Tuesday, December 9, 2008

John Milton

In an interview with Leland Ryken, Justin Taylor reminds us that today is the 400th birthday of John Milton, author of Paradise Lost. Many Christians today, I feel, are clueless about the contribution that this great poet has made to our culture and language.

As part of my undergraduate major in English (read: "Do you want fries with that?"), I had a semester of Milton. Now, this pales in comparison to Ryken's PhD in Miltonic literature, but I did gain a rudimentary appreciation for this intellectual giant.

When I read Taylor's post, I immediately went to Paradise Lost Book Six where Milton recounts the war in heaven between Satan's army and host of God. There is a phrase embedded in the poem that shows Milton's command of language and theology:

From all Heav'ns bounds into the utter Deep:
There let them learn, as likes them, to despise
God and MESSIAH his anointed King.
He said, and on his Son with Rayes direct
Shon full, he all his Father full exprest
Ineffibly into his face receiv'd,
And thus the filial Godhead answering spake.
O Father, O Supream of heav'nly Thrones...
In just 3 words, Milton unpacks a freight load of theology. In fact, there is more theology in those 3 words than I have heard in some sermons.

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