[Milton-L] Re: Eve seeking temptation

Arlene M Stiebel amstiebel at verizon.net
Mon Sep 7 18:28:20 EDT 2009

Thanks, Carol. But then, Eve has no reason NOT to accept the argument  
of the serpent either, I think, so we're back to square one!

Sent from my iPhone

On Sep 7, 2009, at 3:17 PM, "Carol Barton" <cbartonphd1 at verizon.net>  

> For Adam, yes, Arlene--but not for God. God (in the context in which  
> Milton had no choice but to work) is a loving parent who constantly  
> tests his children to see how much they've learned about his love.  
> The point of the trial of the Tree (is, as someone else pointed out  
> long ago, though to my shame I no longer remember who it was) is  
> **arbitrary**--it's a trivial thing that God asks of the Human Pair,  
> given the bounty of Eden. They aren't physically hungry, they aren't  
> in want or need of any kind, and it shouldn't matter to them whether  
> they eat of the fruit of that tree or not--except that it's the one  
> thing God has asked them not to do.
> They have no reason to believe God would deprive them unnecessarily  
> of something they would enjoy--no reason to believe he would ask  
> them to pass a test for which they had no preparation--no reason to  
> doubt his benevolence toward them, or his intent to give them all  
> the happiness they can stand. And no reason to believe that (as the  
> Serpent suggests) he means to harm them in any way, even to keep  
> them slaves to his own glory.
> In other words, Eve has no reason  to accept the Serpent's arguments  
> over God's interdiction--except that the Serpent promises to give  
> her something God hasn't: "the maisterie" (pace Chaucer) over Adam  
> ("And render me more equal . . . for inferior who is free?")
> Thank you for a good and important question. There have been many  
> attempts to answer it in the past--but it's still susceptible of  
> argument, nonetheless.
> Best to all,
> Carol Barton
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