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Old 12-12-2004, 11:46 AM   #1
Boromir88
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1420! A friendly conversation

My pastor delivered a sermon today that caught my attention, mostly because he connected it with The Lord of the Rings. After the service we had a long discussion, it turns out that he too has read LOTR many times, and almost appeared scholarly on the subject. It was a fun conversation, here is what was discussed, hoping I can further discuss the conversations here .


This belief of parallel worlds that has been growing since the LOTR and Harry Potter movies have been coming out. Now, I don't want to get into a big topic about religion, but this is important to the discussion. A common question seen is "How can a virgin lady give birth?" To answer this question, the topic of parallel worlds come up. Parallel worlds meaning there's something else going on, something else happening RIGHT NOW, that we can't see, hear, feel, touch, and experience with our limitted human senses. Something else is happening, seperate from our own "earthly" world.

Phyllis Tickle, editor for Publishers Weekly, and author of many Christian Books discussed this topic at her seminar in Montreat Conference Center, NC. And discussed how spreading the thought of parallel worlds is becoming, since the release of these supernatural movies (Harry Potter, The Matrix, LOTR).

They use these parallel worlds to explain the supernatural, example to explain how a virgin gives birth. Well, onto LOTR, what are these parallel worlds in Tolkien? The Ringwraiths? The Army of the Dead? The Maiar and Eru? In which case do these "parallel worlds" mix with the reality world of Middle-earth? Do these supernatural beings all belong to the same parallel world? Or do they belong in their own seperate parallel worlds?

Onto the next topic we discussed, and this one really caught my attention. He made a connection between Joseph, husband of Mary, and Sam. If you wish to learn a bit about Joseph look at Mathew 1:18-25. Mathew focuses on the pain of Joseph after hearing that his wife is pregnant, and it wasn't by him. He hears this, yet he sticks with her, he could simply say, I'm not going with her. The common law at the time said he could have abandoned her. But, he goes with her, to Bethlehem, he fought through the pain and stuck with her. Let's look at Sam, what instances of them were he could have simply left Frodo, not have gone with him? But, Sam, said no, he was going to stick with his friend. Just like with Mary, it's debatable but she might not have made it to Bethlehem with Joseph. It's debatable, but Frodo might not have made it to the Mountain with Sam. I found this connection to be rather interesting, and something I didn't consider before.

Anyway...that's it, I hope we can discuss the parallel worlds and a bit about Sam and Frodo.
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Old 12-12-2004, 01:11 PM   #2
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First off Mary became pregnant by the Spirit of God, not through sexual intercourse as it says in Luke and Luke should know about reporduction becasue he was a doctor.
About alterative worlds, I think it is the same as whether or not their are aliens on other planets, if God created life here then there is no reason why he could not somewhere else. I think in the Lord of the Rings it seems like the world that the ring wraiths dwelled in was another deminsion.
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Old 12-12-2004, 01:16 PM   #3
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In which case do these "parallel worlds" mix with the reality world of Middle-earth
I'm not quite sure I followed you to the point, but if I'm right in thinking what I'm thinking, than there are three occurences of 'mixing with the reality'. One of them is confirmed by sources, two others are thought to be such. Here is the list:

1. The Downfall of N˙menor (Confirmed)
2. Gandalf's resurrection
3. Gollum falling into the Cracks of Doom

But in all of those ocurrences term 'supernatural' is more applicable than merely 'parallel', as the latter term implies equality, and inability to 'mix up' at all - as far as my geometry goes (I will stand corrected if I err), parallel lines do not intersect

Else, all not quite common creatures (as: Valar, Maiar, Ringwraiths and company), are parts of given (on the plane of sub-created world) reality so may not be intrusions out of 'parallel' worlds.

Firs mix up happens when Arda is created, and Ainur (i.e. creatures that were before the world and were not part of it) enter it. But that is considered as part of its creation, and since than, Valar (Powers of the World) form the part of the world
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Old 12-12-2004, 01:57 PM   #4
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But in all of those ocurrences term 'supernatural' is more applicable than merely 'parallel', as the latter term implies equality, and inability to 'mix up' at all - as far as my geometry goes (I will stand corrected if I err), parallel lines do not intersect
Parallel is the term you hear used most often, but perhaps if these are universes which we could enter, then they ought to be called tangent universes, as this would make sense to them 'touching' our own. I have to say I've never heard this as an explanation for the virgin birth, my own explanation is more prosaic.

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Parallel worlds meaning there's something else going on, something else happening RIGHT NOW, that we can't see, hear, feel, touch, and experience with our limitted human senses. Something else is happening, seperate from our own "earthly" world.
This is something else again, and I don't want to open the can of worms right now (the little blighters get everywhere), but this pastor sounds interesting!
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Old 12-12-2004, 02:40 PM   #5
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1420!

Heren, Yes, I don't know why they use the term "parallel," because parallel lines do never cross. I think there are times when the other world will mix with the earthly, reality. This "other" world is referred to as a "parallel world" to our own, maybe it stands for something that we have in common, and not something that deals with that fact that to two world "mix." Are these worlds supposed to mix together? In Tolkien as Heren has pointed out three occurences of these, where Eru intervenes into earthly matters, so are these worlds supposed to mix?


