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I have had a reasonably interesting disccussion with Viromor in another thread about Eru's creation and why Melkor came into it. However its a little out of the way so i thought i would start a new topic for itself under the right place.

Here was my opening thread:

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Iluvatar needed Melkor's evil to allow the world and his Children to come to a greater level of understanding. He needed Melkor to be his Instrument in the creation of the 'Second Arda' after the Last battle when the World is broken and the Ainur sing a Second Music. It is this theme that allows this new Arda to become the one which they saw in the Vision that was shown to them by Iluavatar.
For this all to come true Iluvatar needed Melkor to distort the original Arda so that the Second Music 'Would be Played aright'.

Read this 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."

See? 'He that attempts to alter the designs of Iluvatar will prove but his instrument in creating the Second World'.

And to prove that what I have been saying is right read this:

"Yet of old the Valar declared to the Elves in Valinor that Men shall join in the Second Music of the Ainur; whereas Ilúvatar has not revealed what he purposes for the Elves after the World's end, and Melkor has not discovered it."

Here it is saying that in the Second Music of the Ainur men shall join in with the Valar. But what Iluvatar has in store for the Elves, who partook in the First Music, is unknown to all save himself.

Another quote:

"Never since have the Ainur made any music like to this music, though it has been said that a greater still shall be made before Ilúvatar by the choirs of the Ainur and the Children of Ilúvatar after the end of days. Then the themes of Ilúvatar shall be played aright, and take Being in the moment of their utterance, for all shall then understand fully his intent in their part, and each shall know the comprehension of each, and Ilúvatar shall give to their thoughts the secret fire, being well pleased."

Also this brings me to something I doubt anyone but the most analytical will agree with....

If you believe, like I do, That Iluvatar planned everything that was, is, and is to be (fate I suppose), then SHOULD MELKOR BE PITIED???

If Iluvatar intended to create a being that will turn into the prime source of rebellion against himself then surely there was nothing Melkor could do about it. Surely Melkor was Doomed, even before he was created to fall into Darkness by the plan of Iluvatar.
If this is the case then the main source of evils origin stems not from Melkor, but from Eru.
think it over and perhaps you will allow logic to prevail in your conclusion.

Perhaps this is what Iluvatar means here:

"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."

It means that Iluvatar is saying 'Everything that exists has its uttermost source in me' - hence everthing that phisically, mentally phycoligically exists derives in its most basic form from Eru himself - and that includes evil.
My personal belief is that Iluvatar is not wholly Good, Nor wholly Bad. He simply 'Is' and is the prime source of everything.

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It would be good if you could give me your views on things and perhaps start a debate...
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My personal belief is that Iluvatar is not wholly Good, Nor wholly Bad. He simply 'Is' and is the prime source of everything.


This part is true, I think. He is simply there to create and bring things into existence. Maybe, for him, there is no 'good' or 'evil', but only 'extinct' or 'extant'.

Perhaps that is also why Manwe Sulimo, though the mightiest of the Valar, is not anything close to the might of Eru, since Manwe's heart is free from any evil (thus he cannot comprehend Melkor), while Eru's being consists of all the elements and themes of Arda (and perhaps more that are not of Arda).

The might of Iluvatar comes from the diversity of himself. Iluvatar was Everything, good,evil, right, wrong, hard rock, cold water, lithe dancer, wise old man etc. He knew of everything on this Earth while his creations knew only parts of the world. Manwe knew only good, Melkor erased all good from his heart until he knew only evil, and for all the Children of Iluvatar, each had his/her own knowledge of Arda, and none had the full knowledge of it.

Why all the 'good' people of Arda love Iluvatar is not because he is 'good', but because they are 'good' and 'good' stimulates love more than it does hate. Why the 'evil' of Arda hated Iluvatar is the same.

But back to Melkor. The question of whether he should be pitied is one I cannot answer. It depends on our own temperaments. For a person like me, I would probably try and pity Melkor, because he is a wretched existence and he himself is not happy nor will he ever taste true joy. But then I cannot really find it possible to pity Morgoth because of the wreckage he has strewn over Arda and the pure beauty he has torn apart. It's too easy for me to take the point of view of those against Morgoth, because, well the books are written from an anti-Morgoth point of view. So, I'd probably just feel sad that he has ruined Arda.

For others, they might find it easy to mix pity with scorn and anger for Morgoth. More soft-hearted ones might even pity Morgoth enough to feel like they wanna give him a hug. Wink Smilie And angrier ones would of course, have only fury and hate towards him.

But my personal opinion would be that the wise would pity Morgoth, the rash would only hate him and the weak would be either resentful or jealous of him.
I repeat here what I posted in the other thread also:

LoA, your quotes do not prove what you think they prove. Eru did create Melkor, but he created him to be good, not to be evil. Evil is something Melkor chose all by himself. And because he chose what he wanted over what Eru wanted, that is what made him evil. Therefore, when Eru set the Music before Melkor as before all the Ainur, and Melkor tried to subvert it, Eru began a new theme in that Music in order to show, as your quotes point out, that no created intelligence could thwart Eru's design which was to be shown forth in Arda and eventually in ME. Just because Melkor became the "instrument" of Eru in making Arda what it became, does not mean Melkor had no power of choice in the matter. Merely because Eru foresaw the outcome does not mean he forced Melkor to do anything.

The kind of "fatalism" which you imagine to be in the Sil and LotR is not there. I grant you that kind of "Wyrd" was in the Norse myths, and was in the end more powerful than the Norse gods. But Tolkien only took what he wanted from Norse mythology. We know--and yes, we do know for certain--that Tolkien underpinned his works through and through with Catholic theology. In Tolkien's mind, and therefore in the mind of Eru, there is no "plan" which inhibits a sentient being from exercising freewill. What each character does, in that scheme of things, is up to that character. So what Melkor did was Melkor's fault, and not Eru's. It was not Eru that forced Melkor to steal the Silmarils--it was Melkor's greed. It was not Eru that forced Melkor to kill Finwe for those jewels--it was Melkor's disregard for any life but his own. It was not Eru who forced Melkor to engage Ungoliant in killing the Two Trees--it was Melkor's desire for darkness to conceal his wickedness. It was not Eru that forced Melkor to warp the elves he captured into the orcish breed--it was Morgoth's insatiable desire for domination, to have all of Eru's world for his own.

Neither can you contend that the Valar would never have known evil, and therefore would never have had a complete knowledge of "life" without Melkor. Again, in this you follow too closely the "knowledge," as though it meant literally that one who "did not understand evil" was an ignoramous. No, not at all. Manwe was probably modeled on the Norse god Balder, who I think was always characterized as innocent. In Tokien's scheme of things, Manwe would not have understood, perhaps, Melkor's motivations, his reason's for doing evil. But Manwe certainly understood that to not do good was its opposite. If you deny him that knowledge, you are making Manwe into some kind of an idiot which Tolkien would not have written. What Manwe lacked--in the early stages of dealing with Morgoth--was an understanding of Morgoth's motivation. Manwe could only see Arda in relation to doing Eru's will. Morgoth could only see Arda in relation to his own power. When Manwe came to an understanding of Morgoth's mind, then we can say his character "grew," as Tolkien had designed such characters to grow.

Therefore, to conclude, I should say your idea that all the good that was accomplished in ME should be attributed to Morgoth, and that we should pity him because of his being regarded as evil, is ludicrous. Now I realize you in some sort "indentify" with him. But do not let your own preferences cloud your vision. Tolkien was showing us evil in Morgoth. Without choice, there is no good or evil. But Morgoth did choose, and he chose evil.
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Iluvatar was Everything, good,evil, right, wrong, hard rock, cold water, lithe dancer, wise old man etc.

You forget JRRT's faith in this. Eru Ilúvatar was clearly based on God, hence Eru is all good, whilst the Ainur were based on the Angels, with the Valar being the Archangels (Manwë could perhaps be based on Michael or Gabriel, Melkor on Sammael/Lucifer).

Evil does not come from Eru, Eru merely granted his Offspring (the Angels) powers, and it was completely up to them how they'd use it. Note that 'Offspring' does not mean a clone of Eru, but a new spirit with their own free will to use their powers. Melkor misused his powers and rejected Eru's creation, hence his Fall just like Lucifer in the Bible.

And just like in the Bible, every creature of Eru has free will, they're not mindless puppets in Eru's hands. Even though the ultimate outcome of the First Music of the Ainur had been set by Eru -the ultimate destruction of evil and the unmaking of Arda ŕ la the biblical Apocalyps- there were various possible paths all leading to this outcome, all depended by Free Will... for instance Isildúr could have destroyed the Ring at the end of the Second Age, but he himself chose not to - not Eru.

Melkor should be pitied if he was indeed a mindless, doomed puppet in Eru's hands, but since everything he did and became was only his own making, he should certainly not. He was a monster, a demon, the Enemy who prevented Arda from becoming a Paradise. You might as well pity Satan.

