St Gregory of Nyssa’s Teaching on Gods Omnipotence Based on the Treatise "In illud: tunc ipse filius"


Analyzing the work of St Gregory of Nyssa, in the first approximation we can say that he is a typical representative of his age. In the theology of the 4th century the power of God as the absolute ruler was emphasized more than his other attributes, so the image of God did not show him as the One who reigns through humility. In this regard, it is worthwhile to draw attention to a small, polemic treatise In illud: tunc ipse filius of St Gregory, in which his understanding of God's omnipotence receives a deeper dimension that appears to the modern man. In his work, this Father of the Church comments on one verse from the Letter of St Paul to the Corinthians: „And when everything is subjected to him, then the Son himself with be subject in his tum to the One who subjected alt things to him, so that God may be all in all" (1 Cor 15, 28; KJ). The problem which preoccupied Gregory of Nyssa, was the incorrect opinion or heresy of Arius and his followers. According to them, the Son is subjected to God, by the rule of creation, so He cannot be equal to God the Father and, in this way, He is not God. One from the crown arguments, which the Arians used were St. Paul’s words from his Letter to the Corinthians. However, the Bishop of Nyssa shows, that exactly this quotation, from the historical-salvific perspective, emphasizes the divinity of Christ. He portrays to us the Son who is subjected to God's vivifying power and the Father who receives the Son's subjection in His human nature. So, in this way, God is omnipotent on the cross, as a humble man. The image of God, which emerges from Gregory's theology, allows us to include his voice into present discussion of God's omnipotence and man's free will.


Gregory of Nyssa; omnipotence of God; In illud: tunc ipse filius; God; creature

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Published : 2004-07-15

Kotkowska, E. (2004). St Gregory of Nyssa’s Teaching on Gods Omnipotence Based on the Treatise "In illud: tunc ipse filius". Vox Patrum, 46, 511-525.

Elżbieta Kotkowska 
Uniwersytet Adama Mickiewicza w Poznaniu  Poland