The Importance Of Omnipotence In Paradise Lost By John Milton

1782 Words 8 Pages
In what is considered one of the most ambitious works in literary history, John Milton uses the retelling of the Christian creation story as an allegory for what it means to be truly human. Focalized in this endeavor is man’s movement from inception, through the pursuit of knowledge, to the fulfillment and execution of free will. While Christian ideology (in other words, popular ideology) bases itself in the belief of Adam and Eve’s fall acting as man’s first sin and initial disobedience to God, Milton contorts this famous myth to justify God’s allowance of the fall despite his omnipotence and “eye [which] views all things at one view” regardless of place, time, or subject (Paradise Lost 2.189-190). Conveniently, Milton’s exploration of knowledge …show more content…
The fact of man’s free will, in conjunction with God’s so-called foreknowledge cited in Book 2 provides grounds for confusion over God’s work. If God’s “eye” sees Adam and Eve’s eventual fall, then why does God set up his creation for failure? To help the reader understand this, one might look at the important role this free will has in rendering man “able to fall” and still receive God’s grace (3.99). Rafael explains to Adam that the presence of free will distinguishes man from angel in its impact of knowledge, truth and reason. Specifically, Rafael notes that his teachings come from his “angelic intuition” that allows immediate apprehension of truth and how it contrasts Adam’s “discursive” reasoning grounded in analysis towards some conclusion (5.488). In other words, Adam must reason his way towards truth rather than be divinely endowed with it. Rafael seems to attempt to solve what he sees as a hindrance to man by assuring to Adam, “If ye be found obedient, and retain unalterably firm [God’s] love entire whose progeny you are,” “[human’s] bodies may at last turn all to spirit, improved by tract of time, and winged ascend ethereal as we” (5.501-503, 5.497-499). Upon this logic, God, who already lives among angels in heaven, has created the earth and a flawed race …show more content…
As numerous scholars, Satan, Adam, and Rafael have all stated, Eve is of lesser intellect naturally from her displacement from God. In Of Education, Milton criticizes the current educational systems lack of basic child development due to pupils “[scarcely] [tasting]” who Milton calls the “pure Authors” (981). In other words, without sufficient background knowledge, embarking on further academic endeavors is like “plucking…untimely fruit” that the body is unable to digest (981). This language does not just pervade Of Education; Milton carefully weaves a web of images related to eating, digestion, and excretion in all three works. Namely, Rafael precedes his lesson with Adam with a large feast consisting of Heaven’s “ambrosial fruitage” and nectar yielding vines, not only filling Adam’s stomach with food, but also filling his body with vigor to seek knowledge from Rafael (5.427). This begins Milton’s continued association of literal appetite with a desire to learn more. To combat the lacking educational system, Milton boasts that his system allows full digestion such that pupils “forthwith proceed to learn the substance of good things, and Arts in due order, which would bring the whole language quickly into their power” (Of Education 981). Rafael notes that God has handed them what amounts to an appetite almost full except for

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