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Old 01-08-2003, 12:09 AM   #1
Gwaihir the Windlord
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Sting Of Eru, Orcs and Evil

The Ainur were the beings first created by Illuvitar, the 'offspring of his thought' as it is recorded. All of them; the good ones and the bad, Manwe as well as Melkor. And it would also seem that they sprung from various 'parts' of Eru's mind: 'But Manwe was the brother of Melkor in the mind of Illuvitar...'

The like of Melkor, Sauron and Ungoliant, undoubtedly evil, are clearly as much a part of Eru as the kin of Manwe, Varda and Yavanna; every Ainu in fact, great or small, evil or goodly, bright or shadowy, violent or sedate, represents a facet of the mind of Illuvitar. He contains evil as well as good. His mind contains every inclination there is, which, I spose, is why he is the creator of everything. Which leads me to a very interesting conclusion.

First of all, it explains why Illuvitar did not intervene to destroy evil such as Morgoth and Sauron, for anyone who wonders. He has as much chance of smiting the Valar, which is obviously something he wouldn't do -- it's his creation and it all stems from him originally anyway.

More importantly, I now have a perhaps radical idea on the origins of Orcs and what they were. Aule made the Dwarves, and out of sympathy, Eru granted them the Secret Fire and gave them life of their own. He can maybe also be said to have done the same with Yavanna's trees, creating the Ents (or 'Shephards of the Trees'; see 'Of Aule and Yavanna', the Silmarillion.). So if his mind was, as stated, inclined to Melkor's thoughts as much as Aule's or Yavanna's, could he have not done the same with the Orcs, and granted the work of Melkor too his Secret Fire?

What do you think? Nowhere is anything like it actually stated (that I know of anyway); but it's an interesting idea.
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Old 01-08-2003, 01:19 AM   #2
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Very interesting indeed Gwaihir the Windlord. But it is stated that Melkor's orcs were a mockery of the Children of Illuvatar, thus making it hard to believe that Eru would grant the secret fire to a race as such. Futhermore, would be the fact that Eru had foresight, and would be able to evaluate the damage this race would do to Arda. Also, Elves believe that Melkor bred the race of the Orcs by the corruption of captured elves. This was so since Melkor could not actually create things by himself, just warp and twist them.
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Old 01-08-2003, 01:26 AM   #3
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Gwaihir, that's fascinating. For Eru not smiting Sauron, I'd always thought of it in rather muddled terms - mostly something along the lines of his not smiting them because he had given them free will and could not take it back in that way simply because they used their will to make choices that were evil.

About the Orcs - it's a good idea, and it's really hard to say without much supporting evidence (especially with the perpetual debate about how Orcs were even created, precisely). The only thing I can think of against it is this; Aule made his Dwarves on his own; he had some vague idea of what Iluvatar wanted his own creations to look like, but obviously he wasn't using very detailed blueprints, considering that the Dwarves came out looking a bit different. He was not so much copying or perverting the design for Elves and Men so much as he was blindly guessing and anticipating it.

On the contrary with Orcs; they are said to be created as a mockery of Elves, the same way the Trolls are mockeries of Ents. Obviously they have many uses to Melkor besides this; he didn't go through the considerable mutilation involved just for fun. But if an Orc is a mockery of an Elf, surely the original prototype for it already has been granted the Secret Fire, which is passed down, albeit in a twisted and corrupted form, to its descendants. Same would go for the Ents. Melkor seems to be more an example of the type of force that's exemplified by a quote - and I can't remember who it's by, I think C.S. Lewis - that the dark powers "cannot make; they can only mock." I don't mean that Iluvatar would slam down and prevent Melkor from making something entirely original - free will and all that - but it just doesn't seem to be Melkor's style. He'd rather dirty someone else's things than work on his own.

Sorry about any mistakes or anything I may have overlooked; I'm still fairly new to the Silmarillion; have had a copy for a while but it's slow reading for me. I'm trying, though [img]smilies/smile.gif[/img].

EDIT - Oops, was working on this so long it looks like Iargwath got there ahead of me [img]smilies/smile.gif[/img]. Of course, one side-question would be; if Melkor DID create anything on his own, would Iluvatar grant it the Secret Fire? I think he probably would; bound to his own rules.

[ January 08, 2003: Message edited by: Kalimac ]
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Old 01-08-2003, 03:32 AM   #4
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Quote:
if Melkor DID create anything on his own, would Iluvatar grant it the Secret Fire? I think he probably would; bound to his own rules.
But time and time again, O Candle of the Marshes, Ilvatar does flout his own rules, proving that he is indeed omnipotent, and not subservient to any rules, even those of his own making. Three hobbits were known to have sailed to the Undying Lands. Tom Bombadil is allowed to exist without fitting into any scheme of things. And the Gift of Men was altered by Eru after they fell and started to worship Melkor in the east. He can basically do whatever he wants.

