The words I chose to concentrate the most on in Miltons Paradise Lost is omnipotence and omniscient. We come across these words several times in the course of the story and it is always referring to God which is understanding since he is all-powerful, all-knowing. We first hear it from the narrator of the story in book one, Who durst defy the omnipotent to arms(line 49). when he is referring to the fall of Satan.
We hear the word again from Beelzebub, Leader of those armies bright, which but none the omnipotent could have foiled (line 273). when he answered to Satan about warring against God. We hear it entioned again from Belial in book two who suggests that they exhaust Gods rage by dealing with what has happened to them peacefully. Thus trampled, thus expelled to suffer here chains and these torments? Better these than worse. By my advice; since fate inevitable subdues us, and omnipotent decree, the victors will (line 198).
I want to concentrate on these words because of how many times they are used in place of the word God or said right afterwards as the narrator does in book ten, Meanwhile the heinous and despiteful act of Satan done in Paradise, and how he perverted Eve, her husband she, to taste the atal fruit, was known in heaven; for what can escape the eye of God all-seeing, or deceive his heart omniscient, who in all things wise and just,(lines1-7). and how that relates to the story of Paradise Lost .
The first book I want to write of is book number three. Here we have God sitting on his throne speaking to his son. God knows what Satan is up to, he can see him trying to find out more about the world that is between heaven and Pandemonium. He then goes into a speech about how he is aware of everything that will happen between Satan and the fall of man. He then says that he will not be responsible for the fall in that he created man free to choose and that Satan will be the one to tempt them into choosing something sinful.
I am puzzled by this speech by Milton for God as I have been puzzled by the Christian religion itself for years. I can understand that God is upset that Eve will eat from The Tree of Knowledge and thus pervert Adam in that he made them free and that foreknowledge could not stop them. What I do not understand is why he must punish man and put the blame on Satan alone. If God knew that Satan would enetrate Paradise and pervert Eve why did he make them free to choose? Why bother putting guardian angels at the gates of Paradise to keep out Satan when he knows that Satan will prevail?
Lucky for Adam and Eve that God has mercy. The first sort by their own suggestion fell, self-tempted, self depraved: man falls deceived by the other first: man therefore shall find grace, the other none: in mercy and justice both, through heaven and earth, so shall my glory excel, but mercy first and last shall brightest shine (lines 129-134). The latter quote leads me into books two and six. In book two we have Satan discussing with the other fallen angels about what they will do now that they have fallen.
Some suggest war, others such as Belial suggest compliance and yet others ponder the idea of finding out about this new world that is rumored to have been created. Although Satan does succeed in perverting mankind why doo he and other angels think it wise to war against God, all-knowing, all-powerful? They know he is omnipotent in that Belial points it out to them. So why even think war when God will know you are doing so and has the power to defeat you? Then once they go to war they are astonished although not completely hopeless that they were defeated on the first day.
Before the defeat Abdiel tells Satan the same thing that Belial basically said in book one. Thy hope was to have reached the height of thy aspiring unopposed, the throne of God unguarded, and his side abandoned at the terror of they power or potent tongue; fool, not to think how vain against the omnipotent to rise in arms(lines 131-135). Notice how Abdiel uses potent to describe Satans tongue. Potent meaning powerful physically but not all-powerful. Then Satan and his comrades try yet gain to defeat the army of angels only to have the glory go to the Son of God.
This makes me wonder why God let there be a war at all. If he knew that he was going to defeat Satans army why didnt he stop it before any of his army were wounded? Why wait to let his son conquer Satan? I think that the use of the words omnipotent and omnipscient are very clever in that they do reinforce the fact that God is the all-knowing, all-powerful deity. Perhaps the use of the word in Miltons epic was used to try and keep people on their toes. Unfortunately it didnt keep Adam, Eve, and Satan from making stupid decisions.