Glad to check this off of my “classics-I-probably-should-have–already-read” list. Milton’s classic poem about the creation of the world, Satan’s rebellion, Adam and Eve’s fall, and the promise of the Messiah was just delightful.
The poem is wonderfully picturesque. While it is obviously based on biblical events, Milton’s imagination doesn’t run too wild, but rather fills the Genesis narrative in with details that seem profoundly likely. Those folks who say Protestants can’t create great works of art must conveniently overlook Paradise Lost. One qualifier is that Milton was apparently heterodox on the Trinity, which is somewhat noticeable in this tome (i.e. very little of the Holy Ghost, and a subordinationist view of the Son, etc.). However, it was quite an enjoyable piece of literature, and it is clear why it is such an enduring work.
I especially enjoyed the description of Adam and Eve’s marriage before the fall, and it would certainly put egalitarian panties in a bunch and probably perplex overbearing patriarchalists. Satan’s deception of Eve is quite a marvelous and insightful portion as well. The final section is the archangel Michael revealing to Adam how history will play out, and shows him that the promised redeemer would be “slaine for bringing Life.” That portion, while certainly imaginative and not authoritative, was just the bees knees. I’ve included a few selections from that section: