May 26, 2007

Paradise Lost (Ridnitzy Geändert)

A great flash and a thunderous roar and all is dark again. Satan lies stunned beside his second-in-command, Beelzebub, in a lake of fire that gives off darkness instead of light. Breaking the awful silence, Satan bemoans their terrible position, but does not repent of his rebellion against God, suggesting that they might gather their forces for another attack. Beelzebub is doubtful; he now believes that God cannot be overpowered. Satan does not fully contradict this assessment, but suggests that they could at least pervert God’s good works to evil purposes.

The two devils then rise up and, spreading their soiled wings, fly over to the dry land next to the flaming lake. Beelzebub notes how their chains have been released but Satan pretends he has not heard.

Out of the lake Satan sees the magnitude of one third of Heavens fallen angels. He comforts himself, if he achieved this, he can achieve more. He calls the rest of the fallen angelsto join him on land. They immediately obey and, despite their wounds and suffering, fly up to gather on the plain.

Even in defeat, they are an awesome army to behold before him. Satan’s unrepentant evil nature is even more unwavering. Even cast down in defeat, he does not consider changing his ways: he insists to his fellow devils that their delight will be in doing evil, not good. In particular, as he explains to Beelzebub, he wishes to pervert God’s will and find a way to make evil out of good.

Moloch asks how he intends to do this as the battle has just demonstrated God’s overwhelming power. Satan has to use cunning to counter these diffucult questions. Beelzebab whispers in his ear that the devils could not even have lifted themselves off the lake of fire unless God had allowed it and warns him to change the subject. His continued envy and search for freedom leads him to believe that he would rather be a king in Hell than a servant in Heaven. Satan’s pride has caused him to believe that his own free intellect is as great as God’s will and he immedietly seees a way out of it. Satan remarks that the mind can make its own Hell out of Heaven, or in his case, its own Heaven out of Hell.

Satan eloquently addresses his comrades and acknowledges their shame in falling to the heavenly forces, but urges them to gather in order to consider whether another war is feasible. But first let us begin making our own Heaven out of Hell. Instantly, the legions of devils dig into the bowels of the ground, unearthing gold and other minerals. With their inhuman powers they construct a great temple . It is called Pandemonium . It took six hundred, three score and six days to build, and the hundreds of thousands of demonic troops gather there to hold a summit.

Before the summit Satan meets with Beelzebab and they discuss the issues at hand. Beelzebab warns Satan that Moloch rallies the devils for a second war and not to antagonize him too much as most of the devils see him as their hero. He tells him not to fret as they have a more influential chief devils on their side.

Satan opens the debate in Pandemonium by claiming that Heaven is not yet lost, and that the fallen angels might rise up stronger in another battle if they work together. He opens the floor, and the pro-war devil Moloch speaks first. Moloch was one of the fiercest fighters in the war in Heaven, and he anxiously pleads for another open war, this time armed with the weapons of Hell. He reasons that nothing, even their destruction, could be worse than Hell, and so they have nothing to lose by another attack. Belial speaks up to contradict him. He eloquently offers calm reason to counter Moloch’s fiery temper, and claims that God has not yet punished them as fiercely as he might if they went to war with him again. After all, they are no longer chained to the fiery lake, which was their previous and worse punishment; since God may one day forgive them, it is better that they live with what they now have. But peace is not really what he advocates; rather, Belial uses his considerable intelligence to find excuses to prevent further war and to advocate lassitude and inaction. Beelzebab nods when Satan looks his way. Mammon speaks up next, and refuses to ever bow down to God again. He prefers to peacefully advance their freedom and asks the devils to be industrious in Hell. Through hard work, the devils can make Hell their own kingdom to mimic Heaven. This argument meets with the greatest support among the legions of the fallen, who receive his suggestion with applause. Beelzebab nods when Satan looks his way who cannot help grinning.

Quiet falls upon the crowd as the respected Beelzebub begins to speak. He also prefers freedom to servitude under God, he consolidates Mammon and that now was not the time to fight but to plan. Moloch shows a disgruntled face and seeing how all the deemons have been moved he storms out the Pandamonium with his cohort leaving behind a grinning Satan.

