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BarbaraN
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Religion in Tolkien's Middle-earth

Religion in Tolkien's Middle-earth

Dagor wrote:
Hmmm, maybe we need to open a new discussion thread on "Religion in Tolkien's Middle-earth" -- something where "belief systems" (god concepts; after-life; ethics of daily behaviour) and their "ritual expressions" (forms of worship) might be discussed? A part of this might be: just how "Pagan" is Middle-earth and how "Christian?"
----------------------------------------------------

And we should. It is a valid subject. Maybe the first question we should address is "if" there is religion in Tolkien's Middle-earth and if so how is it manifested?
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lorien
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Re: Religion in Tolkien's Middle-earth

I have given a bit of thought to this today. Unfortunately, I am not that familiar with Tolkien's pre-LOTR mythology, which probably has some sort of religious elements in it. I've also only just skimmed some of his letters. But I did find this one that made an interesting statement that intrigued me (Letter 165):

In reference to LOTR:
It is a monotheistic world of 'natural theology'. The odd fact that there are no churches, temples, or religious rites and ceremonies, is simply part of the historical climate depicted. ...I am in any case a Christian; but the 'Third Age' was not a Christian world.
-------------------------

The Third Age was not only pre-Christian but it seems to be pre-religion as well. Yet the good guys seem to act and behave at a high ethical level. By making people of this pre-religious era highly ethical, it seems to that Tolkien is presenting by default the question of whether religion is necessary at all. In fact, I see some instances where "worship" of some sort is indicated that it is more connected with evil.
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lorien
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Re: Religion in Tolkien's Middle-earth

Letter 153 has a lot of stuff on the subject of religion. But staying with my first point, Tolkien emphasizes it again:
-------------------------

The immediate 'authorities' are the Valar (the Powers or Authorities): the 'gods'. But they are only created spirits -- of high angelic order we should say, with their attendant lesser angels -- reverend, therefore, but not worshipful...[he continues with a footnote at this point] There are thus no temples or 'churches' or fanes in this 'world' among the 'good' peoples. They had little or no 'religion' in the sense of worship. For help they may call on a Vala (as Elbereth), as a Catholic might on a Saint, though no doubt knowing in theory as well as he that the power of the Vala was limited and derivative. But this is a 'primitive age': and these folk may be said to view the Valar as children view their parents or immediate adult superiors...
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Re: Religion in Tolkien's Middle-earth

Good Afternoon, lorien ( and everyone )...
 
I feel this letter ( #153 ) substantiates something I had proposed in one of my other postings ( to the "Inhabitants of M-e" Thread ) where I said it appeared as though, although the Valar were sometime looked to for guidance or assistance or empowerment ( where one might be given strength to complete an ardous task, for instance ) and names such as 'Elbereth Gilthoniel" are sometimes evoked in a time of need - it did not feel ( to me, at any rate ) like any of these figures were being  either "prayed to" or "worshipped" -
And if it is true that Middle-earth is ( at the very least ) a "Pre-Christian" place, it does also seem to be
"Pre-Pagan" as well, as even "Paganism" could be considered a form of religion...
What I get out of all this is something like:
Middle-earth could be considered to be more "Pagan" than "Christian" - but at the same time, it is still
"Something completely different" ...
As I mentioned before, all my first impressions of [ M-e ] were recieved before "The Silmarillion" was published - and I never saw "The One Creator God" - "behind everything" in [ M-e ] - Everything in and about
[ M-e ] just "was" - sort of similar, I guess, to the modern "Scientific" view of the Universe, where everything that exists just exists, that's it - there was not necessarily a "Creator -God" who one day decided to create everything ( although, I still realize the "Scientific" view does not necessarily preclude the existence of God - there is always the question of what intelligence was behind "The Big Bang" or whatever infinite number of "Big Bangs" in other Universes ( that might exist or might have existed ) beyond our own Universe ( if that is possible ) that resulted in our own Earth evolving into its present state...
( which is something I never really thought about, when reading LOTR - how it had "evolved" - or even if it had "evolved" ) ... Unless one accepts the Atheistic view, that no such God needs to exist, necessarily, behind even the very first point of all creation - that there is no "explanation" for own own existence, and that of the Universe around us...
I may be talking about a lot of deep, philosophical matters here, but I am not sure that I even understand what I am talking about- all this "Universe" stuff boggles my mind no end, anyway...
Even when I was much younger, and had been totally immersed and indoctrinated in the Roman Catholic faith, I found it just about impossible to grasp the concept of God Himself ( and yes, nowadays, I know it is
Non-P.C. to refer to God as "Him" - so in this case, let's also refer to God as "herself" or even "itself" ) -
existing in "Infinity" - "Before Time Began" - "Forever And Always" - Just the basic idea of "Infinity" itself seemed so difficult to even grasp - or even just to imagine...
 