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I grant you that kind of "Wyrd" was in the Norse myths, and was in the end more powerful than the Norse gods.

Yes, but even in the Norse myths there was hope beyond this "Wyrd", since a new world would (literally) rise over the ashes with new gods/Aesir, headed by Baldr.

It is exactly this message of 'hope' that is found in JRRT's works, not fatalism and gloom that others seem to believe in.
Ok a couple of points there.

Firstly Vir - Indeed alot of Tolkien's work on Eru was based on the catholic God but not all of it (indeed he would NOT try to replicate God completely in any way). There are major differences and as such they cannot be used always as comparisons. For starters the Christian God made all the animals and the trees and the mountains, water and so on. Whilst Eru only made the actualy earth itself. The Ainur like Yavanna, Ulmo, Aule were responsible for the creation of these things, as these were the designs they wove into there music.
Also there is only One known being that is completely 'Good' in Tolkien's myth and that is Manwe:

"For Manwë was free from evil and could not comprehend it, and he knew that in the beginning, in the thought of Ilúvatar, Melkor had been even as he; and he saw not to the depths of Melkor’s heart, and did not perceive that all love had departed from him for ever."

So as we see Manwe is wholly free from evil.

Now Gandalf-Olorin - your points seem to based on the fact that you believe Melkor to have been created Good by Eru but after growing evil by himself.

As we know the Ainur are simply offspring of Eru's thought:

"There was Eru, the One, who in Arda is called Ilúvatar; and he made first the Ainur, the Holy Ones, that were the offspring of his thought, and they were with him before aught else was made."

Each Ainur was made up of a certain segment of Iluvatar's mind. Now I will give you an example therefore why none of the Ainur could do something which was beyond Eru's power/comprehension/wisdom:

If we had a car that could do 140mph maximum and we took the engine out of that cr and fitted it into another, then that other car could still only do 140mph.

The Ainur ARE Eru, they are just his mind split up into smaller sections, that is why when they wish to decide something they are far better at doing it together becuase they can all add there own knowledge of Eru's mind t the pot.

So if the Ainur simply are Eru's mind, how then can one of them extend beyond the bounds by which he is made up of?

It is clear that manwe is only made up of the 'Good' parts of Eru's mind, whilst Melkor is made mostly of the 'Bad'.
Some like Mandos are made up with some of the knowledge in which Eru has planned for the future - hence he can forsee some things.
Iluvatar however has not distributed all of his mind up into Ainur. there are some parts which he keeps to himself alone, thus the Valar are uncertain of some things (like the fate of the Elves after the Great end, and where Men go after death etc).

Now whether you pity melkor depends on two things you must decide before you answer:

1. Do you believe that Eru has planned all that was, is, and is to be (fate)?

2. Do you believe in what I have said so far - that an Ainur cannot become somehing which Eru is not becuase they ARE Eru's mind?


I believe in both of these things. Therefore I believe it was not possible for Melkor to become evil without the purpose of Eru making him become evil becuase Melkor is part of Eru's mind.

So Melkor was doomed even before he was made, to become evil becuase that is the part of Eru he had the most share of. It was also doomed that Melkor should fall becuase Eru has planned it so. Therefore I believe Melkor should be pitied becuase there was nothing he could do about his own fate.

Lastly another point - Iluvatar does not create things that have no purpose in HIS creation:

"The love of Arda was set in your hearts by Ilúvatar, and he does not plant to no purpose."

Also this:

"The will of Eru may not be gainsaid..."

The messengers of Manwe says this. 'The Will of Eru may not be Gainsaid'. This is becuase it is NOT possible to rebel against something that HAS ALREADY BEEN PLANNED.

Lastly to Gandalf-Olorin - I never said Melkor achieved only good in Arda. In fact he did virtually complete evil there. He toremented, destroyed, killed etc but you are not listening to the words of Manwe:

"Thus even as Eru spoke to us shall beauty not before conceived be brought into Eä, and evil yet be good to have been."

The evil of Melkor was a NESSECITY for the creation of the Second Great Mucic when a new Arda is made. This does not make the evil good, but Good to have been - VERY wise words.
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I believe in both of these things. Therefore I believe it was not possible for Melkor to become evil without the purpose of Eru making him become evil becuase Melkor is part of Eru's mind.

Yes, those are indeed beliefs. Thank you for sharing them.

Now please accept the fact that other people have different beliefs and interpret JRRT's works differently, please.

All your beliefs seem to be based on the 2 points you've posted above, which some people do not agree with. Can't you understand that other people's beliefs are as valid as yours, since they're simply beliefs?
Virumor - I think you need to lighten up a bit. This is a discussion/debate. Idears are meant to be exchanged and rebuted. Your the only one turning this into an argument.
If you want to debate then go ahead thats why I made this topic. However if you feel you have said all you need to say then thats ok with me.
I think it would be much easier to respond and carry on a debate with a bit shorter posts, just an opinion though.
Do you think my posts are too big?
Some of them are a little too big to properly absorb and reply to. But not just yours.
LoA,

Your beliefs are uniquely yours. They do not match what Tolkien himself believed and wove into his writing. You are taking some of the Sil, written very poetically and rendered as though a translation of the "Lays" that were brought out in later publications by Christopher Tolkien, and interpreting these as though they were written to be a textbook on Arda. Hardly.

If you will kindly peruse such works as Humphrey Carpenter's biography of Tolkien and his book on the Inklings you will find quite a number of things to consider. You may also want to read Architect of Middle Earth by Daniel Grotta-Kurska, and Master of Middle Earth by Paul Kocher, since both of these provide heavy documentation on what Tolkien believed and subsequently wrote into his books. Of course The Letters of J.R.R. Tolkien are also an invaluable source for an authentic understanding of the author's mind.

You will find that the views advanced by Virumor and me are not our views at all but Tolkien's own.
That is what we are debating Gandalf. It would be good if you could provide some quotes from those sources you advised but only if they were written by Tolkien.

As yet I have seen only speculative opinions by yourself and Vir - that is fine of course if that is all you wish to provide - but backing your theories up with evidence is always a more becoming approach...

Fionwe - I will try and cut my posts down a bit but if you wish to reply to someting already mentioned then just pick one or two sections out and start there.
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As yet I have seen only speculative opinions by yourself and Vir - that is fine of course if that is all you wish to provide - but backing your theories up with evidence is always a more becoming approach...

You have given your interpretation of a handful of quotes from the Silmarillion and HOME (?), and so have we. That is all.
Ok. So you believe that Melkor is evil becuase he wished to be, and you believe that Eru has not planned the entire history of Arda and as such did not plan Melkor's evil. Yet somehow if Eru had not known that Melkor was going to turn evil how could Eru have known that if someone would turn evil then they would be an instrument in the making of a Second Arda? If Eru is free from evil how can he know how evil will benifit him?

And lastly if you could please address my main point - How can Melkor turn into something that Iluvatar does not have a part of if Melkor's being is only made of Eru's mind?

I would be interested in hearing YOUR views on these questions Vir and Gandalf.

(ps Vir - no doubt I would pity Satan if I knew anything about the Bible. All i know is that he was created by God and turned evil. But I do not think that the bible indicates that god has planned everything that was, is, and is to be. Therefore Satan turned evil entirely unto his own doing whilst Melkor was GOING to turn evil becuase that is what Eru had planned.)
So, LoA, let me get this straight. You believe my views and Vir's to be unsubstantiated because they conflict with yours? And you believe that I should do your research for you so that you can see where the evidence lies in the matter? I think you ought to do your own reading before you posit your views as the definitive ones. The mark of a scholar of any kind, and in this case of a Tolkien scholar, is that he does his research and then shares what he has learned. This is what Vir and I have been doing, while you seem to be interpreting Tolkien's writing free-style. If you interpret everything you run into in life that way, you will end up in big trouble.

You keep asking us to prove to you our position. No, LoA, the burden of proof is on you. You are the one advocating a totally new theory of interpretation for Tolkien's works, at least in respect of Melkor/Morgoth and his part in Eru's plan. It is you who must quote from Tolkien, and from others who knew Tolkien or have studied his works, in order to show some verification that this theory is not only yours but was accepted by Tolkien and those who knew him. Failing to find that kind of proof for your claims, you will kindly allow that our position is the more probable (if not the correct) one.
As I say its fine if you do not wish to provide proof for your claims Gandalf. I never said you HAD to go out looking for quotes. I merely said it would be good to actually provide proof for your claims about the evidence I have provided.

As for the burden of proof to be on me I totally agree. However I have done my research and the several quotes I have found throughout HOME and The Sil seem to me enough for me to create the foundation of my views.
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So you believe that Melkor is evil becuase he wished to be, and you believe that Eru has not planned the entire history of Arda and as such did not plan Melkor's evil. Yet somehow if Eru had not known that Melkor was going to turn evil how could Eru have known that if someone would turn evil then they would be an instrument in the making of a Second Arda? If Eru is free from evil how can he know how evil will benifit him?

