Why, even their very existence is a proof of His supreme goodness. Says the Lord, Jeremiah 23:24 and The Spirit of the Lord fills the world, Wisdom 1:7 if God partly contains and partly is contained? If in some part, then He will be circumscribed by that part which is less than Himself; but if everywhere, then by one which is further and greater — I mean the Universal, which contains the Particular; if the Universe is to be contained by the Universe, and no place is to be free from circumscription. Hitherto, historical theologians have attributed to Gregory an essentialist interpretation of the imago, in which it is identified only with the rational soul. Whence do bees and spiders get their love of work and art, by which the former plan their honeycombs, and join them together by hexagonal and co-ordinate tubes, and construct the foundation by means of a partition and an alternation of the angles with straight lines; and this, as is the case, in such dusky hives and dark combs; and the latter weave their intricate webs by such light and almost airy threads stretched in divers ways, and this from almost invisible beginnings, to be at once a precious dwelling, and a trap for weaker creatures with a view to enjoyment of food? Surely not to the Accidental. And you might discuss many more points concerning men’s members and parts, and their mutual adaptation both for use and beauty, and how some are connected and others disjoined, some are more excellent and others less comely, some are united and others divided, some contain and others are contained, according to the law and reason of Nature. Whether it will ever be discovered is a question which he who will may examine and decide. And so it is turned into a blessing, at least to all men who are sensible, that this blessing is not too easy. He rebuked the winds, He made Peter light as he began to sink. Is it not that which is inherent in some person not itself, and are not its movements thoughts, silent or uttered? And if you conceive of Wisdom, what is it but the habit of mind which you know as such, and which is concerned with contemplations either divine or human? How is it raised and lulled to rest, as though respecting its neighbour earth? Now if you have in your thought passed through the air and all the things of air, reach with me to heaven and the things of heaven. St. Gregory of Nazianzus, “The Second Theological Oration (Oration 28),” in On God and Christ: The Five Theological Orations and Two Letters to Cledonius, trans. For He is said to make His Angels spirits, and His Ministers a flame of fire… though perhaps this “making” means preserving by that Word by which they Came into existence. Or perhaps it is in order that we may not share the fate of Lucifer, who fell, and in consequence of receiving the full light make our necks stiff against the Lord Almighty, and suffer a fall, of all things most pitiable, from the height we had attained. For such honors were the fitting due of such gods. Or shall I give the really scientific explanation of it from Scripture concisely, and yet more satisfactorily and truly than by the longest arguments? For, suppose that its existence is accidental, to what will you let us ascribe its order? And with respect to the Sea even if I did not marvel at its greatness, yet I should have marveled at its gentleness, in that although loose it stands within its boundaries; and if not at its gentleness, yet surely at its greatness; but since I marvel at both, I will praise the Power that is in both. And what is it which ever moves him in his circuit, though in his nature stable and immovable, truly unwearied, and the giver and sustainer of life, and all the rest of the titles which the poets justly sing of him, and never resting in his course or his benefits? 1 Corinthians 13:9 This and the like to this are the confessions of one who is not rude in knowledge, 2 Corinthians 11:6 who threatens to give proof of Christ speaking in him, the great doctor and champion of the truth. What is the desire for and imparting of nourishment, and who brought us spontaneously to those first springs and sources of life? How is it that the same animal is both mortal and immortal , the one by decease, the other by coming into being? Look also at the fishy tribe gliding through the waters, and as it were flying through the liquid element, and breathing its own air, but in danger when in contact with ours, as we are in the waters; and mark their habits and dispositions, their intercourse and their births, their size and their beauty, and their affection for places, and their wanderings, and their assemblings and departings, and their properties which so nearly resemble those of the animals that dwell on land; in some cases community, in others contrast of properties, both in name and shape. But if any be of the multitude, who are unworthy of this height of contemplation, if he be altogether impure let him not approach at all, for it would be dangerous to him; but if he be at least temporarily purified, let him remain below and listen to the Voice alone, and the trumpet, the bare words of piety, and let him see the Mountain smoking and lightening, a terror at once and a marvel to those who cannot get up. For it is much easier, and more concise to shew what a thing is not from what it is, than to demonstrate what it is by stripping it of what it is not. We saw that he ought to be, as far as may be, pure, in order that light may be apprehended by light; and