Paradise Lost

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God the Father Character Analysis

The ruler and creator of the universe, the traditional Christian God without the third person of the Trinity (the Holy Spirit). God is all-powerful, all-knowing, and all-good, but he demands total obedience from his creatures. While God allows angels and humans to have free will, he also is eternal, existing outside of time, and so foresees all future events. Therefore even Satan’s rebellion and the Fall of Man fit into God’s overarching plan, which brings good out of evil.

God the Father Quotes in Paradise Lost

The Paradise Lost quotes below are all either spoken by God the Father or refer to God the Father. For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
Hierarchy and Order Theme Icon
). Note: all page and citation info for the quotes below refers to the Penguin Classics edition of Paradise Lost published in 2003.
Book 2 Quotes

Thus Beelzebub
Pleaded his devilish counsel, first devised
By Satan, and in part proposed; for whence,
But from the author of all ill could spring
So deep a malice, to confound the race
Of mankind in one root, and earth with Hell
To mingle and involve, done all to spite
The great Creator? But their spite still serves
His glory to augment.

Related Characters: Satan, God the Father, Beelzebub
Page Number: 2.379-386
Explanation and Analysis:

Satan has assembled a vast group of devils, his henchmen (who were cast out of Heaven along with him). Satan has held the council to decide what to do now that their open revolt against God has failed, and everyone is confined to Hell. After a series of speakers come forward, Beelzebub takes the floor, proposing that the devils work their mischief on God's new creations, the human race.

Notice that Satan has actually planted Beelzebub to propose such an idea--the whole "debate" is just a farce, allowing the other devils to think that they have a democratic voice. (In this devilish council Milton also critiques the human politics of his time). Beelzebub is trying to persuade his fellow devils to go along with Satan's plan: to use fraud, instead of open rebellion, to try to hurt God--and to do this by corrupting mankind, God's favored new creation. And while we know the result of this plan of "deep malice," Milton also notes the bright side: all of Satan's mischief will be in vain. One day, God will send Jesus Christ to redeem mankind, saving the human race from damnation in Hell. It is characteristic of the Christian universe that evil, while horrific by itself, is actually useful for achieving good ends. Milton will show how Satan's rebellious evil actually helps God and ensures God's plan.

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If him by force he can destroy, or worse,
By some false guile pervert; and shall pervert;
For man will hearken to his glozing lies,
And easily transgress the sole command,
Sole pledge of his obedience: so will fall
He and his faithless progeny: whose fault?
Whose but his own? Ingrate, he had of me
All he could have; I made him just and right,
Sufficient to have stood, though free to fall.

Related Characters: God the Father (speaker), Satan, Adam
Page Number: 2.91-99
Explanation and Analysis:

In this Book, we transition from Hell to Heaven, and the contrast couldn't be clearer. God wields effortless authority over his angel followers, the setting is filled with light and music, and everything is also a little bit less interesting. Here, the angels ask God what will happen when the devils try to corrupt mankind. To everyone's surprise, God says that Satan will succeed: he will tempt Adam and Eve to disobey God.

The big question here is, why isn't God himself responsible for mankind's fall? If God is all-powerful and created the human race, and foresaw their fall, then isn't he liable for the corruption of his own creations? God responds that he created mankind with the gift of free will: mankind is "sufficient to have stood yet free to fall." Therefore, God isn't directly responsible for humans' decisions--he allows them to be free of all control, including his own.

Why does God endow mankind with free will? One could argue that he does so because free will allows human beings to achieve more and please God further. It's true that free will can be dangerous, since devils can tempt human beings into sin. And yet it's only through free will that humans can truly embrace God--they choose to do so, rather than being forced to.

This passage also brings up the important idea of predestination--if God can foresee what will happen, and states it now (and God is never wrong), then do Adam and Eve really have free will? Many of Milton's contemporaries, the Calvinists, believed wholly in predestination--that God has already chosen who goes to Hell and who goes to Heaven, and all human action is just the playing out of that predetermined plan. Milton doesn't buy this idea, however, as he emphasizes with the "free to fall" statement. God's foreknowledge can then be explained with the idea of time. In many versions of Christianity, God exists outside of time, and so he can see what will happen in the future, but it's not the future to him--all times exist at once in the scheme of divine eternity. Thus within their own concept of time, Adam and Eve have free will, but to God it's as if they've already chosen to sin.

Book 3 Quotes

So man, as is most just,
Shall satisfy for man, be judged and die,
And dying rise, and rising with him raise
His brethren, ransomed with his own dear life.
So Heav’nly love shall outdo Hellish hate,
Giving to death, and dying to redeem,
So dearly to redeem what Hellish hate
So easily destroyed, and still destroys
In those who, when they may, accept not grace.

Related Characters: God the Father (speaker), God the Son, Adam
Page Number: 3.294-302
Explanation and Analysis:

In this passage, God continues to explain his plan for the human race to his angels. God explains that mankind will not be wholly damned after its fall. Rather, a future "man" will make a sacrifice, allowing all of mankind to ascend with him back to a state of grace.