And lastly if you could please address my main point - How can Melkor turn into something that Iluvatar does not have a part of if Melkor's being is only made of Eru's mind?

If you have read the biography of JRRT by Humphrey Carpenter and read Tolkien's Letters, then you might know that JRRT was a devout Catholic, and his Christian beliefs he applied on his works - Eru is based on God, the Ainur on Angels.

Hence Eru is all-good and Melkor's fall is comparable to the fall of Lucifer. That is what both me and Gandalf-olorin are basing our arguments on. Your views are not in line with what JRRT believed in and applied to his works.

As for your questions, read the above posts by me and Gandalf-olorin, for they have already been answered.

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However I have done my research and the several quotes I have found throughout HOME and The Sil seem to me enough for me to create the foundation of my views.

When discussing the backbone of Tolkien's universe, you might research a bit what Tolkien himself believed about life and the universe instead of taking your own views of his works as the absolute truth.

Maybe you should write your own version of Tolkien's myth, if you want your views to be the absolute truth so badly. At least that would show the Professor some respect, instead of disregarding everything he believed in.
OK, let me get the arguments straight.

Vir and Gandalf think that Melkor is an offspring of Eru's mind, intended (as the other Valar were)to be purely good, but that his soul was later tainted and he turned to evil.

LoA thinks that Melkor is an offspring of Eru's mind, good in the beginning but intended to develop into evil afterwards.

Interesting views, but do allow me to ask some questions.

For Vir and Gandalf- The Bible says God is Allknowing, and we can all assume that Eru is also Allknowing. Why, then, did a sapling like Melkor grow into something that Eru did not intend? Why then, did Lucifer grow evil if God had meant him to be good (I never got that part of the Bible, so if you could answer this and clear matters up)?

For LoA - Perhaps you might consider accepting the fact that Tolkien might have written his books thinking like a Christian, and therefore, his books, like the Bible, might be written with one purpose but interpreted with shocking variety?

To all- Some of us here like to explore and speculate on how Tolkien thought when he wrote, and these guys like to put Tolkien's thoughts, views and meanings as canon. But of course there are people (like me), who tend to read Tolkien's books and just enjoy them without doing all that research on Tolkien's life and influences and these people tend to have interpretations of the books that Tolkien didn't think of while he was writing them. Nobody's right or wrong, we all have different styles, that's all.

This whole brawl here is all just a POV problem (ever studied AP World History or AP European History? Didn't think so...) and the solution is that everybody present their POVs or what they think might be Tolkien's POV in a logical fashion that anyone with average IQ can understand and the reader will decide which one he/she wishes to believe in.
In part, I agree with Cloveress that this is a point of view situation and many of Tolkien's writings are open to interpretation, which is a good thing and encourages discussion.

Tolkien's 'Creation' etc is based on Christian (Catholic) beliefs but it is not a direct transcript and Tolkien himself highlights differences in his writings and his Catholic beliefs. Therefore, interpretations (in my view) are welcome where there is lack of detail or definition. Just because Tolkien used Christian beliefs and other mythology within his writings does not mean that every incident he wrote followed those beliefs implicitly. If you want to give Tolkien respect then I think one should accept that he has a far wider range than mere rewriting of religious beliefs.

I am afraid Vir/LofA/Gandalf's attitudes (as they come across in posts) are likely to discourage discussion. And that is a bad thing.

Please everyone, remember the rules of discussion on PT - do not ridicule other member's opinions. Just because your views differ does not mean either is right or wrong. In some cases it is 6 of one and half a dozen of the other.

Oh, and Merry Christmas. Bah! Humbug! Ho Ho Ho!

Vee - Any 'blunt' attitude you may have seen me post you will find is a direct rebut to a previous post done by Viromor which was even more blunt.

I think you will all find that my posts have been quite polite and my rebuttals done to gandalf and Vir are no more than ways to keep the debate going.

The only thing Vir is holding on to is the 'Tolkien was a Catholic' thing which is hardly sufficient in such a debate and has already proved by myself and others to be flawed.

The fact remains that if the Ainur are simply segments of Eru's mind split up, none of them can go and therefore do something which is not comprehended/acknowledged/known by Eru becuase they ARE him.
Besides this point (which has not been answered by the debate opposition there is the other point in that Eru specifically states that one who rebels against him will in the end turn to be his instrument in making far greater things.

If Eru did NOT intend for Melkor to become evil then why did he not just 'stamp' him out of existance from Arda when he was creating all that misery? The answer is simple - he intended it to happne becuase he knew that the misery Melkor caused would turn out to be 'GOOD TO HAVE BEEN' in the end.

Now clearly Vir and Gandalf do not think that Eru has planned all that was, is, and is to be so therefore this alone makes debating with someone who has a funermental different (I won't say wrong) point of view.

Now I am welcome to anyone else's interpretations and so on (but try to refrain from keep stating 'Tolkien was a Catholic, Tolkien was a Catholic, Tolkien was a Catholic' etc etc - that point can only extend so far).

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But my personal opinion would be that the wise would pity Morgoth, the rash would only hate him and the weak would be either resentful or jealous of him.


Couldn't agree more Cloveress!
Eru's Thoughts

The above thread has discussions long the same line as this thread.
Thanks you for providing that link Vee.

I found a quote there that was one of the most vital parts of that entire thread. It is primarily on the same lines as the quote I have already provided but its more detailed:

"And thou, Melko, shalt see that no theme may be played that has not its uttermost source in me, nor can any alter the music in my despite. For he that attempts this shall but aid me in devising things yet more wonderful, which he himself has not imagined. Through Melko have terror as fire, and sorrow like dark waters, wrath like thunder, and evil as far from my light as the uttermost depths of the dark places come into the design. In the confusion of sound were made pain and cruelty, devouring flame and cold without mercy, and death without hope. Yet he shall see that in the end this redounds only to the glory of the world, and this world shall be called of all the deeds of Ilúvatar the mightiest and most lovely."-The Lost Road

So you see here that the more evil Melkor (or Melko, as was his first name) does and becomes, the more it shall simply reflect the Light of Eru in the creation of fairer things. This alone would be reason enough for Eru to create him and plan him to become evil intentially.
I suggest for some people in this thread to read the following works about Catholicism in Tolkien's works, before even trying to interpret the basis of Tolkien's universe :

J.R.R Tolkien: Truth and Myth by Joseph Pearce

J.R.R. Tolkien's sanctifying myth : understanding Middle-Earth by Bradley J. Birzer.

In this matter, it does not matter what we believe, it matters what Tolkien himself believed. People who do not understand what Tolkien himself believed and the influence this had on his works, aren't fit to form any applicable opinion on this matter.

I will hereby officially remove myself from this topic, since I have already given mine and Tolkien's opinion on this matter and do not wish to repeat myself over and over again, unlike others. I can only suggest again to read the above works, together with Tolkien's Letters and Tolkien's biography by Humphrey Carpenter.
Niether of the sources you provided are written by JRR Tolkien. They are simply other peoples interpretation of his beliefs doing some research and quote adding. As such neither are a valid Tolkien work and ideally should not be used in such discussions.

Its been nice debating with you Viromor. Chow...
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Niether of the sources you provided are written by JRR Tolkien.

Yes, JRR Tolkien did certainly not write his own letters, now did he?

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They are simply other peoples interpretation of his beliefs doing some research and quote adding.

Said the pot to the kettle... oh wait, you've just stated your own beliefs, not even JRRT's. My bad.

People like you that claim to be open for discussion and ideas, but are not even willing to read other people's viewpoints because it might conflict theirs, and instead repeat the same drivel over and over again, are just a waste of time.

I'm feeling inclined to lock this thread, but I will refrain, so that all other members of PT can judge for themselves how open-minded and knowledgable you really are in this topic (or ANY topic, for that matter). You're really nothing more than a public nuisance.

Now be my guest : repeat your same argument again and again and again.
Ok I will wait to see if someone who can provide MORE insight comes into the discussion.

I have provided quotes, examples and rebuttals. That is what Debates ARE.
You have simply kept saying 'Tolkien was a Catholic, Tolkien was a catholic' over and over.

If you ask me Vir - you need to get over that confusion from several months ago. No others are holding it against me.

And I am pretty sure other Council Members would not delete this thread.
Locking and deleting are two very different things. A locked thread simply means that no one can post in it anymore, but anyone can view it and read what has been said. Deleting removes the whole discussion for ever.

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If you believe, like I do, That Iluvatar planned everything that was, is, and is to be (fate I suppose), then SHOULD MELKOR BE PITIED???


