[Milton-L] Re: Absolute Freedom

Ross Leasure trleasure at gmail.com
Thu Apr 16 12:41:31 EDT 2009

Just an update--my lecture today on excerpts from DDC was well
received by my students, and the pursuant discussion did them proud.
I had them reason out for themselves the theological echos of DDC to
be found in key moments from PL.  I however am knackered from the
experience.  Perhaps I should go back to halcyon days teaching
freshman comp.  On second thought, perhaps not.  Thanks once again,
all of you, for your input and assistance.  Especially I'd like to
commend your article, Dr. Fallon; I shared with them your peroration
on "Milton's God and 'Significant Freedom.'"


On Wed, Apr 15, 2009 at 1:14 PM, Ross Leasure <trleasure at gmail.com> wrote:
> Dear mentors and colleagues,
> I write humbly to ask for some guidance (as I plow through excerpts of
> De Doctrina Christiana from the recently published Modern Library
> edition) in preparation for teaching tomorrow's class.  I'm sure I'm
> missing something, my own feeble faculties insufficient to comprehend
> Milton's logic.  My particular difficulty is in wrapping my mind
> around what seems to me a problematic contradition presented briefly
> in the following to passages:
> "In God a certain immutable internal necessity to do good, independent
> of all outside influences, can be consistent with absolute freedom of
> action" (c. 3; p. 1155).
> "God always acts with absolute freedom, working out his own purpose
> and volition" (c. 5; p. 1174).
> If an immutable God, of internal necessity, can only do good, is he
> not limited in his freedom since he cannot will evil?  How can God's
> incapacity to will evil be "consistent with absolute freedom of
> action" in other words?  Or could God will evil, but chooses not to?
> Wouldn't that change the essential nature of Milton's good God?
> I'm anticipating that some of my students might ask similar questions,
> and I don't yet have sufficient understanding to untie what seems to
> me a indissoluable logical knot.  I look forward to reading whatever
> correction or redirection will be forthcoming regarding my inquiry.
> Thank you in advance for your assistance and consideration.
> --
> T. Ross Leasure
> Dept. of English
> Salisbury University
> Salisbury MD 21801

T. Ross Leasure
Dept. of English
Salisbury University
Salisbury MD 21801

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