God characterizes the sacrifice as crucial to the redemption of humankind. Satan's evil cannot be allowed to win; the only way to make sure that mankind ends up in Heaven is to have someone atone for mankind's innate corruption. Immediately after the passage, God's Son (who, in human form, will be Jesus Christ) volunteers to go to Earth and sacrifice his life for the sake of the human race. (It's also worth noting that the scene was parodied in the second Book of the poem when Satan volunteered to "sacrifice himself" and fly over the abyss to go corrupt the world of men.)

Book 4 Quotes

Be then his love accursed, since love or hate,
To me alike, it deals eternal woe.
Nay cursed be thou; since against his thy will
Chose freely what it now so justly rues.
Me miserable! Which way shall I fly
Infinite wrath, and infinite despair?
Which way I fly is Hell; myself am Hell;
And in the lowest deep a lower deep
Still threat’ning to devour me opens wide,
To which the Hell I suffer seems a Heav’n.

Related Characters: Satan (speaker), God the Father
Page Number: 4.69-78
Explanation and Analysis:

In this passage, Satan flies from Hell to Earth. As he travels, he thinks to himself about the misery that is his life now. In Heaven, Satan was happy to be a powerful angel--in Hell, however, Satan is tormented by constant misery; the misery of being hated by God and being the enemy of the universe itself. Satan goes on to say that he carries Hell with him wherever he goes--his bitterness and lust for power is now so intense that he is always miserable, even if he should fly back to Heaven itself.

In short, the passage shows Satan in the depths of despair. He's a glutton for authority--and God will never allow him to satisfy his appetite. As a result, Satan's only solace is to cause misery and pain to others, such as Adam and Eve.

And should I at your harmless innocence
Melt, as I do, yet public reason just,
Honour and empire with revenge enlarged,
By conquering this new world, compels me now
To do what else though damned I should abhor.

Related Characters: Satan (speaker), God the Father
Page Number: 4.388-392
Explanation and Analysis:

In this surprising passage, Satan has arrived in terrestrial paradise. He's stunned by the sight of Adam and Eve--he's never seen a human being before. Moreover, Satan finds the Garden of Eden, and Adam and Eve themselves, to be extremely beautiful. As he stares, Satan goes through inner torment: he realizes that, were he still an obedient angel, he would love the humans' world and try to nurture it, enjoying their beauty and innocence. Yet Satan refuses to allow his own sympathies to change his will. Instead, he resolves to do what he was sent to do: corrupt mankind and destroy this beautiful world.

The passage shows Satan in a somewhat sympathetic light: he's committed to evil yet instinctively still longs for good, and laments what his past actions have brought about. In his pride, however, he feels that he has no choice but to harden his heart and go on with his hateful plan. Milton thus suggests that evil isn't liberation from God's authority; rather, it's a prison of its own. Satan gets no pleasure from undermining paradise--it's a bitter burden for him.

This one, this easy charge, of all the trees
In Paradise that bear delicious fruit
So various, not to taste that only Tree
Of Knowledge, planted by the Tree of Life,
So near grows death to life, whate’er death is,
Some dreadful thing no doubt; for well thou know’st
God hath pronounced it death to taste that Tree,
The only sign of our obedience left
Among so many signs of power and rule
Conferred upon us, and dominion giv’n
Over all other creatures that possess
Earth, air, and sea.

Related Characters: Adam (speaker), God the Father
Related Symbols: The Fruit of the Tree of Knowledge
Page Number: 4.421-432
Explanation and Analysis:

In this passage, Milton sets the scene for the fall of man. In paradise, Adam and Eve have one easy job: to tend to the plants and animals (who are all peaceful and tame), and only avoid the Tree of Knowledge, since God has forbidden them from eating its fruit. Adam tells Eve that their job is exceptionally easy, and the reward is great: because of their obedience, God has made them lords of the Garden of Eden, free to command all the animals and enjoy the beauty of Paradise.

Interestingly, Adam tells us that God has warned him not to eat the fruit because it will bring death. And yet Adam doesn't know what death is--he's totally innocent. In other words, God has instructed Adam and Eve to obey him, but hasn't told them why, exactly. There are some who have argued that God has designed the rules of the Garden of Eden so that Adam and Eve will inevitably eat the fruit--the mystery of what the fruit is, and what death is, is simply too interesting to ignore. (Such critics often point to the writings of Saint Paul for an explanation of why prohibition creates sin.) Others argue that God has kept humans in a state of ignorance so that they'll be happy forever--they don't know what death is, but that's a very good thing. Yet another idea is that God eventually wants Adam and Eve to eat of the Fruit of Knowledge, but only when they're ready, and only when he allows it--thus the tree itself isn't evil, it's only their disobedience to God that's evil.

