ABSTRACT

Orthodox theology generally holds that God is eternal, which means that he exists in a state of absolute timelessness. John Milton, however, believed that God experiences the passage of time just as angels and humans do, except that God has always existed and that time extends infinitely into the past. Both Milton's Christian Doctrine and Art of Logic indicate that God exists in time. In Paradise Lost Milton tends to use the language of eternity metaphorically rather than literally, and he never uses such language to describe timelessness. His depiction of God the Father existing and acting in time is not a concession to the limitations of narrative; Milton believed that God actually exists in time. Milton's conception of time and eternity is not widely acknowledged, but it is essential to his insistence on radical free will and to his mythopoetic efforts to justify God's providence.

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