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Old 03-23-2002, 03:22 AM   #1
twinkle
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Question Ilúvatar and Melkor

after reading AINULINDALË i'm wondering a bit about Ilúvatar's reaction to Melkor....
or rather to the discord he tries to bring to the music.....
Quote:
Then Ilúvatar spoke, and he said: 'Mighty are the Ainur, and mightiest among them is Melkor; but that he may know, and all the Ainur, that I am Ilúvatar, those things that ye have sung, I will show them forth, that ye may see what ye have done. And thou, Melkor, shalt see that no theme may be played that hath not its uttermost source in me, nor can any alter the music in my despite. For he that attempteth this shall prove but mine instrument in the devising of things more wonderful, which he himself hath not imagined.'
Quote:
Ilúvatar said again: 'Behold your Music! This is your minstrelsy; and each of you shall find contained herein, amid the design that I set before you, all those things which it may seem that he himself devised or added. And thou, Melkor, wilt discover all the secret thoughts of thy mind, and wilt perceive that they are but a part of the whole and tributary to its glory.'
i guess i don't quite understand still why Ilúvatar didn't just silence Melkor in his evil, i'm sure he certainly held the power.....
is it because good cannot shine without evil?
or is not as appreciated?
do the creations of the Valar need Melkor's unmelodic contribution to complement and balance them?
Quote:
And Ilúvatar spoke to Ulmo, and said: 'Seest thou not how here in this little realm in the Deeps of Time Melkor hath made war upon thy province? He hath bethought him of bitter cold immoderate, and yet hath not destroyed the beauty of thy fountains, nor of my clear pools. Behold the snow, and the cunning work of frost! Melkor hath devised heats and fire without restraint, and hath not dried up thy desire nor utterly quelled the music of the sea. Behold rather the height and glory of the clouds, and the everchanging mists; and listen to the fall of rain upon the Earth! And in these clouds thou art drawn nearer to Manwë, thy friend, whom thou lovest.'
i also wonder why Ilúvatar left the remaining valar to fend off Melkor's destruction of their work by themselves....
i see no other action on his part aside from these:
Quote:
1 And it came to pass that Ilúvatar called together all the Ainur and declared to them a mighty theme, unfolding to them things greater and more wonderful than he had yet revealed; and the glory of its beginning and the splendour of its end amazed the Ainur, so that they bowed before Ilúvatar and were silent.
2 Then Ilúvatar arose, and the Ainur perceived that he smiled; and he lifted up his left hand, and a new theme began amid the storm, like and yet unlike to the former theme, and it gathered power and had new beauty.
3 In the midst of this strife, whereas the halls of Ilúvatar shook and a tremor ran out into the silences yet unmoved, Ilúvatar arose a third time, and his face was terrible to behold. Then he raised up both his hands, and in one chord, deeper than the Abyss, higher than the Firmament, piercing as the light of the eye of Ilúvatar, the Music ceased.
perhaps someone has knowledge of passages that explain Ilúvatar's motivations towards Melkor a bit better....

thx, twinkle

[ March 23, 2002: Message edited by: twinkle ]

[ March 23, 2002: Message edited by: twinkle ]
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Old 03-23-2002, 09:20 AM   #2
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Old 03-23-2002, 10:53 AM   #3
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Isn´t it obvious? Melkor was only a part of the whole. All his doings were doubtless of his own design, but I guess Illuvatar´s design was just for Melkor to be there and do his doings thereby contributing to the balance of Power.
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Old 03-23-2002, 11:25 AM   #4
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good point gildor....
i guess if i want to get really obvious i'll just go with the fact that a story without "bad guys" makes for less of a good story....
just the fact that Ilúvatar grew angry at Melkor's doings made me wonder as to why he did not just root out the bad apple....
i figure if pain and suffering can be prevented, why not do so?
is it useless then to wonder at the motivation and designs of gods? [img]smilies/wink.gif[/img]
maybe so.....but then i have an inquisitive nature and want detailed explanations...
it still is a strange concept to me to create something and then not intervene to help when things go awry....
but then i'm not a god and that's most likely for the best [img]smilies/wink.gif[/img]

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Old 03-24-2002, 06:36 AM   #5
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The answer (or as much of an answer as there can be to such a question) probably lies in the quotes you gave.

