Gregory of Nazianzus on Union and Being

Gregory Nazianzen

Θεὸς Θεοῖς ἑνούμενος

Θεὸς ἦν ἀεὶ καὶ ἔστι καὶ ἔσται· μᾶλλον δὲ ἔστιν ἀεί. Τὸ γὰρ ἦν καὶ ἔσται τοῦ καθ΄ ἡμᾶς χρόνου τμήματα καὶ τῆς ῥευστῆς φύσεως· ὁ δὲ ὢν ἀεὶ καὶ τοῦτο αὐτὸς ἑαυτὸν ὀνομάζει τῷ Μωϋσεῖ χρηματίζων ἐπὶ τοῦ ὄρους. Ὅλον γὰρ ἐν ἑαυτῷ συλλαβὼν ἔχει τὸ εἶναι͵ μήτε ἀρξάμενον͵ μήτε παυσόμενον͵ οἷόν τι πέλαγος οὐσίας ἄπειρον καὶ ἀόριστον͵ πᾶσαν ὑπερεκπῖπτον ἔννοιαν καὶ χρόνου καὶ φύσεως· νῷ μόνῳ σκιαγραφούμενος καὶ τοῦτο λίαν ἀμυδρῶς καὶ μετρίως͵ οὐκ ἐκ τῶν κατ΄ αὐτὸν͵ ἀλλ΄ ἐκ τῶν περὶ αὐτὸν ἄλλης ἐξ ἄλλου φαντασίας συλλεγομένης εἰς ἕν τι τῆς ἀληθείας ἴνδαλμα͵ πρὶν κρατηθῆναι φεῦγον καὶ πρὶν νοηθῆναι διαδιδράσκον· τοσαῦτα περιλάμπον ἡμῶν τὸ ἡγεμονικὸν καὶ ταῦτα κεκαθαρμένον͵ ὅσα καὶ ὄψιν ἀστραπῆς τάχος οὐχ ἱσταμένης.

GOD always was, and always is, and always will be. Or rather, God always Is. For Was and Will be are fragments of our time, and of changeable nature, but He is Eternal Being. And this is the Name that He gives to Himself when giving the Oracle to Moses in the Mount. For in Himself He sums up and contains all Being, having neither beginning in the past nor end in the future; like some great Sea of Being, limitless and unbounded, transcending all conception of time and nature, only adumbrated by the mind, and that very dimly and scantily, not by His Essentials, but by His Environment; one image being got from one source and another from another, and combined into some sort of presentation of the truth, which escapes us before we have caught it, and takes to flight before we have conceived it, blazing forth upon our Master-part, even when that is cleansed, as the lightning flash which will not stay its course, does upon our sight.

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