is coupled with "Gospel" and supported only from Scripture and not from extra-Scriptural history)

And from whom did He come into being? For assuredly all things that have ever come into being did so from the Son. For thus did John testify, saying, "All things were made by Him." If then the Son also came into being, according to Eunomius' creed, He is certainly ranked in the class of things which have come into being. If then all things that came into being were made by Him, and the Word is one of the things that came into being, who is so dull as not to draw from these premises the absurd conclusion that our new creed-monger makes out the Lord of creation to have been His own work, in saying in so many words that the Lord and Maker of all creation is "not uncreate"? Let him tell us whence he has this boldness of assertion. From what inspired utterance? What evangelist, what apostle ever uttered such words as these? What prophet, what lawgiver, what patriarch, what other person of all who were divinely moved by the Holy Ghost, whose voices are preserved in writing, ever originated such a statement as this? In the tradition of the faith delivered by the Truth we are taught to believe in Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. If it were right to believe that the Son was created, how was it that the Truth in delivering to us this mystery bade us believe in the Son, and not in the creature? And how is it that the inspired Apostle, himself adoring Christ, lays it down that they who worship the creature besides the Creator are guilty of idolatry? For, were the Son created, either he would not have worshipped Him, or he would have refrained from classing those who worship the creature along with idolaters, lest he himself should appear to be an idolater, in offering adoration to the created. But he knew that He Whom he adored was God over all [Romans 9:5], for so he terms the Son in his Epistle to the Romans. Why then do those who divorce the Son from the essence of the Father, and call Him creature, bestow on Him in mockery the fictitious title of Deity, idly conferring on one alien from true Divinity the name of "God," as they might confer it on Bel or Dagon or the Dragon? Let those, therefore, who affirm that He is created, acknowledge that He is not God at all, that they may be seen to be nothing but Jews in disguise, or, if they confess one who is created to be God, let them not deny that they are idolaters.

- Gregory of Nyssa, Against Eunomius, Book II (notice that while tradition is mentioned, the only tradition referenced is Scripture - there is no appeal to extra-scriptural history - it should also be noted that this is the quotation that provoked the original discussion)

"Who came into being," he goes on, "by the only God through the Only-begotten." In these words he gathers up in one head all his blasphemy. Once more he calls the Father "only God," who employs the Only-begotten as an instrument for the production of the Spirit. What shadow of such a notion did he find in Scripture, that he ventures upon this assertion? By deduction from what premises did he bring his profanity to such a conclusion as this? Which of the Evangelists says it? What apostle? What prophet? Nay, on the contrary every scripture divinely inspired, written by the afflatus of the Spirit, attests the Divinity of the Spirit. For example (for it is better to prove my position from the actual testimonies), those who receive power to become children of God bear witness to the Divinity of the Spirit. Who knows not that utterance of the Lord which tells us that they who are born of the Spirit are the children of God? For thus He expressly ascribes the birth of the children of God to the Spirit, saying, that as that which is born of the flesh is flesh, so that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. But as many as are born of the Spirit are called the children of God. So also when the Lord by breathing upon His disciples had imparted to them the Holy Spirit, John says, "Of His fullness have all we received." And that "in Him dwells the fullness of the Godhead [Colossians 2:9]," the mighty Paul attests: yea, moreover, through the prophet Isaiah it is attested, as to the manifestation of the Divine appearance vouchsafed to him, when he saw Him that sat "on the throne high and lifted up [Isaiah 6:1];" the older tradition, it is true, says that it was the Father Who appeared to him, but the evangelist John refers the prophecy to our Lord, saying, touching those of the Jews who did not believe the words uttered by the prophet concerning the Lord, "These things said Esaias, when he saw His glory and spoke of Him." But the mighty Paul attributes the same passage to the Holy Spirit in his speech made to the Jews at Rome, when he says, "Well spoke the Holy Ghost by Esaias the prophet concerning you, saying, Hearing you shall hear and shall not understand," showing, in my opinion, by Holy Scripture itself, that every specially divine vision, every theophany, every word uttered in the Person of God, is to be understood to refer to the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Hence when David says, "they provoked God in the wilderness, and grieved Him in the desert," the apostle refers to the Holy Spirit the despite done by the Israelites to God, in these terms: "Wherefore, as the Holy Ghost says, Harden not your hearts, as in the provocation, in the day of temptation in the wilderness; when your fathers tempted me [Hebrews 3:7]," and goes on to refer all that the prophecy refers to God, to the Person of the Holy Ghost. Those who keep repeating against us the phrase "three Gods," because we hold these views, have perhaps not yet learned how to count. For if the Father and the Son are not divided into duality, (for they are, according to the Lord's words, One, and not Two) and if the Holy Ghost is also one, how can one added to one be divided into the number of three Gods? Is it not rather plain that no one can charge us with believing in the number of three Gods, without himself first maintaining in his own doctrine a pair of Gods? For it is by being added to two that the one completes the triad of Gods. But what room is there for the charge of tritheism against those by whom one God is worshipped, the God expressed by the Name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Ghost?