that he ought to consort with serious men, in order that his word be not fruitless through failing on an unfruitful soil; and that the suitable season is when we have a calm within from the whirl of outward things; so as not like madmen to lose our breath; and that the extent to which we may go is that to which we have ourselves advanced, or to which we are advancing. For indeed even reason has nothing to lean upon, but only the Will of God. But whether there be other causes for it also, let them see who are nearer God, and are eye witnesses and spectators of His unsearchable judgments; if there are any who are so eminent in virtue, and who walk in the paths of the Infinite, as the saying is. Or to what will reason carry you, O most philosophic of men and best of Theologians, who boast of your familiarity with the Unlimited? [Brian Matz; Theological Research Exchange Network.] Now Holy Scripture admires the cleverness in weaving even of women, saying, Who gave to woman skill in weaving and cleverness in the art of embroidery? When Gregory begins to discuss the Trinitarian understanding of God, ... – Third Theological Oration, ch 20. GREGORY NAZIANZEN'S FIRST INVECTIVE AGAINST JULIAN THE EMPEROR. But if we are to assert that He is immaterial (as for example that Fifth Element which some have imagined), and that He is carried round in the circular movement...let us assume that He is immaterial, and that He is the Fifth Element; and, if they please, let Him be also bodiless in accordance with the independent drift and arrangement of their argument; for I will not at present differ with them on this point; in what respect then will He be one of those things which are in movement and agitation, to say nothing of the insult involved in making the Creator subject to the same movement as the creatures, and Him That carries all (if they will allow even this) one with those whom He carries. Therefore this darkness of the body has been placed between us and God, like the cloud of old between the Egyptians and the Hebrews; Exodus 14:20 and this is perhaps what is meant by He made darkness His secret place, namely our dulness, through which few can see even a little. And what was this? IV. Genesis 32:28 And Jacob dreamed of a lofty ladder and stair of Angels, and in a mystery anointed a pillar — perhaps to signify the Rock that was anointed for our sake — and gave to a place the name of The House of God in honour of Him whom he saw; and wrestled with God in human form; whatever this wrestling of God with man may mean...possibly it refers to the comparison of man's virtue with God's; and he bore on his body the marks of the wrestling, setting forth the defeat of the created nature; and for a reward of his reverence he received a change of his name; being named, instead of Jacob, Israel— that great and honourable name. And Who binds the waters in the clouds, and, fixing part in the clouds (O marvel!) And how can He help being altogether contained in space if He be subject to motion? Probably the worshippers are far the most contemptible, for though they are of a rational nature, and have received grace from God, they have set up the worse as the better. And before now men have insulted themselves by worshipping monsters, and fourfooted beasts, and creeping things? For me the best orations in this collection are the Apology to his Father (Oration 9), In Praise of the Maccabees (Oration 15) and On the Holy Martyrs and Against the Arians (Oration 35). What scientific laws, pray, can you lay down concerning thunder and lightning, O you who thunder from the earth, and cannot shine with even little sparks of truth? Out of Whose womb came the ice? Yet he saw not God as God, but gave Him food as a man. From this cause some have made a God of the Sun, others of the Moon, others of the host of Stars, others of heaven itself with all its hosts, to which they have attributed the guiding of the Universe, according to the quality or quantity of their movement. But if any one has got even to some extent a comprehension of this, how is God's Being to be demonstrated? Much too might be said about voices and ears. Who poured forth the air, that great and abundant wealth, not measured to men by their rank or fortunes; not restrained by boundaries; not divided out according to people’s ages; but like the distribution of the Manna, received in sufficiency, and valued for its equality of distribution; the chariot of the winged creation; the seat of the winds; the moderator of the seasons; the quickener of living things, or rather the preserver of natural life in the body; in which bodies have their being, and by which we speak; in which is the light and all that it shines upon, and the sight’ which flows through it? Whence does the peacock, that boastful bird of Media, get his love of beauty and of praise (for he is fully conscious of his own beauty), so that when he sees any one approaching, or when, as they say, he would make a show before his hens, raising his neck and spreading his tail in circle around him, glittering like gold and studded with stars, he makes a spectacle of his beauty to his lovers with pompous strides? How then is He the Infinite and Limitless, and formless, and intangible, and invisible? For if, he says, I leave everything else alone, and consider myself and the whole nature and constitution of man, and how we are mingled, and what is our movement, and how the mortal was compounded with the immortal, and how it is that I