[Milton-L] The War in Heaven

Michael Gillum mgillum at unca.edu
Fri Jul 14 20:56:45 EDT 2006


Michael Bryson criticized this sentence from one of my posts on 
Wednesday, "However, God, being incalculably 'better' than angels or 
humans, justly rules over his creatures," saying it begs the question 
of whether God is morally better than Satan.

True.  My statement was not about my judgement of the Father's moral 
goodness. It was part of an argument that in PL the Father's 
ontological superiority (as supreme mind and creator) justifies his 
rule over his creatures and marks Satan's revolt as wrong. Earthy 
tyranny is not analogous to heavenly kingship because humans are 
ontological equals, whereas the Father is Satan's creator. I haven't 
read a lot of the literature yet, but I assume this is the normal 
argument to be made in defense of the Father's authority, since the 
argument is so plainly marked out in PL itself, and so clearly 
implied by Milton's pronounced emphasis on  obedience to God in 
sonnets 7 and 19, in PR, and elsewhere. Neither Richard Strier or MB 
has engaged this ontological argument at all in this thread. As best 
I recall, MB did not engage the argument in his article about 
kingship and the tyranny of heaven either. (I have not read MB's book 
yet; perhaps he addresses the issue there.) So it isn't clear to me 
that I am the one who is begging the question.  I tried to respond to 
assertions by Richard Strier with an argument. The answers I've heard 
are along the lines of, "That's all very smug, tidy, and orthodox, 
but begging the question."

I mean all this politely, since I'm aware I'm talking to people who 
know more about Milton than I do.

Michael Gillum



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