22 November 2010

The heavens declare the glory of God

Now Satan is looking for the place where Adam and Eve are. He seems to be a bit at a loss and needs the help of anyone “who might direct his wandering flight.” (III:631). However, as all the angels in the outer space know him well, he avoids possible problems by changing his appearance. Thus, he transforms himself into a young and handsome cherub, “a stripling Cherube […] / Not of the prime, yet such as in his face / In curls on either cheek plaid, wings he wore / Of many a coloured plume sprinkled with Gold." (III:636-642).

With delicate steps and a radiant face, he nears the archangel Uriel with the sole intention of obtaining the information he needs. With his peculiar style, Satan tickles Uriel´s ears by telling him that he is one “of those seven spirits that stand / In sight of God's high Throne, gloriously bright” (III:654-657). Satan informs Uriel that he has come closer to get to know God’s creation, “but chiefly Man” (III:663). Afterwards, he kindly asks him “in which of all these shining Orbs hath Man / His fixed seat” (III: 668).

Ariel is amazed by the way the young cherub expresses himself. Ariel replies that his craven for knowing God’s creation is understandable and logical “for wonderful indeed are all his works” (III: 702) and gives him precise information about how to get to the place where Adam and Eve are.

It is interesting to notice that most of what Milton wrote in Paradise Lost has no biblical support. For example, the archangel Uriel does not appear in the Bible and is Milton’s own creation. However, Uriel´s words about the beauty of God’s works are clearly based on what the Holy Scriptures mention to satiety. Thus, one can read in Psalm 19: 1-3 that “the heavens declare the glory of God. The skies proclaim the work of his hands. Day after day they pour forth speech; night after night they reveal knowledge. They have no speech, they use no words. ”

PL III: 721-728

The rest in circuit walls this Universe. [ 721 ]
Look downward on that Globe whose hither side
With light from hence, though but reflected, shines;
That place is Earth the seat of Man, that light
His day, which else as th' other Hemisphere
Night would invade, but there the neighbouring Moon
(So call that opposite fair Starr) her aide
Timely interposes, and her monthly round [ 728 ]

Certainly, God’s work is wonderful.

12 November 2010

Brilliant disguise

On 28 December 2009, I wrote an entry blog entitled Appearances can be Deceptive. In it, I wrote about the way people change at Christmas. We all look happier than ever and wish health, money and love to everyone, even to those who never talk to us. Today, I am focusing on the same issue from a different perspective.

Nowadays many people get dressed in a great variety of ways to protest against the government, the system, the rules or whatever they consider important. It is their way to express that they are different, but appearances can be, and are, deceptive.

There are plenty of examples in the animal kingdom that indicate that gold is not all that glitters. For example, there are hundreds of insects, reptiles and birds that change their appearance in order to hide themselves from their enemies or to attack other animals.

Whenever I think of people who used their clothes to be seen different, clergymen come to my mind. Religious people dress in black, in white, in grey, in purple and in so many colors that it is impossible not to notice them.

In his Paradise Lost, Milton criticizes Catholic clergymen for the way they dress. They are seen from a distance due to the colorful clothes they wear, as if colors were a paramount factor to reach Heaven ! What a brilliant disguise!

Regardless of the religion, would clergymen all over the world be treated by their humble flocks the same way if it were not for the clothes they wear?, Did God ever inform them about the colourful clothes they should wear? , Did God ever tell them that they should look different?

Certainly, they are like colourful rainbows that do not actually exist at any particular location in the sky. Their apparent position depend on the observer's location and the position of the Sun. All is just an unreachable and untouchable optical phenomenon.

To what an extent is it similar to clerical authorities?

Paradise Lost III: 475-480

White, Black and Grey, with all thir trumperie. [ 475 ]
Here Pilgrims roam, that stray'd so farr to seek
In Golgotha him dead, who lives in Heav'n;
And they who to be sure of Paradise
Dying put on the weeds of Dominic,
Or in Franciscan think to pass disguis'd; [ 480 ]

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