If I believed that, that exact quote, then Morgoth should indeed be pitied along with all of Eru's creations, and Eru himself. But if Melkor/Morgoth is freed from all charges because "Eru made me do it", then all good deeds, all glory, all sacrifices done by "the good guys" would have been done because "Eru made me do it" as well. All deeds, big and small, good or bad would be equally meaningless. It reduces them all to puppets, including Melkor/Morgoth. Tolkien's great stories about good vs evil, love and understanding vs hate and distrust, creating and sharing vs destruction and possessing would just be a stories about... nothing. If all of Eru's creatures are puppets with no choise or free will, then Eru is a like a cruel child who sets fire to ants with his magnifying glass and destorys his teddy bears and toy soliders for no apparent reason. It does not fit with the Eru I see in the Sil.

Morgoth is greedy and proud. He doesn't want to share with his 'siblings'. He wants to be Eru, he wants the Flame Imperishable, and if he can't get what he wants, well then noone else should get what they want either. He is not misunderstood or a victim, and Eru is not the bad guy. Eru simply tells Melkor that he won't succeed no matter how hard he tries to be Eru, and no matter how hard he tries to ruin Eru's Song. In the end he will see that Daddy knows best.

Melkor is given several chances to change his mind, but he chooses not to, both as Melkor and later as Morgoth. The worst part is that Morgoth knows he is wrong, but is too proud to admit it. If you don't learn from your mistakes, you will continue to make mistakes and in the end you will have to pay the price.

Arda would excist without Melkor/Morgoth's evil deeds, but the written story would most likely be a lot less exciting. Wink Smilie
Indeed your view is intriguing Amarie.

As you have stated you do not believe Eru has not planned everything before it was made therefore I will make no attempt to sway you otherwise. The debate was only meant to get serious for those who did believe it but disagreed with my theory but as you do not then I am okay with it. Big Smile Smilie

BY the way - Virumor has edited his post since I have written my last one.
Before it was edited Vir said that he felt 'inclined to lock or delete this thread'. Now he has edited it to just say 'lock'.

And I better shut up - I am no more than an ignorant - arragant - Satan like - knows nothing about Tolkien - stupider than stupidness- 'public nuisance' as Vir has already said in not so many words (or has he by now?).
Ahhhhh....how little does he know...
"Don't bother me with the facts; my mind is made up." Elf With a Big Grin Smilie

Moderator Smilie Grondy considered locking this and that other thread long ago, but decided were he to do so, Know it All would just start up the argument* in some other thread. Better to let them get it out of their system. at least they aren't out on the street getting in real trouble. Angel Smilie

* IMHO an argument reiterates the same old info, while a discussion brings in new supporting data.
How much data can a sole person bring into one discussion? It would have been better if the contrary side would have done so too.
Viromor is the only one who has turned this fairly interesting topic in to a argument.

If I am too advanced for you lot just say so and I could easily just start joining in with the other threads instead like 'Triva' and so on...
Enough!

Final written warning!

Any more posts from either of you prolonging argument rather than discussion or any more snipes from anyone about anyone in this thread will be deleted by me.

Ho Ho Ho.
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But if Melkor/Morgoth is freed from all charges because "Eru made me do it", then all good deeds, all glory, all sacrifices done by "the good guys" would have been done because "Eru made me do it" as well. All deeds, big and small, good or bad would be equally meaningless. It reduces them all to puppets, including Melkor/Morgoth.


I've always thought of it this way, as if the world was a theatre for the Almighty's puppets (which is everything on Earth). It never struck me that it would make the Almighty cruel, though. I mean, if Arda is destined to be destroyed and all that, then in the end, perhaps everything will be just meaningless things that Were. The whole idea of Ea (let it be) was simply just to give something beautiful (and something ugly) a chance to exist.

I've always thought that everything was meaningful because it had impact on others within the planet. For example, Feanor's turning to violence and hatred would become infinitely insignificant after Arda ends, yet we cannot say Feanor's deeds were insignificant or meaningless because they had a huge impact on all the Noldor, a lot of the Teleri and many other inidviduals besides. Likewise, we cannot say that Felagund's sacrifice to save Beren was meaningless because it meant the world to Beren and to Luthien and to every soul at Nargothrond.

Perhaps this is all that matters, that you impact things within your own world strong enough to be great and glorious and to make a difference. Perhaps this is what meaningful means. Because, well, Arda's going end someday, and then nothing will mean anything after that. And every world that is created is going to end someday, and all of the beauty on those worlds will end with it on that day, and nothing will matter. So if nothing is going to matter at the end of Eru's puppet show, then all that mattered during the puppet show, all the wonders and feats that the puppets performed, all of that mattered simply because they had let the most amazing puppet show exist. Perhaps it does make Eru cruel, but think of it this way, if Eru brought about so many of the most horrible events (like Turin and Nienor) then he also brought about the most wonderful events (like Aragorn's coronation and the Vanyar in Valinor).

It is really hard to determine where Tolkien drew his inspiration for Eru from. Some of it definitely came from the Catholic God, but then, some of it might also have come from other parts, because Eru created a world that had many elements the Catholic God did not put into his. Eru probably had a Norse side to him (I mean, come on, he decreed a Doomsday that is more like Ragnorak than Judgement Day) even though I don't recall there ever being an Allfather in Norse mythology.

I do understand Amarie's point that Eru, surely meant to be benign by Tolkien, could not have designed this whole "I'm just gonna sit back and watch the world I've created unfold" scheme. It is a bit inhumane of him, and surely, Tolkien wouldn't want his omnipotent God to be as cruel as that (watching his Children slay each other and all that)! The argument makes sense to me, I simply happen to be a not-very-devout Catholic, that's all.
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For Vir and Gandalf- The Bible says God is Allknowing, and we can all assume that Eru is also Allknowing. Why, then, did a sapling like Melkor grow into something that Eru did not intend? Why then, did Lucifer grow evil if God had meant him to be good (I never got that part of the Bible, so if you could answer this and clear matters up)?

Because of Free Will, in both cases. Neither are mindless puppets, but creations with powers granted by Eru/God. Both had to choose for themselves how to use their powers, and both abused their powers... both rejected Eru's/God's Creation and Rebelled, wishing to either bend the Creation to their own will or create one of their own, which is in my opinion the exact definition of 'evil'.

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But if Melkor/Morgoth is freed from all charges because "Eru made me do it", then all good deeds, all glory, all sacrifices done by "the good guys" would have been done because "Eru made me do it" as well. All deeds, big and small, good or bad would be equally meaningless. It reduces them all to puppets, including Melkor/Morgoth.

It is because this concept of predestination goes against anything what JRRT, as a Catholic, believed in, that I reject this notion in Tolkien's work. This is a calvinistic belief. With it, there would be no free will which there clearly is in Tolkien's work... Isildúr chose to not destroy the Ring, Bilbo chose to spare Gollum, etc.

Besides, the idea alone that everything is predestined, is depressing at best.

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Eru probably had a Norse side to him (I mean, come on, he decreed a Doomsday that is more like Ragnorak than Judgement Day) even though I don't recall there ever being an Allfather in Norse mythology.

Odin is the Allfather of the Aesir, although he does have two brothers, Vili and Ve and he is the grandson of Buri, the first god who appeared out of the primordial Ice/Fire.

As for Tolkien's "doomsday", this is hardly Norse but appears in any religion... the Apocalypse, etc. Though it can be compared since all Aesir safe a few would be destroyed at Ragnarok, together with all 9 worlds and Yggdrasill, the World Tree.. and after Dagor Dagorath Arda would be unmade, and since the Valar are bound to it, they'd disappear too... and hence the Quendi too.
The Valar do not dissapear and neither do the Quendi:

"Yet of old the Valar declared to the Elves in Valinor that Men shall join in the Second Music of the Ainur; whereas Ilúvatar has not revealed what he purposes for the Elves after the World's end, and Melkor has not discovered it."

"Never since have the Ainur made any music like to this music, though it has been said that a greater still shall be made before Ilúvatar by the choirs of the Ainur and the Children of Ilúvatar after the end of days. Then the themes of Ilúvatar shall be played aright, and take Being in the moment of their utterance, for all shall then understand fully his intent in their part, and each shall know the comprehension of each, and Ilúvatar shall give to their thoughts the secret fire, being well pleased."


The Valar make another Great music - mightier than the last which they used for the first Arda. What happnes to the Qunedi none know.

Your point about free will is correct to a degree. But if Melkor killed so many innocent lives he is therefore stopping countless others having free will. So therefore Eru has a choice to stop one beings Free will or two stop thousands. Therefore if this werethe case it is likely Eru would stop melkor's than all of the others.

And what of this quote:

"And thou, Melko, shalt see that no theme may be played that has not its uttermost source in me, nor can any alter the music in my despite. For he that attempts this shall but aid me in devising things yet more wonderful, which he himself has not imagined. Through Melko have terror as fire, and sorrow like dark waters, wrath like thunder, and evil as far from my light as the uttermost depths of the dark places come into the design. In the confusion of sound were made pain and cruelty, devouring flame and cold without mercy, and death without hope. Yet he shall see that in the end this redounds only to the glory of the world, and this world shall be called of all the deeds of Ilúvatar the mightiest and most lovely."-The Lost Road

The more evil Melkor does, the more it reflects Eru's own Light. this alone would be reason enough for Eru to create him.