I'm sorry, I realize I've probably been getting a little "off-track" here with all these meandering ruminations...
I guess I got a little too over-inspired to expound on all these matters  -
I'll try to stick closer to the subject at hand, next time around - But, I do think all my "philosophying"
does at least give a good overview of where I was "coming from" when I was first reading LOTR, however, and I think it all relates to the subject, if in a round-about way ... ( at least, I hope it does! ) ... Ardo               
"Middle-earth Is A State Of Mind"
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lorien
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Re: Religion in Tolkien's Middle-earth

Ardo Said:
As I mentioned before, all my first impressions of [ M-e ] were recieved before "The Silmarillion" was published - and I never saw "The One Creator God" - "behind everything" in [ M-e ]
------------------------------

I decided to read the Creation Story in Silm. It is really quite beautifully done. There is a One God that initiates creation but then he/she seem to turn the whole job of working out the details immediately to lieutenants who are more like Pagan Gods in that they represent forces of nature. In fact it seem that their are only four who actually participated in the music of creation: Manwe (Air), Ulmo (Water), Aule (Earth) and, of course, Melkor (Fire).

The whole thing seems to be a combination of a single creative force, Pythagorean Philosophy (numbers and music as the "stuff" of the universe), the Pagan pantheon of Gods, and maybe a little Gnostism (the Demiurge) thrown in.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pythagoreanism

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Demiurge
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oldBPLstackdenizen
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Re: Religion in Tolkien's Middle-earth

Good Afternoon, lorien ( and Everybody ) ...
 
I did just now do some glancing at those Wikipedia articles ( on Pythagoreanism & Demiurge ) and it will take several readings and re-readings for me to even begin to get my brain wrapped around all these mind-boggling philosophical concepts ( if that is even possible, ever! )... I found the part about the Pythagorean's
Vegetarianism, interesting, however - especially that bit about their idea of
"Human Beans"!  :smileyvery-happy:     Ardo
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Re: Religion in Tolkien's Middle-earth

Manwe-wind, Varda-stars, Ulmo-water, Yavanna-earth/nature, Aule-earth/stone, Nienna-the weeper, Orome-The huntsman the aratar the highest Valar

Vana-ever-young, Nessa-the dancer, Lorien-dream master, Tulkas-the strong, Vaire-the weaver, and Melkor-darkness and cold the rest of the Valar

the progression goes Eru makes the Ainur who become the Vaiar and the Maiar
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lorien
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Re: Religion in Tolkien's Middle-earth

Ardo wrote:
Everything in and about
[ M-e ] just "was" - sort of similar, I guess, to the modern "Scientific" view of the Universe, where everything that exists just exists, that's it - there was not necessarily a "Creator -God" who one day decided to create everything ( although, I still realize the "Scientific" view does not necessarily preclude the existence of God - there is always the question of what intelligence was behind "The Big Bang" or whatever infinite number of "Big Bangs" in other Universes ( that might exist or might have existed ) beyond our own Universe ( if that is possible ) that resulted in our own Earth evolving into its present state...
( which is something I never really thought about, when reading LOTR - how it had "evolved" - or even if it had "evolved" )
-------------------------------------------

Many people and specifically religions tend to look at creation mythically, which I think is a perfectly valid (and poetic) way of looking at it. The danger here is that there is a tendency to personify everything and then look at creation as an act by a kind "super" human. Science tends to put everything in sterile scientific terms and thereby strip it of all its wonder and poetry. But I don't think they are far apart.

