Thursday, 25 May 2017

John Milton

Either Chaos or Void preceded cosmic order, according to various mythologies and philosophies. Genesis has both: a formless void but also chaotic waters that have to be controlled and bounded as part of the creative process.

If Chaos was before, then where is it now?

Beneath Heaven, between the created universe and Hell, according to John Milton (see here);

in Hell itself, according to Robert Heinlein and Poul Anderson (see here);

beyond Hell, according to Alan Moore...

Heinlein and Anderson contradict Milton on the location of Chaos. Before leaving this subject, let us note four modern allusions to Milton.

CS Lewis quotes:

"Where day never shuts his eye
"Up in the broad fields of the sky." (see here)

Philip Pullman quotes:

"His dark materials..." (see here)

James Blish quotes:

"A dismal universal hiss..." (Paradise Lost, Book X, line 508, see here)

- and applies this phrase to stellar radio noise, describing it also as "...that noise of chaos..." (The Star Dwellers, Chapter 12)

In Blish's The Day After Judgement, Milton is mentioned and Satan speaks Miltonic blank verse.

Finally, Blish almost quotes "His dark materials..." In Mission To The Heart Stars, Chapter Three, he describes "...dark areas..." in the galaxy as "...remaining raw materials..." and as the Creator's sign that He has not yet finished making this galaxy.

3 comments:

  1. Kaor, Paul!

    As regards your last paragraph, it could be argued, I suppose, that God has not yet finished creating our galaxy if new stars and planets are still taking form in dust clouds and nebulae.

    Sean

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  2. Paul and Sean:
    *The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy* series has a scene at the end of one book where "God's final message to His creation" is revealed to be, "We apologize for the inconvenience," and seeing it brings a great sense of peace and happiness to the main characters. This puzzled me until I realized it means something like, "Work is in progress" or "Still under construction."

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    Replies
    1. Kaor, DAVID!

      And, so this sense of peace and happiness felt by the characters came from realizing what seemed a chaotic and gravely imperfect universe was simply because God had not yet COMPLETED creating it? Yes, I can see that!

      Sean

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