Platonic/Neoplatonic Background of
The Oneà (Emanates into)à Mindà (Emanates
This is not a willed emanation; it is part of the nature
of the One to emanate Mind and Soul. Lower emanations desire to return to higher ones, and
eventually all seek reunion with the One.
God (unknowable by sense and intelligence)à willsà
The Logos is willed in a two stage process:
- God thinks the ideas of the intelligible world--the Mind of God is
called Logos and is identical with the essence of God.
- The ideas leave the mind of God, taking on external existence as
the unintelligible world--no longer identical with God. The Mind (called Logos) which
embraces this intelligible world comes into existence as an entity separate from God.
Early Church Fathers such as Justin Martyr, Clement of
Alexandria, and Tertullian are highly influenced by Philo's 2-stage Logos.
In Philo's system, the Logos is both eternal and created:
- Eternal--in that it exists as a property of God.
- Created--in that it enters its second and external state as an
entity separate from God.
- Uncompromising monotheism: God is "alone ingenerate, alone
everlasting, alone unbegun . . . "
- God is utterly incommunicable and absolutely isolated from
- Before the advent of time (there was a "once when the Son was
not"), God begat/created (the same for Arius--Begat/gennetos; Create/genetos) the
Son. The Son was not produced out of the divine nature (ex Deo), but out of nothing (ex
- The two persons are utterly alien and dissimilar in substance
- The Son may be called God, but that is merely nominal. The Son is
not "true God."
The Godhead Formulae
Greek: One ousia (essence), three hypostases (substances)
Augustine: One essentia=substantia, three personae
Usual Catholic: One substantia, three personae
Usual Protestant: One essentia, three personae=hypostases
Milton: One substantia, three essentia. Milton divides these as
follows: substance="physical," "form," "qualities," while
essence="spiritual," "person," "identity."
De Doctrina Christiana I. 5:
- It is impossible to find a single text in all Scripture to prove
the eternal generation of the Son.
- [Scriptural] passages [John 1, Colossions 1: 15-18, etc.] prove
the existence of the Son before the world was made, but they conclude nothing respecting
his generation from all eternity.
- The Son is [not] co-essential with the Father, for then the title
of Son would be least of all applicable to him, since he who is properly the Son is not
coeval with the Father, much less of the same numerical essence, otherwise the Father and
the Son would be one person.
- God imparted to the Son as much as he pleased of the divine
nature, nay of the divine substance itself, care being taken not to confound the substance
with the whole essence, which would imply, that the Father had given to the Son what he
retained numerically the same himself.
- The Shema: Deuteronomy 6:4, "Hear, O Israel, the Lord our God
is one Lord."
- 1 Corinthians 7:6, "there is but one God, the Father, of whom
are all things . . . and one Lord Jesus Christ, by whom are all things."
The Atheist Milton
(Ashgate Press, 2012)
||Basing his contention on
two different lines of argument, Michael Bryson posits that John
Milton–possibly the most famous 'Christian' poet in English literary
history–was, in fact, an atheist.
First, based on his association with Arian ideas (denial of the
doctrine of the Trinity), his argument for the de Deo theory of
creation (which puts him in line with the materialism of Spinoza and
Hobbes), and his Mortalist argument that the human soul dies with
the human body, Bryson argues that Milton was an atheist by the
commonly used definitions of the period. And second, as the poet who
takes a reader from the presence of an imperious, monarchical God in
Paradise Lost, to the internal-almost Gnostic-conception of God in
Paradise Regained, to the absence of any God whatsoever in Samson
Agonistes, Milton moves from a theist (with God) to something much
more recognizable as a modern atheist position (without God) in his
Among the author's goals in The Atheist Milton is to account
for tensions over the idea of God which, in Bryson's view, go all
the way back to Milton's earliest poetry. In this study, he argues
such tensions are central to Milton's poetry–and to any attempt to
understand that poetry on its own terms.
The Tyranny of Heaven
Milton's Rejection of God as King
(U. Delaware Press, 2004)
The Tyranny of Heaven argues for a new way of reading the figure of
Milton's God, contending that Milton rejects kings on earth and in heaven.
Though Milton portrays God as a king in Paradise Lost, he does this
neither to endorse kingship nor to recommend a monarchical model of deity.
Instead, he recommends the Son, who in Paradise Regained rejects
external rule as the model of politics and theology for Milton's "fit
audience though few." The portrait of God in Paradise Lost serves as
a scathing critique of the English people and its slow but steady
backsliding into the political habits of a nation long used to living under
the yoke of kingship, a nation that maintained throughout its brief period
of liberty the image of God as a heavenly king, and finally welcomed with
open arms the return of a human king.
Review of Tyranny of