[Milton-L] Abdiel

Carol Barton cbartonphd1 at verizon.net
Wed Jun 25 13:24:27 EDT 2008

I don't think the "so" is there, Michael: "evil may come into the mind 
unapproved" means "without permission of the thinker"--it refers to 
thoughts that are not actively evil, the products of malevolence or 
bad will, as opposed to "ooooh, those cookies Mama made smell 
good--I'd sure like to taste one, even though she said to leave them 
alone." (In that case, the child is not intent upon committing the 
infraction--he just wants a cookie--so the thought of sneaking one 
comes to him. If it were premeditated, he'd say, "I don't care what 
she said--I want that cookie--now, how do I get one without her 
seeing?" In the first instance, the evil comes from *acting* on the 
unbidden impulse--not from experiencing it.

Carol Barton

----- Original Message ----- 
From: "Michael Gillum" <mgillum at unca.edu>
To: "milton-l" <milton-l at lists.richmond.edu>
Sent: Wednesday, June 25, 2008 1:10 PM
Subject: Re: [Milton-L] Abdiel

> James Rovira suggests Adam and Eve could only sin by acting against 
> the sole
> commandment, not by thinking. If we take Adam's statement as 
> authoritative
> -- "Evil into the mind of god or man / May come and go, so 
> unapproved, and
> leave / No spot or blame behind" -- doesn't that mean one could sin 
> by
> approving a wrong thought? If so, Adam sins with the thought, 
> "Certain my
> resolution is to die." Also, Satan gives birth to Sin before he 
> takes overt
> action. Having sex with her would then be taking "approval" up a 
> notch.
> I don't find any OED senses of "approve" that quite mean "act upon," 
> though
> some are close.
> Could there be "spot or blame" short of the big fall and its 
> consequences?
> As Millicent Bell says, Milton had to endow Eve and Adam with some 
> degree of
> human weakness in order to motivate their actions, as God apparently 
> did in
> order to leave them "free to fall."
> Michael
> On 6/24/08 9:06 PM, "James Rovira" <jamesrovira at gmail.com> wrote:
>> Might want to be careful about importing Christian notions of
>> fallenness into the Garden of Eden.  Thought and desire can be sin
>> even as of the Mosaic law (do not covet), and sin in thought and
>> desire is emphasized in the Sermon on the Mount, but the only 
>> command
>> available to be broken for Adam and Eve was not to eat the fruit. 
>> I
>> don't think it's possible for them to have sinned until they
>> physically acted.  It's also possible to commit wrong acts out of
>> "right" motives -- the Genesis account ascribes the desire for 
>> wisdom
>> (a positive motive) to Eve in her motivation to eat the fruit.  NT
>> commentators claim that by thinking this Eve was deceived.  Adam's 
>> sin
>> is worse, then, in that he deliberately chose to sin to remain with
>> Eve.
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