Quote:
And thou, Melkor, shalt see that no theme may be played that hath not its uttermost source in me, nor can any alter the music in my despite. For he that attempteth this shall prove but mine instrument in the devising of things more wonderful, which he himself hath not imagined.'
Melkor, because of the dischord which he put into the Music of the Ainur, marred Arda before it had begun. He was, it seems a necessary part of creation: Chaos. Because of his evil, many great and wonderful things came to pass which would not have happened otherwise. His evil often turned ultimately to good.

In the Ainulindalë it is said that the Ainur 'did not yet comprehend the words that were said to them' in the about quote. It is possible that the moment Manwë finally understands these words comes when he hears Fëanor's answer to the Doom of Mandos:

Quote:
But at that last word of Fëanor: that at the least the Noldor should do deeds to live in song for ever, he raised his head, as one that hears a voice far off, and he said: 'So shall it be! Dear-bought those songs shall be accounted, and yet shall be well-bought. For the price could be no other. Thus even as Eru spoke to us shall beauty not before conceived be brought into Eä, and evil yet be good to have been.'
It seems that, in Tolkien's world at least, evil deeds are fated to only further the cause of good in the end. The rising of the sun and moon to illuminate Middle Earth is another example of how good proceeded from Melkor's destruction of the two trees.

Finally, here's a rather interesting quote, spoken by Ilúvatar to the Ainur, from the very earliest version of the Ainulindalë. It's not canonical, of course, but it might shed some light on things.

Quote:
"Through him [Melko] has pain and misery been made in the clash of overwhelming musics; and with confusion of sound have cruelty, and ravening, and darkness, loathly mire and all putrescence of thought of thing, foul mists and violent flame, cold without mercy, been born, and death without hope. Yet is this through him and not by him; and he shall wee, and ye all likewise, and even shall those beings, who must now dwell among his evil and endure though Melko misery and sorrow, terror and wickedness, declare in the end that it redoundeth only to my great glory, and doth but make the theme more worth the hearing, Life more worth the living, and the World so much the more wonderful and marvellous, that of all the deeds of Ilúvatar it shall be called his mightiest and his loveliest."
Whew! That was a long post.
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Old 03-24-2002, 11:28 AM   #6
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and so greatly appreciated.....
very help- and insightful....
thank you voronwe....you made my day [img]smilies/smile.gif[/img]

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Old 03-24-2002, 01:07 PM   #7
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Seems a bit rough on poor Melkor though. If he was fated to be evil he did not have any choice in the matter. He's condemed to be cast into the Void, and in the End be utterly destroyed, and there was nothing that he could do to change his fate. No wonder he was so angry all the time!
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Old 03-24-2002, 02:46 PM   #8
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Why always this good-evil opposition?
During the singing Melkor wanted to make his own song instead of singing in harmony with the others. This later become visiualized by the fact Melkor didn´t want to have any part in the harmonious construction and maintenance of Arda by the Valar. Instead he wanted to create and make by his own design and not Eru´s design. Of course he couldn´t (only Eru could create - Flame Imperishable and all) and in his jealousy he destroys much of the works of the Valar. Is that evil? Is it not merely a trickssy trick of Eru, giving Melkor the greater power of the Valar and seeing him bend and crack under the weight of his own power. I wonder what the story had been if for example Estë or Vána had been mightiest.
So Melkor was not evil as charged, but only acting according to his nature given to him by Eru. It is said Manwë was closest to Eru in understanding. But Melkor was definitely closer to Eru in power, assuming Eru was mightiest of all. So Manwë was given understanding but not power; he knows but can´t act, and Melkor was given power; he knows not but acts.
The longer I think about it the less I feel we shouldn´t just send Melkor to the bad guys-section...
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Old 03-24-2002, 04:40 PM   #9
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Far be it from me to sound like I'm contradicting what I said earlier, but are you serious?