- Gregory of Nyssa, Gregory of Nyssa, Against Eunomius, Book II (it is a little unclear what the "older tradition" referenced here is - in any event Gregory of Nyssa refers for his argument instead on Scripture)

Let our author, then, show this to begin with, that it is in vain that the Church has believed that the Only-begotten Son truly exists, not adopted by a Father falsely so called, but existing according to nature, by generation from Him Who is, not alienated from the essence of Him that begot Him. But so long as his primary proposition remains unproved, it is idle to dwell on those which are secondary. And let no one interrupt me, by saying that what we confess should also be confirmed by constructive reasoning: for it is enough for proof of our statement, that the tradition has come down to us from our fathers, handed on, like some inheritance, by succession from the apostles and the saints who came after them. They, on the other hand, who change their doctrines to this novelty, would need the support of arguments in abundance, if they were about to bring over to their views, not men light as dust, and unstable, but men of weight and steadiness: but so long as their statement is advanced without being established, and without being proved, who is so foolish and so brutish as to account the teaching of the evangelists and apostles, and of those who have successively shone like lights in the churches, of less force than this undemonstrated nonsense?

- Gregory of Nyssa, Gregory of Nyssa, Against Eunomius, Book IV (here Gregory simply compares an established position with "undemonstrated nonsense" and suggests that if someone simply advances a new position without establishing it, there is no good reason to accept it)

But you will perhaps seek to know the cause of this error of judgment; for it is to this point that the train of our discussion tends. Again, then, we shall be justified in expecting to find some starting-point which will throw light on this inquiry also. An argument such as the following we have received by tradition from the Fathers; and this argument is no mere mythical narrative, but one that naturally invites our credence.

- Gregory of Nyssa, The Great Catechism, Part II, chapter 6 (notice that Gregory describes it as a traditional argument, but he does not use tradition as the argument)

What, then, is there beyond the bounds of probability in what this Revelation teaches us; viz. that He Who stands upright stoops to one who has fallen, in order to lift him up from his prostrate condition? And as to the Cross, whether it possesses some other and deeper meaning, those who are skilled in mysticism may explain; but, however that may be, the traditional teaching which has reached us is as follows. Since all things in the Gospel, both deeds and words, have a sublime and heavenly meaning, and there is nothing in it which is not such, that is, which does not exhibit a complete mingling of the human with the Divine, where the utterance exerted and the deeds enacted are human but the secret sense represents the Divine, it would follow that in this particular as well as in the rest we must not regard only the one element and overlook the other; but in the fact of this death we must contemplate the human feature, while in the manner of it we must be anxious to find the Divine.

- Gregory of Nyssa, The Great Catechism, Part II, Chapter 32 (here Gregory does refer to tradition - the tradition that all the things in the Gospel - both words and deeds - have a heavenly meaning; it's not so much a dogma as a hermeneutic)

No one in fact is so mentally blind as not to understand that without telling; viz. that the God of the Universe is the only absolute, and primal, and unrivalled Beauty and Goodness. All, maybe, know that; but there are those who, as might have been expected, wish besides this to discover, if possible, a process by which we may be actually guided to it. Well, the Divine books are full of such instruction for our guidance; and besides that many of the Saints cast the refulgence of their own lives, like lamps, upon the path for those who are "walking with God. " But each may gather in abundance for himself suggestions towards this end out of either Covenant in the inspired writings; the Prophets and the Law are full of them; and also the Gospel and the Traditions of the Apostles. What we ourselves have conjectured in following out the thoughts of those inspired utterances is this.