Straight side by side were laid, nor turned I ween
Adam from his fair spouse, nor Eve the rites
Mysterious of connubial love refused:
Whatever hypocrites austerely talk
Of purity and place and innocence,
Defaming as impure what God declares
Pure, and commands to some, leaves free to all.
Our Maker bids increase, who bids abstain
But our destroyer, foe to God and man?
Hail wedded love, mysterious law, true source
Of human offspring, sole propriety,
In Paradise of all things common else.

Related Characters: God the Father, Adam, Eve
Page Number: 4.741-752
Explanation and Analysis:

In this fascinating passage, Milton defends his interpretation of the Bible. There's a longstanding debate among Christian scholars--did Adam and Eve have sex before their fall from Paradise? Milton declares that they did--in fact, he argues that there's nothing inherently sinful with sex at all, as long as it's practiced in the context of marriage, and done with God's approval. God created human beings to have sex (as expressed in his command to "be fruitful"), though in the Garden of Eden, sex was an entirely different experience for Adam and Eve. Sex wasn't a product of sinful lust at all--rather, Adam and Eve had sex because of their love for each other, for God, and, perhaps, simply because it was pleasurable and innocent.

By praising sex and placing it in Eden, Milton is taking a stand against the Puritanical Christians of his time, who saw all sexuality as inherently sinful and shameful.

Book 5 Quotes

Happiness in his power left free to will,
Left to his own free will, his will though free,
Yet mutable; whence warn him to beware
He swerve not too secure: tell him withal
His danger, and from whom, what enemy
Late fall’n himself from Heav’n, is plotting now
The fall of others from like state of bliss;
By violence, no, for that shall be withstood,
But by deceit and lies; this let him know,
Lest wilfully transgressing he pretend
Surprisal, unadmonished, unforewarned.

Related Characters: God the Father (speaker), Adam, Raphael
Page Number: 5.235-245
Explanation and Analysis:

In this passage, God tries his best to keep Adam and Eve "sufficient to have stood yet free to fall." Satan has just visited Eve in a dream and filled her with corrupting thoughts. It seems that Eve is going to tempt Adam to disobey God. God decides to give mankind more of a chance to redeem itself, so they can't claim ignorance when they fall (after all, what you dream about isn't really free will). God thus instructs the angel Raphael to fly to the Garden of Eden and teach the humans about God and Satan, and warn them that Satan might try to tempt them. With the knowledge of Satan, Adam and Eve will have sufficient defenses to ward off Satan in the future.

The passage is important because it refutes the argument that Adam and Eve were inevitably going to be corrupted--they have no freedom to resist. On the contrary, as Milton shows it (diverging from and expanding upon his Biblical inspiration), God took every precaution to keep Adam and Eve free from evil--or, as he puts it, to keep them from arguing that they had no freedom after they fall, as God knows they inevitably will.

Book 7 Quotes

But lest his heart exalt him in the harm
Already done, to have dispeopled Heav’n,
My damage fondly deemed, I can repair
That detriment, if such it be to lose
Self-lost, and in a moment will create
Another world, out of one man a race
Of men innumerable, there to dwell,
Not here, till by degrees of merit raised
They open to themselves at length the way
Up hither, under long obedience tried,
And earth be changed to Heav’n, and Heav’n to earth,
One Kingdom, joy and union without end.

Related Characters: God the Father (speaker), Adam
Page Number: 7.150-161
Explanation and Analysis:

In this passage Raphael is still telling Adam about the history of the world. After Satan rebelled against God and was cast out of paradise, God decided to repopulate his universe with new beings. He decided to create the race of man--in other words, Adam and Eve and all their descendants. By creating Adam and Eve, God said, he would replenish his ranks (replacing the fallen angels) and exercise his own creativity and love. God also lays out a plan that is not strictly adherent to the Bible, but that makes more sense in Milton's universe--God created Adam and Eve as innocent but he gradually intended to "raise" them up until they were like angels themselves, and then God would join the earthly Paradise with Heaven itself. This is a fleeting glimpse of what might have happened had Adam and Eve not eaten of the forbidden fruit, and it both makes God seem more sympathetic (Adam and Eve weren't always going to be ignorant and simple followers, but would have gained God-approved wisdom) and the Fall itself more tragic (instead of this happy progression to Heaven, we get our present world of suffering and struggle).

In terms of the "plot," this quote is important because Adam is hearing it. From hereon out, Adam has no deniability--when he chooses to disobey God, he knows full-well what he's doing: he knows that he is turning down a life of eternal happiness.

Book 8 Quotes

Solicit not thy thoughts with matters hid,
Leave them to God above, him serve and fear;
Of other creatures, as him pleases best,
Wherever placed, let him dispose; joy thou
In what he gives to thee, this Paradise
And thy fair Eve; heav’n is for thee too high
To know what passes there; be lowly wise:
Think only what concerns thee and thy being;
Dream not of other worlds…

Related Characters: Raphael (speaker), God the Father, Adam
Page Number: 8.167-175
Explanation and Analysis:

In this passage, Adam has just asked Raphael for the truth about the universe: does the Earth revolve around the Sun, or vice versa? Raphael refuses to answer Adam's question. Instead, he tells Adam that he should focus on the here and now: he should focus on being an obedient servant to God, and tending to his wife, Eve.