Aul's Dwarves, we are told, were spared because of the spirit in which they were created. Aul never intended any harm in creating them, and was not seeking to further his own ambition or power. I think also Aul's willingness to destroy his creations by Eru's wishes was the deciding factor, in a very Abraham kind of way. We can be sure that Yavanna's motivation for desiring Shepherds of the Trees was out of love and care for the kelvar. Melkor's motives cannot have been noble, from what we know of his character and the way in which Orcs were used, against their wishes (at least against Shagrat and Gorbag's wishes).

I think that to propose Ilvatar sanctioned and sanctified the creation of Orcs is to flout The Silmarillion, which is not unthinkable, but I don't see any solid evidence that Tolkien envisaged this change in the plot.
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Old 01-08-2003, 10:29 AM   #5
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Quote:
And the Gift of Men was altered by Eru after they fell and started to worship Melkor in the east.
What was the original gift of men, and what was it altered to? Sorry, just a bit confused. Wasn't his gift to them mortality?
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Old 01-08-2003, 10:56 AM   #6
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I would say, Gwaihir, that the fact of all the Ainur being sprung from Eru leads us to another conclusion as well: perhaps Eru intended for Morgoth to mar Arda, so that the presence of evil could lead virtue to shine the brighter. This theme does seem to me to run through the description of the Music.

As for Orcs possessing true existence, it would have been a major departure from the rules. Obviously Eru, being the fount of law, could do it, but wouldn't Tolkien have seen fit to record that?

Any thoughts

[ January 08, 2003: Message edited by: Squatter of Amon Rudh ]
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Old 01-08-2003, 10:59 AM   #7
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Sting

Yes, it was. The Gift remained the same - the men just didn't appreciate it afterwards.
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Old 01-08-2003, 11:06 AM   #8
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I agree with Squatter of Amon Rudh, I suppose Tolkien would have seen it fit to record such an event as the creating of beings, and dispite being evil or good, they should not be really over looked. It is an interesting thought though. And if it was not said that Orcs came from courrupt and tourtured Elves I would certainly believe
you.
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Old 01-08-2003, 11:24 AM   #9
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Sting

Gwaihir the Windlord posted:
Quote:
His [ Eru's]mind contains every inclination there is,
I do not think this is so.

Eru [ as did God in our world] created all speaking races and the Ainur themselves, with freewill. they could explore and ponder evil, and indeed give themselves wholly over to it, but this does not mean Eru was the source of these things.

Also regarding the orcs origins, HoME 10 has much tha must be considered.

an excellent summary and long discourse on which can be found in the folowing thread http://forum.barrowdowns.com/cgi-bin...c&f=8&t=000025
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Old 01-08-2003, 12:13 PM   #10
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Sting

This thread appears to be a repetition of a discussion on the origins of evil and free-will which can be read by clicking
Of Evil, Free will, and Fate. Kalessin and I go through a protracted discussion of our perceptions of how JRRT addressed (or didn't address) the issues of the origin of evil.

I rebel against the idea that evil has it's ultimate origins in the Creator, be it Ilvatar or Jehovah. I go into more detail on the linked thread above, but once you create an independant being, and "turn it loose", the Creator is no longer responsible for the actions of that being -- that's the unimaginable nature of free will. Once "it" can make decisions based on its own inputs and information, it becomes a wholly separate "actor".

More elsewhere.

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[ January 08, 2003: Message edited by: Thenamir ]
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Old 01-08-2003, 02:14 PM   #11
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Sting

But isn't the whole point of God, that he made everything. No emotion, being, element etc exists that doesn't come from him in the beginning He made EVERYTHING!
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Old 01-08-2003, 06:00 PM   #12
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Sting

God is wholly good, there is no evil within Him. Evil comes into the universe [ or Middle-Earth] solely through and abuse or misuse of free will.

The opposite saying that God is the source of Evil [if only indirectly] is a form of Dualism, that JRRT most certainly did not ascribe to. When beings are given freewill, they become responsible for their actions, not God.
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Old 01-08-2003, 08:03 PM   #13
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Silmaril

Lindil, I couldn't agree with you more. As a response, I would suggest that everyone here reads C.S. Lewis's (novel) Perelandra, in which this idea is debated (the book is good in general, its one of my favorite books). Also, Lewis's Mere Christianity gives an excellent debate/explaination of Pantheism vs. the Christian idea of God. [img]smilies/biggrin.gif[/img]

To solve the problem of orc-creation, we look back to the fact that orcs were deformed elves, and that solves all our problems.


Happy to bring this into the discussion,
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[ January 08, 2003: Message edited by: Iarwain ]
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Old 01-08-2003, 09:41 PM   #14
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But all of those exceptions were individual cases, O doug*platypus the Wight. Letting Bilbo, Frodo and Sam sail into the west was tweaking with his own rules a little bit, but denying the Fire to an entire race of creatures because he didn't think their creator's purpose was noble enough is something else.(As Squatter and Afrodal point out, he didn't withdraw the Gift from the entire race). The one is pulling a nail out of a wall, the other is pulling several beams out of the ceiling. Anyway it's probably a moot point since Melkor doesn't seem to have been very interested in original creative works. Take care!

