Theme Of Free Will In Paradise Lost

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Free will is an extremely important concept in John Milton’s Paradise Lost that greatly impacts the fateful decision made by Adam and Eve. Many questions are raised in the face of a notion such as free will, which prompt the reader and Milton to understand God’s logic and Adam and Eve’s reasoning for turning their backs on it. God makes his new creations “just and right / sufficient to have stood, though free to fall,” and, therefore, obtain the explicitly stated ability to turn against God. The first instance of free will the reader sees is Satan’s decision to rebel against God and attempt to defeat Him and all of the angels that joined him in his efforts. Although God experiences this defiance and is forced to punish Satan for his …show more content…
When He watches Satan fly towards Earth to corrupt Eve, He allows him to pass without interruption because his “desperate revenge…shall redound / upon his own rebellious head,” but simply blames Adam and Eve for having “decreed / their own revolt, not I.” It’s implied that Satan’s inevitable punishment takes precedence over the fall of humanity. Jesus even questions God on his decision to not intervene in the inevitable fall of mankind and claims that “Man / thy creature late so loved, Thy youngest son / fall circumvented thus by fraud, though joined / with his own folly” is “far be from Thee, Father.” Even God’s own son questions the moral standing of free will and how it can lead to sin if it continues with no intervention. Jesus also becomes the centerpiece in the debate of if free will is truly free if God has foreknowledge of everything. An example of this is when Jesus volunteers himself to become mortal in order to “redeem / Man’s mortal crime.” Milton’s portrayal of Jesus volunteering himself combats with the Bible’s version of God offering up his only son for sacrifice. Was God always aware that Jesus would sacrifice himself? If so, why would he ask for volunteers? This brings up the implication that free will is not truly free will because God knows everything that will happen. Although he refuses to intervene, it may not be genuinely considered as free

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