By themselves, Satan confronts Beelzebab about his plan. Beelzebab reveals that before the war rumors had been circulating in Heaven about a new world that is to be created, to be filled with a race called Man, whom God will favor more than the angels. Beelzebub advises Satan that they seek their revenge by destroying or corrupting this new beloved race. On the next day Satan announces this plan and the rest of the devils agree and vote unanimously in favor of this plan. In feats of staged heroics Satan volunteers himself to be the scout to find out about this new world.

The other devils break into groups to discuss the outcome of the debate. Beelzebab instructs Belial to spy on Moloch and Satan flies off to find Hell’s gate. When he approaches, he sees that it is actually nine gates—three each of brass, iron, and adamantine—and that two strange shapes stand guard in front. One looks like a woman down to her waist, but below has the form of a serpent, with a pack of howling dogs around her waist. The other is only a dark shape. Satan chooses to confront the shape, demanding passage through the gates. They are about to do battle when the woman-beast cries out. She explains to Satan who she and her companion are and how they came to be, claiming that they are in fact Satan’s own offspring. While Satan was still an angel, she sprang forth from his head, and was named Sin. Satan then incestuously impregnated her, and she gave birth to a ghostly son named Death. Death in turn raped his mother Sin, begetting the dogs that now torment her. Sin and Death were then assigned to guard the gate of Hell and hold its keys. I hold the master key said Sin and I hold the other key said Death.

Apparently, Satan had forgotten these events. Now he speaks less violently to them and explains his plot against God. After Satan’s persuasion, they are more than eager to help him. Sin unlocks the great gates, which open into the vast dark abyss of night. Satan flies out but then begins to fall, until a cloud of fire catches and carries him. He hears a great tumult of noise and makes his way toward it; it is Chaos, ruler of the abyss. Chaos is joined by his consort Night, with Confusion, Discord and others at their side. Satan explains his plan to Chaos as well. He asks for help, saying that in return he will reclaim the territory of the new world, thus returning more of the universe to disorder, Satan knew that the Human world had been created against what Chaos stood for and that Chaos dispised it. Chaos agrees and points out the way to where the Earth has recently been created. With great difficulty, Satan moves onward, and Sin and Death follow far behind, building a bridge from Hell to Earth on which evil spirits can travel to tempt mortals.

The scene shifts to Heaven, where God has been watching all of the events in Hell with his Son sitting at his right hand. He sees Satan flying up toward the new Earth and the parents of mankind. At the same time, he sees everything that will happen because of it, perceiving past, present, and future simultaneously. He sees that man will fall, of his own fault, because God gave him free will—yet without that will, man would not be capable of sincere love. Man would merely go through the motions. While it would be just to punish man for his own actions, God determines that he will act primarily out of love and mercy. The Son, full of compassion, praises God for his kindness toward man, but asks how mercy can be given without destroying justice. God answers that a suitable sacrifice must be made: someone worthy must offer to die to pay for man’s sin. The angelic choirs are silent, but the Son immediately offers himself.

He will become mortal so that God can yield to Death and conquer Hell. God is overjoyed, even though he will be giving up his son, because he knows that it is good to sacrifice his son for the salvation of the human race, in order for justice and mercy to be served. Those that have faith in the Son will be redeemed, but those who do not accept grace will still be doomed to Hell. The choirs of angels now break into a song of praise extolling the goodness of both Father and Son, which will turn a sorrowful deed into greater glory for both God and man.

The story returns to Satan, who lands on Earth. There are not yet any living things there. Satan sees a high-reaching structure in the distance, an enormous kingly gate in the sky with stairs leading all the way down to Earth. This gate guards Heaven. Satan climbs up a few steps to get a better view. He sees the new creation in all its glory, but can only feel jealousy. He does not stay put for long, though: he is drawn by the golden sun, hanging above the green and lush land, and flies toward it. There he sees an angel standing on a hill. To deceive him, Satan changes to a cherub, or low-ranking angel. Recognizing the other angel as the Archangel Uriel, Satan approaches and addresses him. Satan claims to have just come down from Heaven, full of curiosity about the new world he has been hearing so much about, and curious about its inhabitants. Satan’s transformation and his speech are so flawless that even Uriel cannot see through the subterfuge. The Archangel is pleased that a young angel is showing so much zeal to find out about the world that God brought out of the Chaos from earth, air, wind and fire. He happily points out the way to Paradise, where Adam lives. After giving his due respects, Satan flies off with dark intentions.

