[Milton-L] obedience to your creator
jamesrovira at gmail.com
Wed Apr 9 21:56:13 EDT 2014
Thanks very much for responding, Prof. Skulsky. I suggested that responses
to my objection might take one of three forms:
1. absurdities 2. circular logic 3. abandoning the original proposition.
I would like to suggest that your answer is, in my opinion, no. 3
(abandoning the original proposition), and does not appear to be
significantly different from what I suggested as a solution myself.
How is this claim?
"For a necessarily truthful God to acknowledge the truth of a true
assertion, whether the fact expressed by the assertion is about redness or
rightness, is not for the necessarily truthful God to be 'subject' to
anything but himself, and to one of his essential properties." HK
Different from this one?
"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..." JR
Now if we take our original two propositions:
It is right because God commands it.
God commands it because it is right.
We might reasonably paraphrase them this way:
God is morality (It is right because God commands it).
Morality is God (God commands it because it is right).
As I said in my previous post, the problem in both cases is that the words
"God" and "morality" are distributed on opposite sides of the verb.
To say that God is subject to his own essential properties, or that the law
is the expression of the Divine nature itself, is to move both "God" and
"morality" to the same side of the verb, preferably in the subject
Now I think the verbal formula matters in both cases because they establish
different political tones or moods:
God is morality (It is right because God commands it) -- tyranny, rex lex
Morality is God (God commands it because it is right) -- lex rex
Both have the same fundamental problem, however: the eradication of
freedom. Whether we are subject to God or law as king we are subject to a
king. We are not freely acting individual agents.
But if the law is an expression of God's fundamental nature, a fundamental
nature that is the origin of the natural order (and of our own being), then
free acts in an unfallen world are spontaneously obedient to the law
without conscious effort. There's no need for Milton to wag his finger at
God, or for Milton's God to wag his finger back. In both cases, there's a
massive asshole in the room.
Another poet's version of Christ might say, though, that Christ acted from
impulse rather than from rules.
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