Prior to reading Paradise Lost, I would never have assumed that according to the Bible, the earth’s creation was directly related to Satan’s fall from grace, and was set up more as a territory of Heaven than its own separate place. I always assumed God made the universe on a whim.
Yet, in Book 7, God makes it very clear that this is the case. Following Satan’s expulsion, he reveals to Raphael his plan to create “Another world…there to dwell…not here…” It is as if after all the calamity that went on in heaven in the past, God realizes he should make Heaven accessible to some in order to prevent future problems. Only after “long obedience” is tried and “degrees of merit” are raised will humans be allowed in God’s Kingdom. Like in other parts in the epic, like earlier in Book 7 when Adam’s thirst for knowledge is aligned with Satan’s desirous ways, I find that that this is an interesting example of Milton presenting men as susceptible to Satan’s ways. He clearly views man as somewhere in between God and the Devil and maybe views Paradise lost as a way to lead the people in a right direction.
This passage also raises a question that I’ve had while reading PL: If God wanted Heaven to be without sin, why didn’t he make man perfect?