He lands atop Mount Niphates, just north of Paradise, the Garden of Eden. He becomes gripped with doubt about the task in front of him; seeing the beauty and innocence of Earth has reminded him of what he once was. He even briefly considers whether he could be forgiven if he repented. But Hell follows him wherever he goes—Satan is actually the embodiment of Hell. If he asks the Father for forgiveness, he knows it would be a false confession; he reasons that if he returned to Heaven, he still could not bear to bow down. Knowing redemption or salvation cannot be granted to him, he resolves to continue to commit acts of sin and evil. He does not notice that during his internal debate, he has inadvertently revealed his devilish nature.

He is observed by Uriel, the archangel he tricked into pointing the way. Uriel notices his conflicting facial expressions, and since all cherubs have permanent looks of joy on their faces, Uriel concludes that Satan cannot be a cherub

Satan now approaches Eden,and hee easily leaps over the thicket wall like a wolf entering a sheep’s pen. Inside he sees an idyllic world, with all varieties of animals and trees. He can see the tallest of the trees, the Tree of Life—and next to it, the forbidden Tree of Knowledge. He perches himself on the Tree of Life, disguised as a cormorant, a large sea bird. Finally, he notices two creatures walking erect among the other animals. They walk naked without shame, and work pleasantly, tending the garden. Satan’s pain and envy intensifies as he sees this new beautiful race, created after he and his legions fell. He could have loved them, but now, his damnation will be revenged through their destruction. He continues to watch them, and the man, Adam, speaks. He tells Eve not to complain of the work they have to do but to be obedient to God, since God has given them so many blessings, and only one constraint: they must not eat the fruit of the Tree of Knowledge. Eve agrees wholeheartedly, and they embrace.

Eve tells Adam of her first awakening as she came to life and how she wondered who and where she was. She found a river and followed it upstream to its source. Her path led to a clear, smooth lake, and Eve looked into the lake, seeing an image in its surface, which she soon discovers is her own. She hears a voice explaining to her that she was made out of Adam, and with him she will become of mother of the human race. Overlooking Adam and Eve, Satan sees his opportunity. If the Father has given them a rule to follow, then they might be persuaded to break it. He leaves the two for a while, going off to learn more from other angels.

Meanwhile, Uriel comes before the Archangel Gabriel, at the gate of Eden, and tells him about the shape-changing spirit that he saw from the hilltop. They both suspect that it might be one of the fallen ones. Gabriel declares that if the spirit is in the garden, they will find it by morning. Around this time, Adam and Eve finish their day’s work. They go to their leafy bower, praising God and each other for their blissful life, and after a short prayer, they lie together—making love without sin, because lust had not yet tainted their natures.

Night falls, and Gabriel sends search parties into the Garden. Two of his angels find Satan, disguised as a toad, whispering into the ear of Eve as she sleeps. They pull him before Gabriel, who recognizes him, and demands to know what he is doing in Paradise. Satan at first feigns innocence, as they have no proof that he means harm. But Gabriel knows him to be a liar, and threatens to drag him back to Hell. Enraged by this threat, Satan prepares to fight him. The two square off for a decisive battle, but a sign from Heaven—the appearance in the sky of a pair of golden scales—stops them. Satan recognizes the sign as meaning he could not win, he grits his teeth and flies off.

Meanwhile, in Heaven, God calls the Archangel Raphael to his side. He does not want Adam and Eve to claim that the devil took them by surprise if they are lured into disobedience, so he instructs Raphael to tell Adam about the danger in store for him. When Raphael arrives in Paradise, the couple warmly welcomes him. They eat together, and Raphael explains the differences between heavenly food and earthly food. After the meal, Eve leaves the scene and allows Raphael to speak to Adam.

