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

Harold Skulsky hskulsky at email.smith.edu
Fri Jul 21 11:14:43 EDT 2006

"To eliminate any precondition for forgiveness, even the precondition of
freely chosen reception of forgiveness, is to eliminate human freedom. .
. . The fault here is not in the Father's ability to forgive, but in
Satan's ABILITY to receive that forgiveness meaningfully and
permanently." (Emphasis added.)

PL makes it clear repeatedly that Satan and his followers are infected
with obduratio cordis: it is a commonplace of theology that the obdurate
have lost free will; incurring that loss is what it is to be UNABLE to
receive forgiveness "meaningfully," etc. 

By withholding grace from Satan, God has chosen to withhold from Satan
the opportunity to choose freely whether to accept or reject
forgiveness. God has renounced the  possibility of forgiveness.

There is some ambiguity in Albertus Magnus's treatment of obduratio
cordis, but there is virtual unanimity among theologians on this point,
and in a number of places in his prose works Milton acknowledges this
grim reality.

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