[Milton-L] The Son's role and necessity

Horace Jeffery Hodges jefferyhodges at yahoo.com
Mon Jul 31 13:00:51 EDT 2006

As John Rumrich has noted, Milton's Father-God is not
bound by necessity but acts freely in all things,
including in his offer of grace. However, as Jason
Kerr and Richard Strier remind us, there may be some
things "required by the theology of the poem," e.g.,
for free grace to be offered, a sacrifice is necessary
to preserve divine justice, as PL 3.203-216 informs

But yet all is not don; Man disobeying,
Disloyal breaks his fealtie, and sinns
Against the high Supremacie of Heav'n, [205]
Affecting God-head, and so loosing all,
To expiate his Treason hath naught left,
But to destruction sacred and devote,
He with his whole posteritie must dye,
Dye hee or Justice must; unless for him [210]
Som other able, and as willing, pay
The rigid satisfaction, death for death.
Say Heav'nly Powers, where shall we find such love,
Which of ye will be mortal to redeem
Mans mortal crime, and just th' unjust to save, [215]
Dwels in all Heaven charitie so deare?


Why is this sacrifice necessary for justice to be
preserved? Because the Father-God had previously
commanded that one eating from the Tree of Knowledge
of Good and Evil must die -- presumably because, as
stated above, one who commits treason through
disloyalty to God must die?

But why, in the Miltonic economy of salvation, would
God be required by his divine justice to demand a
sacrificial death in order to offer his saving grace?

In short, why does Milton think that somebody must

Jeffery Hodges

University Degrees:

Ph.D., History, U.C. Berkeley
(Doctoral Thesis: "Food as Synecdoche in John's Gospel and Gnostic Texts")
M.A., History of Science, U.C. Berkeley
B.A., English Language and Literature, Baylor University

Email Address:

jefferyhodges at yahoo.com



Office Address:

Assistant Professor Horace Jeffery Hodges
Department of English Language and Literature
Korea University
136-701 Anam-dong, Seongbuk-gu
South Korea

Home Address:

Dr. Sun-Ae Hwang and Dr. Horace Jeffery Hodges
Sehan Apt. 102-2302
Sinnae-dong 795
Seoul 131-770
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