Raphael first describes the composition of the things God created on Earth. God gave different kinds of substance to all living things. The highest substance is spirit, which God put into humankind. Below humans are animals, which have living flesh but no spirit, followed by plants and then inanimate objects. Each group possesses the attributes of the groups below it; for instance, whereas animals have physical senses, humankind possesses all of the same senses plus the ability to reason. Raphael says that man is the highest being on Earth because of his God-given ability to reason, and warns Adam to always choose obedience to God. Adam wonders how any being created by God could choose to be disobedient, but Raphael explains that Adam was created as perfect yet mutable, endowed with the power to maintain his perfection but also the power to lose it. Adam desires to know more, and asks how disobedience first came into Heaven. To answer, Raphael relates the story of Satan’s fall.

When Heaven was still at peace, Raphael explains, all the hierarchies of angels were obedient to God. One day the Father announced to them that he had begotten a son, who was to rule at his right hand. While God’s announcement pleased most of the angels, one of them was angry. That angry angel lost his heavenly name, and is now called Satan. Proud to be one of the highest archangels, Satan felt that he deserved the same powers as God. Jealous of the Son, he persuaded one third of the other angels in Heaven to join him. Satan erected his own throne in heaven, and told his followers that they should not allow themselves to be unjustly ruled. One of these followers, however, disagreed. He was named Abdiel the dark angel, ,and after arguing with Satan he faithfully returned to the side of God, braving the scorn of the other rebellious angels who swore to haunt him. Abdiel, who confronted Satan and the other rebel angels and tells them that their defeat is imminent. Beelzebab spitefully warns Abdiel that some of the Humans will be made in his likeness and they shall be forever tormented because of him. He leaves the followers of Satan and is welcomed back into the ranks of God. He is forgiven by God and praised for his loyalty, obedience, and resistance of evil.

A standstill prevailed for a long time until an angel came flying like a falcon through to God’s Chambers. He announced in a load voice that Satans legion moved on Heaven. God says that He knew the day was comingGod appoints Gabriel and Michael the leaders of Heaven’s army to meet Satan. He instructs them to take only half of the Heaven’s army. “then let us go and meet him and strike him where he stands”.They obey and depart.

The Son prepares for battle but God tells Him not to. “Today is not your battle. Your battle is to come, an even greater battle, prepare yourself”

As you wish father,” He bows and leaves His Presence.

The two armies line up in full view of each other, waiting for the signal to attack. Satan and Abdiel square off in the middle; they exchange insults, and then blows, and the battle begins. Both sides fight fiercely and evenly until Michael, the co-leader of the good angels, deals Satan a blow with an unusually large and intimidating sword. The sword slices through Satan’s entire right side, and the rebellious angels then retreat with their wounded leader.

Beelzebab tends to his leader and points out that his body fails and that he must leave it. Irgo comses forth and tells him his clone is ready to be possessed. They move Satan near the clone and His essence departs the dying body into the new one. Satan rises again. He regroups for the next day of fighting. Satan easily rouses himself and his followers for a second day of battle arguing that better weapons must yield better results and now that they had knowlwdge they could do many things. He plans to use a secret weapon, cannons. Beelzebab informs Satan that the knowledge was of limited use. Energy weapons were useless on angels as their essence was energy in nature and could channel the energy. But one invention showed promise, a mixture of sulphur,

Satan’s army unveils the cannons the next day and bombards the angels. The angels find themselves at a disadvantage as their armor becomes a hindrance to their escape. Michael finally provides a solution: the angels erect huge shields across the battlefield to negate the devils’ artillery. They assemble in formation and hallow out into Capria’s Horns that magnifies the wave, sending tremendous shock waves through that upheave the ground and overturn the rebel lines burying some of them and their artillery.The rebel angels must slowly dig themselves out from underneath the rubble and reassemble.

Night falls, and God decides that there will be no fighting on the third day, and that the war must now end. He gave the sword of Destiny to Gabriel, It shone a brilliant light that blinded and it had been touched by the hand of God. Gabriel rode on a great chariot around the battlefield. And cut down many devils. The Devils seeing this turned in panic and confusion and Heaven army surrounded them, Satan included. They are driven outside the Gate of Heaven through a hole in Heaven’s ground. They fall for nine days through Chaos, before landing in Hell.

Raphael warns Adam and Eve that Satan has begun to plot the doom of mankind. Raphael hypothesizes that Satan, in order to get revenge, wishes to make them commit sin to tarnish God’s beloved creation. Raphael adds that Satan may also want others to rebel against God and suffer a similar fate. Raphael explains to Adam that they must fear Satan and must not yield to his evil plot.

Adam asks Raphael about how and why the world was created, as well as about his own creation. Adam initially believes that he may not be allowed to hear the story of creation, so he asks cautiously, although his curiosity is overwhelming. Raphael agrees to tell him, explaining that the story of creation is not a secret to be kept from human beings. Raphael begins by picking up where he left off, with the fall of Satan and his rebel followers. He explains that shortly after the fall, the Father wished to forge a new race, partly to erase the memory of the rebellion and partly to make up for the rebels’ absence from the ranks of God’s loyal creations. Raphael believes that by replacing the fallen angels, God renders Satan unable to claim that he diminished God’s creation. By creating Earth and mankind in a nearly empty part of the universe, God shows the fallen angels that his glorious kingdom can be expanded indefinitely. For all these reasons, God decides to create Earth and humans, with the idea that Earth and Heaven will eventually be joined together as one kingdom through mankind’s obedience to God’s divine will.

Satan returns to the Garden of Eden the night after Raphael’s departure. Satan’s return comes eight days after he was caught and banished by Gabriel. He sneaks in over the wall, avoiding Gabriel and the other guards. After studying all the animals of the Garden, Satan considers what disguise he should assume, and chooses to become a snake. Before he can continue, however, he again hesitates—not because of doubt this time, but because of his grief at not being able to enjoy this wondrous new world. He struggles to control his thoughts. He now believes that the Earth is more beautiful than Heaven ever was, and becomes jealous of Adam and Eve and their chosen status to occupy and maintain Paradise. He gripes that the excess beauty of Earth causes him to feel more torment and anguish. Gathering his thoughts into action, he finds a sleeping serpent and enters its body.

The next morning, Adam and Eve prepare for their usual morning labors. Realizing that they have much work to do, Eve suggests that they work separately, so that they might get more work done. Adam is not keen on this idea. He fears that they will be more susceptible to Satan’s temptation if they are alone. Eve, however, is eager to have her strength tested. After much resistance, Adam concedes, as Eve promises Adam that she will return to their bower soon. They go off to do their gardening independently.

Satan, in the form of the serpent, searches for the couple. He is delighted to find Eve alone. Coiling up, he gets her attention, and begins flattering her beauty, grace, and godliness. Eve is amazed to see a creature of the Garden speak. He tells her in enticing language that he gained the gifts of speech and intellect by eating the savory fruit of one of the trees in the garden. He flatters Eve by saying that eating the apple also made him seek her out in order to worship her beauty.

Eve is amazed by the power that this fruit supposedly gives the snake. Curious to know which tree holds this fruit, Eve follows Satan until he brings her to the Tree of Knowledge. She recoils, telling him that God has forbidden them to eat from this tree, but Satan persists, arguing that God actually wants them to eat from the tree. Satan says that God forbids it only because he wants them to show their independence.

Eve is now seriously tempted.

The flattery has made her desire to know more. She reasons that God claimed that eating from this tree meant death, but the serpent ate (or so he claims) and not only does he still live, but can speak and think. God would have no reason to forbid the fruit unless it were powerful, Eve thinks, and seeing it right before her eyes makes all of the warnings seem exaggerated. It looks so perfect to Eve. She reaches for an apple, plucks it from the tree, and takes a bite. The Earth then feels wounded and nature sighs in woe, for with this act, humankind has fallen.

Eve’s first fallen thought is to find Adam and to have him eat of the forbidden fruit too so that they might be equal. She finds him nearby, and in hurried words tells him that she has eaten the fruit, and that her eyes have been opened. Adam drops the wreath of flowers he made for her. He is horrified because he knows that they are now doomed, but immediately decides that he cannot possibly live without Eve. Eve does not want Adam to remain and have another woman; she wants him to suffer the same fate as she. Adam realizes that if she is to be doomed, then he must follow. He eats the fruit. He too feels invigorated at first. He turns a lustful eye on Eve, and they run off into the woods for sexual play.

