Continued from here…
There is no such thing in the world as evil irrespective of a will, and discoverable in a substance apart from that.
Every creature of God is good, and nothing of His “to be rejected”; all that God made was “very good.”
But the habit of sinning entered as we have described, and with fatal quickness, into the life of man; and from that small beginning spread into this infinitude of evil.
Then that godly beauty of the soul which was an imitation of the Archetypal Beauty, like fine steel blackened with the vicious rust, preserved no longer the glory of its familiar essence, but was disfigured with the ugliness of sin.
This thing so great and precious, as the Scripture calls him, this being man, has fallen from his proud birthright.
As those who have slipped and fallen heavily into mud, and have all their features so besmeared with it, that their nearest friends do not recognize them, so this creature has fallen into the mire of sin and lost the blessing of being an image of the imperishable Deity.
He has clothed himself instead with a perishable and foul resemblance to something else; and this Reason counsels him to put away again by washing it off in the cleansing water of this calling.
The earthly envelopment once removed, the soul’s beauty will again appear. Now the putting off of a strange accretion is equivalent to the return to that which is familiar and natural.
Yet such a return cannot be but by again becoming that which in the beginning we were created. In fact this likeness to the divine is not our work at all; it is not the achievement of any faculty of man.
It is the great gift of God bestowed upon our nature at the very moment of our birth; human efforts can only go so far as to clear away the filth of sin, and so cause the buried beauty of the soul to shine forth again.
This truth is, I think, taught in the Gospel, when our Lord says, to those who can hear what Wisdom speaks beneath a mystery, that “the Kingdom of God is within you.”
That word points out the fact that the Divine good is not something apart from our nature, and is not removed far away from those who have the will to seek it.
It is in fact within each of us, ignored indeed, and unnoticed while it is stifled beneath the cares and pleasures of life, but found again whenever we can turn our power of conscious thinking towards it.
Gregory of Nyssa (c 335 – after 394): On Virginity, 12.