I also find Tolkien's creation mythology as an interesting manifestation of both. And maybe it is worthwhile looking at Tolkien's religious perspective in terms of the Silm creation story. Much of what we scientifically know about the universe has been derived from mathematical formulas. We have not touch or actually observed many things. Some of the mathematical conclusions have been later "proven" by observation. The interesting thing is that "reality" can be derived in such a way. Tolkien chose to use music as his creative tool which is just an audio manifestation of the principles of mathematics.

Now the mathematics points to multiple universes beyond our own. But even within our own it is mind boggling. If you think of earth, a tiny planet, of a minor star, in a small galaxy, in a vast universe of billions of gigantic galaxies and then realize that the mythology was only depicting the creation of this tiny planet in its own poetic way. I think Tolkien's creation mythic vision worked out in both a scientific and mythic way.

What boggled my mind was when I first saw this photo of the Hubble telescope of literally a spec size of our own universe, and realized that it was looking in that tiny window at millions of galaxies, each with billions of stars.

These are not stars but whole galaxies in a tiny spec of our sky:
http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/nova/universe/tour_ggsn05.html

"The image above is from the Hubble Deep Field, a special observation made with the Hubble Space Telescope. With this image we can see farther into the universe and uncover more galaxies than perhaps any other observation ever made. From the hundreds of galaxies we can see in this very small patch of sky, we can estimate that there are about 50 billion galaxies in the universe."

For the curious: http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/nova/universe/tour_ggs.html#n05
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Re: Religion in Tolkien's Middle-earth

lorien
(smile) for a good mind blower, look up a representation of our sun next to VV Cephei A. We are all just tiny specs.
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lorien
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Re: Religion in Tolkien's Middle-earth

[ Edited ]
A Garden of Eden Story?

I was rereading Appendix A:I,i Numenor of LOTR (I have to keep reading these things as I learn more) and it sounded like Tolkien's retake on the story of Eden. Ref pp 1035-1037 (LOTR Ann)

Now the good guys, the Edain, were rewarded with their own land on the Isle of Elenna where they founded the realm of Numenor. But there was one thing forbidden to them, the "Ban of the Valar". They were forbidden to sail to the Undying Lands. But they started to yearn for immortality that I gather they could get there (or so they thought). Now this "Paradise" called Numenor struck me as a sort of Eden (though a less boring one) and with a little "tree switch". Instead of being the forbidden "Tree of Knowledge" they were essentially forbidden the "Tree of Life".

Well that "Serpent" Sauron told them that "everlasting life would be his who possessed the Undying Lands, and that the Ban was imposed only to prevent the Kings of Men from surpassing the Valar." Sounds a bit familiar.

Well, they bought it and sailed off to the Undying Lands, and Numenor was destroyed. But a band of the Faithful (lead by good old Elendil and his sons) escaped by sailing east to Middle-earth. Do I detect an East of Eden here?

I gather there was a geological shift in the planes of the Universe putting the western Undying Lands totally out of reach. Seems a lot more practical and scientifically modern than posting angels with burning swords.

And in this case the person tempted was King Ar-Pharozon, a man, and so I gather the future women of Middle-earth were spared all that blame. Our "Serpent" lost his bodily form and no longer could seem fair to men. I guess it was better than moving around on his belly, although I have always regarded the grace, beauty, and speed of the movement of snakes simply amazing and very efficient and far from some sort of handicap.

Message Edited by lorien on 04-11-2008 10:46 AM
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lorien
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Re: Religion in Tolkien's Middle-earth

The intrepid researcher has found some evidence of religious worship--at least it looks like that to me. It is at the beginning of "A Description of Numenor" in the Unfinished Tales;

---------------
Near to the centre of Mittalmar stood the tall mountain called Meneltarma, Pillar of the Heavens, sacred to the worship of Eru Iluvatar....[lots of description]...Thrice only in each year the King spoke, offering prayer for the coming year at the Erukyerme in the first days of spring, praise of Eru Iluvatar at the Erulaitale in midsummer, and thanksgiving to him at the Eruhantale at the end of autumn....[more description].
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Re: Religion in Tolkien's Middle-earth