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Vir - you are indee coreect on the point about Tolkien having Catholic views. I will explain now why it has little relevance:

Tolkien created this great Mythical world and we have it all written down in facts. Then in his letters Tolkien gives HIS OWN views on his work. And I do not doubt that being a catholic he would rather side with what you have stated not me.
BUT you are missing the crucial words in your own sentences - they are TOLKIEN'S views on FACTS. They are not Tolkien Facts on his work. They are just Tolkien's opinions about his own work. He leaves his own works open for how others interpet them.

He does not weave his own beliefs into his works - he saves them for letters.

As such Tolkien views about his work do not alter the facts that are in those works.

The thing that matters is the facts in Tolkien World, not what Tolkien opinions were through his perspective.
Tolkien certainly wove his Catholic faith into everything he wrote. To say that his views on his own writing do not matter is patently non sequitur. No literature is ever studied without giving due consideration, and serious weight, to what the author believed and how he lived, and how these things might have influenced in one way or another his works. The evidence of what Tolkien thought came out gradually over the years, but it is there in his letters and in interviews he granted. There are also Tolkien's words to the effect that he did not like people construing his works in a fashion he did not intend.

These points, as well as the others repeatedly brought up in this thread, I propose to answer in as thorough a manner as I can. I will present documentation to support the points that I (and Vir) have been making. This paper will not be finished till sometime late next week--at the earliest. So I will ask that those who seem to so desperately crave these answers be patient and "expect me when you see me." (Unless someone informs me otherwise, I will post my paper to this thread.)
Dear all,

I have had some time this evening to look into Tolkien’s letters about the matter of ‘Free will’ versus ‘Predestiny’. I’ll gladly provide some quotes to substantiate some earlier claims of mine.

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From letter #131 (To Milton Waldman)

The cycles begin with a cosmogonical myth: the Music of the Ainur. God and the Valar (or powers: Englished as gods) are revealed. These latter are as we should say angelic powers, whose function is to exercise delegated authority in their spheres (of rule and government, not creation, making or re-making). They are 'divine', that is, were originally 'outside' and existed 'before' the making of the world. Their power and wisdom is derived from their Knowledge of the cosmogonical drama, which they perceived first as a drama (that is as in a fashion we perceive a story composed by some-one else), and later as a 'reality'. On the side of mere narrative device, this is, of course, meant to provide beings of the same order of beauty, power, and majesty as the 'gods' of higher mythology, which can yet be accepted - well, shall we say baldly, by a mind that believes in the Blessed Trinity.

It moves then swiftly to the History of the Elves, or the Silmarillion proper; to the world as we perceive it, but of course transfigured in a still half-mythical mode: that is it deals with rational incarnate creatures of more or less comparable stature with our own. The Knowledge of the Creation Drama was incomplete: incomplete in each individual 'god', and incomplete if all the knowledge of the pantheon were pooled. For (partly to redress the evil of the rebel Melkor, partly for the completion of all in an ultimate finesse of detail) the Creator had not revealed all. The making, and nature, of the Children of God, were the two chief secrets. All that the gods knew was that they would come, at appointed times. The Children of God are thus primevally related and akin, and primevally different. Since also they are something wholly 'other' to the gods, in the making of which the gods played no part, they are the object of the special desire and love of the gods. These are the First-born, the Elves; and the Followers Men. The doom of the Elves is to be immortal, to love the beauty of the world, to bring it to full flower with their gifts of delicacy and perfection, to last while it lasts, never leaving it even when 'slain', but returning - and yet, when the Followers come, to teach them, and make way for them, to 'fade' as the Followers grow and absorb the life from which both proceed. The Doom (or the Gift) of Men is mortality, freedom from the circles of the world. Since the point of view of the whole cycle is the Elvish, mortality is not explained mythically: it is a mystery of God of which no more is known than that 'what God has purposed for Men is hidden': a grief and an envy to the immortal Elves.


In this letter Tolkien summarizes his Creation myth (in fact, his entire mythology; I have only provided the parts relevant to this discussion since otherwise this post would become too long); note how Tolkien mentions ‘redressing evil of the rebel of Melkor’. This denotes Free Will, for if Melkor’s rebellion had been planned by Eru, Eru would have had no need of making any corrections/modifications to the Music of the Ainur... or in other words, why would Eru create some work for Himself to do?

Moreover, if Melkor’s rebellion had been planned, why would Eru have shown so much anger if it was all predetermined by Him?

From the Silmarillion (Ainulindalë) :
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In the midst of this strife, whereat 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.


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From letter #156There they became the Númenóreans, the Kings of Men. They were given a triple span of life - but not elvish 'immortality' (which is not eternal, but measured by the duration in time of Earth); for the point of view of this mythology is that 'mortality' or a short span, and 'immortality' or an indefinite span was part of what we might call the biological and spiritual nature of the Children of God, Men and Elves (the firstborn) respectively, and could not be altered by anyone (even a Power or god), and would not be altered by the One, except perhaps by one of those strange exceptions to all rules and ordinances which seem to crop up in the history of the Universe, and show the Finger of God, as the one wholly free Will and Agent.


The above, imho, clearly shows how important Tolkien regarded Free Will in the Universe; Free Will having been granted by God to His Children. Hence the notion that every single action/choice of every singly being in Arda is predestined, should be abolished.

There IS of course a Divine Plan, but this Plan does not involve every single action/choice being predestined; it merely involves the ultimate triumph of all that is Good by the actions and choices made by God’s Children, all based on Free Will.

Just like what Tolkien himself believed, in his mythology God’s Children would reach Paradise (in the form of a new Arda; Arda how it should have been without the rebel’s discord) after passing all burdens laid upon them by the evil powers, by becoming a part of the Second Music of the Ainur. At least, this is true for the Edain and most probably the Dwarves -His adopted Children- the fate of the Elves is unknown, though considering what Tolkien believed I believe their spirits would either join them in his Halls, or indeed also take part of the Second Music.


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From letter #211 (To Rhona Beare)

Question 5. Manwë, husband of Varda; or in Grey-elven Manwë and Elbereth. Since the Valar had no language of their own, not needing one, they had no 'true' names, only identities, and their names were conferred on them by the Elves, being in origin therefore all, as it were, 'nicknames', referring to some striking peculiarity, function, or deed. (The same is true of the 'Istari' or Wizards who were emissaries of the Valar, and of their kind.) In consequence each identity had several 'nicknames'; and the names of the Valar were not necessarily related in different Elvish languages (or languages of Men deriving their knowledge from Elves). (Elbereth and Varda 'Star-lady' and 'Lofty' are not related words, but refer to the same person.) Manwë (Blessed Being) was Lord of the Valar, and therefore the high or Elder King of Arda. Arda 'realm' was the name given to our world or earth, as being the place, within the immensity of Eä, selected to be the seat and special domain of the King - because of his knowledge that the Children of God would appear there. In the cosmogonic myth Manwë is said to be 'brother' of Melkor, that is they were coëval and equipotent in the mind of the Creator. Melkor became the rebel, and the Diabolos of these tales, who disputed the kingdom of Arda with Manwë. (He was usually called Morgoth in Grey-elven.)
The One does not physically inhabit any pan of Ea.


Tolkien uses the alias ‘Diabolos’ for Melkor, which is a clear reference to the biblical Devil. Hence we can conclude that the rebel Melkor was based on the rebel Lucifer/Satan/Sammael.

Also note how Manwë & Melkor are described as equipotent.


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From letter #212 :

Since I have written so much (I hope not too much) I might as well add a few lines on the Myth on which all is founded, since it may make clearer the relations of Valar, Elves, Men, Sauron, Wizards &c.
The Valar or 'powers, rulers' were the first 'creation': rational spirits or minds without incarnation, created before the physical world. (Strictly these spirits were called Ainur, the Valar being only those from among them who entered the world after its making, and the name is properly applied only to the great among them, who take the imaginative but not the theological place of 'gods'.) The Ainur took part in the making of the world as 'sub-creators': in various degrees, after this fashion. They interpreted according to their powers, and completed in detail, the Design propounded to them by the One. This was propounded first in musical or abstract form, and then in an 'historical vision'. In the first interpretation, the vast Music of the Ainur, Melkor introduced alterations, not interpretations of the mind of the One, and great discord arose. The One then presented this 'Music', including the apparent discords, as a visible 'history'.

...

