[Milton-L] Abdiel (thought-sins)

Michael Gillum mgillum at unca.edu
Thu Jul 3 18:04:17 EDT 2008

> Responses to three different posts by Hodges, Rovira, and Cox.
> Jeffery wrote: "Was a test of this sort -- obedience to a law not discoverable
> by reason -- necessary for the potential development of free moral agents?
> Perhaps not, for Satan faced a test that his reason alone should have enabled
> him to meet.  What do others think?"
> MG¹s thought: In an earlier post, you made a good point (and a new thought for
> me), that the very irrationality of the apple command made it harder for Eve
> to defend herself. A&E faced a much harder test than Satan, even before
> Satan¹s intervention, and with weaker natural resources to support them. It
> seems unfair. But Milton had to contrive a way for the story to unfold
> according to Genesis, but ³explained.² Hence, cracks appear (basically
> Empson¹s point, without the attitude.)
> ------
> Jim R wrote: "The command not to eat of the fruit of the tree of knowledge of
> good and evil is not arbitrary -- the fruit contains (or is associated with)
> what is itself forbidden to Adam and Eve: knowledge of good and evil."
> MG : I think, in JM¹s rationalistic interpretation of the Genesis story, A&E¹s
> primary sin is disobedience (which is contrary to reason/law), and the
> knowledge of good and evil is simply the consequence of sin. The actual fruit
> is just an arbitrary token of obedience. It is referred to somewhere in PL as
> a ³sign.²
> ------- 
> Carrol Cox wrote: ³Just a footnote. I don't know how relevant it is. If I
> recall correctly from my reading many decades ago, the Scholastics held that
> angels do NOT reason, nor do they possess an imagination: they simply open
> their minds as we open our eyes, and SEE. How much more true would this be of
> any alleged Omniscient Intelligence. Reason would surely be misleading
> attached to such an intelligence.²
> MG : It¹s certainly relevant. In PL, Raphael explains to Adam that human
> reason is mostly discursive (going through logical steps), while angelic
> reason, as you recalled, is mostly intuitive, just ³seeing it² as in Platonic
> intellection. But we can think this way too sometimes. They are different
> processes to the same end, which is grasping truth and right. What qualifies
> them both as reason is the ability to recognize truth and right.
> Michael

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