Book 5 Summary

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The next morning, Adam has slept well, but Eve’s sleep was disturbed by dreams in which she followed a voice which led her to the Tree of Knowledge. There, an angel was eating fruit from the tree and offered some to Eve, saying that it was “able to make Gods of Men.” Eve flew up into the clouds with the angel but then awoke and was glad to discover that she had been dreaming. The dream worries Adam, but he tells Eve that she cannot be blamed for what happens in dreams and that she is still free to obey God’s commands while she is awake.

In heaven, God summons the archangel Raphael and tells him to warn Adam and Eve that Satan has entered Eden and intends to tempt them to disobedience. Raphael is to remind them that they have free will and can withstand temptation. The archangel flies to Eden, where Adam and Eve receive him as an honored guest. They eat together, and Raphael tells the mortals that he is able to eat earthly food even though he is a pure spirit, since he can transform it into heavenly food through a process like alchemy.

Raphael delivers God’s warning and Adam asks why any of God’s creatures would disobey such a benevolent creator. Raphael replies that God made Adam perfect but “not immutable.” He has free will and can be disobedient if he wishes, since God wants his creatures to love him freely, not because they are forced to do so. He tells Adam that some of the angels have recently rebelled against the will of God and been cast into hell as a consequence. Adam asks Raphael to tell him about this, and Raphael begins the story.

God announced to his angels that he had begotten a son who would rule with him as his equal in heaven. This displeased one of the most powerful archangels, the being now called Satan, who was too proud to worship the Son and felt that he deserved this place of honor himself. He spoke to his lieutenant, now known as Beelzebub, and directed him to assemble the angels they commanded, a third of the angelic host, and order them to fly to the north of heaven. Initially, he told them that they were going there to honor the Son but, when he had them rallied, made a speech exhorting them to rebel against God. All the angels were persuaded by this speech except Abdiel, who acknowledged God as the rightful king of heaven and flew back to his side.

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