cbartonphd1 at verizon.net
Thu Jun 26 16:02:08 EDT 2008
Re: [Milton-L] AbdielI think there's a difference between the concept of sins of omission--*not doing* that which we know we *ought* to do--and sins of commission--actually doing an evil act. I also think one has to remember, when looking at man-made definitions, that human beings aren't psychic: the church as an instrument of the law (in early modern England) could control people's actions, but not their thoughts, so it would have had an ulterior motive for wanting to instill a fear of even thinking about evil in the hearts of its followers. But again: a distinction between a fleeting and idle thought that enters the mind unpremeditated, and the kind of concealed evil that someone like Iago displays--an evil thought entertained, sustained, and enlarged by covert hatred, lust, or some other illicit emotion that is not expressed, on the order of the kinds of thoughts that must precipitate murder in cold blood.
The whole purpose of right reason is to discern and reject temptation in any form--whether motivated by an external agent, or from within oneself. Is Jesus in PR guilty of sin because he considers the devil's temptations long enough to refute them? Certainly, they are "evil thoughts"--but they are also unbidden. Satan's sin originates in envy born of pride, and degenerates from there into a denial of God and an overt embrace of evil: "Evil be thou my good." Sin *springs from his head full grown*--bad wisdom, fully formed--the antithesis of Athena springing from the head of Zeus. That just isn't the same as Eve's fantasizing as a result of a dream induced at the instigation of the Adversary, and I think it's an important distinction. Not Eve's own imagination, but the toad at her ear suggests sin, as the devil suggests a variety of sins to Jesus in the wilderness--even sins that on their surface sound like virtues (such as feeding the needy). What counts is not that she has the dream--but whether she *acts* on the dream. And that's what Adam is trying to tell her.
Best to all,
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