Good Afternoon ( Again ) lorien, ( And Everybody )
 
Yes, this definitely sounds like a case of "Worship". For my part, all my impressions were derived only from many readings of   [ H ] and LOTR -  (  I only made one feeble attempt once at reading "The Silmarillion" - so I never got to "Unfinished Tales" and subsequent books ).  My "knowledge" of Middle-earth always pretty much ended at the end of the Appendices to LOTR - and sometimes think that's where just I wanted it to end.---
 
It sounds like somewhere within the totality of Tolkien's created "Universe", there definitely was a place
 for "Worship" - but in the only cases ( that I can think of ) in LOTR, there was the "calling upon" the name of
"Elbereth" ( or similar occurences )  - which to me seemed more like a call to some kind of
magical/mystical Elvish power to show its presence in the situation at hand - a way of "summoning up" that magical, mystical force by "evoking" its name - but not exactly the same as "praying" to the source of this protection and guidance ...Perhaps there is a fine line, however, between what I just described here, and what could be considered "Prayer" or "Worship". ---
 
Ardo Whortleberry
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lorien
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Re: Religion in Tolkien's Middle-earth

Ardo wrote:
( I only made one feeble attempt once at reading "The Silmarillion" - so I never got to "Unfinished Tales" and subsequent books ).

Oh, good Ardo! Then you will be joining the rest of us Silmarillion Newbies when we start reading it sometime around next September.

I, though, have been dipping into it here and there trying to make sense of the concept of "creation" in reference to our earlier discussion on whether Orcs have souls. There is the One Eru (Iluvatar) who is the only one who can "create". Then there are all these gods, Valar (angelic beings) who can "make" things but not create things beyond the thought of Eru--I think. It seem the Valar can make just about everything from plants, trees, animals, fish etc. But the creation of sentient beings with souls, that is elves and men, is reserved for Eru and no one knows when this is going to happen. So my conclusion at this point is that the Valar can make living beings like animals but cannot give beings souls. This seems to be part of being sentient and having the gift of speech.

Now at issue with our discussion of the orcs is that they could not be sentient and have speech if if Melkor made them so Tolkien's (and all these different species are really all just aspects of humans anyway as far as concepts are concerned) solution, to be consistant with his mythology, was to make them elves that were corrupted by Melkor.

But I will come back to that later because right now I'm concerned about the dwarves. I dearly love the big hearted, sensitive, and loving Gimli and all the dwarves from the Hobbit. I can't imagine them not having souls. But they were not created by Eru, nor in his mind or the music of creation.

It seems they were made by Aule, who is the Valar craftsman who made the form of the earth, and he dearly loved his creations (I know where Gimli got his trait from). And waiting for Eru to get around to produce these elves and men, he crafted his own humanoids because he wanted something to love and to cherish created by his own hand. These were the dwarves. But Eru was not happy with this situation and chastised him for exceeding his authority. At once Aule repented and was ready to destroy his creation. But Eru took pity on him told him he could keep them but they would have to sleep until Eru had awaken the First Born or the elves.

Now I don't know if they ever got souls, and I would hate to think that orcs had souls and dwarves didn't.
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Re: Religion in Tolkien's Middle-earth

oldBPLstackden…

Have you ever read why the hebrews do not write out the name of god(they leave out the vowels)? Oldest form of prayer invoking the name of god. Belief that just saying the name would bring forth the power or presence.
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Re: Religion in Tolkien's Middle-earth



lorien wrote:

It seems they were made by Aule, who is the Valar craftsman who made the form of the earth, and he dearly loved his creations (I know where Gimli got his trait from). And waiting for Eru to get around to produce these elves and men, he crafted his own humanoids because he wanted something to love and to cherish created by his own hand. These were the dwarves. But Eru was not happy with this situation and chastised him for exceeding his authority. At once Aule repented and was ready to destroy his creation. But Eru took pity on him told him he could keep them but they would have to sleep until Eru had awaken the First Born or the elves.

Now I don't know if they ever got souls, and I would hate to think that orcs had souls and dwarves didn't.

Lorien, Eru made Dwarves his adopted children.  The thing that Aule could not do was to give the Dwarves independent being.  They were puppets.  Once Aule repented, Eru gave Dwarves "free will".  To me, this implies a soul. 
Tolkien's history with Dwarves is complicated.  Until the Hobbit was written, Dwarves were mostly an evil race.  I believe that Tolkien wrote the Dwarves creation story after he wrote LotR (I'm not checking my books, this is only from memory).
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Re: Religion in Tolkien's Middle-earth

***SPOILER INVOLVED -  BUT ONLY IF YOU HAVEN'T FINISHED READING "THE HOBBIT"***
 
I just want to jump in here and interject the same quote from "The Hobbit" ( that I quoted before, in that other Thread, out of which sprung this Thread ) - this coming from Thorin, on his death-bed -
( Chapter XVIII - The Return Journey )
 
[     "...I go now to the halls of waiting to sit beside my fathers, until the world is renewed..."    ]
 
It sounds as though JRRT had settled on giving the Dwarves souls - at least at the time [ H ] was published...
 
I would even go so far as to say this sounds suggestive of a Catholic concept - and one that might seem to be a little confusing, or paradoxical -  ( possibly an "unexplained mystery of Faith"  ) ... Where on one hand, when you die, your soul may go straight to Heaven or to Hell ( or, in the old days of not too long ago, to"Purgatory" - I think the Church may have done away with purgatory )  but  at the same time, the body must be buried properly, because it will be called upon to "rise again" at the End Of All Things
 ( I assume, reunited with it's Soul ) in a renewed, "perfect" form - at the End of the World - The Day of Judgement - ( there is that line in the "Apostolic Creed"  that goes something like: "...God will come to judge the Living AND the Dead..." )
 
On the other hand, this may not have been what JRRT had in mind here, with that passage  - it is a very moving, poetical, evocative passage, and paints quite an image in my mind. ( with those "halls of waiting" )...When I was still very young, and reading that book for the first time, I was ( naturally ) sad when it came to the aftermath of the great battle, and characters I had become attached to while reading the story had to die, but, at the same time, I wasn't truly sad, because I had no real understanding, no comprehension of what death really meant, what it was all about. ---
 
This business about "the world being renewed someday" and at which time, Thorin (  presumably )  is released from "the halls of waiting" - this also presents an intruiging image to my mind -
Especially the part about "...when the world is renewed..." -
 does anybody have any further thoughts on that passage? ( and as to what it might mean? )     --- Ardo          
 
 
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Re: Religion in Tolkien's Middle-earth

Just a few extra thoughts on the subject...
 
It may seem like I am suddenly "uncovering" aspects of "religiousity" in Tolkien's books that I just never noticed before, but I still maintain that the general overall feeling of the books ( at least, just going by [ H ] and LOTR ) was one of no particularly recognizable religious bent, one way or the other. ---
 
 If there were any "religious" components to the stories, when I was first reading them, I might have considered them to be in such an alien and unrecognizable form, that I did not consider them to be "religious" as such. ---Also, to my mind,
Middle-earth was not supposed to represent our own world - but some very "Otherworldly" place, instead.-
So, this business of going to "Paradise" while still in a physical body, and in a physical manner - seemed at odds with the traditional religious ideas about "Paradise" ( at least, in the way I understood them to be ) -
 
Even the scene at the very end of LOTR - where we approach this "Paradise"
we are still getting there in a physical way and in our physical bodies - and I believe I recognized in that scene that one could be thought of as "going to Heaven" at that point - in my mind, it was like:
 "They, there ( in Middle-earth ) are going to what is for them, there, their own form of Heaven, or Paradise" - and I didn't see it as being "representative"of our own "Heaven" ---
And yet, at the very same time, it did also feel like some kind of "revelation" or "flash of insight" to me - like it WAS about going to what we might think of as our own "Heaven" ( the "real" Heaven )-
 I realize I might be sounding all paradoxical and ambiguous here, but that's really how I felt...
 
Ardo Whortleberry
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Re: Religion in Tolkien's Middle-earth

[ Edited ]
RE Ardo's -- "So, this business of going to 'Paradise' while still in a physical body, and in a physical manner - seemed at odds with the traditional religious ideas about 'Paradise' ( at least, in the way I understood them to be ) -

"Even the scene at the very end of LOTR - where we approach this 'Paradise'we are still getting there in a physical way and in our physical bodies - and I believe I recognized in that scene that one could be thought of as "going to Heaven" at that point - in my mind, it was like: 'They, there ( in Middle-earth ) are going to what is for them, there, their own form of Heaven, or Paradise' - and I didn't see it as being 'representative'of our own 'Heaven' ---"

___________________

As I understand it, in Tolkien's thought, the place to which Frodo, Bilbo, later Sam and possibly even Gimli are going is not Heaven even in the Middle-earth conception. It seems Heaven, at least for the Children of Illuvatar (Elves and Men) is yet to be revealed and it may very well be more like the "normative" Judaeo-Christian-Muslim heaven, at any rate, entailing the presence of the soul in close propinquity to the One God Eru. There may even be a "Christian-like" final reincarnation (rising from the dead in renewed flesh) to take up a second "life" in a newly re-created and perfected, material realm -- after the first creation is thoroughly used-up, destroyed.

So, Valinor is not yet "Heaven," it is, in some ways close to it, but in some ways it is misnamed as the "Undying Lands:" Valinor may be "pardise-like," but not yet Paradise, Valinor is still part of the corrupted Arda, the marred creation of the First World, and it too is subject to the processes of time's decay, "fading" and death. Valinor, and all the rest of the created universe made material, will be destroyed in the final end, only to be re-made -- but this time re-made perfectly without the strife injected by Melkor's original rebellion.

So, when the Mortals Frodo, Bilbo, Sam, and possibly Gimli, enter Valinor -- in the flesh -- they are being granted a special honour, a temporary sojourn in a "more perfect" place (but not a totally perfect place); the "highest of honours," being inducted into the actual Heaven (in the presence of Eru) is still denied them until after their deaths.*

_______________

*"Frodo was sent or allowed to pass over Sea to heal him -- if that could be done, before he died. He would have eventually to 'pass away' : no mortal could, or can, abide for ever on earth, or within Time. So he went both to a purgatory and to a reward, for a while: a period of reflection and peace and a gaining of a truer understanding of his position in littleness and in greatness..." Letter # 246, Sept. 1963, p. 328

______________

1)As a secondarily "created" and secondarily "ensouled" being, does a Dwarf have access to the final Heaven? I suppose so, and their spirits, after corporeal death, wait for a final redemption in those portions of Mandos' Halls set aside for the Dwarves (eeck! "segregationism!?") ) -- after which, I assume they are re-clad in new flesh, and given new lives in the Second, Perfected Material Creation?

2)Even the Valar are but prisoners in Arda, that is the First Material Creation, they are bound to it until its bitter end, by which time they shall be very weary, ancient and eager for the passing of the World as all things decay about them, even the land of Valinor. (see Silmarillion, "Ainulindale" p. 20)

3)In Valinor, Tolkien played about with an altered time scheme, there is a formula somewhere for determining the length of a Valinorean Year compared to the passage of a year in Middle-earth. But it is unclear how this would affect Frodo, Bilbo et al once they got to Valinor. Would they live on in Valinor for thousands of our Middle-earth years, but not notice the expanded time themselves? For the Valar themselves, a final Heaven awaits, their eventual release from the confines of the World, their return to the direct presence of Eru?

4) Apparently, for some reason known only to Eru, Mankind alone, upon death, tarries not in the Halls of Mandos waiting for the Renewal. Man, upon death has his soul sent directly to Eru, while Elves, Valar, Dwarves are still bound to the World until its final Ending. (Sil. hardback version, "Of the Beginning of Days," p. 42 - last page of this chapter) Does this scheme sound more like an orthodox Christian interpretation?

