The painter

As the painters reproduce on their board by lines and colors the look of the people emphasizing with their brush in adequate hues and corresponding to the  aimed expression in order to present as accurately as possible the beauty of the original, so did our Painter when He put in us some colorful hues, the virtues, wonderfully adorned according the model of His own Beauty. Numerous and various are the colors of the image which reproduce the real hues of the original, in any case not the strident red or white or any intermediary color, not the shading used for reproducing the eyelashes, nor the dark black for representing the eyes as some parts of the painting are made darker and not by any of all the other things the hands of the painters use to paint, but instead of these purity, calm, happiness, estrangement of any bad and many more of this kind are those by means of which it is expressed the resemblance of the man with God. See with what flowers from His own face The Creator adorned our nature!

If you search other features by which is distinguished the divine beauty, you will find out that in relation with the resemblance of our image with that beauty there are kept many testimonies. Understanding and the word are peculiar to the divinity as from the very beginning the Word was God Himself (John 1, 1), and Saint Paul the Apostle says that Christ`s mind (I Corinthians 2, 16; 7, 40) is the one which speaks in him. Not far from these are found the human ones. Look in yourself and there you will find the word and the power of judgment, imitations of the true understanding of the Word, but in the same time God is love and spring of love as Saint John the great Apostle says it that love is from God (I John 4, 7) and God is love (I John 4, 8). This thing was marked on our face by the Creator of our nature as – He says it – by this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another (John 13, 35).

Thus, if this love doesn`t exist, then all the features of the face are changed. God sees everything, hears everything, He penetrates everything. But you too understand everything happens by sight and hearing and the power of judgment is the one which searches and penetrates everything.

Excerpt from The Creation of the Man, cap. V, in Church Fathers and Writers, vol. 30 – Saint Gregory of Nyssa.

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