Quote:
Instead he wanted to create and make by his own design and not Eru´s design. Of course he couldn´t (only Eru could create - Flame Imperishable and all) and in his jealousy he destroys much of the works of the Valar. Is that evil?
Well, going around destroying the things of others just because they were not made by you,and causing general mayhem and suffering sounds pretty bad to me.
Since only Eru can create, Melkor was refusing to acknowledge that he was also a created being and that there was somebody who was superior to him.

Quote:
Is it not merely a trickssy trick of Eru, giving Melkor the greater power of the Valar and seeing him bend and crack under the weight of his own power.
So Melkor was not evil as charged, but only acting according to his nature given to him by Eru.
Now we get back to the whole "fated to fall" question. I personally do not believe that things are destined to happen a certain way and that there is free will. So, Melkor had the choice to do the right thing or do the wrong thing. He did the wrong thing but this was allowed to stand, because to do otherwise would interfere with Melkor's free will, and in the End greater glory could be achieved.

Quote:
assuming Eru was mightiest of all.
Yes, let's assume this.

Quote:
So Manwë was given understanding but not power; he knows but can´t act
Or he acts within his limits, insofar as he understands them.

Quote:
Melkor was given power; he knows not but acts.
And he only acts on his impulses of self-aggrandizement and personal power to the ruin and misery of the world.
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Old 03-25-2002, 05:58 AM   #10
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I observe you steering cautiously around the Estë/Vána question: What would have happened if for example Estë or Vána would have been mightiest of the Valar? Would they walk the same path into ruin? Or would they be able to choose right and do good (read: Eru-style) things with their power?
That´s quite interesting; if power is locked together with corruption and 'evil', which I believe is the matter, then it´s not 'Melkor falls', but rather 'The most powerful of the Valar falls', (which happens to be Melkor).
Just look at the other examples of most powerful beings in Middle-Earth: Most powerful of the Maiar in Middle-Earth is Sauron, most powerful of the Istari is Saruman, most powerful of the Elves is Feanor, who didn´t really become 'evil' in the Melkor/Sauron way but his ability to create inanimate things of such high beauty and quality led him to do things that were not exactly according to the will of the Valar. So there is more than just one example of power leading to corruption.
Did they all have a choice? Or were they merely acting according to their nature, which was superior to all others of their race/kind.
Quote:
Since only Eru can create, Melkor was refusing to acknowledge that he was also a created being and that there was somebody who was superior to him.
If you are superior to all (as Melkor was) only not to Eru who in fact has no business in Arda itself and lives somewhere else, then I can imagine it as frustrating not to be able to do as you wish.
Imagine yourself 6 years old again and your father gives you the best toy ever, but he tells you you can only look at it not play with it...
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Old 03-25-2002, 06:02 AM   #11
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PS: Serious, how can you be serious about anything as unsignificant as this?
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Old 03-25-2002, 01:36 PM   #12
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The way I thought of it (mind you, I know Tolkien did not mean it to be like this) Iluvatar was like our version of God and Melkor was like Satan, in a way. Melkor was like an angel, like the other Ainur, but he turned to evil, so he was flung out of their eternal abode of joy. That is what I first thought of when I read the story...of course I'm pagan, so it was strange that I noticed that, but...oh well...
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Old 03-25-2002, 05:41 PM   #13
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Quote:
Serious, how can you be serious about anything as unsignificant as this?
Insignificant! How dare you?! [img]smilies/biggrin.gif[/img]

Quote:
I observe you steering cautiously around the Estë/Vána question: What would have happened if for example Estë or Vána would have been mightiest of the Valar? Would they walk the same path into ruin? Or would they be able to choose right and do good (read: Eru-style) things with their power?
With Vana I suspect that we would be up to our necks in flowers. (A horrible fate for me considering my galloping allergies!) Or maybe nobody would have allergies so we could enjoy the flowers so much better, with out the spasmodic sneezing, or the flooding eyes.
With Este we would probably have better ways to cure our allergies and would be living in a world of fountains and sofas.

