[Milton-L] Adam ate of . . . the wrong Tree!

Richard A. Strier rastrier at uchicago.edu
Mon Nov 17 12:06:13 EST 2014

I don't see much role for the second tree in PL.  Very important in Genesis, where the deity really is worried.

I can't see that Milton dealt with this issue, though he does (as already pointed out on the list) have the vision/ fantasy of human bodies eventually turning all to spirit.  Would A and E have simply painlessly ripened like fruit and peacefully drifted off to nothingness?  Don't know.  Doesn't seem as if they could have had natural immortality and been immortal and permanently young like the Greek gods.  Or is that wrong?

From: milton-l-bounces at lists.richmond.edu [milton-l-bounces at lists.richmond.edu] on behalf of Dario Rivarossa [dario.rivarossa at gmail.com]
Sent: Monday, November 17, 2014 3:12 AM
To: milton-l at lists.richmond.edu
Subject: [Milton-L] Adam ate of . . . the wrong Tree!

Dear friends, as we had already seen some time ago, the Catholic
Catechism of Trent (year 1566) includes some interesting concepts with
reference to the Genesis-3 story. Here's another example, taken from
the comments to the request "Give us today our daily bread" in the
Lord's Prayer:

. . .  satis ei fuisset ad immortalem vitam ille fructus, quem
felicissima vitae arbor, nullo eius aut posterorum laborem

"To get immortal life, there would have sufficed to him [Adam] that
fruit which the most fortunate Tree of Life would offer him without
any labor of him or his descendants."

This side of the story was maybe taken from granted, but not very
often highlighted, I think: Adam and Eve were driven away from Eden so
as not to eat of the Tree of Life, as it is well known. But, if they
had NOT sinned by eating the fruits of the Tree of Knowledge, they
could and would eat the fruits of the Tree of Life, with some positive

Usually, when the Trent Catechism makes this kind of statements, it
leans on some Church Father; here none is mentioned. And I admit that
my memory is failing me as to PL in this respect. Milton says (cf. PL
3. 352 ff; 5. 652) that "now" trees of life only grow in heaven to the
angels' dietary benefit, but what about its past role on earth? Was
pre-lapsarian Man supposed to eat of it? In PL 5. 469 ff, however, no
hint at the Tree of Life is provided.

With many thanks in advance

il Tassista / the Tasso Driver
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