Christian Platonism

Rediscovering Ancient Wisdom

Gregory Nazianzen – God is Light – Oration 40

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Gregory Nazianzen – God is Light – Oration 40

Preached at Constantinople Jan. 6, 381, being the day following the delivery of that on the Holy Lights.

V. God is Light:  [1 John 1:5] the highest, the unapproachable, the ineffable, That can neither be conceived in the mind nor uttered with the lips, [1 Timothy 6:16] That gives life to every reasoning creature. [John 1:9] He is in the world of thought, what the sun is in the world of sense; presenting Himself to our minds in proportion as we are cleansed; and loved in proportion as He is presented to our mind; and again, conceived in proportion as we love Him; Himself contemplating and comprehending Himself, and pouring Himself out upon what is external to Him. That Light, I mean, which is contemplated in the Father and the Son and the Holy Ghost, Whose riches is Their unity of nature, and the one outleaping of Their brightness. A second Light is the Angel, a kind of outflow or communication of that first Light, drawing its illumination from its inclination and obedience thereto; and I know not whether its illumination is distributed according to the order of its state, or whether its order is due to the respective measures of its illumination. A third Light is man; a light which is visible to external objects. For they call man light because of the faculty of speech in us. And the name is applied again to those of us who are more like God, and who approach God more nearly than others. I also acknowledge another Light, by which the primeval darkness was driven away or pierced. It was the first of all the visible creation to be called into existence; and it irradiates the whole universe, the circling orbit of the stars, and all the heavenly beacon fires.

Source:  NPNF07 (Schaff & Wace, eds.;  Charles  G. Browne & James E. Swallow, trs.)

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Written by John Uebersax

January 11, 2009 at 10:25 am

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