The Power of Milton’s Paradise Lost

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Paradise Lost is an epic poem portraying John Milton’s theological standpoints. The theme is knowledge and the fall of man. Milton uses his poem to state some of his theological beliefs and his personal reflections. Milton wrote Paradise Lost in the 17th century but uses influence from classic poets. Milton’s epic is an extremely important piece of literature. The excerpt used in this commentary takes on the subjects of sin and the punishment with regards to the atonement from God’s point of view. Milton’s states many of his own theological opinions but wants the reader to know that God is justified in everything that he does, and also wants them to know that man has free will.

The theological aspects that arise in the excerpt are original sin, grace, atonement, and the resurrection of Christ. Lines 203 through 209 speak about man’s wrong doing to God. “But yet all is not done; Man disobeying, Disloyal breaks his fealty, and sins Against the high Supremacy of Heav’n,…” Milton puts emphasis on the fact that all men must die “He with his whole posterity must die.” These lines introduce the concept of original sin in the excerpt. The doctrine of original sin is that because of Adam’s fall in the garden and their disobedience to God in eating the forbidden fruit, men are held accountable for their sin because of Adam’s disobedience men take on a sin nature.

Milton does not hold the belief of most other reformed Christians at the time. Calvinism was one of the puritan movements that spread all across the European continent. Calvinism had many followers but Milton did not buy into the doctrine of Calvin’s theology. In this excerpt, Milton’s God’s speech shows that all men have free will. The context is that God can see Sata...

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...lton’s poem is a beautiful poem of theology and history of the founding of the world and Christianity. It is an extremely important piece of English literature. Not just for Christians but everyone.

Works Cited

Babb, Lawrence. The Moral Cosmos of Paradise Lost. [East Lansing]: Michigan State UP, 1970. Print.

Campbell, Gordon. Milton and the Manuscript of De Doctrina Christiana. Oxford: Oxford UP, 2007.

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Dobranski, Stephen B., and John Peter Rumrich. Milton and Heresy. Cambridge [England: Cambridge

UP, 1998. Print.

Fish, Stanley Eugene. Surprised by Sin: the Reader in "Paradise Lost." London: Macmillan, 1967.

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Kurth, Burton O. Milton and Christian Heroism; Biblical Epic Themes and Forms in Seventeenth-

century England,. Hamden, CT: Archon, 1966. Print

The Holy Bible. NIV ed. Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 1996. Print.
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