Book 3 Summary

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God the Father sits upon his throne in the “pure empyrean” of heaven, with the Son at his right hand. They are watching Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden, and they also see Satan as he flies across the abyss. God remarks on this, telling his Son that Satan is bent upon revenge and that he will initially succeed. Adam and Eve will listen to his lies and disobey the commands of God, since he has given them the freedom to do so. He will punish them for their disobedience but will be merciful in doing so. He contrasts their fate with that of Satan and the other fallen angels, who were not tempted into sin but fell through their own depravity.

God tells the Son that he will offer mankind the opportunity for salvation. However, someone must act as a sacrifice to divine justice to allow them this opportunity. The Son volunteers to take this burden upon himself. He will yield to Death but will rise again and return to heaven, since God has given him eternal life.

God describes how the Son will be born on earth “of virgin seed” and will atone for Adam’s sin, giving man a second chance to receive the gift of eternal life and bringing good out of evil. The Son will eventually receive the homage of the entire universe and will return to earth in glory for the Last Judgment. The angels praise God for his mercy and the Son for his sacrifice.

Meanwhile, Satan reaches earth, where he wanders until he reaches a palace gate made of gold and jewels, beyond which are stairs that lead to heaven. Satan begins to mount the stairs and then flies to the glittering surface of the sun, from which he sees the archangel Uriel standing on a hill. Satan disguises himself as a cherub and approaches Uriel, saying that he has come to see God’s newly created world and those who live there. Uriel is deceived by Satan’s disguise and points him towards Paradise, where Adam lives.

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