[Milton-L] The irrelevance of Satan's character

James Rovira jamesrovira at gmail.com
Fri Jul 21 10:24:24 EDT 2006


This is rather dubious reasoning:

<<And on the question of forgiveness, Satan's character is, again,
irrelevant, if one believes that the deepest notion of forgiveness --
the most distinctively Christian notion -- is that it does not require
merit -- or anything at all -- on the part of the recipient(s) of it.
If one takes that view seriously, the question of why Milton's God
does not forgive Satan becomes totally and only a matter of his God's
character.>>

The point of forgiveness is that those who need forgiveness have no
merit -- forgiveness is never earned, neither by sorrow or repentance
or future good works.  If it were earned, it would not be forgiveness,
it would be pay.  Forgiveness is extended to all, and sorrow,
repentance, and future good works are the means by which we position
ourselves -receive- it.

Someone can leave me an inheritance of $1 million on the precondition
that I simply go to the lawyer's office within 30 days and sign the
papers for it.  The fact that I fail to act, or choose not to receive
the money, does not mean that the money isn't there and offered to me.

To eliminate any precondition for forgiveness, even the precondition
of freely chosen reception of forgiveness, is to eliminate human
freedom -- and if human freedom is eliminated, does the problem of sin
remain?  Forgiveness forced upon all is ultimately a contradiction:
the freedom that makes sin possible also requires that we receive
forgiveness for sin in freedom, so by choice.

Satan, in PL, considered the possibility of his own repentance, and
realized should he repent and return he'd just fall again (once the
pain of his separation from the Beautific Vision was relieved, he
speculated he would again become proud and rebel, and this second fall
would somehow be worse).  Knowing this led him to declare "evil be
thou my good" and, similarly, led the Father to close off the
possibility of forgiveness to Satan.  The fault here is not in the
Father's ability to forgive, but in Satan's ability to receive that
forgiveness meaningfully and permanently.

Jim R


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