In Paradise Lost, why is it important that unfallen Adam has such capacity for aptly naming God's creatures?

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accessteacher | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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What is interesting about Adam's naming of God's creation and of all the creatures that come before him, two by two, is that, in spite of the apprehension Adam feels in facing such a massive task, God created Adam with the ability to understand his created order and to name them appropriately. God has not left Adam unequipped, and has shown that he gives no task that Adam is unable to accomplish. Consider how Adam relates this event:

I nam'd them, as they pass'd, and understood
Thir Nature, with such knowledg God endu'd
My sudden apprehension: but in these
found not what me thought I wanted still;
And to the Heav'nly vision thus presum'd.

Adam recognises that he is only able to understand the nature of each creature because of the knowledge that God has given him. It is important that Adam possesses such knowledge because this enables him to carry out the task that God gave him of having dominion over his creation and ruling it.


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