Obedience: The Odyssey To Freedom Essay

885 words - 4 pages

The word freedom is often associated with the idea of an unfettered liberty to select from a range of alternatives coupled with a sense that our actions will not affect our natural state.
Catholic doctrine teaches that our choice is one of rational deliberation and voluntary subjugation to a higher force. This is natural law. Milton envisions the same teaching.

Unfortunately, human nature only lends itself to the assumption of certain abstract concepts such as `natural law', an assumption Milton develops in Paradise Lost. Throughout Paradise Lost, Milton expands upon the teaching that human actions affect human freedom and that this is a consequence of the assumption of the natural law that the Creator owns the created. Moreover, the created freely subordinates itself to its Creator.

Free subordination implies that a being must be free to choose between right and wrong and that it will freely chose according to the will of its Creator. Hence, a creature of the all-good Christian God must chose the good whereas a creature of Satan, id est all evil, must chose evil. This is apparent in the following event in Paradise Lost: Sin, a creation of Satan, chooses evil agreeing to unlock the gates of Hell for Satan, letting him pass, and telling him "Thou art my father, thou my author, thou/ My being gav'st me; whom should I obey/ But thee, whom follow?" (PL II 864-5).

By agreeing to let Satan pass and permitting evil into the world Sin is subordinating herself to her creator. Complications arise when the creation being dealt with is a rational and free creature such as one of the angels or humankind. In such a case, the creature is to deliberate what will glorify his Creator and act according to that deliberation. If the action performed is against God's will, the actor will lose its natural state since it has violated a natural law. The actors, in choosing contrary to God's will, have been subordinated to what is contrary to God, the actor has been subordinated to evil. The creature is no longer free but a slave to evil.

According to Christian tradition, God gives freedom to his creations out of love. In return, He expects obedience, which can only be given to Him through love. Some creatures, irrational creatures such as plants and animals, live in such obedience simply by existing since, regardless of the course of their actions, all their choices are in accordance with their Creator. They fulfill God's will. Since a rational creature has more complex faculties, it is subject to higher expectations; therefore it is given...

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