First, notice that Milton is commenting on the scientific squabbles of his day: Copernicus and Galileo have challenged the Church's usual doctrine by declaring that the Earth revolves around the sun, not the other way around. Milton refuses to take sides in such a debate (and for that matter, he probably didn't want his poem to favor the wrong answer, lest future readers be baffled by the bad science), and instead focuses on how too much knowledge can be sinful. Indeed, it's arguably the quest for forbidden knowledge that is at the heart of the Fall of Man.

Notice, however, that innocent Adam has already developed a curiosity and appetite for knowledge, foreshadowing his disobedience of God. God sent Raphael to reassure Adam about obeying God and accepting ignorance, and yet Raphael's visit seems to have had the opposite effect: it's made Adam more likely to question God's authority and desire more knowledge.

Book 9 Quotes

No more of talk where God or angel guest
With man, as with his friend, familiar used
To sit indulgent, and with him partake
Rural repast, permitting him the while
Venial discourse unblamed: I now must change
Those notes to tragic; foul distrust, and breach
Disloyal on the part of man, revolt,
And disobedience: on the part of Heav’n
Now alienated, distance and distaste,
Anger and just rebuke, and judgment giv’n,
That brought into this world a world of woe,
Sin and her shadow Death, and misery
Death’s harbinger…

Related Characters: God the Father, Adam, Sin, Death
Page Number: 9.1-13
Explanation and Analysis:

With the beginning of the final third of the poem, Milton turns to the tragic side of his story. He explains that it's time for him to talk about the fall of man--the tragic, repeatedly-foretold event to which his poem has been building up for hundreds of lines now. Man's fall into sin was a crushing defeat for the universe itself, because it ushered in a history of death, misery, disease--all that we now know of human history.

Milton describes the fall of man here, but doesn't yet mention that man's fall is, ultimately, a good thing, because it paves the way for the coming of Jesus Christ. Milton doesn't give this passage anything like a silver lining: instead, he emphasizes the enormous stakes of Adam and Eve's disastrous decision, and saves his optimism and hope for the poem's end.

Queen of this universe, do not believe
Those rigid threats of death; ye shall not die:
How should ye? by the fruit? it gives you life
To knowledge. By the Threat’ner? look on me,
Me who have touched and tasted, yet both live,
And life more perfect have attained than Fate
Meant me, by vent’ring higher than my lot.
Shall that be shut to man, which to the beast
Is open? or will God incense his ire
For such a petty trespass, and not praise
Rather your dauntless virtue, whom the pain
Of death denounced, whatever thing death be…

Related Characters: Satan (speaker), God the Father, Eve
Related Symbols: The Fruit of the Tree of Knowledge
Page Number: 9.684-695
Explanation and Analysis:

In this passage, Satan, disguised as a snake, tries to tempt Eve into eating from the Tree of Knowledge. The snake uses a series of arguments. It claims that it can talk because it ate of the Tree of Knowledge, and the fruit made it wise. The snake also suggests that eating from the tree will elevate Eve's status in life, making her more divine and majestic. Finally, the snake insists that the Tree will not, as God had claimed, make Eve die--the snake has eaten from the tree, and it's clearly not dead. In fact, the snake says that God will praise Eve for eating the fruit, rather than punish her, because eating the fruit shows that she is brave enough to risk death, "whatever thing death be."

One thing to notice about the snake's arguments is that they suggest two opposing sets of morals. One set of morals favors bravery, heroism, striving, and daring uncertainty--one could call this a romantic or chivalric set of values. The other set of values (which the snake criticizes) favors obedience, loyalty, and trust in one's station in life. In the end, the first set of values is just more fun: Eve, who's been shown to be ambitious and curious, wants above her allotted station in life, and this is the sin for which she's ultimately punished.

What fear I then, rather what know to fear
Under this ignorance of good and evil,
Of God or death, of law or penalty?
Here grows the cure of all, this fruit divine,
Fair to the eye, inviting to the taste,
Of virtue to make wise: what hinders then
To reach, and feed at once both body and mind?
So saying, her rash hand in evil hour
Forth reaching to the fruit, she plucked, she ate:
Earth felt the wound, and Nature from her seat
Sighing through all her works gave signs of woe,
That all was lost.

Related Characters: Eve (speaker), God the Father
Related Symbols: The Fruit of the Tree of Knowledge
Page Number: 9.773-784
Explanation and Analysis:

In this passage, Eve finally gives in to the snake's arguments and eats from the Tree of Knowledge. She's persuaded by the snake's points, but mostly because she's a naturally ambitious, inquisitive person. Eve decides that the Tree doesn't really kill people at all--it just makes them wise and intelligent. Like the proverbial child, Eve is interested in eating from the Tree of Knowledge precisely because it is forbidden to her. As a result, she eats, and mankind falls from grace. Even the earth itself "felt the wound" of this small, symbolic action.

