Skepticism about religion is just as old as religion itself. There always have been, and always will be doubters. Over time, some have felt the need to solidify their faith, and champion God. This was John Milton’s quest when he sought out to write Paradise Lost. He thought the time had come that he did his church a service. He found his opportunity when it came time for a question to be answered: If there is a god, why is there evil? According to Josepha Morbey, “Milton believes that God is all-powerful, all-seeing, and entirely good, and yet there is evil in the world. For Milton, this is a problem.” Indeed it is a problem, because many people disagreed with this. In order to answer the question of evil in God’s presence, Milton wrote Paradise Lost. John Milton’s Paradise Lost will be critiqued for its content, execution, and impact in relation to theodicy.
Initially, John Milton’s Paradise Lost can be critiqued for its contents pertaining to theodicy. To understand the story of Paradise Lost, you need to understand the question Milton intends to answer. In the opening of the poem, he writes “That to the heighth of this great Argument I may assert Eternal Providence, And justify the ways of God to men. (Book I, Lines 24-16)” It is by no means an easy task. Especially when put in the words of Covington, who writes “Traditionally, the most central source of enmity between God and philosophy is the problem of evil. In the vast field of arguments for or against the existence of God, it alone seems to have much strength or possible validity. A simple version of it could be stated thus: 1: God is an omnipotent, omnibenevolent being. 2: An omnipotent being has the power to prevent all evil, and an omnibenevolent being has the will t...
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...rutiny by his readers.” It is true, this is an ambitious claim to make. But if you don’t over-analyze it, and read it for what it is, Paradise Lost is the direct origin of modern theodicy.
Covington, Matt. "Paradise Lost: A Theodicy." Thesis. N.d. Print.
Dink, Michael. "Lead Us Not Into Temptation: Milton's Paradise Lost." Http://www.stjohnscollege.edu/. N.p., n.d. Web. 24 Feb. 2014.
Landrum, Robert. "Religious Contemplations: The Problem of Evil (The Christian Theodicy)." Religious Contemplations: The Problem of Evil (The Christian Theodicy). N.p., n.d. Web. 24 Feb. 2014.
Martin, Jessica. "John Milton, Part 3: Does Paradise Lost Really Attempt to Justify God's Ways?" Theguardian.com. Guardian News and Media, 12 Dec. 2011. Web. 24 Feb. 2014.
MOrbey, Josepha. "Milton's Theodicy in Paradise Lost." Http://web.ncf.ca/. N.p., n.d. Web. 24 Feb. 2014.