Double-effect reasoning in Paradise Lost: an investigation into Milton's God's will in humankind's Fall

Source document: Brno studies in English. 2016, vol. 42, iss. 2, pp. [69]-90
  • ISSN
    0524-6881 (print)
    1805-0867 (online)
Type: Article
License: Not specified license
Double-Effect Reasoning (DER) implies the coexistence of good and evil in certain affairs; for a good outcome to appear, the possible evil side effects in its company or deviating from it are foreseen-but-not-intended. In Paradise Lost, God's creation serves His eternal plan, which is in essence good. The evil that follows, through Satan's rebellion, Adam and Eve's disobedience, ecological deterioration, and the Son of God’s sacrifice, also happen under God's plan. These evil happenings, as paradoxes within good ends, follow the ethical principle of DER. Hence Milton's paradoxes in justifying God's ways in creation and His prelapsarian plan for the perfection of humankind through the Fall. The ambiguities of God's plan, in bringing good out of evil, can thus be explained through DER as an inevitable theological issue, which tries to explain the archetypal symbiosis between contradictions.
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