Eve's decision to eat from the Tree parallels the Biblical description of the fall of man, though with much more detail thrown in. As in the Bible, Milton writes that the woman ate from the Tree first-- a detail that was often used to justify the lowered position of women in Western society.

Book 11 Quotes

Adam, Heav’n’s high behest no preface needs:
Sufficient that thy prayers are heard, and Death,
Then due by sentence when thou didst transgress,
Defeated of his seizure many days
Giv’n thee of grace, wherein thou may’st repent,
And one bad act with many deeds well done
May’st cover: well may then thy Lord appeased
Redeem thee quite from Death’s rapacious claim;
But longer in this Paradise to dwell
Permits not; to remove thee I am come,
And send thee from the garden forth to till
The ground whence thou wast taken, fitter soil.

Related Characters: Michael (speaker), God the Father, Adam, Death
Page Number: 11.251-262
Explanation and Analysis:

In this passage, the angel Michael comes to Eden to cast out Adam and Eve. Michael is sympathetic to Adam and Eve's pain, but he's also firm--God himself has sent Michael to expel human beings from Paradise forever. Michael explains to Adam that he and his descendants will be forced to live in a hard, challenging world--they'll have to do hard work to survive, tilling soil and hunting for food, and struggling against each other all the while. Nevertheless, Michael makes it clear that Adam isn't totally out of favor with God--Adam will be granted the gift of long life, and it will be many centuries before he dies (in the Bible, we're told that Adam survived for hundreds of years before succumbing to death), so he has plenty of time to repent and make up for his "one bad act with many deeds well done."

Michael's explanation also covers one criticism of the logic in the Bible's story. In Genesis, God first declares that if Adam and Eve eat of the forbidden fruit, they will die "on that day." And yet they obviously don't--so in a way, the serpent (who in the original story is just a snake, not Satan) was right in saying that the fruit would give them knowledge and not kill them. Here, however, Michael smooths over this discrepancy by saying that God has mercifully kept Death away from Adam and Eve for a while, despite the fact that death was "due by sentence when thou didst transgress."

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God the Father Character Timeline in Paradise Lost

