Although Nazianzen insists that God’s nature is incomprehensible, he is willing to make general statements about God that were a part of his Christian and Greek heritage. He does not deny all assertions about deity, only those from his Arian opponents that demand God’s essence be encapsulated and clearly expressed in his being “unbegotten.” For Gregory, God’s titles could be gathered under the categories of power and providential ordering and related subsets under incarnational and non-incarnational acts. He can say positive things about God’s economy that indicate certain aspects of God himself.
On this basis Gregory refuses to say only what God is not: he rejects a via negativa. Any speaker must eventually say what the subject is. What Nazianzen combats is the later Arian one-word definition of the divine essence, as if all other words or statements of Scripture and tradition either must be viewed as synonymous with it or must be deduced from it. God’s nature, for him, is not so incomprehensible that God’s existence, goodness, power, providential ordering and his lack of composition, conflict, disorder and dissolution are unknown. Perhaps the Theologian could argue for a number of these attributes as established, but in most cases he asserts them with a sense that there will be little or no disagreement about the appropriateness of his claims. Philosophical justification of these descriptions is not his concern.
Frederick W. Norris, Faith Gives Fullness to Reasoning: The Five Theological Orations of Gregory Nazianzen (Leiden: E.J. Brill, 1991), 41.
This is interesting and completely contradictory to what Pelikan argues in his book Christianity and Classical Culture. Although, when Pelikan wrote his book he quotes Nazianzen only to support Nyssen as was and still is the common way to treat Nazianzen. Maybe its time to stop referring to the Cappadocians as one coherent theological aggregate; as the Augustine of the East divided between three persons.