Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Free Will, Fate, Choice

We touched on this in class, but I'd like to encourage you to discuss this more fully here.

In Christian theology, evil (Satan/Lucifer's fall, etc.) is the price of free will. In orthodox Catholic doctrine especially, humankind (and the angels, too) must have the ability to choose between the two poles of evil and good in order to achieve grace. Free will itself is dependent upon the choice between good and evil. In such a schema, fate is an operation of free will, not a predestined fact. By allowing free will, God must not only allow evil to exist as a choice, but He/She must also be removed from the choices free will must make in order to operate. In addition to choice, chance is another means by which both the divine and humankind can connect, interact, and even counteract each other in such theological frameworks.

How does Tolkien weave these theological concepts into his works? How are these concepts expressed more directly in The Silmarillion than in The Lord of the Rings?

1 comment:

Anna Adams said...

I think we see these concepts expressed much more directly in the Silmarillion than in The Lord of the Rings because the Silmarillion tells the story of Ilúvatar and the Valar. Ilúvatar grants free will just like God does in the Bible, and at the price of evil. We already know this and about this evil, so I won't go on. I don't remember these theological concepts being as apparent in the Lord of the Rings, especially since the Silmarillion feels a lot like a Bible of Middle-earth, I guess you could say. Do they even talk about the Valar much in the Lord of the Rings? I don't remember. I do think it's very interesting how Tolkien was influenced by his religion. I think he uses these theological concepts to make a basis for his mythology that causes it to be more realistic, because free will does lead to evil in real life.