The timeline below shows where the character God the Father appears in Paradise Lost. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Book 1
Disobedience and Revolt Theme Icon
Sin and Innocence Theme Icon
Free Will and Predestination Theme Icon
Milton introduces his subject: “man’s first disobedience” against God and its sorrowful consequences. In the first line Milton refers to the consequences as the... (full context)
Hierarchy and Order Theme Icon
Disobedience and Revolt Theme Icon
...by the “infernal Serpent,” who is Satan. Satan was an angel who aspired to overthrow God, and started a civil war in Heaven. God defeated Satan and his rebel angels and... (full context)
Hierarchy and Order Theme Icon
Disobedience and Revolt Theme Icon
...He admits that he has been defeated, but he does not regret his war against God (though he never calls God by name). He claims that his heavenly essence cannot be... (full context)
Hierarchy and Order Theme Icon
Disobedience and Revolt Theme Icon
Sin and Innocence Theme Icon
Beelzebub answers, saying that God (whom he also avoids naming) seems to be omnipotent as he had originally claimed, and... (full context)
Hierarchy and Order Theme Icon
Disobedience and Revolt Theme Icon
...in his resolve. He addresses his legions and commits himself to continue his fight against God – his only question now is whether to go back to open war or use... (full context)
Book 2
Hierarchy and Order Theme Icon
Disobedience and Revolt Theme Icon
...and their seemingly democratic state. He then opens the floor, asking whether they should fight God openly or with “covert guile.” (full context)
Hierarchy and Order Theme Icon
Disobedience and Revolt Theme Icon
...devils’ current state in Hell, so they have nothing to lose by fighting “the Torturer” (God) and trying the weapons of Hell against him. At the very least they might disturb... (full context)
Hierarchy and Order Theme Icon
Disobedience and Revolt Theme Icon
Sin and Innocence Theme Icon
...but whose words rang hollow even in Heaven. He contradicts Moloch’s advice, and suggests that God can always punish them in a worse way if they attack him again. Belial makes... (full context)
Disobedience and Revolt Theme Icon
Belial suggests that if they do not attack, then God might eventually abate in his anger, and so lessen the devils’ suffering. Belial defends his... (full context)
Hierarchy and Order Theme Icon
Disobedience and Revolt Theme Icon
Mammon speaks next, and describes how futile it would be to submit to God and try to return to Heaven. Now that they have known revolt and freedom, they... (full context)
Hierarchy and Order Theme Icon
Disobedience and Revolt Theme Icon
Free Will and Predestination Theme Icon
...servitude in Heaven, but he warns that they are not free here – they are God’s “captive multitude.” (full context)
Hierarchy and Order Theme Icon
Disobedience and Revolt Theme Icon
Sin and Innocence Theme Icon
Free Will and Predestination Theme Icon
Beelzebub then proposes an “easier enterprise” – he returns to Satan’s rumor that God planned to create a new world. This world will be filled with a race called... (full context)
Disobedience and Revolt Theme Icon
Sin and Innocence Theme Icon
Free Will and Predestination Theme Icon
Love and Marriage Theme Icon
...this, now speaks more kindly to Sin and Death. He reveals his plan to find God’s new world and corrupt it, and he promises to bring Sin and Death with him... (full context)
Book 3
Hierarchy and Order Theme Icon
Sin and Innocence Theme Icon
Free Will and Predestination Theme Icon
The scene then moves to Heaven, where God the Father sits on his throne with his Son at his right hand. Together they... (full context)
Disobedience and Revolt Theme Icon
Free Will and Predestination Theme Icon
Love and Marriage Theme Icon
God says that Adam and Eve will listen to Satan’s “glozing lies” and disobey God, leading... (full context)
Hierarchy and Order Theme Icon
Disobedience and Revolt Theme Icon
Free Will and Predestination Theme Icon
God declares that he will be merciful in his punishment of mankind, as Adam and Eve... (full context)
Sin and Innocence Theme Icon
Free Will and Predestination Theme Icon
Love and Marriage Theme Icon
God praises his Son and promises to save some humans who choose to trust in God.... (full context)
Hierarchy and Order Theme Icon
Sin and Innocence Theme Icon
Free Will and Predestination Theme Icon
Love and Marriage Theme Icon
...of humanity. He will then return to Heaven with his “redeemed” and sit again with God, who can now be both just and merciful. All of Heaven is filled with admiration... (full context)
Hierarchy and Order Theme Icon
Disobedience and Revolt Theme Icon
Sin and Innocence Theme Icon
Free Will and Predestination Theme Icon
Love and Marriage Theme Icon
God praises the Son, describing how he will be born of a virgin, and explaining that... (full context)
Hierarchy and Order Theme Icon
Sin and Innocence Theme Icon
Free Will and Predestination Theme Icon
Love and Marriage Theme Icon
God declares that through the Son’s sacrifice “Heav’nly love shall outdo Hellish hate,” and he will... (full context)
Hierarchy and Order Theme Icon
Love and Marriage Theme Icon
As soon as God stops speaking the Heavenly choirs of angels break out in song, throwing down their beautiful... (full context)
Hierarchy and Order Theme Icon
Sin and Innocence Theme Icon
...living things there yet, or any of the “vain things” that will distract humans from God in the future. Milton digresses to muse on the possibility of extraterrestrial life, mock the... (full context)
Hierarchy and Order Theme Icon
Sin and Innocence Theme Icon
...respectfully, saying that he has just come down from Heaven and is curious to see God’s new world and its inhabitants, as he wants to better praise God for his glorious... (full context)
Book 4
Hierarchy and Order Theme Icon
Disobedience and Revolt Theme Icon
Sin and Innocence Theme Icon
Free Will and Predestination Theme Icon
...innocence. Satan remembers his own former glory, and recognizes how unfairly he has rebelled against God, who never showed him anything but goodness. Satan wishes he had not been made such... (full context)
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Disobedience and Revolt Theme Icon
Sin and Innocence Theme Icon
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Satan briefly considers what would happen if he repented and subdued himself to God, but he knows that this could only be a false confession. He knows that if... (full context)
Hierarchy and Order Theme Icon
Disobedience and Revolt Theme Icon
Sin and Innocence Theme Icon
...him – he will work his hardest to commit evil deeds, and try to pervert God’s goodness. Satan does not realize that as he is having this internal debate, his dark... (full context)
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...a “prowling wolf” entering a sheep’s pen, or like “lewd hirelings” (paid clergy) climbing into God’s Church. Satan immediately flies to the tallest tree in the center of Eden, the Tree... (full context)
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...whose name is Adam, speaks to the woman, Eve. Adam says that they should praise God for their bounty and happiness, and not complain about the easy work they have to... (full context)
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...unfair that they should have such joy while he is condemned to Hell. He notes God’s commandment against eating the fruit of the Tree of Knowledge, and decides that this is... (full context)
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...bower is covered with flowers of heavenly color and aroma. Before entering they pray to God, praising his glory and thanking him for their happiness. They then enter the bower and... (full context)
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...their natures with lust yet. For them sex is a pure act of love, obeying God’s command to populate the earth. Milton further states that only “our destroyer” would condemn sex... (full context)
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...which might have destroyed Paradise or even the whole mortal universe in its fierceness, but God halts the conflict by placing a sign of Golden Scales in the sky. (full context)
