John Milton PARADISE LOST Extract translation into new English
I write of mans First disobedience, of that forbidden tree whose mortal taste brought death into our world and all the evils and sorrows of the loss of Eden, until One great man, the Lord Jesus restores us to that bliss and joy of life eternal in heaven.
O, Holy Spirit, You prefer a pure and upright heart to temples and cathedrals. Instruct me, for you were there from the beginning. It is you who makes clear and full of truth what in my sight is dark and invisible. You make pregnant what which is barren.
Heaven hides nothing from your view. Tell my first what caused our First parents in their happy estate, favoured of heaven to turn from their Creator and transgress his will for one small restraint upon their lordly rule over the world? Who was it who first seduced them to revolt against their Lord?
It was that deadly serpent, he who was envious of Adam's place and Paradise, who sought revenge for his own bitter fate cast out from heaven with all his host of fallen angels, that deceived the Mother of mankind. (Extract only that depicts the root cause of Eve's sin.) The story of the Garden of Eden symbolizes the character of Satan
_THE GARDEN OF EDEN PART TWO
Human beings come to sin, first by temptation, then by consent. Temptation is always something that seems desirable and afterwards detestable. Like the fruit tree in the centre of the Garden of Eden. [Genesis 2:1`6] The fruit on this tree appeared delectable, and in the absence of treacle pudding, ice cream and cakes, fruit was the most enjoyable sweet that Adam and Eve ate. They ate fruit off many trees, good wholesome fruit and delicious but the fruit tree in the centre of their garden looked more delicious than the rest. This particular fruit tree was tempting to eat but God had warned Adam and Eve that it was a tree of the knowledge of good and evil. If they ate it they would die. Although good to look at the tree was poisonous.
There was no death in those days, no gravestones and coffins. Nor did Adam and Eve grow old. They were fit and healthy. They were not space mortals. Their children, had they not eaten of this fruit, would have always been space immortals.
Eve was the first to sin but why did she? Yes, she was tempted and urged on by desire and the lie that Eve would not die but like God have a knowledge of good and evil. She threw away the gift of eternal life that God had given her because she did not trust God’s Word. We have it on the authority of the bible that temptation comes from desire and together with consent or choice breeds sin. But the root of sin, the very seed from which it springs, is failing to trust God’s Word. She knew the Word of God but chose to taste the fruit. She wanted to be wise but instead she was foolish. She also persuaded Adam to taste the fruit as well. It was then that they realised the fruit was really poisonous. Their biological life, the chemistry of their bodies, changed. As you may know the story of the fall is the story of Paradise Lost.
Adam and Eve exchanged a pure and holy relationship with God for a sinful life, They exchanged a bright future for an eternal gloom and from a peaceful present to one of guilt and shame. Before they sinned they had grace, God’s holy love. They might have trusted God and avoided disgrace.
Satan exists. He is a heavenly being, (Job 2:1) who wages war against God. He is known by many names, the great dragon, the ancient serpent, (Revelation 20:2) the deceiver. The great dragon and the ancient serpent are symbols of Satan’s character and identity.
Satan is an outcast of heaven. By his very nature he is the embodiment of evil. Here is what John Milton says about his existence little of which is known before the creation of man. Before composing his epic poem Milton prays for enlightenment. See left column.
We need to learn about Satan. Only the Lord Jesus Christ can protect us and keep us safe from his power that invades our world. The world is at war. This is a war of minds and spirits, what St. Paul called the war against powers that cannot be seen. He says, 'For we are not fighting against people made of flesh and blood, but against persons without bodies--the evil rulers of the unseen world, those mighty satanic beings and great evil princes of darkness who rule this world; and against huge numbers of wicked spirits in the spirit world.So use every piece of God's armor to resist the enemy whenever he attacks, and when it is all over, you will still be standing up. (Ephesians 6:12-13) This is the reality we face. Satan is able to take control of men, women and children by deceiving them into ways of thinking and acting that opens their minds to his evil spirit and influence. Satan can change himself into an angel of light. (2 Corinthians:11:14-15) as also can his emissaries. So it is not surprising that people of high regard holding positions in the church can appear to be good and holy but intent on evil. (2 Corinthians 11: 15-16) Satan and his emissaries can take control of the mind and spirit and through that person create great sorrow and destruction. Satan can bind people up physically for the mind, spirit and body are interactive and what affects one will affect the other. (Luke 13:16) We should remind ourselves that Satan entered into Judas leading him to betray Jesus. (Luke 22:3) It is Satan that blinds people from believing the gospel. That is why only God's Word can cause them to see the truth. No amount of argument works for unbelievers are led by lies. (2 Corinthians 4:4) When writing a letter to the church at Corinth, Paul said, 'But I am afraid that as the serpent deceived Eve by its cunning, your thoughts will be led astray from a sincere and pure devotion to Christ.' (2 Corinthians 11:3 NRSV) Paul tells us to put on the whole armour of God in our fight against Satan. (Ephesians 6:11)
THE FRUITS OF OUR LIVES
Despite Satan's victory in the Garden of Eden, God did not take away all the good things in our lives and he makes the sun and the rain to fall on the evil as well as the good. There are many fruits that we can taste but it is wise to remember the mistake Eve made. We should choose wisely and not merely because the fruit is appealing and others eat it willingly irrespective of the consequences. Take, for instance, the fruit of living in sin. Living in sin is called fornication because the fruit of sex is desired above the fruit of friendship, chastity and marriage. The fruit of greed is another poison that destroys relationships and the soul of the greedy person who wants things above everything else. [Matthew 23:25f] The fruit of covetousness, of wanting what belongs to another person, is a poison that is dangerous to life and peace.
Here is an exercise for you to do. Make a list of all the bad choices that poison our lives. Here is one or two to start you off: