[Milton-L] Abdiel (thought-sins)

Kim Maxwell kmaxwell at stanford.edu
Tue Jul 8 04:24:28 EDT 2008


I believe this poem is about (at least) human cognitive limitations and how they relate to our actions.  I would not use the word "immature" relative to Adam as if his education would overcome his limitations.  Note, for example, that Adam's first cognitive process is a mistake (he assumes the animals can speak because he can speak), a signal that analogies are not guaranteed to succeed.  But he then conducts a quite sophisticated debate with God part of which depends upon an analogy he draws between himself and the animals, paraded in twos before him.  He gets this one right, but not because it was deductive (he could have drawn many other pictures of procreation from the animals, and why does he not consider the most obvious analogy, that if God created him, he would create all other humans).  The same can be said, and has been said on quite a few posts lately, about his interpretation of Eve's dream.  He has an explanation, a very sophisticated one, but it is the wrong
 one.  I also take from recent posts the very problem that deciding exactly how it was wrong is not easy.

I am also not sure that plausibility is a required aspect of his decision.  He made it.  We know that ahead of time.  We know the story ahead of time, at least in outline.  We are looking for explanations.  The explanations have to be plausible, but the poem has manifold instances of implausible events (many after the fall) that we may hope ot explain, but cannot account for in some causal chain (the usual or Aristotelian meaning of plausible in a plot).  As I have suggested before, if we look for causal chains (which I do not think are explanations anyway), we will get back to God, and God has forbidden that.  

Kim Maxwell (Mr, not Ms.) 

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