[Milton-L] Abdiel (thought-sins)

James Rovira jamesrovira at gmail.com
Mon Jul 7 19:45:12 EDT 2008

Much appreciation to Michael and Harold for their reminders of
contemporary (to Milton) theories of mental function.  Adam, in his
conversation with Eve, does seem to be drawing from whatever knowledge
is at hand (of course, this would be the most plausible theories
available to Milton) to explain Eve's dream.  But I don't think
Milton's account in this context is limited to this mental theory:
remember, Adam does say,

nor can I like
This uncouth dream, of evil sprung I fear;
Yet evil whence? in thee can harbour none,
Created pure.

I'm repeating myself here, but it seems to me there's more going on in
the narrative than the standard mental theory.  The easiest
explanation available to Adam is that Fancie strung together random
images which by coincidence appeared evil (standard theory), but
again, we know that Satan is the source of this dream, and that Eve,
by her own account, has always had fairly run of the mill dreams: of
the day before, of Adam, or of the day to come.  Adam's explanation is
mistaken, and Fancie has always been pure in Eve -- as he first
suspected.  Had Eve's dream really been produced by Fancie, yes, it
would not have been evil any more than a gust of wind blowing an apple
off a tree is evil, but Fancie never did in fact produce such a dream
and we have no reason to believe it would have in the future without
outside prompting.  Fancie as created by God and working at random did
not in fact produce even the appearance of evil at any time prior to
the fall.

We should note that Adam's rational explanation is mistaken -- the
dream did not come from Fancie -- and that his initial emotional
reaction -- "of evil sprung I fear" -- was correct.  But his reason
was limited, having no reason to believe anything evil could exist in
or originate from Eve.

Much appreciation for Kim Maxwell's posts from me too...I've wanted to
reread Adam's first speech upon creation and first speech after the
fall since her post, but haven't had a chance yet.

Jim R

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