In Book 8 of Paradise Lost, what is God "teasing" Adam into realizing about himself and his limitations, about his place in the created order?

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accessteacher eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The conversation that God has with Adam in these lines certainly helps Adam to realise the way in which he is a limited individual compared with God and His might and power. Consider what Adam says to God that shows he is beginning to realise how profoundly other God is to man and how much higher:

To attaine
The highth and depth of thy Eternal wayes
All human thoughts come short, Supream of things;
Thou in thy self art perfet, and in thee
Is no deficience found; not so is Man,
But in degree, the cause of his desire
By conversation with his like to help,
Or solace his defects. No need that thou
Shouldst propagat, already infinite;

Adam, through his relationship with God, is forced to recognise that even his best thoughts and ideas will "come short" compared to God and his power and majesty. There is no fault to be found in God, which of course is not the case with man. God is already infinite, but man is definitely not and therefore must reproduce as a result. However, God is not brutal about these facts, and the teasing way in which he brings Adam to this realisation shows His love and care for his creation.

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Paradise Lost

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