Milton Essay

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APECE English Per. 4 A/C:
Milton Essay
Jonathan Cohen
After 10 books of poetry, has John Milton proved his thesis of ‘Justifying the ways of god to man’?

After 10 books of poetry, John Milton truly proved his thesis of
Justifying the ways of god to man.
Milton was blind, and having been known to fight for a better English government which had gone to shambles during his time (The English Civil War), he certainly was under the proper circumstances to write Paradise Lost. He sought to justify the ways of God to man by highlighting the importance of freedom and choice; fate was not a factor in the epics he wrote, especially Paradise Lost. Being a very serious Protestant
Christian, he clearly understood and likely believed in the concept of spiritual predestination - everyone is either on their way to damnation or salvation and it is out of their control entirely. Given that Milton’s works of literature go against this principle, which would have been an elementary and quiet way of explaining the ways of god and other supernatural forces to man. Taking into account,
Milton highlights his premise from an ideology of culpability; we are responsible for ourselves and God’s involvement in our lives is dependant on whether we allow him into our lives, regardless of whether or not we experience a loss of paradise. Milton justifies the ways of God to man by justifying the ways of mankind to itself.

From the very beginning of Paradise Lost, Milton addressed this justification principle, claiming that he will "assert Eternal Providence":

“I thence
Invoke thy aid to my adventurous song,
That with no middle flight intends to soar
Above th' Aonian mount, while it pursues 15
Things unattempted yet in prose or rhyme.
And chiefly thou, O Spirit, that dost prefer
Before all temples th' upright heart and pure,
Instruct me, for thou know'st; thou from the first
Wast present, and, with mighty wings outspread,
Dove-like sat'st brooding on the vast Abyss,
And mad'st it pregnant: what in me is dark
Illumine, what is low raise and support;
That, to the height of this great argument,
I may assert Eternal Providence,”
- Pg. 25

He rejects predestination and shows the natural action-reaction fundamental in how evil slithers its way into the world by way of Adam & Eve’s infringements of God’s direct requests. This suggests that God’s role had been to give humanity a chance and to let it develop naturally on it’s own - not hold everyone’s hand and play SuperHero. You don’t