Elves and Men were called the 'children of God', because they were, so to speak, a private addition to the Design, by the Creator, and one in which the Valar had no part. (Their 'themes' were introduced into the Music by the One, when the discords of Melkor arose.) The Valar knew that they would appear, and the great ones knew when and how (though not precisely), but they knew little of their nature, and their foresight, derived from their pre-knowledge of the Design, was imperfect or failed in the matter of the deeds of the Children. The uncorrupted Valar, therefore, yearned for the Children before they came and loved them afterwards, as creatures 'other' than themselves, independent of them and their artistry, 'children' as being weaker and more ignorant than the Valar, but of equal lineage (deriving being direct from the One); even though under their authority as rulers of Arda. The corrupted, as was Melkor/Morgoth and his followers (of whom Sauron was one of the chief) saw in them the ideal material for subjects and slaves, to whom they could become masters and 'gods', envying the Children, and secretly hating them, in proportion as they became rebels against the One (and Manwë his Lieutenant in Eä).

...

I suppose a difference between this Myth and what may be perhaps called Christian mythology is this. In the latter the Fall of Man is subsequent to and a consequence (though not a necessary consequence) of the 'Fall of the Angels' : a rebellion of created free-will at a higher level than Man; but it is not clearly held (and in many versions is not held at all) that this affected the 'World' in its nature: evil was brought in from outside, by Satan.

In this 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.



The above is particularly notable, because Tolkien makes a clear comparison between Christian mythology and his own mythology - the difference is that in Christian mythology, the Rebellion and hence the creation of evil happened after the Creation of the World, whilst in his own mythology it happened before the Creation of the World. But in both cases, Tolkien mentions created free-will, hence there is no predestiny whatsoever present.

It is perhaps also notable that the One incorporated his Children into the theme, after Melkor started with his dischord, meaning that his Children would ultimately prove his Downfall - one might say that Melkor, Sauron and whatever evil powers after these would ultimately fail to their own weakness - the desire to rule the Children of Ilúvatar.


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From letter #156 (To Robert Murray)

(Gandalf really 'died', and was changed: for that seems to me the only real cheating, to represent anything that can be called 'death' as making no difference. 'I am G. the White, who has returned from death'. Probably he should rather have said to Wormtongue: 'I have not passed through death (not 'fire and flood') to bandy crooked words with a serving-man'. And so on. I might say much more, but it would only be in (perhaps tedious) elucidation of the 'mythological' ideas in my mind; it would not, I fear, get rid of the fact that the return of G. is as presented in this book a 'defect', and one I was aware of, and probably did not work hard enough to mend. But G. is not, of course, a human being (Man or Hobbit). There are naturally no precise modern terms to say what he was. I wd. venture to say that he was an incarnate 'angel'- strictly an ἄγγελος: that is, with the other Istari, wizards, 'those who know', an emissary from the Lords of the West, sent to Middle-earth, as the great crisis of Sauron loomed on the horizon. By 'incarnate' I mean they were embodied in physical bodies capable of pain, and weariness, and of afflicting the spirit with physical fear, and of being 'killed', though supported by the angelic spirit they might endure long, and only show slowly the wearing of care and labour.
Why they should take such a form is bound up with the 'mythology' of the 'angelic' Powers of the world of this fable. At this point in the fabulous history the purpose was precisely to limit and hinder their exhibition of 'power' on the physical plane, and so that they should do what they were primarily sent for: train, advise, instruct, arouse the hearts and minds of those threatened by Sauron to a resistance with their own strengths; and not just to do the job for them. They thus appeared as 'old' sage figures.)

But in this 'mythology' all the 'angelic' powers concerned with this world were capable of many degrees of error and failing between the absolute Satanic rebellion and evil of Morgoth and his satellite Sauron, and the fainéance of some of the other higher powers or 'gods'.

(The 'wizards' were not exempt, indeed being incarnate were more likely to stray, or err. Gandalf alone fully passes the tests, on a moral plane anyway (he makes mistakes of judgement). For in his condition it was for him a sacrifice to perish on the Bridge in defence of his companions, less perhaps than for a mortal Man or Hobbit, since he had a far greater inner power than they; but also more, since it was a humbling and abnegation of himself in conformity to 'the Rules': for all he could know at that moment he was the only person who could direct the resistance to Sauron successfully, and all his mission was vain. He was handing over to the Authority that ordained the Rules, and giving up personal hope of success.)


The above is only notable (in this discussion) because Tolkien compared the rebellion and evil of Melkor straight with those of the biblical Satan, meaning that Tolkien followed his Catholic beliefs when defining ‘evil’ in his own mythology.

The above excerpts from Tolkien’s Letters barely scratch the surface, of course. One needs only to read a few letters to understand how important the Catholic faith was in every aspect of Tolkien’s life and without a doubt this subsequently influenced everything he wrote. Hence, it is unthinkable that for his Creation myth, Tolkien would use themes alien to Christian beliefs.

The point is that one cannot truly understand Tolkien’s works without understanding what he believed in; without this understanding, Tolkien’s works are simply another fantasy tale like those thousands of others that one reads for one’s own leisure, but verily there’s so much more to Tolkien’s works than that.

But I shan't blame anyone, for I have only come to this understanding myself pretty recently.

The characters and events of Tolkien's works may be fictional, but its message, its deeper meaning, is not. There’s verily a truth, a deeper truth that one can find in Tolkien’s works that is applicable to our own world.
I had trouble (as discussed in the other Eru thread) understanding how Morgoth/Melkor's evil came into being as the Ainur were created from Eru's mind, which is, I supposed, wholly good, and if Eru knew everything that had been, was and would be, how did he not know what Morgoth would do and if he did, how did that affect free will?

I have a theory.

Eru did not 'create' evil but he created choices and in making a choice one implements free will. It was the use of free will which caused evil to come into existence. If Eru gives choices and allows free will then he allows the existence of evil and being all-knowing he is aware of this and how it will effect his world and the beings in it. Yet still he allowed it. He knew what Morgoth was up to from the beginning. Morgoth was given the chance to repent and Eru probably knew he wouldn't. But the choices were there. Bad choices meant discord and eventually 'evil' which festered and grew. Eru's knowledge of what would happen does not exclude free choice. It merely means he already knew what those choices would be.


Er... I think.


Vir - at least you are providing some proofs to back up your claims today. This gives us a bit more to work with.

I will firstly stress this point:

I KNOW Melkor was evil. He is the 'satan' of Tolkien's world. He is the cuase for all discontent in Ea (directly or indirectly).
I am not disputing that. So providing quotes stating that he is evil is not addressing the points at hand.

Read this quote again:

"Thus even as Eru spoke to us shall beauty not before conceived be brought into Eä, and evil yet be good to have been."

So as we can see the evil of Melkor was often 'Good to have been' - yet remained evil.

"The One then presented this 'Music', including the apparent discords, as a visible 'history'."

This is part of your quote. Tell me - How can Eru present the history of Arda before the Ainur if he had not already planned that history?

And - although the letters provide a useful insight into Tolkien beliefs - they still only tell us about his own beliefs of his work, that is how he interprets the facts he has written (eg his opinion, not his fact).
The prime source of evidence lies in the actual Work itself not in the writers beliefs about his work.

Vee - intereting points there. One thing still confuses me however. If Melkor, being only a section of Eru's mind, was able to turn evil, then how can Eru (whom Melkor is made of) be wholly good?
i think LOA is righth. the writer might have added or used thingd subconciously that is up to us to find out and i really think you should calm down a bit vir...and certainly reduce the lenght of your post it makes reading difficult
LoA - That is my point. That Eru is good so how did evil come about? Rather than emanate from Eru it just 'became' through actions of free will and bad choices.

Or maybe Eru just thought "Wow, all this goody goodyness is getting boring. Let's have a bit of evil to liven things up a bit. Melkor! You're it!"

Vir is under the impression Eru is soley based on the Catholic God (which he is not completely). Hence he believes him to be wholly good. But if something that is created by something that knows only 1 way, then how can that something create another way, with only the wisdom of the other?
I got a little sting (not the sword) from my cactus yesterday. I rolled my eyes at myself for getting too close, but it was only a little sting since I knew I should be careful around it. Young children don't know what a cactus is. You can tell the child not to touch the cactus because it will sting, but most likely the child will do so later anyway, by curiosity or accident. It will hurt, but now the child knows why you told him not to touch the cactus and maybe he will listen the next time you warn him. Sometimes you have to let the child make his own mistakes, even if you only wish him happiness and love.

I think Eru saw that all his Children had to learn things the hard way, even though he tried to avoid it. Free will can both be a blessing and a curse. But when the cactus needle is removed, the lesson is learned.

During the first Song, the Valar didn't know what evil was. Daddy Eru did. But Melkor didn't listen to Daddy's warnings, but now all have seen what that lead to. When it is time to sing the Second Song, all who take part in it knows what happened to/in the last creation. In short, they know what evil is and the pain it causes.