Adam and Eve fall asleep briefly, but upon awakening they see the world in a new way. They recognize their sin, and realize that they have lost Paradise. At first, Adam and Eve both believe that they will gain glorious amounts of knowledge, but the knowledge that they gained by eating the apple was only of the good that they had lost and the evil that they had brought upon themselves. They now see each other’s nakedness and are filled with shame. They cover themselves with leaves continue to blame each other for committing the sin, while neither will admit any fault. Their shameful and tearful argument continues for hours.

God knows immediately that Adam and Eve have eaten from the Tree of Knowledge. Gabriel and the other angels guarding Paradise also know, and they fly back up to Heaven. They report that they did all they could to prevent Satan from re-entering the Garden

In Paradise, the Son first condemns the serpent, whose body Satan possessed to tempt Eve. He ordains that all snakes now must crawl on their bellies, never to carry themselves upright again. The Son decrees that Adam and Eve’s children will bruise the serpent’s head, while serpent will forever bite humans by the heel. As punishment for the couple, Eve and all women to follow will give birth in pain, and must submit to their husbands. Likewise, Adam and all men after him will have to labour to hunt and harvest food in cursed ground. After passing these sentences, the Son returns to Heaven.

Meanwhile in Hell, Sin and Death remain at the gate of Hell where Satan left them. Sensing that Satan has succeeded in his task, they finish the bridge linking Hell to Earth and begin to travel toward Earth to meet him. At the edge of Paradise, Sin and Death meet Satan. They congratulate him for succeeding in his mission and promise him that they will infect the Earth. Death will corrupt all living things, causing them to die, and Sin will corrupt the thoughts and deeds of humankind. They also tell Satan that his success must have allowed them to leave Hell, proving that he has established his control over humankind and Earth. Satan thanks Sin and Death for their praises and urges them to hurry on their way to conquer Earth. Satan believes that he has in fact acquired the special powers Sin and Death spoke of. Now, Satan goes back down to Hell, where his followers have been eagerly waiting his return. Satan speaks to them from Pandemonium, tells them of his triumph, and expects to hear riotous applause. Instead, he hears hisses signifying scorn for him and his devastating act.

Moloch dives at the chance to insult Satan. “Is this the plan you spoke so highly of? This is now our natural state.” Beelzebab snaps at him saying that they can still transform and that no one said it would be easy.

The devils have all been transformed into snakes, along with Satan, who did not understand the punishment the Son foretold. A grove of trees appears in Hell, with fruit that turns to ashes as soon as the snakes try to bite it.

Sin and Death arrive on Earth and begin their work. From Heaven, God sees that they have come to Earth and tells his angels that he will allow Sin and Death to stay on Earth until Judgement Day. After then, they must return to Hell and be forever locked up with Satan and the other devils.

God now calls for his angels to alter the universe. They tilt the Earth’s axis or alter the path of the sun (the poem allows for both interpretations). Now humankind will have to endure extreme hot and cold seasons, instead of enjoying the constant temperate climate that existed before Adam and Eve’s fall from God’s grace. Meanwhile, Discord follows Sin to Earth and causes animals to war with each other and with humans too. Seeing these changes, Adam is sorrowful, and laments. He knows that the rest of humankind will suffer because of his disobedience, and wishes that he could bear all of the punishment upon himself. He curses life and wishes that Death would come at once to alleviate his misery. Instead, Eve comes to him. But Adam is angry; he blames and insults Eve’s female nature, wondering why God ever created her. She begs his forgiveness, and pleads with him not to leave her. She reminds him that the snake tricked her, but she fully accepts the blame for sinning against both God and him. She argues that unity and love can save them in a fallen world. She longs for death and suggests that they take their own lives, but Adam forbids it. Eve’s speech affects Adam. He becomes calm, consoling her and sharing responsibility for their fall. They must stop blaming each other, he says. They must live with their mistakes and make the most out of their fallen state. Remembering the prophecy that Eve’s seed would bruise the head of the serpent, he feels that there is hope for humankind and advises that they obey God and implore his mercy and forgiveness. They return to the spot where they were punished. There, they fall to their knees, confess their sins, and ask for forgiveness.