flow downwards, and yet am borne upwards, and how the soul is circumscribed; and how it gives life and shares in feelings; and how the mind is at once circumscribed and unlimited, abiding in us and yet travelling over the Universe in swift motion and flow; how it is both received and imparted by word, and passes through air, and enters with all things; how it shares in sense, and enshrouds itself away from sense. Wherefore he estimates all knowledge on earth only as through a glass darkly, as taking its stand upon little images of the truth. O stupidity, that a Deity should possess nothing more than we do. Some with fuller senses, others with less; some immovable, and some with the power of walking, and some very swift, and some very slow; some surpassing in size or beauty, or in one or other of these respects; others very small or very ugly, or both; some strong, others weak, some apt at self-defense, others timid and crafty and others again are unguarded. Or perhaps it is in order that we may not share the fate of Lucifer, who fell, and in consequence of receiving the full light make our necks stiff against the Lord Almighty, and suffer a fall, of all things most pitiable, from the height we had attained. Combining all things in one, solely with a view to the consent of the Creator of all things; Hymners of the Majesty of the Godhead, eternally contemplating the Eternal Glory, not that God may thereby gain an increase of glory, for nothing can be added to that which is full — to Him, who supplies good to all outside Himself but that there may never be a cessation of blessings to these first natures after God. And who was it who cleft the plains and the mountains for the rivers, and gave them an unhindered course? Or rather, first, can you tell me, of your own knowledge of the things in heaven, what are the sky and the stars; you who know not what lies at your very feet, and cannot even take the measure of yourself, and yet must busy yourself about what is above your nature, and gape at the illimitable? What are the treasuries of the snow? Is it not necessary that there shall be some mean to mark off the Universe from that which is above the Universe? Or how shall He escape being made of elements, and therefore subject to be resolved into them again, or even altogether dissolved? Now when I go up eagerly into the Mount — or, to use a truer expression, when I both eagerly long, and at the same time am afraid (the one through my hope and the other through my weakness) to enter within the Cloud, and hold converse with God, for so God commands; if any be an Aaron, let him go up with me, and let him stand near, being ready, if it must be so, to remain outside the Cloud. But this term Incorporeal, though granted, does not yet set before us — or contain within itself His Essence, any more than Unbegotten, or Unoriginate, or Unchanging, or Incorruptible, or any other predicate which is used concerning God or in reference to Him. For such honours were the fitting due of such gods. Since nature has set before you all things as in an abundant banquet free to all, both the necessaries and the luxuries of life, in order that, if nothing else, you may at any rate know God by His benefits, and by your own sense of want be made wiser than you were. And Enoch was translated, but it is not yet clear whether it was because he already comprehended the Divine Nature, or in order that he might comprehend it. What harmonious Gnossian chorus of Daedalus, wrought for a girl to the highest pitch of beauty? And I think that some who were courtiers of arbitrary power and extolled bodily strength and admired beauty, made a God in time out of him whom they honored, perhaps getting hold of some fable to help on their imposture. And the other describes the Cherubic Chariot of God, and the Throne upon them, and the Firmament over it, and Him that shewed Himself in the Firmament, and Voices, and Forces, and Deeds. But I would have you marvel at the natural knowledge even of irrational creatures, and if you can, explain its cause. XVIII. And Abraham, great Patriarch though he was, was justified by faith, and offered a strange victim, the type of the Great Sacrifice. For even of this I would have you know that you have only a shadow when you hear the words, “I will consider the heavens, the work of Thy fingers, the moon and the stars,” and the settled order therein; not as if he were considering them now, but as destined to do so hereafter. “From the Spirit comes our rebirth, from rebirth comes a new creating, from new creating comes a recognition of the worth of him who effected it” (Fifth Theological Oration 28). For, granted that you understand orbits and periods, and waxings and wanings, and settings and risings, and some degrees and minutes, and all the other things which make you so proud of your wonderful knowledge; you have not arrived at comprehension of the realities themselves, but only at an observation of some movement, which, when confirmed by longer practice, and drawing the observations of many individuals into one generalization, and thence deducing a law, has acquired the name of Science (just as the lunar phenomena have become generally known to our sight), being the basis of this knowledge. And consider the power of roots, and juices, and flowers, and odours, not only so very sweet, but also serviceable as medicines; and the graces and qualities of colors; and again the costly value, and the brilliant transparency of precious