John Milton published the first edition of Paradise Lost in 1667. Literary critics for over a hundred years afterwards interpreted the fall of Satan along the lines of traditional Christian theology. They took Satan to be the villain and Adam the hero. They read the poem as consistent with what I am calling the “religious theme”: Man must submit to God as the absolute authority; God’s actions are beyond scrutiny. For example, John Dryden (the first literary critic to comment on Paradise Lost ) in 1697 criticized the poem for having the villain take center stage and defeat the hero (214).
It appears to me that there is a hidden meaning, which is the most obvious and commonly stated one: that Milton was a gnostic and Paradies Lost is an exegesis of his gnostic thought. The mysteries in the subtext identified by the author here seem best explained by the gnostic idea that God is in fact the evil demiurge that created the world, while Lucifer is the true force of good who brings enlightenment and wisdom to the poor people who are as prisoners in the evil world created by God. To be sure, this is not a view I hold to, but I recognize it exists, and it seems the most logical meaning of Paradise Lost.