[Milton-L] Milton's Cosmos and Universe

Harold Skulsky hskulsky at smith.edu
Tue Jan 19 23:07:47 EST 2010

In Milton we are always well advised to beware of rigid dichotomies, like the alleged dichotomy between cosmos and chaos. 

In PL the pervasive order guaranteed by God's omnipresence reaches into all the worlds, including Chaos. That order is none other than the evolution of the One First Matter celebrated by Raphael in PL 5, an evolution that begins in God and gradually ascends to pure spirituality as it returns to its origin. 

As an early stage in the evolution of material form, the faux-Lucretian world of Chaos is well beyond inchoate; its constituent atoms are determinate in form and movement, and ready to serve as the fabric of new worlds (though impotent to create by themselves).

In short, the Chaos M shows us in PL is an integral part of Cosmos; this complicated fact doesn't protect the allegorical figure of the same name from sharing Satan's manichean delusions, but it ought to protect us from joining them. 

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