Book 6 Summary

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Raphael continues his story, telling Adam how Abdiel returned to the throne of God, where he was enthusiastically acclaimed by the angels who remained loyal. The armies of God were already preparing for the coming battle, and the archangel Michael had been appointed their commander. The loyal angels flew out to meet the rebels, and the two sides met in battle. Abdiel made straight for Satan, who was riding in a chariot of gold “exalted as a God.” He condemned Satan for daring to imitate the Almighty, and Satan replied that he stood for freedom against the servile army of heaven which remained obedient to authority.

The two sides fought for a long time, with Satan and Michael eventually facing one another in single combat. Michael wounded Satan severely, and caused him to feel pain for the first time, though his wound quickly healed, since, as a spirit, he is “incapable of mortal injury.” The two armies retired for the night and joined battle again in the morning, by which time Satan and the rebel angels had equipped themselves with cannon and gunpowder. Some of the loyal angels were wounded by these new weapons but, like the rebels, they could not be killed. They tore up the hills and buried the cannons underneath them.

At this point, the Son rode out in his chariot to end the conflict. The sight of him terrified the rebels, and he drove them to the border of heaven, where they hurled themselves into the abyss and fell for nine days before they landed in the fires of hell, where they now remain. The Son returned to God’s right hand, where he was worshiped and glorified. Raphael concludes his story by saying that he hopes Adam now understands the terrible consequences of disobeying God’s commands.

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