If they ran amok then everyone would have rampent allergies and be drowning in fountains.

I don't believe that power is the problem. Pride is the problem. While having power often leads to pride I don't think that it always works that way.

Quote:
Eru who in fact has no business in Arda itself and lives somewhere else
That does not prevent him from intervening if he feels like it (read Numenor).

Frustrating or not you still should do the right thing.
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Old 03-25-2002, 06:42 PM   #14
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One thought in another direction - may it be that the mightiest would always claim for more? Seeing all the others under him, he forgets that he is and always be superior to them, but under the One, the Creator... instead of being satisfied and happy about what he has, he claims what he cannot have, the only thing he cannot have..... just the power makes you forget the limits, which always exist, although they are sometimes wide enough to make you feel free to go everywhere

And to the topic - if Eru stops him another one would come and take the path....

[ March 25, 2002: Message edited by: Mirkgirl ]
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Old 03-26-2002, 11:46 AM   #15
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Kuraharan - Define 'the right thing'

I agree with Mirkgirl; we always want the things we don´t have.

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Old 03-26-2002, 11:48 AM   #16
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Excusez... that will be Kuruharan

Once again,
Greetings, gildor
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Old 03-26-2002, 01:14 PM   #17
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Then of course, you get into old expressions:

Quote:
The grass is always greener on the other side.
Tolkien was really good at capturing real human character in all of his books. That's probably what make the characters so realistic and cause boards like these to be put up. He seemed to know who people were and how they would react and all of that. I'm starting to babble now aren't I? Oh well, that's me! Heehee: I would have been an interesting Tolkien character...according to personality tests, I would have been a female elf that was very much like Legolas! Haha: or maybe they mean I'd be WITH Legolas (hey! A girl can always dream!) hehe, I think I'll take what's left of my dignity and exit, stage right...
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Old 03-26-2002, 01:56 PM   #18
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Quote:
Define 'the right thing'
Okay. I'll tell you something that is really unpopular today, but true.
Obedience to those who are above you.
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Old 03-26-2002, 06:43 PM   #19
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Quote:
Obedience to those who are above you.
If I may ask, does this mean that ebveryone who are above you are qualified/appropriate to be above you or that you must obey anyway?

Because we have many examples where obeidience was not appropriate, like to Denethor in the end.
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Old 03-26-2002, 09:23 PM   #20
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If I may ask, does this mean that ebveryone who are above you are qualified/appropriate to be above you or that you must obey anyway?
In keeping with the subject of the thread I was thinking of the relationship between Melkor (the created being) and Iluvatar (the Creator).

In human relationships one could no doubt come up with all sorts of exceptions to everything. [img]smilies/smile.gif[/img]
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Old 03-27-2002, 12:05 PM   #21
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Quote:
In keeping with the subject of the thread I was thinking of the relationship between Melkor (the created being) and Iluvatar (the Creator).
In human relationships one could no doubt come up with all sorts of exceptions to everything.
If that´s the way we are looking at it we might as well end this thread. To say 'O well they´re gods, that explains' gets us nowhere. To know that which we don´t know, we must compare with the things we do know.

Another thing, where does it say Melkor is not obedient? He does things in a different way then the rest of the Valar, but Illuvatar never said things should be done this or that way. He only said their deeds will be part of the greater picture which he only can see. And that brings me back to my earlier statement; Melkor was not evil, but only acting according to his nature, not being disobedient, only different then the rest (of the Valar). Maybe that explains it: fear for the out-of-the-ordinary, Melkor comes with radical ideas about Arda, which are 'threatening' to the positions of the other Valar. Therefore Melkor is classified evil and dismissed as an enemy of the state.

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Old 03-27-2002, 05:10 PM   #22
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Quote:
Another thing, where does it say Melkor is not obedient?
That would certainly be an interesting way of looking at it. At one point in his conversation with Tuor, Ulmo says that it is his part to seem to oppose the Valar in his help to the Children.
However, in my reading, Iluvatar's statements to Melkor after the end of the Music always seemed to have a tone of rebuke as if Melkor had erred.
Also, Melkor setting himself up as a supreme god in spite of Iluvatar does not strike me as being particularly obedient. I don't think that Iluvatar intended anyone to have pretentions of supplanting him.