God hears the prayers of Adam and Eve, inspired by his own grace. He allows his Son to act as an advocate for humankind, and eventually pay for humankind’s sins. The Father then calls all the angels of Heaven together, and announces his plans. He commands the Archangel Michael to go down to Earth and escort Adam and Eve out of Paradise. They can no longer live in a pure place now that they are impure. But through leading a good and moral life, they may be reunited with God after their death.

He reassures Eve that she will be able to seek revenge on Satan by being the mother of humankind. She still feels ashamed for bringing Sin and Death into the world, and does not feel that she deserves to have such a role. Nevertheless, she asserts, she will try to obey God and live peacefully in Paradise.

Adam laments that he will never be able to speak with God again, but Michael explains that Adam can speak to God wherever he goes. The Archangel then puts Eve to sleep and takes Adam up to a high hill to show him visions of humankind’s future.

From the highest hill in Paradise, Michael allows Adam to see nearly an entire hemisphere of the Earth. Adam sees two men offering sacrifices, and watches in horror as one of them kills the other. Michael explains that these men are Cain and Abel, the first sons of Adam and Eve. Adam is shocked and dismayed at his first vision of death. The angel then shows him the other ways that death will take the lives of men: disease, war, and old age. Adam asks if there is any alternative to death, woefully declaring that he could not die too soon, but Michael advises him that obeying God and living a virtuous life can allow people to live long and fruitful lives, so long as Heaven permits.

Next a vision appears of men and women enjoying dances, games, and amorous courting. Adam assumes that this vision is a good portent, but Michael informs him that they are atheists who live for pleasure, not for God, and that they will die as well. This image is followed by the appearance of great armies, slaughtering men by the thousands and plundering cities. Michael tells how war will be praised by violent men, and many terrible conquerors will be admired as heroes. One man, Michael explains, will try to prevent these wars: Enoch. The other men shun him and threaten to kill him, until God lifts him up and brings him safely to Heaven. The scene then changes to further sins of death and dancing and sex. These scenes depict a later era in which sins of the flesh will abound. A single man can be seen, preaching to the others to repent and stop this evil way of life, but he is ignored. He goes off into the mountains and constructs a giant boat, filling it with all the animals of the Earth, and his family. A great flood then comes, wiping out all living things except those on the boat. The good man who builds the boat is Noah. Michael explains how God was angered by humankind’s sinful ways, and decided to cleanse the earth of them. He finds one virtuous man, Noah, and preserves humankind through him. The flood wipes out all human life except for Noah and his family. At the end of the flood, Adam sees a rainbow appear and God’s covenant with humankind that he will never again destroy the Earth by flood. Adam feels reassured by this story and its promise that virtue and obedience to God will continue on Earth through Noah.

After the flood, humankind develops from a “second stock”: Noah and his family (XII.7). Humans now act more obediently to God than humans before the Flood, offering sacrifices from their flocks and fields. However, several generations later, a leader arrives with proud and ungodly ambitions. This upstart is Nimrod, a tyrant who forces many men under his rule. He constructs the Tower of Babel in an attempt to reach up to Heaven. As punishment, God decrees that men will now speak different languages and be unable to understand each other. Adam agrees with Michael that no one should have dominion over other people, who are by nature free. Michael qualifies this freedom: because of the fall, he says, men only have true liberty when they obey “right reason,” or reason tempered by conscience (XII.84). Still, Michael adds, it remains a great sin for one person to take away the liberty of another.

Continuing his story, Michael explains that God chooses Israel as the one nation to rise above the rest. He takes one person, Abraham, father of the Israelites, from a race that worships idols. At God’s command, Abraham sets off from his native land and travels to Canaan, the Promised Land. His descendants eventually move to Egypt, and become enslaved by Pharaoh, the ruler of Egypt. Finally, a man named Moses is born, and he eventually leads the people out of Egypt, through the plagues brought down upon the Pharaoh. Michael tells how God allowed the Israelites to pass through the Red Sea, then closed the waters around the Pharaoh’s army, which had come to recapture the Israelites. The followers of Moses must travel through the desert to return to Canaan, but they survive with the help of God.

