Milton's Satan posits that it is "better to reign in Hell than to serve in Heaven." I was re-reading the Inferno over the past few days and picked up on how many times Virgil wards off threats by claiming that the pilgrim's journey came from up high, and thus he was guaranteed safe passage through the underworld. For those more familiar with Christian mythos than I, or with Dante's text - is there any president for God having sway in Hell? I always thought that Hell was Satan's land and God has no power there. Of course, Jesus barging in uninvited, breaking down the gate and doing some "harrowing" is a whole other matter, but why do the various demons back off as soon as Virgil tells them that they are sent by God?
Is this just a convenient device for Dante (the poet) to get through this part of the pilgrim's journey, or is there more to it that I am missing?