[Milton-L] "As by his Word . . ."

Stallard, Matthew stallard at ohio.edu
Sun Feb 13 16:26:39 EST 2011

Arians, per se, did not dispute that the Son is the _Divine_ Son of God. Nor would they necessarily have to begrudge him a role in the process of creation.That the Son is "firstborn of creation" does not render him incapable of creating angelic orders. The Son is credited with a role in creation at Colossians 1:15, 16: "He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation; because by means of him all things were created in the heavens and upon the earth, the things visible and the things invisible, no matter whether they are thrones or lordships or governments or authorities. All things have been created through him and for him." 


Matthew Stallard, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor of English
Ohio University
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From: milton-l-bounces at lists.richmond.edu [milton-l-bounces at lists.richmond.edu] On Behalf Of Horace Jeffery Hodges [jefferyhodges at yahoo.com]
Sent: Sunday, February 13, 2011 4:03 PM
To: John Milton Discussion List
Subject: Re: [Milton-L] "As by his Word . . ."

Jim, what triggered my question was the line in PL 5.603: "This day I have begot." The assembled angels seem to have been in existence for some time, apparently longer than a day, so the begetting would appear to have occurred in time (rather than eternity) and after the creation of the angels.

But I'll need to reflect upon Leonard's substantive and very informative post.


From: James Rovira <jamesrovira at gmail.com>
To: John Milton Discussion List <milton-l at lists.richmond.edu>
Sent: Mon, February 14, 2011 5:52:27 AM
Subject: Re: [Milton-L] "As by his Word . . ."

I'm sure you've been down this road, Jeffery, but I'm curious where it
led you, so I will make a suggestion and see how you reply.  The
Nicene Creed states of Christ that he was

"begotten, not made, being of one substance with the Father;"

with some versions including the phrase, "eternally begotten of the Father"

and with some versions adding the following:

"But those who say: 'There was a time when he was not;' and 'He was
not before he was made;' and 'He was made out of nothing,' or 'He is
of another substance' or 'essence,' or 'The Son of God is created,' or
'changeable,' or 'alterable'—they are condemned by the holy catholic
and apostolic Church."

While "begotten" in reference to human relationships indicates a
sequence, you can't really think sequentially when you say that the
Son is "eternally begotten" of the Father -- an eternal relationship
exists outside of time, so there is no "before" and no "after."

The passage that you quoted from PL of course makes reference to John 1:

1In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the
Word was God. 2The same was in the beginning with God. 3All things
were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was

All created things were created through Christ, so Christ was not
himself a created being.

I won't argue with the thought that Milton was probably an Arian, but
it's not necessarily the case that he has to carefully assert his
Arianism in all instances.  He seems to be resorting to rather
traditional language in the case that you mention.  Satan's claim to
be self-created may be an echo or perversion or appropriation of what
he believed Christ's claims to be.

Jim R

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