stones. What bounded it? We welcome submissions of material for our website but it will be subject to board approval before publishing. I do not know whether it is the same with the higher natures and purer Intelligences which because of their nearness to God, and because they are illumined with all His Light, may possibly see, if not the whole, at any rate more perfectly and distinctly than we do; some perhaps more, some less than others, in proportion to their rank. For how is He an object of worship if He be circumscribed? And if you conceive of Wisdom, what is it but the habit of mind which you know as such, and which is concerned with contemplations either divine or human? “He hath fenced the face of the water with His command.” This is the chain of fluid nature. Therefore there can be no separation, that there may be no dissolution, and no strife that there may be no separation, and no composition that there may be no strife. Much too concerning the other senses, not objects of the research of reason. How came the sun to be a beacon-fire to the whole world, and to all eyes like the leader of some chorus, concealing all the rest of the stars by his brightness, more completely than some of them conceal others. And what is the nourishing power of water, and what the difference therein; for some things are irrigated from above, and others drink from their roots, if I may luxuriate a little in my language when speaking of the luxuriant gifts of God. Much of this clarification was the fruit of a 4 th-century trio of friends known as Cappadocian Fathers: Gregory of Nazianzus, Gregory of Nyssa, and Basil of Caesarea. And what can this Something Else be but God? For how could this Universe have come into being or been put together, unless God had called it into existence, and held it together? Yet neither he nor any one on his behalf, unto this day, of all the Twelve Tribes who where his children, could boast that he comprehended the whole nature or the pure sight of God. And some we might call bordering on reason and power of learning, while others are altogether destitute of reason, and incapable of being taught. 7. And much concerning our rest in sleep, and the figments of dreams, and of memory and remembrance; of calculation, and anger, and desire; and in a word, all by which this little world called Man is swayed. We saw that he ought to be, as far as may be, pure, in order that light may be apprehended by light; and that he ought to consort with serious men, in order that his word be not fruitless through falling on an unfruitful soil; and that the suitable season is when we have a calm within from the whirl of outward things; so as not like madmen to lose our breath; and that the extent to which we may go is that to which we have ourselves advanced, or to which we are advancing. Or whatever may be the right expression when one contemplates the sun? Or are we rather to leave all these things, and to look at the Deity absolutely, as best we can, collecting a fragmentary perception of It from Its images? For what will you conceive the Deity to be, if you rely upon all the approximations of reason? Google Scholar And how does He bring upon it the Nautilus that inhabits the dry land (i.e., man) in a little vessel, and with a little breeze (do you not marvel at the sight of this — is not your mind astonished? And this not out of envy, for envy is far from the Divine Nature, which is passionless, and only good and Lord of all; especially envy of that which is the most honourable of all His creatures. . IV. For though a thing be all heavenly, or above heaven, and far higher in nature and nearer to God than we, yet it is farther distant from God, and from the complete comprehension of His Nature, than it is lifted above our complex and lowly and earthward sinking composition. XXV. By these then it leads to that which is above these, and by which being is given to these. Have your natural philosophers with their knowledge of useless details anything to tell us, those men I mean who are really endeavouring to measure the sea with a wineglass, and such mighty works by their own conceptions? For no inspired teacher has yet asserted or admitted such a notion, nor has the sentence of our own Court allowed it. XXVI. The focus of the Fifth Oration is that Gregory punctuates the Spirit’s person with soteriological implications. Translated by Charles Gordon Browne and James Edward Swallow. Oration 28, Oratio theologica secunda: de theologia. Or of Light unmingled with air, and loosed from that which is as it were its father and source? Just so he who is eagerly pursuing the nature of the Self-existent will not stop at saying what He is not, but must go on beyond what He is not, and say what He is; inasmuch as it is easier to take in some single point than to go on disowning point after point in endless detail, in order, both by the elimination of negatives and the assertion of positives to arrive at a comprehension of this subject. so as not to sow upon thorns, and have made plain the face of the ground, being molded and molding others by Holy Scripture… let us now enter upon Theological questions, setting at the head thereof the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost, of Whom we are to treat; that the Father may be well pleased, and the Son may help us, and the Holy Ghost may inspire us; or rather that one illumination may come upon us from the One God, One in diversity, diverse in Unity, wherein is a marvel.