Maybe Melkor has changed during his "time out" in the void, maybe not. But there will be many more voices singing in the Second song than in the First, and all would be a lot wiser. If you had the chance to remake our earth, wouldn't you do what you could to avoid hunger, war and suffering?
lively discussion .. heres my view on it ..

I think Eru is not wholly good. but please dont get carried away by that statement. You see Eru is The One .. he was before all else .. or to put it another way, everything is a part of him. this is like the ancient japanese concept of yin and yang .. balance of good and evil which is depicted by two intertwined commas forming a circle, the circle being the universe. And since Eru is the circle it is obviously apparent that good and evil are both a part of him. He is not one to choose one over the other either. That choice is presented to his creations, due to the concept of free will.

Theres another interesting aspect to it. It is all also just a matter of perspective. Good and Evil i mean. Just humor me and follow me to the time that the Ainur are created. they dont know anything yet, their slates are clean as such. Now Eru gives them a theme to work on and each chooses to augument it the way he or she likes. Well as im saying the slate is blank, what do they know what beauty is ?? no clue. they just think that something is beautiful, they dont know for a certainty. Now they start singing and Melkor and Manwe come at odd, causing discrod. At this point let us assume Eru had supported Melkor and then sent the children to right the wrong caused by Manwe. What would happen then ?? everyone would just think the way Melkor sang was the right way .. and everything Manwe envisioned evil. Please dont get fettered by what you think is right or wrong. im only trying to say that its all a matter of perception. What may appear beautiful to someone may appear revolting to someone else.

Anyway, my point is its not correct to say that Eru is wholly good. That is just the christian concept of the one god. Most religions that date before jewism, christianity and islam didnt believe in that. they believed that god was both good and evil. or rather god was ultimate .. the full incarnation of everything in this universe. now what became good and what became evil was solely our perception.

Now coming back to ME, i think Vee is right (or was it LOA), Eru just created the Ainur. The decisions they took were not his doing. though eru had a theme each ainur chose some way to augument it. it just so happened that melkors choices were all in contrast to the theme. thats why, the first time that eru intervenes, hes smiling (hoping that melkor would understand the fundamental difference). the second time he intervenes hes stern and the third time hes virtually livid at melkor, because all of Melkors choices run contrary to Erus theme. Notice im not saying that it was good or evil. Just that they were contrary. So it came to pass that when Eru gave form to his vision his theme as it originally was intended to be came to be symbolised as good and any deviation from it as evil.

Also note his statement to Melkor "All that you think will find its utmost source in me" (please excuse me if its not verbatim, i lost my copy of the sil .. but you get the gist). I think the comparison to music is very apt here .. if i were to come up with a theme and if my drummer kept coming up with a different beat, id sure as hell be irritated. it doesnt mean that the beat is bad, just doesnt resonate with my song. This is my view of what Eru thought .. i know im going to be torn apart for this Paranoid Smilie .. im sorry but ill some more later .. alittle busy right now !!
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Eru did not 'create' evil but he created choices and in making a choice one implements free will. It was the use of free will which caused evil to come into existence. If Eru gives choices and allows free will then he allows the existence of evil and being all-knowing he is aware of this and how it will effect his world and the beings in it. Yet still he allowed it. He knew what Morgoth was up to from the beginning. Morgoth was given the chance to repent and Eru probably knew he wouldn't. But the choices were there. Bad choices meant discord and eventually 'evil' which festered and grew. Eru's knowledge of what would happen does not exclude free choice. It merely means he already knew what those choices would be.

I think a Divine Plan does not mean that everything is ‘predetermined’, but only certain key events are - in Tolkien's Universe this would be the coming of the Firstborn and the coming of the Atani, ŕnd not to forget the ultimate destruction of evil and the unmaking of Arda.

This is perfectly in line with Tolkien's faith; it is clear that in the Bible, God did not plan the Fall of Man (Adam & Eve being driven out of the Garden of Eden), because the seduction of Eve by Satan depended fully on Free Will. Furthermore, Satan’s motivations are not God’s.

For the same, God did not plan the Great Flood; He did not plan for mankind to become sinners – instead He set mankind free, so that they could choose for themselves how to live their lives and whether they’d abide God’s rules or not. He did not work for six divine days on his Creation only to destroy it.

In Tolkien’s mythology, the difference is that evil existed before Creation, so that one gets the impression that Eru’s direct interference when he rebuked Melkor is ‘predestiny’, which it is not at all : it is just simply the ‘Finger of God’ which is perfectly clear when one understands what Tolkien believed in – in Tolkien’s faith, evil came into being only after the Creation, hence God’s interference in his Creation (the coming of the Messiah, the Apocalypse and the defeat of the Dragon) cannot be seen as ‘predestiny’, but merely as a 'modification' to God's initial plan so that in the end evil would be vanquished.

Furthermore, in the Akallabeth there is a ‘Great Flood’ too, modeled on the myth of Atlantis, namely the Downfall of Númenor and the subsequent removal of Aman off the face of Arda. Just as according to what Tolkien believed in, this could not be predestined for it depended on the free will of an entire nation… Eru did not intend for his Children to become ‘sinners’, it was up to them.

The fact is that the notion that 'everything and everything is predestined' was completely alien to Tolkien (again, I refer to the various writings of Tolkien's hand in my previous post) and henceforth he would never even have considered it when creating his Creation story for his mythology (especially when one keeps in mind that Tolkien considered Arda to be 'our world, set in an earlier Age').

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this is like the ancient japanese concept of yin and yang .. balance of good and evil which is depicted by two intertwined commas forming a circle, the circle being the universe. And since Eru is the circle it is obviously apparent that good and evil are both a part of him. He is not one to choose one over the other either. That choice is presented to his creations, due to the concept of free will.

...

Anyway, my point is its not correct to say that Eru is wholly good. That is just the christian concept of the one god. Most religions that date before jewism, christianity and islam didnt believe in that. they believed that god was both good and evil. or rather god was ultimate .. the full incarnation of everything in this universe. now what became good and what became evil was solely our perception.

I am sorry, but this kind of Eastern symbolism/mysticism was completely alien to Tolkien. I understand your interpretation, but it was not Tolkien's. Tolkien's concept of 'evil' is not something that is equipotent to 'good' at all, for him it meant the complete rejection of Creation. You cannot dismiss what Tolkien believed as "just a Christian concept", for it is exactly this he interwove in everything he wrote.

If the point of this discussion is to simply state one's own interpretation -what most people in this thread have been doing- then there is no problem, but if we are looking for the truth about Tolkien's Creation myth, then we have to look at what he himself believed. Please enlighten me.

As in a literary study of any work by any author, looking at the life, background and beliefs of an author is usually where one starts, instead of blindly applying one's own beliefs on the author's work.
The whole point of Tolkien's myth was to create something for Britain. He went to foreign parts and saw that most had there own myths and legends and when he returned home he saw little but old forgotten tales like 'Robin Hood'. He wanted to create something NEW and not done BEFORE. The way you make it sound Vir is that he was just creating a secondary Bible.
He took a few major themes from the bible but little else. Therefore trying to find a suiteble comparison for everyone in his myth in the Bible is unproffitable.

Firstly we have two things on the go at the same time:

Is Eru both Good and Evil (simply everything) or is he just Good?

Did Eru plan the history of the world?


Firstly on whether Eru was Good and Bad or just Good there is little proof to go on either way.

My view is that he, being the First Thing in the Universe is the PRIME ORIGIN OF ALL THAT WAS AFTER CREATED. Iluvatar 'Is' - simple as that. Now as he was first of everything that came after he must be the origin of evil also. Now as said above - evil is percieved as a 'rebel to Eru's will'. This does not mean that Eru's will is not evil as well. It simply means that Eru chose to teach the Ainur that he has a creation in his mind - to go against that creation is evil. In other words he was the one who invented what being Evil and Good mean. Hence he could have said 'Going against my creation is Good' - no one would have known the difference in the Beginning.

However some people think Eru is based more on the Catholic God. Thus he does not possess any evil (which I cannot see how, seeing as evil exists, and everything that exists stems from him).

Either way there is little confirmation of the true fact.

Right on the next issue.

Let me explain by what I mean about 'Planned his creation':

I DO NOT mean he thought, oK I have a plan in mind. I will create the Ainur and let them get on with it and watch the history of my world unfold.

What I mean was, he had a Plan IN HIS MIND. He implemented it AS HE WENT ALONG.
Melkor decides to rebel, so he enfuriates and tests Melkor the moreso by creating new themes of Music. He gives hima stern talking to and tells Melkor things he does not understand, knowing full well that what he is saying will only push Melkor the other way.
He took Melkor's power to change shape right after Melkor Destroys the Tree's of Light (so he cannot simply vanish from the Valar as a cloud in the War of Wrath), he maybe gives Earendil the upper hand in the battle against Ancalagon, He makes Numenor fall and takes Valinor out of the reach of Men, He casts Gollum into Mt Doom etc etc etc.