5)As a convinced "Redemptionist," I further assume Orcs, Balrogs, Dragons (except the unrepentant green ones), and even Sauron and Morgoth must be "cleaned-up," corrected from their selfishness, and recycled as useful citizens in the new, perfected Realm? Or does a supposedly all powerful, all good Creator prefer to waste eternally some important elements of his creation, and torture the errant "souls" forever and forever? A God of Vengeance Everlasting, or a God of Final Redemption Completed? I'm not sure if Christians, let alone JRRT, have fully worked that out...

Message Edited by Dagor on 04-18-2008 12:56 PM
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Re: Religion in Tolkien's Middle-earth

Good Afternoon, Dagor ---
 
Well, your information certainly clears up a lot of things.
I think I ( for one ) was always confused by that term "The Undying Lands".
At the same time, although I did assume that it was the place one could go to "not to die" -
I did not picture it in exactly the same way that one might envision the traditional concept of "Heaven" -
( with a bunch of winged angels floating around, harps in hands - at any rate - a world of only spiritual beings
existing in close proximity to God ) -
I did picture it as a place of total peace and security - safety from all harm or where positively no evil could enter.
But who would have thought that you could still die in "The Undying Lands"?
Or indeed, that dying should be everyone's ultimate goal - so that in the end they can all be reunited with
God ( or Eru, or "The Oneness" or whatever you wish to call it ) -
 
Vis-a-vis your ( 1 ) paragraph -
This does seem to explain the bit about "... when the world is renewed..." and "...the halls of waiting..."
I'm still curious what impressions, or feelings, others may have recieved from those images - especially the
"...when the world is renewed..." part.
 
and, vis-a-vis your section ( 2 ) -
Assuming Gandalf was one of the Valar - he must have been REALLY tired old guy by the "end of all things"
came around - ( if they have come around yet - maybe he's still waiting - remember "Gandalf Lives!"
and "Frodo Lives!" from the 1960's? ) - As he was already so weary from all his labors already....
 
Thanks for Everything,
Ardo Whortleberry 
"Middle-earth Is A State Of Mind"
^^^^^^^ ^^^ ^^^^^^^^^

Ardo Whortleberry
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Re: Religion in Tolkien's Middle-earth



Dagor wrote:

So, when the Mortals Frodo, Bilbo, Sam, and possibly Gimli, enter Valinor -- in the flesh -- they are being granted a special honour, a temporary sojourn in a "more perfect" place (but not a totally perfect place); the "highest of honours," being inducted into the actual Heaven (in the presence of Eru) is still denied them until after their deaths.*

_______________

*"Frodo was sent or allowed to pass over Sea to heal him -- if that could be done, before he died. He would have eventually to 'pass away' : no mortal could, or can, abide for ever on earth, or within Time. So he went both to a purgatory and to a reward, for a while: a period of reflection and peace and a gaining of a truer understanding of his position in littleness and in greatness..." Letter # 246, Sept. 1963, p. 328

______________


5)As a convinced "Redemptionist," I further assume Orcs, Balrogs, Dragons (except the unrepentant green ones), and even Sauron and Morgoth must be "cleaned-up," corrected from their selfishness, and recycled as useful citizens in the new, perfected Realm? Or does a supposedly all powerful, all good Creator prefer to waste eternally some important elements of his creation, and torture the errant "souls" forever and forever? A God of Vengeance Everlasting, or a God of Final Redemption Completed? I'm not sure if Christians, let alone JRRT, have fully worked that out...

Message Edited by Dagor on 04-18-2008 12:56 PM

Boldface mine -- Fan

**************Spoilers but given away already*************************
I thought the Hobbits and Gimli went to Tol Eressea, not Valinor.  There is one piece of hard evidence of this that I can find and that is from Letter #131, the omitted portion not found in Letters (but the relevent part is in Sauron Defeated pg 132 and the whole omitted portion is in Lord of the Rings Reader's Companion).
 
"To Bilbo and Frodo... an Arthurian ending...It is hinted that they come to Eressea".
Hammond and Scull comment on pg 677 of LotR: Reader's Companion:  "The resonance is made greater by the fact in other writings by Tolkien that the name of the Elve's haven and city on Tol Eressea is Avallone."
 
To Dagor,
"The unrepentant green dragons" -- one in particular has done no real harm, (try as he might), so I think he'll make it into Heaven anyway.
Fan