In some other instances are the Ringwraiths and Army of the Dead from a "parallel world?" Or, as Dűrbelethwen thinks they are from another dimension. There is a simularity between these two supernatural beings, both are curses. The Ringwraiths are cursed, as they have to serve Sauron, they are in his control. They are bound to the Ring. The Army of the Dead was cursed by Isildur.
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Old 12-12-2004, 03:07 PM   #6
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I'm not sure I would use the term 'parallel'. Rather, I feel that 'layer' fits better. I believe that there are many layers and and dimensions to this world, all of which we cannot see, except for the layer we dwell in. [I believe in demons and angels, and their involvement in everyday life] In Middle-earth, I think that the layers were compressed/combined, so that the supernatural could interact with and be visible to the 'natural'. eg; Gandalf and Sarumon, Sauron, the Ringwraiths and the Army of the Dead.
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Old 12-13-2004, 01:35 AM   #7
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Originally Posted by Boromir88

Onto the next topic we discussed, and this one really caught my attention. He made a connection between Joseph, husband of Mary, and Sam. If you wish to learn a bit about Joseph look at Mathew 1:18-25. Mathew focuses on the pain of Joseph after hearing that his wife is pregnant, and it wasn't by him. He hears this, yet he sticks with her, he could simply say, I'm not going with her. The common law at the time said he could have abandoned her. But, he goes with her, to Bethlehem, he fought through the pain and stuck with her. Let's look at Sam, what instances of them were he could have simply left Frodo, not have gone with him? But, Sam, said no, he was going to stick with his friend. Just like with Mary, it's debatable but she might not have made it to Bethlehem with Joseph. It's debatable, but Frodo might not have made it to the Mountain with Sam. I found this connection to be rather interesting, and something I didn't consider before.
Wow. I never thought of it that way. Great insight.
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Old 12-13-2004, 02:04 AM   #8
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Are these worlds supposed to mix together?
First off, they are already a result of such a mix, and world owes its very existence to such a mix:

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S77

Therefore I say: Eń! Let these things Be! And I will send forth into the Void the Flame Imperishable, and it shall be at the heart of the World, and the World shall Be
Besides, in some distant future (ME's future, that is), more concrete intersection (or, rather, descending of the higher into the lower) is guessed at, or expected, or hoped for:

Quote:
AFaA

'They say,' answered Andreth: 'they say that the One [i.e. - Eru -- HerenIstarion] will himself enter into Arda, and heal Men and all the Marring from the beginning to the end. This they say also, or they feign, is a rumour that has come down through years uncounted, even from the days of our undoing.
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Old 12-13-2004, 09:05 PM   #9
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Tolkien

Madeleine L'Engle (sp?) wrote some interesting things along these lines in her "Wrinkle in Time" young adult science fiction series. To cut to the chase, the structure of matter is such that there is more space than matter at the microscopic level, and levels that are even smaller.

C.S. Lewis also touched on this same notion, in his The Great Divorce, in which ghosts are less solid than heavenly beings.

To the point:

I'm fascinated with the notion of the interconnectedness of all of reality. There is enough space "built" into the structure of all that is, such that there is much room for that which cannot be seen to be in the same time and place as that which is seen.

One more example to get at what I'm trying to describe: the risen Jesus passes through a door and enters the room where his disciples are hiding. The notion here that I'm working with is that Jesus may have been more solid than the door, and walked through the subatomic spaces in subatomic matter. The supernatural could be said to impinge upon the natural.

Now, think of Weathertop. Frodo sees the shadowy ringwraiths coming to attack him. He fails to withstand the will of the Ring, and slips it on his finger; in an instant, the shadowy ringwraiths are rendered as beings of fell power, real as can be, but trapped in this negative spirit realm, which inhabits the same space as the Middle Earth that is Frodo's home. That realm the ringwraiths inhabit is no less real than Frodo's world of blue sky, green grass, wet water, etc.

I'm suggesting an impingement rather than parallel, or tangency. All's in and through all.

Last edited by littlemanpoet; 12-14-2004 at 02:49 PM.
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Old 12-14-2004, 10:38 AM   #10
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love this thread
littleman, the first thing i thought about was L'Engle as well. What a wonderfull tangent, and a great read - for any age of reader!

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I'm fascinated with the notion of the interconnectedness of all of reality. There is enough space "built" into the structure of all that is, such that there is much room for that which cannot be seen to be in the same time and place as that which is seen.
The magic of LOTR for me lies partly in the fact that took place when the world was much younger and there was less obstruction (intellectual, technological, societal, cultural) between its inhabitants and the ______(fill in the blank - spiritual, supernatural, other dimensions etc). To me, its part of the long deafeat - not just the loss of the fair peoples and lands, its the loss of the awareness of this part of life.

The reigious aspect I tend to shy away from, although i am interested in reading peoples thoughts on it. It is fortuitous though, that the author was genuinely grounded in his spiritual life to portray this aspect in a way that is not trivial or chimera like. Its as vital and important to the story (and the mythology), and "real" as ents, dragons and talking swords. And it all fits nicely in his sub-creation without any affront to his Creator.
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