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Another possibilty is that the Valar, being immortal spirits, don't really understand "fleshy life", life was Gods creation and God alone but it was the Valar who choose who to send. Maybe they made a mistake. This would seem to fit more with Cirdans actions when the wizards arrive. He gives his ring to Gandalf not Saruman and more so he does so in secret without Saruman knowledge. This would imply that Cirdan saw from the start Saruman was not going to be made of the right stuff.
Saruman Complex? Yep, that's him all over!
(I know I might be jumping to conclusions, but I figured I'd cut to the chase. If you were talking about someone else, Odo, my apologies.)
And if they (Saruman and Judas) were given Free Will, does this imply they might not have got around to betraying people... ah? If so, was God's Plan a sure bet at all? (See first point above: If God lays a sure bet, then we are back at predetermination again, are we not?)
If not a sure bet, then God had only a Working Plan (maybe Saruman will betray, maybe Judas will betray) and not an Actual Plan that HAS to be fulfilled. [i:29slmyzh]"I'll take an each way bet,"[/i:29slmyzh]says God.
Funny old God. Catholic was he, GB? [i:29slmyzh]"Do I act through my agents to absolutely fulfill my Plan - or do I leave things to chance?" [/i:29slmyzh] Or maybe: [i:29slmyzh]"If this Plan don't work, I'll speculate on another! Not like I haven't had Plan Changes (and mood swings) before!"[/i:29slmyzh] Omnipotent God? Or not?
Peculiar ideas, boys, curiouser and curiouser!
(NB I've never forgiven God for sending Joshua and his band off to kill every man, woman and child in Jericho. Surely, some of those babes at the breast deserved life? And I suddenly have another reason to dislike God. It's His (or Her) sheer hit-and-missedness! His management of things seems haphazard to say the least! Is he a whimsical God, after all? Like a child, maybe? Fancy having a child rule everything? Children are naturally tyrants if left unchecked. (You've probably got bosses at work like this, Mr Tyrant? Frustrating, what!)
Poor Saruman! Poor Judas! Are they in heaven now that they have served God's purpose?[/quote:1pncovqa]
You'd think so wouldn't you .
Hmmm, probably should start a "Religion" thread if this keeps up . But to be brief, I concur with your quandary Odo. The problem of Free Will in "Calvinist" thought is "solved" by saying that it doesn't exist (actually many "Calvinists" say that it DOES exist but EVERYTHING is predetermined , which basically nullifies the concept of Free Will ). Other schools of Christian thought including Catholicism and Anglicanism seem to have a more nuanced view; but, as you point out, reconciling Free Will with God's Plan is still problematic.
In any case, surely Gollum deserves a place in Hobbit Heaven too for fulfilling his role in Eru's Plan .
This weekend on TBS, LOTR is showing on Friday, Saturday and Sunday, from 8 until the end of each movie. Happy watching!