Adam is much relieved to hear that God will bless a portion of humankind, after having it cursed for so long. But he does not understand how all the laws given to these people can possibly be obeyed, or how the Israelites are to remain just before God. Michael replies that they cannot remain just, even if they obey the law, until a greater sacrifice is made. He explains that after generations, the Israelites will turn more and more to sin, until God decides to strengthen their enemies. When they repent, God will save them from these same enemies. After many different rulers, there will come a king named David, and from his descendants will eventually come a Messiah, or chosen one. This Messiah, also known as Jesus or the Son, will once again bring together Earth and Heaven. However, he will have to suffer for it: he shall be hated by many while he lives and will be distrusted, betrayed, and punished by death. However, the grave will not hold this Messiah for long, and rising up he will defeat both Sin and Death, and bruise the head of Satan. His resurrection fulfills the prophecy about the Son finally punishing Satan through his sacrifice. Adam worries that the followers of Jesus will be persecuted, and Michael confirms that they will indeed be persecuted. However, the Archangel says, from Heaven the Messiah will send down the Holy Spirit to provide spiritual protection. But after the first followers die, corrupt leaders as well as good ones will enter the church. Thus those who genuinely follow the truth will still be prosecuted, laments Michael: the world will continue to accommodate evil and make it difficult for individuals to do good deeds. Finally, the Messiah will return a second time, to judge all humankind and reunite Heaven and Earth.

Adam is now more than comforted. He can hardly believe that out of his evil deed so much good will come. Now, however, it is time for him and Eve to leave Paradise. He comes down from the mountain with Michael. Eve awakens from her sleep and tells Adam that she has had an educating dream. Michael then leads the couple to the gate of Eden. There he stands with other angels, brandishing a sword of flame that will forever protect the entrance to Paradise. Slowly and tearfully, Adam and Eve turn away hand in hand with Michael, and wander out into a new world.

Mt Golgotha, The Son is nailed to the cross. A crowd below him scorns and mocks Him. The pain is unbearable. But His heart feels even more pain. The pain of betrayal and treachery, and the pain of humankinds blindness to the truth, the pain of how evil commands their actions.

if you just say the word, a thousand angels will come to you, if you are the Son of God”. The Son refuses to do so, knowing it was not God’s will. He orders Satan to depart from Him. With His last few breathes He asks the Father to forgive humans for they do not know what they do, and he body dies

His spirit drifts out but a dark figure appears before Him. It grabs Him by the hand and starts to drag him off to Hell. He mocks Him saying if He were truly the Son of God, Would not the angels save Him. Slowly over the bridge on to the gates of Hell. When they enter Sin is by the gate. They continue to mock him. Whilst they are busying themselves they do not notice the approach of a man in a hooded cloak. He stands directly infront of the gate. Sin and Death turn when he speaks. He throws the Sword of Destiny to the Son and draws his own. Together they stand and fight Sin and Death. The battle rages on and finally the Son deals a crippling wound on Sin, across her chest and right arm. The necklace that held the master key breaks and the key falls to the ground. Seeing the fall of his Mother, Death has a fit of fury and charges the Son. But his anger caused him to be reckless and the Son strikes him down in three blows. The Son forces him to relinquish his key.

Gabriel praises his Lord for conquering Sin and Death. The Son tells him that humans need not fear Death and Sin no more for He had conquered them and all those who believe in Him shall be saved from their grasps and be free from their torment. He instructs Gabriel to blow his horn to signal the armies of Heaven.

Now we conquer Hell!”

The armies descend like a flood on Hells gates. After three days of fierce battle the conquer Hell. The Son Stands ontop of the Pandamonium and onounces the good news to the captured souls in Hell that they are no longer bound by Sin or Death as the had been conquered, that they can be saved if they believed in Him. The devils were spiteful but they dared not speak as the Son shone brightly to blind the eyes.

He instructed that all those who would believe in Him would be escorted by Him out of Hell out of Sin and Death’s grasp.

The Son then took leave of Hell and returned to His body for the ressuraction in a parade of glorious victory all the way to Earth.

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