Thread: Is Eru God?
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Old 12-04-2005, 04:43 AM   #217
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Originally Posted by Roa-Aiofe
In this [i.e. Tolkien’s own] Myth the rebellion of created free-will precedes creation of the world (Eä); and Eä has in it, subcreatively introduced, evil, rebellions, discordant elements of its own nature already when the Let it Be was spoken. The Fall, or corruption, therefore, of all things in it and all inhabitants of it, was a possibility if not inevitable. (Letters 286-87)
In truth, we don't know when the fall of Satan took place, all we know is that it took place sometime before the fall of Man, and that it was indeed Satan who pled to the free-will of both Eve and Adam. It has been said that the Angelic fall happened after the creation of the world, some say during, and other's say well before. There is nothing to say that the angels weren't involved in some way, though there certainly isn't anything saying they were.
Ah, but the quote given is from Tolkien himself, so he clearly distinguished his myth from that of Christianity in that sense. The point is that the Fall in Judeo-Christian myth comes about as a result of Adam & Eve's 'sin' in the Garden post Creation. In Tolkien's myth the world is created already 'marred' by Melkor's interventions in the Music. As Tolkien stated 'The Fall, or corruption, therefore, of all things in it and all inhabitants of it, was a possibility if not inevitable'.'

I think those last three words sum up the difference perfectly - in Judeo-Christian myth the Fall is a tragedy because it didn't have to happen. Tolkien clearly implies that if a Fall was not necessarily 'inevitable' (though I wonder from his words whether he didn't actually consider it was inevitable) it was certainly very likely. God creates a world which He considers 'Good', Eru creates a world which is already flawed in such a way that a Fall is 'an accident waiting to happen'. Eru chose to allow Melkor's dissonance to be included in the creation. Why? To give Melkor the chance to repent when he saw his 'dissonance' made real? Fine, but real people area going to suffer as a resullt of that act of compassion.

Or was it all about 'free will' - too easy. If I leave a group of of children alone in a room where I have placed a load of sharp knives in full view because they have 'free will' as far as what they do with those knives, am I thereby absolved of any responsibility as to what they do? Would I be justified in punishing those children if they stabbed each other?

In short, Tolkien clearly saw a difference between his myth & the Biblical story....

Then again, which of his letters do we go with - in other letters he implies there is no difference: Eru is God, Middle-earth is our world. This illustrates Hutton's point about the Letters - we can't depend on them to present us with a coherent view re the theology of Middle-earth & its correspondence or otherwise with Christianity. He wanted the two to match up, & wherever posssible he tried to make them 'fit'. There were certain things that didn't match up, that he couldn't make match up, & in those instances he was forced to admit that (as in the letter quoted by Fleiger). His later writings show his attempt (need???) to make them fit. The whole 'Myths Transformed' section of HoM-e 10 shows him trying to force his creation into the Judeo-Christian model & (as even Christopher acknowledges) failing to do so & in the process harming his own creation. He wanted the two to match up perfectly, but he couldn't make them do so.

His mythology was his real religion, what he really believed, how he really thought the world worked. Yet he considered himself an orthodox Catholic. Doublethink I would suggest. And this doublethink allowed him to create one of the greatest works of Art in the history of literature. Only when he was challenged as to its unorthodoxy was he backed into a corner. Like Frodo on Amon Hen, caught between the Voice & the Eye, he writhed.
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