[Milton-L] tree of life

James Rovira jamesrovira at gmail.com
Sat Apr 5 12:27:07 EDT 2014

Thanks very much for the replies and for John Leonard's kind comments.

I never thought that Adam and Eve were in their initial created state
intended to live eternally -- I think that too would have been the product
of choice. I'm unsure that I can read "obedience" as the sole condition for
the transfer of life, though, as they were never ordered to eat the fruit
of the tree of life, just allowed to choose it, and they were in a
continual state of obedience until they ate the forbidden fruit. To me, it
seems like the act itself has to somehow transfer eternal life to those who
ate from the fruit. We could existentialize the decision to eat of the tree
of life by saying that choosing the tree of life conferred eternal life,
though, rather than the nature of the fruit itself.

My own resolution for my own dilemma is to go back to my prior point about
evil needing to be heterogeneous with creation: God could not have created
it, while God necessarily is the creator of life. Thus, the trees cannot be
parallel in their operations, as life and death or life and sin are not
equals in the world. What I think was bugging me, then, was an aesthetic
judgment or preference being set at odds against a theological one. I think
for Milton to have aligned the aesthetic and the theological in this case
he would have had to be a dualist.

Jim R

On Sat, Apr 5, 2014 at 11:58 AM, Matthew Jordan <matthewjorda at gmail.com>wrote:

> Personally, as a pragmatist, I rather appreciate the donee (don't know how
> to do accents), as a rebuke / problem for "rationalists." That's to say, in
> my view, "we" all have donees (just as insights are mutually constitutive
> with blindnesses), and we have to get on nonetheless with reasoning the
> best we can...
> Blindly not Blithely
> Matt
> On 5 April 2014 16:46, Richard A. Strier <rastrier at uchicago.edu> wrote:
>> Good point, Dave.  The problem of a useless biblical donnée.  Has a real
>> role in Genesis (God is frightened lest A and E become "like us"); no role
>> in PL.
>> RS
>> ________________________________________
>> From: milton-l-bounces at lists.richmond.edu [
>> milton-l-bounces at lists.richmond.edu] on behalf of Harper, Dave LTC MIL
>> USA USMA [Dave.Harper at usma.edu]
>> Sent: Saturday, April 05, 2014 10:29 AM
>> To: milton-l at lists.richmond.edu
>> Subject: Re: [Milton-L] tree of life
>> The arbitrariness of the injunction against the forbidden fruit (in
>> parallel
>> with the perhaps equally arbitrary exaltation of the Son) has never
>> bothered
>> me as much as the Tree of Life. I appreciate the bringing of knowledge of
>> good and evil into the world through the act of disobedience, the same way
>> that I sense that the parallel exaltation of the Son brings both the
>> potential for disobedience along with a revelation of angelic history (I
>> suspect Abdiel probably didn't know he was created by secondary hands
>> prior
>> to the exaltation).
>> The tree of Life bothers me not only because it seems to have an inherent
>> immortality-granting quality, but because (1) there was no injunction
>> against eating of it and (2) it would serve no purpose in an prelapsarian
>> world where apparently everything was immortal anyway. And yet, we know it
>> was there, and the narrator names it such when Satan alights on it as a
>> cormorant.
>> God seems to have hedged his bets by placing an immortality-granting tree
>> in
>> an immortal garden, but then he takes it away when it is most needed. Any
>> allegorical reference to salvation seems strained at best.
>> Dave
>> -----Original Message-----
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>> Subject: Milton-L Digest, Vol 89, Issue 19
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Dr. James Rovira
Associate Professor of English
Tiffin University
Blake and Kierkegaard: Creation and Anxiety
Continuum 2010
Text, Identity, Subjectivity
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