- Candle of the Marshes, still hesitant in the thickets of the Silmarillion
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Old 01-09-2003, 12:35 AM   #15
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Sting

Quote:
...but denying the Fire to an entire race of creatures because he didn't think their creator's purpose was noble enough is something else
In HoME [ after the lotR was written] JRRT came to see that the majority of Orcs must be 'beasts' i.e. animals, with a limited sort of parrot like ability to speak, the twisted Elves idea had to go [ or be a very rare exception] as this would create an entire 'unsaveable' race of beings.

Please see the above linked thread for an exhaustive treatment of this complex subject if you wish to know more.

In short to re-iterate, the Orcs as twisted/corrupted Elves idea was abandoned and the references in the LotR and Hobbit [ and even Silm] that seem to support are treated as 'non-omniscient' character POV statements.

[ January 09, 2003: Message edited by: lindil ]
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Old 01-09-2003, 12:54 AM   #16
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Thank you, Lindil; I've got it open in another window now. I don't have all of HoME so had been going by statements in LOTR, but if JRRT said it later then it would have to cancel any earlier statements. Those are some animals, though...
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Old 01-09-2003, 06:07 AM   #17
Gwaihir the Windlord
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Sting

Yes, I myself thought at first that the Orcs may be simply controlled by Melkor/Sauron, as the Dwarves would have been by Aule had not Eru blessed them. But this is not so. Orcs have been seen to act independently on numerous occasions.

To say that Illuvitar would not grant the Fire to Orcs because they are evil is, I think, not plausible. Evil stems from Eru as well as good.

Quote:
(Eru concerning Morgoth)'Yet he shall see that all things are to my glory in the end.'
Just thought I'd add that quote. It adds weight to the idea that Eru created evil; how could the pillaging and destruction caused by orcs be to the glory of a totally goodly being, unless himself designed it to be so? All things stem from Morgoth. Personally I see that the Orcs were as eligable a recipient of the Secret Fire as the Dwarves were.
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Old 01-09-2003, 04:33 PM   #18
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Personally, Gwahir, I see that quote as a statment meaning that no matter what evil actions are performed, it will all turn out to make good greater, and glorify Eru all the more. If Eru was, by a pantheist's view, beyond good and evil, why would the Valar by Eru's command, through Manwe, wage war on Morgoth? Perhaps you take on this view because of Eru's lack of personal involvement in Middle-Earth? Of course, I can't see into your mind, so I will wait to comment.

Iarwain

[ January 11, 2003: Message edited by: Iarwain ]
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Old 01-09-2003, 05:38 PM   #19
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Sting

but once you create an independant being, and "turn it loose", the Creator is no longer responsible for the actions of that being..

I would agree with that statement completely. Eru had, by no means, meant for the evil of the orcs to be unleashed upon middle-earth. They came about as an abuse of the freewill that Eru gave to Melkor and were not directly Eru's creation. They were infact, elves, as far apart as they are they are still the kin of the elves in a way. It says in the Silmarillion that Melkor took elves right when they were born into middle-earth before any of the Vala had contact with them (because the Vala were not granted the knowledge of where the first born would come into the world, and therefore could not find them before Melkor), and corrupted them. This means that they are therefore, elves (albeit corrupted ones, still elves in a way, just as chimps are like humans in a way). Elves had the secret fire, therefore since they are in a way still elves, Orcs also have the secret fire, its only logical. Just my thoughts.

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Old 01-11-2003, 12:28 AM   #20
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White-Hand

If Tolkien consciously in the revision incorporated his own Christian beliefs, it would be impossible to conceive of Eru as creating evil. Such a supreme being would be foreign to Tolkiens faith.

Doug and everybody else currently involved in those other threads,

I just can't seem to escape this whole thing! I'm starting to have dreams at night about the nature of good and evil, freewill, original sin, the yin/yang, and whether or not the light created by the light bulb in my reading lamp is necessarily intrinsically good, or merely an accident with no ontological reality independent of sense perception. Make it stop!
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Old 01-11-2003, 04:15 AM   #21
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Silmaril

But it can't be stopped, Bill...

I like to think of it starting out as just one cute little Mogwai. Then it got big and bad. Now it rages throughout the forum, spawning evil clones wherever it touches water. Only sunlight can stop it, but that would cause the crumbling of the entire Barrow Downs.

I'm glad to hear you're dreaming about it. You have performed masterfully running about all the different threads, constantly offering new posts. I feel a bit flummoxed myself, right now.

For anyone interested, here is a small collection of some of the recent threads dealing with this wiley topic:

Eru Letting Melkor Go

Inherent Evil?

Of Evil, Free Will and Fate

Melkor - Evil by Will or Nature?

Original Sin in Arda

*shudder*
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Old 01-11-2003, 06:14 AM   #22
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I thought Tolkien changed his mind about the Orcs, and made them twisted Men, instead of Elves. I quote from others who have read "Morgoth's Ring", but I have not found it yet...

[ January 11, 2003: Message edited by: Falagar ]
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