[Milton-L] Abdiel (thought-sins)

Michael Gillum mgillum at unca.edu
Fri Jul 4 11:25:28 EDT 2008

About A&E¹s conceptual knowledge of evil before the fall:

Before receiving any divine or angelic tutelage, A&E are able to recognize
the toad-inspired dream as evil. Eve says it is a dream ³of offense and
trouble² (5.34). She recognizes evil in the two senses I pointed out
earlier: (1) offense or moral wrongness ‹ disobedience in this case ‹ and
(2) trouble or harm suffered (perhaps as a potential that she fears). Then
Adam reasons that it must have sprung from some external evil, since Eve was
created pure (5.95-100). Raphael¹s mission in Books 5 and 6 is to identify
and explain that external evil. But A&E¹s response to the dream shows they
are capable of identifying evil as evil through reason alone.

>From Raphael¹s narrative they learn some particular aspects of evil: pride
leading to disobedience, sin leading to corruption of the reason,
destructive malice, seductive guile, the external consequence (punishment,
or evil as harm suffered).

Then, doesn¹t Eve experience evil in the dream, that is, imaginatively? She
does taste the fancied fruit, though she avoids describing that fancied
action. Her sleep is disturbed and her feelings disordered; she seems to
experience guilt for the ³offense² until Adam explains it away. Adam
acknowledges that evil has come into her mind, but without guilt.


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