Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Christ’s Awakening To Divinity

 I’ve always found it interesting to think about what Christ thought of himself as he grew up. To what extent was he aware of his divinely appointed mission? What did he know about his heritage and what did he not know? How did he feel as a youth growing up, did he feel more mature, different than everyone around him? So many interested questions that we have little to no knowledge about from Biblical Accounts. We have accounts of Apostles writing about the divinity of Christ but nothing written by Christ himself about his life or mission. In our own Mormon literature, Jesus the Christ offers some insight into some of these possibilities but beyond that we don’t have much.

The first chapter Paradise Regained offers an interesting perspective on some of these questions in a narrative written from the perspective of Christ. I think Milton did a fantastic job at diving into these questions and creating a persona that I could see as a very possible reality for what the young Jesus may have thought.

In particular:

Early maturity
“When I was yet a child, no childish play/To me was pleasing, all my mind was set/ Serious to learn and know,” (1:201-203)

Exceptional interest in the word of God
“The law of God I read, and found it sweet/Made it my whole delight.” (1:207-208)

Inner Prophetic Calling
“Flamed in my heart, heroic acts, one while/To rescue Israel from the Roman yoke/Then to subdue and quell o’er all the earth/Brute violence and proud tyrannic power/Till truth were freed, and equity restored” (1:216-220)

Taught by Mother of Divinity
“For know, thou art no son of mortal man…Thy father is the Eternal King.” (1:234,236)

Discovering of Self in Scripture

“This having heard, straight I again revolved/The law and prophets, searching what was writ Concerning the Messiah…and soon found of whom they spake I am” (1:259-263)


  1. Yes. I found it interesting that he had to come into knowing his role, that he didn't already know it. I was under the impression that, that idea—that Christ came knowing his role—was a widely accepted Christian idea.

  2. I think a lot of Christians do believe that Christ was born knowing everything and performing miracles from the time he was born. I like the idea of Jesus having to learn about himself and his role, and that he didn't receive a confirmation of his divinity until he was baptized and the Father testified of him. In that sense, Jesus had to exercise faith in himself and his mission before could he received that confirmation from the Holy Ghost. James E. Talmage has some interesting things to say on the subject in "Jesus the Christ".

  3. I hadn't thought about this before, thank you! I do think this has something of a parallel with Adam's acceptance of his role as the physical father of mankind. At the beginning he's more like "oh pretty flowers!" than first prophet, but you see him come into his own up through the casting out of the garden.

  4. I thought it interesting that Christ is given more of a personality in "Paradise Regained" as opposed to the rather flat figure represented in Raphael's rendition in "Paradise Lost." The thought occurred to me that something about humanity gave Milton more of a basis to create a character from. Milton knows how to be a human and had read the Bible descriptions of Christ as a human and therefore could create a fuller persona for him. Whereas we know (at least not much) of what Christ the one who cast out Satan was like.