My point is this - he is forfilling his plan as history unfolds. He did NOT create that history first and do nothing after.

Tell me - Once melkor was cast into the Void why did not Eru take him back then? Melkor had already lost his 'Free will' so why allow Melkor to eventually re-entre Arda and cause the Greatest battle ever known on the fields of Valinor and kill even more lives?

It was becuase he needed there to be a final End to his existing world so he could implement the second world and show all his creations what Good Melkor's evil had actually acheived for Iluvatar himself.
Firstly, I am confused why you (Vir) used a quote from my post when you state that only certain events are predetermined. My point was that Eru's knowledge of what was to come did not interfere with free will therefore many events were not predetermined although they were known to Eru alone.

Secondly, I agree that Tolkien wove many Christian elements into his writings. But many of his ideas have little or no Christian basis at all. As he said himself "These tales (The Sil) are 'new', they are not directly derived from other myths and legends, but they must inevitably contain a large measure of ancient wide-spread motives or elements."

Tolkien did not rely on Christian beliefs for all his writings. He used elements he had knowledge of and elements that would strike a chord in our hearts and that we would understand. Like all great writers he takes what he knows and believes and mixes it with his imagination. Otherwise we would have nothing but a rewriting of the Christian story of creation and subsequent history of the human race. I don't think we should read too much Christianity into it.

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It is not 'about' anything but itself. Certainly it has no allegorical intentions, general, particular, or topical, moral, religious, or political.


Therefore, however strong his beliefs were and no matter how many elements of his belief surface within his writing, I cannot accept that this is a 'Christian' story. Being a Christian does not automatically imply that all one's writings must have a Christian slant. Many great composers created glorious religious works when they themselves had no religious beliefs whatsoever. These things are not mutually inclusive.

Thirdly, I read his books, as do many, because they are fantastic. But I reserve the right to form opinions and interpretations based on what I have read, not on what someone else's interpretation of other incidents outside the book. If I choose to dig deeper then maybe those opinions would change, maybe not. I would not tell anyone they cannot form an opinion based on what they have read unless they have read everything else written by or about that particular author. Yes, there are bits and pieces that Tolkien shares with us about his work and for those interested I would say read them and enjoy. But please leave some enjoyment on a purely literary level for others. The main element is the Story and I'd like to think Tolkien was enjoying the diverse discussions, opinions and interpretations that came from his work. After all, he only planned publication of The Hobbit, The Sil and LotR. If he wanted to stifle individual interpretation he would have included many, many notes to be published along with the books.

Fourthly, Tolkien wanted to present England with a mythological tale as he felt we had no such heritage other than the Arthurian legend about which he says,
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...does not replace what I felt to be missing. For one thing its 'faerie' is too lavish, and fantastical, incoherent and repetitive. For another and more important thing: it is involved in, and explicitly contains the Christian religion.


Does this not indicate that Tolkien would not deliberately write a story on parallel with the Christian religion and more importantly, the Catholic Religion? (Apologies for the double negative!)

Tolkien goes on to say
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For reasons which I will not elaborate, that seems to me fatal. Myth and fairy-story must, as all art, reflect and contain in solution elements of moral and religious truth (or error), but not explicit, not in the known form of the primary 'real' world.


Differences are the basis of all good discussions. Vir believes what he says because he sees evidence to back it up. I believe what I say because I also see evidence to back that up. Can the two ever be reconciled? Hopefully not, otherwise discussion will dwindle.
I think you were writing your post the same time as mine Vee... Ha Ha Ha Smilie
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Otherwise we would have nothing but a rewriting of the Christian story of creation and subsequent history of the human race. I don't think we should read too much Christianity into it.


Dear Vee,

I did not mean to show that Tolkien wrote his works as an allegory, I meant to show he was deeply influenced by his Christian beliefs with everything he wrote. That is something else entirely.

I believe the following quote is important regarding this matter (it's included in the letter I quote below):
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However that is very clumsily put, and sounds more self-important than I feel. For as a matter of fact, I have consciously planned very little; and should chiefly be grateful for having been brought up (since I was eight) in a Faith that has nourished me and taught me all the little that I know; and that I owe to my mother, who clung to her conversion and died young, largely through the hardships of poverty resulting from it.

To me, the above quote clearly shows how deeply the Catholic faith was engrained in Tolkien, and hence I think it cannot be any other way that this faith influenced everything he wrote.

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Therefore, however strong his beliefs were and no matter how many elements of his belief surface within his writing, I cannot accept that this is a 'Christian' story. Being a Christian does not automatically imply that all one's writings must have a Christian slant. Many great composers created glorious religious works when they themselves had no religious beliefs whatsoever. These things are not mutually inclusive.

Tolkien did mention that his works were fundamentally Catholic.

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From letter #142 (To Robert Murray, SJ.)

[Father Roben Murray, grandson of Sir James Murray (the founder of the Oxford English Dictionary) and a close friend of the Tolkien family, had read pan of The Lord of the Rings in galley-proofs and typescript, and had, at Tolkien's instigation, sent comments and criticism. He wrote that the book left him with a strong sense of 'a positive compatibility with the order of Grace', and compared the image of Galadriel to that of the Virgin Mary. He doubted whether many critics would be able to make much of the book - 'they will not have a pigeon-hole neatly labelled for it'.]

It was wonderful to get a long letter from you this morning..... I am sorry if casual words of mine have made you labour to criticize my work. But, to tell you the truth, though praise (or what is not quite the same thing, and better, expressions of pleasure) is pleasant, I have been cheered specially by what you have said, this time and before, because you are more perceptive, especially in some directions, than any one else, and have even revealed to me more clearly some things about my work. I think I know exactly what you mean by the order of Grace; and of course by your references to Our Lady, upon which all my own small perception of beauty both in majesty and simplicity is founded. The Lord of the Rings is of course a fundamentally religious and Catholic work; unconsciously so at first, but consciously in the revision. That is why I have not put in, or have cut out, practically all references to anything like 'religion', to cults or practices, in the imaginary world. For the religious element is absorbed into the story and the symbolism. However that is very clumsily put, and sounds more self-important than I feel. For as a matter of fact, I have consciously planned very little; and should chiefly be grateful for having been brought up (since I was eight) in a Faith that has nourished me and taught me all the little that I know; and that I owe to my mother, who clung to her conversion and died young, largely through the hardships of poverty resulting from it.

Certainly I have not been nourished by English Literature, in which I do not suppose I am better read than you; for the simple reason that I have never found much there in which to rest my heart (or heart and head together). I was brought up in the Classics, and first discovered the sensation of literary pleasure in Homer. Also being a philologist, getting a large part of any aesthetic pleasure that I am capable of from the form of words (and especially from the fresh association of word-form with word-sense), I have always best enjoyed things in a foreign language, or one so remote as to feel like it (such as Anglo-Saxon). But that is enough about me.
I am afraid it is only too likely to be true: what you say about the critics and the public. I am dreading the publication, for it will be impossible not to mind what is said. I have exposed my heart to be shot at. I think the publishers are very anxious too; and they are very keen that as many people as possible should read advance copies, and form a sort of opinion before the hack critics get busy.

The above speaks for itself... if this is true for LOTR, then it is certainly true for the Silmarillion and the rest of Tolkien’s works as well, since they share the same universe.

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Thirdly, I read his books, as do many, because they are fantastic. But I reserve the right to form opinions and interpretations based on what I have read, not on what someone else's interpretation of other incidents outside the book. If I choose to dig deeper then maybe those opinions would change, maybe not. I would not tell anyone they cannot form an opinion based on what they have read unless they have read everything else written by or about that particular author. Yes, there are bits and pieces that Tolkien shares with us about his work and for those interested I would say read them and enjoy. But please leave some enjoyment on a purely literary level for others. The main element is the Story and I'd like to think Tolkien was enjoying the diverse discussions, opinions and interpretations that came from his work. After all, he only planned publication of The Hobbit, The Sil and LotR. If he wanted to stifle individual interpretation he would have included many, many notes to be published along with the books.

Dear Vee,

I am not trying to convert you to my opinion. Everyone can form his or her own opinion about Tolkien's works; I myself did have an entirely different opinion not too long ago, but then a major event in my life happened that made me change my point of view. I am now of the opinion that in this matter -the backbone of Tolkien's entire Universe- it is more important what Tolkien himself believed, than what we believe. I must confess that other interpretations than the one that Tolkien intended, as becomes clear to me when reading his Letters, now make me uncomfortable. Hence I apologize for acting up a bit earlier in this thread.

I guess we'll have to agree to respectfully disagree, as is usual the case with 'clashing' opinions.

There is, after all, a 'dis' in discussion.
Interesting quotes there Viromor.
Indeed it does state that LOTR was based a fair amount of catholic beliefs. The same may not apply to the many other books however, or it would have been more explanatary if he had said 'catholic beliefs in my myth'.
And 'based' does not mean 'copied'.