Free Essay: Deception of Satan in John Milton’s Paradise Lost
- Length: 1697 words (4.8 double-spaced pages)
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The speeches of Moloch, Belial, Mammon, and Beelzebub represent particular ways of looking at life. Milton derived these views from I John 2:15 and 16 which says, "Do not love the world or anything in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For everything in the world--the cravings of sinful man, the lust of his eyes and the boasting of what he has and does--comes not from the Father but from the world." Coming into the world, these demons transferred their philosophies to the human race. That is why these views are still common in today's world, even though the battle of the supernatural is often overlooked. Even at Christian schools, the effect of these philosophies can be seen. However, in hell and in the world they have proved a failure - the high ideas of the plans will not work with the separate realities that both hell and the earth represent. Only Beelzebub's idea seems to work, but that to will be proven false with time.
In the Bible, Moloch was the god of the Ammonites who sacrificed their children to him, believing that then he would bring them power. They lusted after power and went to extreme, perverted measures to attain it. In Paradise Lost, Moloch also lusts after power. After being cast down to hell, he calls for the demons to wage war again on heaven. He believes (probably he has deceived himself) that they can defeat God now because they are strong with fury - the fury that comes from being cast out of glory. They have acquired the new, torturous weapons of hell that would that coupled with their wrath would prove victorious over God.
"I just don't think I'll do well ... I don't understand the... As he strutted into the classroom, the two kids in conversation groaned.
"So... " he intoned to one annoyed guy, "Have you studied for the test?"
"Last night, yeah." More hesitantly, "How 'bout you?"
"Oh yeah, piece of cake." A smile stretches across his face. "I heard you saying you don't understand, " he put his hand on her shoulder in a sort-of motion of comfort, "You'll do fine. " Again the smile, and he walked size off to another group of kids.
The two kids rolled their eyes.
"He's so fake ... all he cares about is his grade, his smartness and that everyone know it."
Belial was like the god Asherah, whose worship involved male concubines. Lust was his chief focus. In Paradise Lost, Belial argues that they should not attack heaven again because the attempt would fail. They would end up being put back in place by God, in the same shape they are in now or worse. He lusts after his comfort, and though hell can not be called a comfortable place, imagining worse, he prefers to stay there, and "get used to it."
He presents his speech like a perfect lawyer, appearing cautious and wise in his thoughts. He has the plan that will work - or so he makes believe.
I groaned as the boys were at it again - making sexual jokes and snickering grotesquely in the back of the classroom. Lust showed on their faces where embarrassment should have been. "How can they be so open about it?
As he snickered, he heard the voice in his heart again,
"You shouldn't be looking..."
Again, he pushed Him aside.
The third demon, Mammon, is based on the Bible's Baal, whom people worshipped in order to gain wealth and worldly prosperity. He presents a plan to Satan and the demons essentially saying, "Let's make a heaven out of hell." He desires richness and believes that even in hell they can make wealth, saying that heaven and hell are not that different. After all, in hell Satan's throne is encrusted with jewels just as heaven has many riches also. They both have leaders and then an order of angels, or demons. There are similarities, and he reasons that everything (including hell) is subjective - "life is what you make it to be."
"I can't believe Mr. Cullen, too!"
"I was just trying to say that it's not for certain that there are absolutes - you know, like that guy at the coffee house said ... I mean I know you can debate stuff, but with Mr. Cullen (He's such a jerk!) there is no debate ... He wouldn't let me get a word in. It was like, 'This is this, and that is that...' He doesn't realize that there is a world of different thinking out there that can be proven right. There is no absolute... Who's to say there's just one way to heaven. To tell me that is conceited! Like he knows all the answers. This whole school is smothering us and our views.
Finally, Beelzebub, realizing that all these former plans will not work in hell, presents his plan ... and it seems like it should work. He claims that they should corrupt man, God's beloved creature, and tempt him to do evil as they have done. Then, God would be forced into the position of having to punish him, as He had done them. He would have to destroy His own creation. His heart would break, and this Beelzebub sees as the ultimate revenge.
"If I can just get through the day without eating anything, that'll make Mom know she can't control me."
The three demons represent philosophies of life that have infiltrated this world. I John clearly stated them, and even in Christian Heritage, their effects can be seen and heard.
Moloch is the one who introduces boasting of what he has and does. In boasting, he seeks power over others, and that is why he wants to go to war. However, as Beelzebub points out, war against heaven won't prove victorious. Heaven is too powerful. At MANY SCHOOLS, some kids sit in class and absorb everything, but they are not really learning. They are getting the grade. These are the future business men and women of America. They are constantly competing and comparing, making sure they are on top; and they will do anything to keep climbing the ladder to the top.
Belial introduces the cravings of sinful man. He presents a deceptive argument that is aimed at giving him some form of pleasure and comfort. However, just like sexual sins (which he is lord of), his argument is attractive and enticing, but it will not work. It will only lead to bondage in a horrible hell. Some boys and probably some girls at MANY SCHOOLS, have walked into Belial's deception. When they started looking at unwholesome things, they were bothered and troubled in spirit, by the Spirit. Perhaps they still are; but, they have pushed Him away every time they return to these sexual sins. They see only the immediate pleasure and comfort it will bring, and like Belial, they say, "I'll get used to this." They tune the nagging thoughts out. However, even if they do desensitize themselves, they can not escape reality. They will suffer the consequences and carry the baggage of this sin.
Mammon introduces the lust of the eye. He wants to make hell a heaven, and believes that there is not so much of a difference that it cannot be done. Our class is very creative and artistic. Kids in it think outside the box, and constantly question things. However, some, in immersing themselves in the many different philosophies of the world, have concluded that nothing is absolute - that everything is subjective. Even after studying How To Be Your Own Selfish Pig, and having countless talks with teachers, they cling to the idea that it's all in your mind. Even regarding salvation, a few have acknowledged (which is brave in this school) believing that there are different paths to heaven, not through Jesus alone. They too believe that you can make your own heaven. However, Beelzebub proved Mammon wrong, pointing out that hell with all its tortures could not be made into glorious heaven. It just did not fit with reality. This also applies to the idea of no absolutes. It does not fit with how life works (example: How To Be Your Own Selfish Pig, and the boiling pot of tea over the college student's head.)
Finally, Beelzebub makes the best argument. He wants revenge on God. If he could not win, then he wanted to take God down with him. He thinks that he can succeed; however, God is so much smarter than he planned for. Beelzebub thinks that he has won for only a short time, because soon God sends Jesus who provides salvation for man - God did not destroy man. Some girls at MANY SCHOOLS are anorexic. They feel that in order to have control of their life, or to get revenge on people, they will not eat. One girl, angry at her mom and some friends, said bitterly, "They can't tell me what to do or what to eat!" In starving herself, she was getting back at her mother. However, just as with Beelzebub's plan of revenge, this one is hollow. It may seem to work, but it is really just hurting the one who is starving.
We see all of these philosophies in the world. It is as if when the gates of hell were unlocked and Satan tempted man to fall, these demons invaded the world with their ideas. In the Bible, and at MANY SCHOOLS, there are countless examples of people who have bought into these ideas and set up their lives around them. Only after people accept Jesus, and begin listening to the Holy Spirit do they see the futility and failure of these ways of living and the glory and hope that God and His salvation offers.
Do not love the world or anything in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For everything in the world--the cravings of sinful man, the lust of his eyes and the boasting of what he has and does--comes not from the Father but from the world.
--I John 2:15, 16