Wednesday, December 28, 2005

Tolkien on predestination, evil, and God's sovereignty

For those of you not familier with Tolkien, Ilúvatar is our God and Melko is similar to Lucifer, the wise angel of light that fell through pride and want of God's glory. In Tolkien's creation story, all Ilúvatar's 'angels' or Ainur are singing a beutiful music that Ilúvatar will later bring into being. Melko (or Melkor) tries to make his music different and against the song Iluvatar is weaving through them, but Ilúvatar incorperates it and uses it for his glory.

"Thou Melko shalt see that no theme can be played save it come in the end of Ilúvatar's self, nor can any alter the music in Ilúvatar's despite. He that attempts this finds himself in the end but aiding me in devising a thing of still greater grandeur and more complex wonder: - for lo! through Melko have terror as fire, and sorrow like dark waters, wrath like thunder, and evil as far from my light as the depths of the uttermost of the dark places, come into the design that I laid before you. Through him has pain and misery been made in the clash of overwhelming musics; and with confusion of sound have cruelty, and ravening, and darkness, loathly mire and all putresence of thought or thing, foul mists and violent flame, cold without mercy, been borne, and death without hope. Yet it is through him and not by him; and he shall see, and ye all likewise, and even shall those beings, who must now dwell amoung his evil and endure through Melko misery and sorrow, terror and wickedness, declare in the end that it redoundeth only to my great glory, and doth but make the theme more worth the hearing, Life more worth the living, and the World so much the more wonderful and marvellous, that of all the deeds of Ilúvatar it shall be called his mightiest and loveliest."

-The Book of Lost Tales, Volume 1

*See the beautiful original John Howe cover painting here.


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