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Gabriel points to the Golden Scales, with which God ponders the outcomes of all events. On one side is the result of Satan staying... (full context)
Book 5
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...life. Eve cries two tears but then is cheered by Adam’s words, and they praise God spontaneously and profusely. They then go about their morning work tending to the garden, leading... (full context)
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The scene shifts to Heaven, where God calls the Archangel Raphael and tells him that Satan has entered Paradise and is trying... (full context)
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...questions Raphael further about angels’ food. Raphael answers by discussing the kinds of substances in God’s creation. There are different levels in the hierarchy, with each higher form retaining the attributes... (full context)
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Adam asks why any being would choose to be disobedient to God, and Raphael tells Adam (Eve has possibly left the scene) that his happy state is... (full context)
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...of disobedience. He begins his story: When Heaven was still united and at peace, before God had created the mortal universe out of Chaos, God summoned all his angels to hear... (full context)
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...this Archangel could not sleep, for he was tormented by envy for the Son of God. The Archangel was proud and did not want to worship the Son, but felt that... (full context)
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God and his Son watched all this happen, though Satan thought he was being secret. God... (full context)
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...armies before him and delivered a speech, saying that they had been unjustly ruled by God, and now that they are supposed to also worship the Son the injustice is doubled.... (full context)
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...of all the legions objected to Satan’s argument. Abdiel called Satan blasphemous, and affirmed that God was the rightful king of Heaven, as he created all the angels (including Satan) and... (full context)
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Satan argued that he could not remember when he was created by God, so he must be self-created and “self-begot.” Because of this he has as many rights... (full context)
Book 6
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...Heaven. Abdiel returned to find that the good angels were already preparing for war, as God had seen everything and instructed them. God praised Abdiel for his faithfulness and obedience even... (full context)
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...was for angels to be fighting angels, as they are both children of the same God. Satan came forward in a golden chariot made to look like God’s throne. Abdiel could... (full context)
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...good angels, claiming that they defended “servility” against his “freedom.” Abdiel countered that to serve God is the way of Nature, as in the natural hierarchy God is monarch. Abdiel then... (full context)
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...chaos and destruction in Heaven, but not as much as might have occurred had not God limited the strength of each angel and arranged their strategies of battle. Finally Satan fought... (full context)
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...“Two planets” colliding, until Michael struck Satan with his sword, which was specially tempered by God himself. The sword sheared off Satan’s entire right side, so that he knew the horror... (full context)
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...they fought back. There would have been even more damage done to Heaven had not God then sent his Son to end the conflict and prove himself as worthy of deity. (full context)
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The Son put on all the armor and power of God and rode forth in the divine chariot. Michael immediately drew the Heavenly army back and... (full context)
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...army in glory, and all the angels praised and worshipped him. The Son re-ascended to God’s throne and sat down at the right hand of his Father. Raphael says again that... (full context)
Book 7
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...of creation is not a secret from humans, as it will help Adam further glorify God. Raphael does warn Adam that the “appetite” for knowledge requires temperance, but then he begins... (full context)
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In describing this new race, God said that they would not dwell in Heaven until they had proved themselves “by degrees... (full context)
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After God’s announcement the angels all praised him for bringing “Good out of evil.” The Son then... (full context)
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The Son (now referred to as God) divided the land from the water on the second day, and on the third day... (full context)
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God then created his “master work,” a creature who stood upright and had the “sanctity of... (full context)
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...the mortal universe directly beneath Heaven so that angels could easily commune back and forth. God rested on the “seventh day” while angels praised him and his new creation, and this... (full context)
Book 8
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...the movements of the stars and planets, the relative size of the Earth, and why God created such huge heavenly bodies to serve the smaller Earth (if they indeed rotate around... (full context)
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...that size does not necessarily mean importance when it comes to heavenly bodies, and that God has concealed his designs regarding the movements of the orbs. Raphael does not answer whether... (full context)
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...was absent on the day of Adam’s creation. He was busy on an errand from God, checking that the gates of Hell remained closed, so that no devils could escape and... (full context)
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Adam was then visited by a vision of God, who explained how and why he was created and gave him dominion over Eden and... (full context)
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...companion, and none of the animals shared his gifts of speech and reason. He asked God for a companion, as he longed to share his thoughts with someone else and he... (full context)
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...Adam woke up to search for her. Then she came to him, led on by God’s voice. Adam immediately thanked God for Eve’s creation and announced that she would be his... (full context)
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...as the sun is setting, and as he leaves he again warns Adam to love God before Eve, and for both of them to remain obedient to God and avoid temptation.... (full context)
Book 9
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Satan finally controls his thoughts and reaffirms his purpose to bring evil out of God’s good, and in one day to mar what took it six days for God to... (full context)
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The next morning Adam and Eve wake up and give their usual spontaneous praise to God. Then Eve proposes that she and Adam work separately instead of together as she usually... (full context)
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...if they defend themselves against Satan alone, they will gain “double honour,” and that surely God would not make their happiness so fragile as to depend on them always being together.... (full context)
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...sees the Tree she says the journey was “Fruitless,” as she has been forbidden by God from eating its fruit. Satan asks about this commandment, and Eve reaffirms that she and... (full context)
