Paradise Lost Book 9: Line 720-733 - Summary

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      By his brilliant eloquence and daring argument Satan here casts a spell over Eve. He says that God is not omnipotent, that there are many Gods, and not merely the one she believes. Satan is thus, taking up a polytheistic position. The God whom they regard as just is obviously false and unjust. He is not the creator of everything. The earth wanned by the sun, can be seen to produce many things, but her God produces nothing.

      Her God cannot be omnipotent because the knowledge of both good and evil within that tree must have been enclosed by some other power. Since they have been forbidden to eat the fruit, the knowledge of good within it must not be known to him. He himself has eaten the fruit without the permission of God and no evil has befallen him. Satan continues his argument saying that desire for more knowledge and wisdom is not wicked. Moreover, if God is omnipotent how could that fruit give them any knowledge contrary to the wishes of God. Satan is here implying that God cannot first permit some action and then punish the doer for it. He is thus, ignoring the conception of free will.

      He further argues that God has forbidden them to eat the fruit out of envy, for if they eat it they would themselves be like Gods and one who is envious cannot be God. Thus Satan by implying that God is not omnipotent, that he is powerless to prevent their actions and that he is envious and hence not worthy of being God, convinces Eve to partake of the fruit.

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