Regardless of how "different" Melkor may have been, he caused untold suffering, not just for the Valar but for the Children as well. I think that considering their position they are fully justified in dismissing him as an enemy of the state.
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Old 03-28-2002, 12:57 AM   #23
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inglorion, sweetie, look at it from Tolkien's point of view. Good ol' J.R.R. was a Christian. One of the pillars of Christianity is adherrence to the law of God. The trick is, no one is forced to obey. We are all given a choice, and thus may be seduced by our own selfish desire, which is what happened to Melkor. Melkor here is a manifestation of Lucifer.
Further, Jesus wanted people to follow him out of their own free will and love. Humanity tends to twist that concept around, as brilliantly demonstated by Fyodor Dostoevsky in the chapter entitled 'The Grand Inquisitor' in The Brothers Karamazov. This is great reading for everyone who is pondering the Melkor/Ilúvatar dilemma, particulalry the question of whether or not we can blame Ilúvatar for what happened to Melkor, which, apparently, you are trying to do (though this chapter is much more complex than what is written in The Silmarillion.
Personally speaking, I think Melkor's greatest problem was his lack of love..."And the greatest of these is love," remember? Of course, this is just your friendly neighborhood Russian Orthodox Christian speaking, and God knows, I don't have it all figured out, but I am trying, and hopefully will be for the rest of my life.
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Old 03-28-2002, 01:04 AM   #24
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Excellent post Lush. I agree with you. [img]smilies/wink.gif[/img]
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Old 03-29-2002, 09:10 AM   #25
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However, in my reading, Iluvatar's statements to Melkor after the end of the Music always seemed to have a tone of rebuke as if Melkor had erred.
It wasn´t rebuke as I see it, rather a comment on the greatness of his own design. By saying 'And thou, Melkor, shalt see that no theme may be played that hath not its uttermost source in me, nor can any alter the music in my despite. For he that attempteth this shall prove but mine instrument in the devising of things more wonderful, which he himself hath not imagined.' he clearly points out his untouchability and the untouchability of his designs. So it was not a negative remark to Melkor but rather a positive remark to himself.

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Also, Melkor setting himself up as a supreme god in spite of Iluvatar does not strike me as being particularly obedient. I don't think that Iluvatar intended anyone to have pretentions of supplanting him.
Is it illegal to be wishing to be like your father? Is it not completely normal for Melkor to have ambitions? However, the way in which he tried to realize this was conflicting with general interest, that is the well-being of the other children of Illuvatar. Melkor could not create his own children and therefore added some touches to the ones of his father. See it as a course in 'Creative creating for non-creators'.
The other Valar saw this and did not approve. And why not? Was it against the designs of Illuvatar? No, Melkor actually was contributing to that in his own unique way. Then why did the Valar cast him out? To show their subjects, the children, that they are not completely and totally idle, that after a few thousand years of watching the suffering - how far does their moral responsibility reach anyway? - they decided to save the Age?

Lush - Who exactly is Jesus in your view of Middle-Earth?

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Old 03-29-2002, 01:56 PM   #26
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While it's useless to argue about how somebody perceives the tone of a written statement, here goes anyway.

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And his countenance was stern...Iluvatar arose a third time, and his face was terrible to behold...the Ainur were afraid...Melkor was filled with shame, of which came secret anger.
Iluvatar was not pleased by what was going on. I don't see how it could be made plainer.

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The other Valar saw this and did not approve.
It also said that Manwe was the one that Iluvatar raised up against Melkor. Manwe is the one who is closest to Eru and best understands his will. I take it from that Iluvatar felt that Melkor's discord needed combating.