-Gregory of Nyssa, On Virginity, Chapter 11 (the references to the "traditions of the apostles" is a bit ambiguous: it may refer to the Acts of the Apostles or perhaps to other traditional accounts - in any event this refers to examples of how to live life, not to doctrines as such)

An appropriate way of beginning our treatise is to quote our Lord who bids us to "beware of false prophets who come to you in sheep's clothing but inwardly are ravenous wolves. By their fruits you will know them" (Mt.7.15-16). If fruit can discern the true sheep from the rapacious one which surreptitiously creeps into the company of the flock disguised in our human form, it can reveal the enemy hidden among us. We must therefore discern the good fruit from the bad in order to expose the [enemy's] deception. As the text says, "By their fruit you shall know them." In my judgment, the good fruit of any teaching augments the Church with persons who have been saved while more pernicious, harmful individuals belong with those headed for destruction. If a person increases his flock through preaching, extends to everyone the vine growing on the sides of his house [Ps.127.3], plants cultivated olives around the Lord's table which were once wild, places mystic branches into the sweet, flowing streams of doctrine which increase the flocks and diminishes Laban's possession while Jacob's abounds with superior offspring [Gen 30.38], should this person manifest the fruit of his own teaching, (such fruit, as it is said, is growth in the truth), indeed he is a prophet who exercises interpretation by God's spirit. But if anyone plucks the vine's twigs, he uproots the plant around the divine table, brings it to desolation and withholds spiritual waters so that the sheep cannot conceive [by eating] the patriarch's tender green branches and abound with superior offspring. Instead, the sheep stray from nourishing pastures, that is, from the traditions of the fathers, lodge outside the fold, and are dispersed throughout alien pastures. When the fruit of such a teaching brings about this situation, the form of a wolf now hiding under a sheep's skin will show itself.

- Gregory of Nyssa, Against Apollinarius (it is not clear what the "traditions of the fathers" refers to, whether to Scripture or extra-scriptural traditions)

Apollinarius makes no attempt to alter his words in response to our position. If a man, as his teaching claims, has made the ages and if his flesh is the splendor [of God] and the form of a servant imprints itself upon God's substance, I no longer feel that we should oppose this teaching; rather, we should mourn the stupidity of those persons who give allegiance to such novel teachings. [Apollinarius] speaks of man in a merely human way, that is, as someone who spits and makes clay in his hand, who puts his fingers into a deaf person's ears, who touches the diseased and dead, takes sleep and rest from labor, cries, is afflicted by sadness and grief, and who is both hungry and thirsty. Is this the man's [Christ] corporeality and humanity whom [Apollinarius] maintains existed before creation and is God in the nature of composite, solid, and dense flesh? Let all pious ears be blocked in order that flesh's passions which insult the divinity with human attributes may not defile the divine, incorrupt precepts. For who does not know that God appeared to us in the flesh? According to pious tradition he is incorporeal, invisible, uncomposite, both was and is boundless and uncircumscribed, is present everywhere, penetrates all creation and has manifested himself in our human condition. Since every visible body by necessity is circumscribed, any manifestation is subject to limitation and is bound by space, for such limitations cannot share [God's] unbounded nature. But the prophet says, "His greatness has no end" [Ps 144.3]. If the divine nature is flesh as [Apollinarius] claims, and if his manifestation is subject to limitations, how can God's greatness, as the prophet says, have no limit? How can we recognize what is infinite by finite reality and what is uncircumscribed by limitation? Rather, as we have said, how can strength come from death? If a man is creator of the ages and remains the same, that is, flesh, as Apollinarius interprets it, man has created everything. But divine scripture speaks of the flesh's weakness which does not partake of strength, fortitude, power or any other lofty notions befitting God which [Apollinarius] attributes to him.

- Gregory of Nyssa, Against Apollinarius (Gregory seems to be referring to Scriptural teachings as "the pious tradition" since he goes on to quote from Psalms as his only specific reference to the traditional view of God)