[Milton-L] Free will in Eden

Christopher Baker bakerchr at mail.armstrong.edu
Tue Nov 9 15:55:46 EST 2004


    This question is likely an old issue with experienced Miltonists, 
but I will ask it anyway.  To what extent would Milton have regarded 
Adam in his unfallen state as having truly exercised his reason? Would 
it not be the case that all choices (except for eating of the Tree) made 
by Adam and Eve would be for good, as Eden contains no other actual 
moral condition or state (prior to the entrance of Satan)? Or are we to 
presume that the prelapsarian condition implied first a rational choice 
by Adam and Eve to be obedient? (Yet granted that, what is there in Eden 
to "see and know" that will validate a choice between real good and real 
evil?) Put another way, is their (wrong) choice to eat of the apple 
their first actual ethical decision, and thus they fall both into sin 
and into "true humanity"?  I have a student who wishes to argue that in 
Eden they were not "truly human," and I would like some assistance in 
reading the relevant portions of the text correctly. Thanks.
Christopher Baker



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