[Milton-L] obedience to your creator

James Rovira jamesrovira at gmail.com
Wed Apr 9 13:20:46 EDT 2014

I would like to add that even some rather conservative authors such as C.S.
Lewis -- who do not believe in playing with the net down -- do not accept
the proposition that "God commands [moral laws] because they are right."
The problem is that this concept sets the moral law somehow above or prior
to God, which leaves us with a problem: where did this law originate if God
is subject to it rather than author of it? Attempts to answer this question
lead to absurdities, to circular logic, or to abandoning the original

Rather than thinking either "It is right because God commands it" or that
"God commands it because it is right," it may be that "right" or the "moral
law" or "dharma" or the Tao or whatever you want to call it is the Divine
nature itself expressed in the sphere of action, so that the problem is
with dividing "God" and "law" into subject and predicate to begin with
(whichever one occupies whichever position), so that the relationship
between the Divine and moral law is the relationship between a tree and its

But I won't argue that Milton was in the "God commands it because it is
right" camp, which may well account for some of the more unsavory
characteristics of his version of God.

Jim R

On Wed, Apr 9, 2014 at 12:54 PM, Harold Skulsky <hskulsky at smith.edu> wrote:

> The conceptualist position survives in our day under the names of
> "metaethical subjectivism" or "nihilism" or "expressivism" or
> "noncognitivism." It has been popular because a great many clever writers
> have tried to make it work, because of the natural human urge to find ways
> of playing tennis with the net down, and just possibly because it is
> unworkable.

> Needless to say, an infinite mind can know what's good for us infinitely
> better than we can. But it doesn't follow, and Milton clearly doesn't
> believe, that in most matters that are of near concern to us, we can never
> know what's good for us well enough to toddle a crucial step or two without
> leading strings.
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