[Milton-L] "Ontological superiority"
rastrier at uchicago.edu
Wed Jul 19 16:26:17 EDT 2006
Some remarks with limited time:
Since I disagree with almost everything that James Rovira says, let
me just say that his very complacent and assured account of
"traditional" assumptions does not take account of how contradictory
and complex the history of Christian thought about these matters is.
Thomists and Nominalists, for instance, have very different
understandings of the relation between the ontological and the moral.
I don't see any argument for the inextricability of the ontological
and the moral. God being the source of all (living) being -- chaos
seems just there, in Milton and Genesis 1 -- it does not follow that
He is the source of all value and morality. The question of whether
something is good because it is divinely commanded, or God commands
the good because it is good, actually precedes Christianity by
centuries. See Plato's Euthyphro.
The idea of continuous creation is by no means a basic premise of Christianity.
In the Hebrew bible, God changes His mind a lot.
To put my final card, for now, on the table: I see no moral
justification for the permanent damnation of the fallen angels or of
transgressing humans. Hell is a disgusting notion -- morally
unintelligible -- and a truly benign omnipotent Being would work for
the eventual salvation of all intelligent creatures.
Frank L. Sulzberger Professor
Department of English and the College
The University of Chicago
1115 E. 58th Street
Chicago, IL 60637
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