Mamba ar Quenya
Posted May 24, 2008
Mr Powers, I pray you to make no apologies. I myself was prepared to wait several days for your response and was pleasantly surprised by your promptness. I in turn feel I should apologize or at least explain my own delay[s]. I was in Mobile when you made your last post and had inconsistent internet connections for a while.
I attempted in my second post to explain the usage of the words "wizard" and "magic" in LOTR. There are two essential categories of people in LOTR and middle earth specifically: "the wise" (the bulk of the eldar or "elven" race, most dwarves, and most men of numenorean descent. The other group has no name but is in essence the unlearned masses. You never hear any of the wise speaking of istari or eldar having "magical" powers. They only use words like "sorcery", "witch", and "magic" with reference to the enemy. The only exception being when speaking to one from the masses who only understands supernatural events as being magical. Therefore, Ol "Gandalf" does not have magical powers, but he does have supernatural powers (like an angel???).
It has been speculated Tom Bombadil could possibly be an incarnation of Eru Ilr himself (or some part of his essence, a reference to the Trinity?). Tolkien chose to leave certain elements of his universe unexplained like the origins and demise of Ungoliant (Shelob's ancestor from The Silmarillion you'll recall). This gave him more space to keep his tales unpredictable and therefore more enjoyable. God does similar things in the real universe. He leaves things unexplained so that 1: we are dependent on him, and 2: so that we will seek out the things he has left for us to find. Based on both of these possibilities and the sheer fact that it's not explained, I don't feel Bombadil (or his creator) should be condemned.
You assert that the God of Tolkien's universe is not also the triune God of our own. On what do you base this? Must one say "triune God" for it to be so? Scripture never directly uses the word "trinity" (don't get me wrong, I am trinitarian in my theology... such as it is) but generally references our Lord in the singular. Does this make him any less the triune God? No. I am an officiating soccer referee, but if someone doesn't use that title does it make me any less an official? No. Based on this I am personally of the conviction that Tolkien's "Eru" may well be the great and triune God of scripture or even one of his instruments. To sum up my personal convictions on LOTR I feel that though Tolkien's work has a potential to distract and waste the time of readers, it should not be condemned for heresy or portraying evil in a good light (such as Harry Potter).