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...then says that the fruit of the Tree of Knowledge has revealed to him that God actually wants Eve to disobey him, as this will prove her independence and “dauntless virtue”... (full context)
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Satan further says that God has forbidden the fruit so as to keep Adam and Eve “low and ignorant” instead... (full context)
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...thinks about Satan’s persuasive words. She muses that the fruit must be very powerful if God has forbidden it, and if the serpent has truly eaten it then she doesn’t need... (full context)
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...He knows he will be dooming himself by eating the fruit, but reasons that surely God would not destroy them or punish them too harshly. Eve is delighted at his faithful... (full context)
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...lost, and evil got.” Adam laments that he will never be able to look at God or an angel again without shame. The two are suddenly aware of their nakedness, and... (full context)
Book 10
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Back in Heaven, God immediately knows when Adam and Eve eat the forbidden fruit. The angelic guards of Eden... (full context)
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The Son reminds God that whatever judgment he passes will later fall on himself, as he has already volunteered... (full context)
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...gave him the fruit to eat, and as she had been given to Adam by God he couldn’t suspect her of sinning. The Son immediately rebukes Adam, asking if Eve is... (full context)
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...that the serpent tricked her into eating the fruit. The Son (now referred to as God) immediately condemns the serpent to forever crawl on its belly as a punishment for being... (full context)
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God punishes Eve by condemning all women to suffer in childbirth and to submit to their... (full context)
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...devils are allowed to return to their usual forms, but every year in the future God punishes them this way. (full context)
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...feast on the plants, the animals, and then on humans after she has corrupted them. God watches the two from Heaven and laments to his angels how they are ruining his... (full context)
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The angels sing praises about God’s justice, and then God sends them down from Heaven to alter the universe. They either... (full context)
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...sin, and he wishes that he could bear all the punishment himself. He doesn’t understand God’s sense of justice, that he should punish the whole universe and all future humans for... (full context)
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...was deceived by the serpent, but then she accepts the full blame for disobeying both God and Adam and wishes that God would place all the punishment on her. (full context)
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...portion of the punishment she has, then Eve shouldn’t wish for the full brunt of God’s wrath. Adam decides that they should stop blaming each other, but try to lessen their... (full context)
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Adam warns Eve about the dangers of despairing, and that God will not allow her to escape punishment even by killing herself. He reminds Eve of... (full context)
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...He then suggests that they return to the place where they were punished and ask God for forgiveness and grace. Eve agrees, and the two fall on their knees, weeping and... (full context)
Book 11
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God hears Adam and Eve’s prayers, which were themselves inspired by his grace. The Son intercedes... (full context)
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God commands Michael to be firm with Adam and Eve, but also kind, and to show... (full context)
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Adam and Eve finish their prayers, and Adam anticipates that God will hear them and be merciful. Again he reminds Eve of the prophecy about bruising... (full context)
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...the loss of their beautiful home. Michael comforts them, but Adam knows he must obey God’s command. (full context)
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Adam laments that he will never be able to speak with God again, and that if he had been allowed to remain in Paradise he would have... (full context)
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First Adam sees two men offering sacrifices to God, and when one is accepted by God and the other not, the second man kills... (full context)
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...him that these people are just as sinful as the murderers earlier. They have forgotten God and live only for pleasure, the women forgetting their domestic duties and the men allowing... (full context)
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...spoke out against them was Enoch, the only righteous man left in the world, and God took him up to Heaven as a reward. The next vision shows more scenes of... (full context)
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Michael describes all the sins of the humans God destroyed in the flood, and tells how God instructed the one righteous man (Noah) to... (full context)
Book 12
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...stock” from Noah’s family. While they still remember their punishment people are more obedient to God than before the flood, and they offer him many sacrifices of livestock and crops. (full context)
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...forces his subjects to build a huge tower, hoping to reach Heaven and gain fame. God sees this and disrupts the tower’s construction by making all the workers suddenly speak different... (full context)
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...condemning the sin of trying to rule over other humans, who should remain free. Only God has rightful dominion, and he gave men to rule only over animals and plants, not... (full context)
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Michael continues, saying that humans will grow ever more sinful until God turns away from all of them except for one righteous man, Abraham, who obeys God... (full context)
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...later move to Egypt and eventually become enslaved by the Pharaoh, the king of Egypt. God will then choose a righteous pair of brothers (Moses and Aaron) to deliver the Israelites.... (full context)
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...long time before returning to Canaan. In the desert Moses ascends to Mount Sinai, where God appears to him and deliver the Ten Commandments. These (and other laws) will exist to... (full context)
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...then be many battles and miracles as the Israelites retake Canaan. Adam interrupts, relieved that God will bless a race of humans after they have been cursed for so long, but... (full context)
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David’s son (Solomon) will build a great temple of God, but his descendants will then lose it to a conquering nation (Rome). The Messiah will... (full context)
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...becomes incarnate as a man and allows himself to suffer and die, receiving all of God’s punishment for Adam’s sin. The Son will be hated all his life and then killed... (full context)
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Michael confirms that the followers (Christians) will be persecuted, but says that God will send down a “Comforter” (the Holy Spirit) to protect them with spiritual armor and... (full context)
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...await his offspring. He resolves to live the rest of his life in obedience to God, and in this way to bring good out of evil even in small ways. Michael... (full context)