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Melkor actually was contributing to that in his own unique way.
Just because Iluvatar did not destroy Melkor and his work in the instant of their conception does not mean that he approves of it. He's allowing it because eventually something better will come out of it. However, that does not mean that Melkor is not evil. Things might have turned out utterly different and without all the suffering if Iluvatar's will had been obeyed and Melkor had remaind within his role. But Melkor was allowed his free will to rebel, because giving the Ainur free will was part of the reason for creating them in the first place.
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Old 03-29-2002, 02:54 PM   #27
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But would overthrowing Eru/Iluvatar be considered obedience or disobedience?

I was originally going to say that Melkor, wanting to rule the universe (like so many do), was disobeying Eru, but was there ever any particular rule that said, in effect, "Thou shalt have no other god above me" (the 1st Commandment)? Was he necessarily disobeying if there wasn't a rule that said that Eru would be ruler for all times and none could overthrow him, or was it just assumed? Hmmm...now you got me wondering...
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Old 03-29-2002, 05:54 PM   #28
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Lush - Who exactly is Jesus in your view of Middle-Earth?
Humph. I never said that there was any representation of Jesus in Middle Earth. I rather used His example to explain why I think Tolkien had Ilúvatar treat Melkor in the fashion that he did. It's all under the same umbrella of Christianity, you see.
Furthermore, your defense (am I right? Are you defending him?) for Melkor smacks of personal issues for me. Which is all right, because we all identify with characters in different ways. But in Melkor's case, coming from the Christian perspective (and J.R.R., once again, was a Christian), we are meant to pity him, but not to defend him, or make excuses for him. The sadness of his fate in no way excuses the horrible deeds that he preformed after the Music of the Ainur, not for me, at least, and not for Tolkien either, I suspect. In the end, Tolkien's Ilúvatar is the judge, not Man or Elf or Dwarf, etc. (remember what happened to the men that followed Melkor [img]smilies/eek.gif[/img] [img]smilies/eek.gif[/img] [img]smilies/eek.gif[/img] )
I think you can take whatever you want to take from the books, and I am not challenging your personal beliefs, but since the books were written by a Catholic, I thought it would be appropriate to bring in the Christian viewpoint here.
(...Wow, it is rare that someone like me will be in apparent harmony with those who walk under the Pope. I guess art is the only force that may bridge the gaps between us from time to time. [img]smilies/smile.gif[/img] )
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Old 03-29-2002, 06:22 PM   #29
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But would overthrowing Eru/Iluvatar be considered obedience or disobedience?
Most people would probably consider that a pretty extreme case of disobedience.

While Melkor could not overthrow Iluvatar he did hid the truth of Eru from those of the Children that he had power over, primarily Men, but possibly some Dark Elves too, and he filled their hearts with fear and darkness.

I doubt that Eru desired that the knowledge of himself be hidden from the Children, which is what Melkor did.

Think about it, why even bother to make the Children if none of them are ever even going to know about you?

However, overthrowing Eru was utterly impossible so it was probably just assumed, if never explicitly stated, that divine coups were off limits. Why bother with something you can't accomplish?
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Old 03-29-2002, 07:37 PM   #30
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maybe illuvatar was a sinister god that knew very well what was going to happen in middle earth. he was the creator of all, so it would be reasonably acceptable to assume that he knew the role all beings would play in the shaping of middle earth before their conception. all that happened in m.e. could have just been entertainment to the lord of arda. he allowed melkor to oppose the music of the ainur, and he must have known(being omnipotent as most gods are) that by permitting melkor to decend to arda and play a significant role in the shaping of m.e. that there would be conflict in the actual creation process. maybe arda was just a tv show that illuvatar enjoyed watching.

[ March 29, 2002: Message edited by: Morgoth of Angband ]
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Old 03-29-2002, 08:37 PM   #31
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Well, that would be one way of looking at it. But you are assuming that things were intended to happen the way that they did. I happen not to believe that, but you can certainly differ with me on that.

There is also a difference between knowing something and deciding something. I wouldn't doubt that Eru knew everything that would happen, but that does not mean that he decided that himself. The decision that I think he made was to step back and allow everyone's free will to run its course.

And don't forget that at the End everything will be righted.
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