Research Paper On John Milton's Theodicy

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John Milton’s theodicy in Paradise Lost attempts to explain the origin of evil in God’s realm. Fundamental characteristics of the creator of man include omnipotence, omniscience, and wholly goodness. With such vast abilities, sinful and wicked behavior would be seemingly easy to avoid and yet evil persists. In the epic poem, God’s many facets seem to waver at points in the story and pose a conflict to understanding the origin of evil. Milton’s explanation of the existence of evil in a universe governed by God is unsuccessful because the nature of the all powerful being lacks consistency throughout the theodicy. God is not consistently omnipotent because he foresees the future yet does not change the actions of men and fallen angels. When…show more content…
Adam and Eve succumb to the temptation of Satan, challenging the idea that God creates them to be perfect. Human beings are created from God’s image yet they are dishonest. This conflict puts God’s very own nature into question and asks if the almighty creator is corruptible. Milton addresses the issue by giving “final priority to the ethical solution of the problem of evil as distinct from the metaphysical solution” (Fisher 40). His argument gives precedence to Adam and Eve’s act of disobedience over their inherent nature determined by God as the cause for the fall of man. The freedom to make the decision to neglect the command of their creator “represents a self-limitation on God’s part” by setting parameters around his ability to “manipulate the free choices of angels and humans” (Danielson 148). With wavering omniscient and omnipotent abilities and a self-contradictory character, the divine maker seems to have weak control over what he creates and what originates from his…show more content…
Milton, who acknowledges that “the original matter of the universe or substance was derived from God” (Fisher 37) works with the assumption that God’s creations including Satan and Adam come from his own being. The argument that “future free actions are in principle not knowable; and what is not knowable is therefore not foreknowable, even by God” (Danielson 150) limits if not eliminates God’s omniscience and harms his reputation of being all-powerful. If he can not be all-knowing, he is not omniscient. Therefore, considering that “beholding from his prospect high, / Wherein past, present, future he beholds” (Milton 3.77-8) and that God is in fact omniscient, he would consciously have to make the decision to create, from him, beings with evil potential. Looking further into the contradiction of foreknowing by using logic, if God is all good, “he will want to create only good things; if God is omnipotent, he can create whatever he wants; if he’s omniscient, he knows what will befall everything he creates” (Driscoll, 9) and, therefore, would not create Satan and mankind due to the knowledge of evil. The unclear definition of God’s character and intent makes Milton’s explanation of evil insufficient in determining the relationship between God’s powerfulness and the presence of

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