[Milton-L] Why sin in Milton's creation?

Salwa Khoddam skhoddam at cox.net
Mon Jan 19 15:54:44 EST 2004


I agree with "jr".  All angels as well as humans are born with free will,
and though God foresaw their fall, He allowed it because not doing so would
make of good a mockery.  Remember in Areopagitica Milton writes, "I cannot
praise a fugitive and cloistered virtue,unexercised and unbreathed, that
never sallies out and sees her adversary..."Milton believes that Satan and
his followers were self-tempted and self-depraved (PL III 130).  So why look
for a cause outside of their souls? Augustine interprets their fall as pride
( which has been mentioned before);  others, like Zanchius, a Protestant
theologian of the sixteenth century attributes the rebellion of Satan to his
refusal to accept the incarnation ( according to David S. Berkeley).  Satan,
by his actions, will damn himself by himself (PL I 215).  Thus, in Milton's
universe, good will always conquer malice.The answer to the question of
evil, is for his readers (fit audience) to respond to his "adventurous
song"with the positive image in their hearts of the "A paradise within thee,
happier far"(PL XII 587).
--Salwa Khoddam
----- Original Message ----- 
From: "jr" <jrovira at drew.edu>
To: "John Milton Discussion List" <milton-l at koko.richmond.edu>
Sent: Monday, January 19, 2004 3:16 PM
Subject: Re: [Milton-L] Why sin in Milton's creation?


> Alternate possibilities --
>
> Remember it's SATAN that's saying that God bid him to do X, so being
> Satan, he's simply blaming God for his own disobedience.  Is it ever
> wise to take Milton's Satan completely at face value?
>
> Hence, God is not responsible for the introduction of sin per se, but
> only for the introduction of the -potential- for sin (in other words,
> legitimate choice in relationship to the Divine).
>
> The real question, then, is, "Why did God go on and create free beings
> when He was aware that they were going to sin?"
>
> The answer you'll have to take up with God.
>
> Also note St. Augustine's solution to this problem:
>
> It vanishes for him when we consider that "sin" or "evil" are not
> existent -things- in the world.  It is rather a perversion of a -good-
> thing.   It's like breaking a stained glass window, rather than creating
> an "evil" window.  Hence, everything that exists, including Satan,
> participates in at least the nominal "goodness" of existence, however
> perverse that existence may have become.
>
> So we could say the "personification" of Sin is the problem to begin
> with -- or the reification of it.  The problem of sin is literary and
> conceptual, on this level, rather than ontological, as the statement of
> the problem implies.
>
> It is a good question.  It may be the central question behind PL.  The
> important question to ask in relationship to that text is, How did
> Milton answer it?
>
> Jim
>
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