John Milton, Paradise Lost
John Milton’s epic poem Paradise Lost was first published in 1667. Originally written as 10 books, Milton reworked it as 12, following the model of Virgil’s Aeneid. In the work, Milton explores the creation of humankind by God, the temptation in Eden, Satan’s ambition and fall and the concept of sin. He faces two major difficulties in the story. Having created Satan as a dynamic and not unattractive villain, he has to find a way of debasing him. And he has to reconcile Adam’s free will with the idea of predestination, seen as God’s foreknowledge of future events. He does this by proposing that humankind has free will, but that God, having set the framework of creation in motion, does not control events, but is aware of the outcome in advance.