I am finally back to it. I finished book 3.

Here we begin to see how Light equals good and darkness equals bad. I have a friend who brings up a good point about this binary (and as you know– all those binaries need to be questioned in our postmodern world view), he says that this one makes sense. That light IS good if only for evolutionary reasons. When we were cave-men and women, the light was good because it helped us see predators coming, light made vegetation possible, brought warmth, etc.. Whereas darkness meant we couldn’t see what was going on, meant fewer crops to eat, meant cold. It makes sense then that God should be light– the giver of life and that Satan would be hell fire and darkness. But I digress…

Milton begins by asking his muse, this time “holy light,” to inspire him, but Milton hesitates and worries about his invocation. Milton calls this holy light coeternal with God because does that then mean that this light is as powerful as God? Brought up Catholic, for me, that is exactly what it means. Well, not so much that this “holy light” is just as powerful as God, but that this holy light is God. Just like Jesus Christ IS God. And then, Milton gets back to the plot.

God is sitting around with his son, Jesus Christ. Which to me brings up more questions about this holy trinity: Where did Jesus come from? God just created Jesus? If God just created Jesus, how is Jesus His son? I guess we are all “sons of God”, but then doesn’t that mean that anyone could have died and been sacrificed for humanities’ sin?

So– God is seeing Satan coming towards His new creation earth, and since God is all knowing, God knows what is about to happen. He knows that man will be tempted and fall, and He knows that He can’t do anything about it because He has given man free will. And this part is a nice explanation of free will and why man had to fall. If God doesn’t give man free-will (and sorry for the male-centered rhetoric “man” and such– it is just easier), then the creation is a false one. But my question then is, again, if we are given free will then why is God so mad when Adam and Eve defy Him and eat the apple?

And here, Milton gives us a summary of how merciful God is going to be with humankind because Man, unlike the Angels, was tricked into this fall; whereas, the Angels chose to rebel without any corrosion. Though this might be a sticky subject to, no? I’m sure some Angels that fell with Satan were, maybe not “tricked” but influenced by Satan’s silver tongue.

But back to the story: God sees what will happen and decides he will be merciful with man, Jesus points out that man has to suffer something, that justice must be paid (why is justice talked about as a commodity? Something has to be “paid”). But this whole exchange in which Jesus reminds God that, hey– you can’t just let them off the hook, someone has to pay– seems contrived. God tells J.C. that some sacrifice has to be made, and then J.C. volunteers. But didn’t God see that one coming? And if God is this trinity, isn’t God, himself, who is sacrificing himself? This stuff hurts my brain sometimes…

God and the angels in heaven praise J.C. for three pages, and then the story returns to Satan landing on earth. It is interesting that Milton makes sure the reader knows that Satan is on earth at a time before there are things on earth that will distract man from God and make man vain. Again, doesn’t this go back to free-will? It is easy to praise God and do what He says if you have no distractions.

Satan then disguises himself as a cherub and tells the Angel guarding the gate that he is curios and wants to check out the new creation.

That is all the energy I have right now to deal with Book III. For whatever reason, it has taken me a long time to get through this and be able to write about it. I am looking forward to Book IV, in which Satan tempts our unsuspecting first couple.