Christianity and Middle-Earth

Thursday, October 21, 2004

Here, sir; but trouble her not, her wits are gone.

Christianity and Middle-Earth has been an active website for a year or so now, but this is my first post to its new incarnation as a weblog. Most of the former content is still here; just click on the links above. I have yet to finish Chapter 9 of Lord of the Peeps so I don't know why I'm making more work for myself, but the urge to hear myself talk apparently overrides what scraps of commonsense that have survived the marshmallows.

This is a blog about good and evil, the understanding of those concepts as laid out in the writings of the Hebrew prophets and the early Christians and how they fit - or rather, since the other way around is more accurate - how the Middle-Earth of JRR Tolkien’s creation fits with them and with the traditional Judeo-Christian worldview, what others have called Romantic Theology.

It is a blog about the calling to the service of the Captain of our souls and the Master of our fates; and it is a blog about the lies of the Ring. The world threatens to darken into a Night as black as any that it has known and those lies are many and prosperous. But they are pretty well encapsulated in the great Lie, the sly falsehood that has ever deceived mankind:

And the serpent said unto the woman, Ye shall not surely die: for God doth know that in the day ye eat thereof, then your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil.

The Lord of the Rings tells to us the eternal (from a human point of view) battle between Light and Shadow. Now it’s really no contest; God can spike Satan's guns any time he wishes, but apparently Satan hasn’t quite figured that out; and for whatever reasons, the story and the world that God has given us to live in is – as C.S. Lewis put it - “occupied territory.”

But this earth wasn’t created for angels, fallen or otherwise; it was created for man, whatever came before (a before that is very mysterious indeed). And the seers of Israel tell us that by the Son of man, the lies will be revealed for what they are and the earth set free from her long travail. The first defeat of Mordor was when Christ bore our sins unto death, his patient suffering a weapon the Enemy could neither comprehend nor stay. The second defeat is when the Son of man - and Son of God – reclaims his throne and becomes the High King he was born to be.

In Tolkien’s tale, Middle-Earth is threatened by the brutal totalitarian power of the Dark Lord Sauron. Prophecy offers a halfling and an heir of kings to become Middle-Earth’s hope for deliverance. Frodo is the halfling, the mild and gentle hobbit, the sacrificial lamb who forfeits the Middle-Earth he loves that others might have life. He must bear the Ring to the Fire so that it can be destroyed. Aragorn is the heir to a long-ago throne, the returning king. As an infant he was hidden away in order to guard his life, and he is called Estel- Hope.

Together they picture Jesus Christ. Not perfectly - this isn't allegory, after all. But whether JRRT intended it or not, and whether Peter Jackson intended it or not, the metaphor is clear, evident and unmistakable. And why shouldn’t it be? Despite the (limited) power that God has allowed the dark powers to retain, this world is ultimately God’s property, and his Light will neither be quenched nor diminished: it will blaze always bright against the starless Void - wherever, whenever and however he chooses that it should.

 

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