Morgoth’s and Sauron’s sole hope...

Archive Home > Basic Lore
Darth Angelus 18/Dec/2006 at 10:21 AM
New Soul Points: 64 Posts: 79 Joined: 04/Jan/2006

It has occured to me (it’s quite obvious, actually), that Morgoth and Sauron realize that Eru has a non-interference policy, which means he is not directly interfering with the affairs of Middle-Earth. In a way, that can be seen as their only hope. If Eru had decided to directly squash any evil that posed sufficient threat to the balance in the world he created, they would never get away with the amount of evil they did for as long as they did.
Some of the things that they did, particularly Morgoth, may have come dangerously close to it, though (destroying the lamps and trees). Eru may be slow to anger, but how can Melkor or Sauron know 100% that the next evil act is not going to be the last straw that invokes the divine wrath and spells their certain doom? In my opinion, they always gambled a little bit, hoping they could get away with more evil, and believing Eru would never act. But they could obviously not really read Eru’s mind, since Eru is mentally superior to even them, and hence, they could never be sure, only reasonably sure, that they are safe from Eru’s wrath.

Any thoughts?

AlatarOfOromė 18/Dec/2006 at 01:28 PM
Savant of Isengard Points: 393 Posts: 10 Joined: 18/Dec/2006

Knowing deep down that they are created beings (Melkor of the Ainur and Sauron of the Maiar), the Dark Lords must realize that they ultimately cannot triumph.  This revelation would, of course only come with rational thought, and I think that rationality is thrown out the window when you decide to perpetuate evil.  Long story short, I’m assuming if they took the time to ponder your point, they’d see the truth of it, but being Dark Lords, their avarice and ambition blinds them.

NegruVoda 18/Dec/2006 at 01:58 PM
Mercenary of Minas Tirith Points: 506 Posts: 106 Joined: 02/Sep/2005
Well, as the professor was a devout Christian, we should regard Iluvatar as allmighty and all knowing, do not forget that Iluvatar actualy mentions that none can befall Middle-Earth without him meaning so, he actualy points this out to Melkor, as none of what "he made" was actualy made outside the box, so to speak (I am now refering to the Ainuliandale), without Eru’s knowing so.
Neither Dark Lord was doing something that Iluvatar would be shocked by, as Arda is no more than a thought made "flesh" and it’s thinker knows all there is in it.
I don’t think Morgoth or Sauron ever neded to be carful of the fury of Eru, the one whom was ever patient was Manwe Sulimo, Iluvatar’s liutenent (if you would permit me to name him so) in Arda, as Iuvatar never intrudes in the world that is, and whenever it was ment the Valar did there best to stop the Darkness.
Hithlum 18/Dec/2006 at 02:35 PM
Porter of Minas Tirith Points: 4567 Posts: 3327 Joined: 07/Oct/2003
I would just like to point out that Eru did interfere in Middle Earth. When Numenorean forces launched an attack on Valinor, the Valar called for his help. I think he did this becasue he forsaw that the Numenoreans would be too strong for the Valar and the Elves there. As for the other events, he knew they would turn out well in the end
Elhir Bregalad 18/Dec/2006 at 03:01 PM
Merchant of Mirkwood Points: 997 Posts: 777 Joined: 24/Feb/2005

Hithlum- I don’t think that the Numenoreans could ever have hoped to defeat the Valar even if they had made it to Valinor therefore the Valar didn’t need protected by Eru from the Numenoreans.  Eru intervened then because of the incredible rashness and disrespect of the Numenoreans:  They broke the ban of the Valar and had to be punished.

NegruVoda- we should regard Iluvatar as allmighty and all knowing, do not forget that Iluvatar actualy mentions that none can befall Middle-Earth without him meaning so, he actualy points this out to Melkor, as none of what "he made" was actualy made outside the box, so to speak (I am now refering to the Ainuliandale), without Eru’s knowing so.
Neither Dark Lord was doing something that Iluvatar would be shocked by, as Arda is no more than a thought made "flesh" and it’s thinker knows all there is in it.

If this is true then couldn’t it be argued that Illuvatar knew that Melkor and Sauron would rebel and if he knew that then wouldn’t he know about the evils they would commit?  I’ve thought about this before but never posted on it:  Maybe Illuvatar did know about the evils Melkor and Sauron would commit and he let them happen to let’s say ’test’ his children, elves and men, thinking that if they couldn’t survive and help themselves, to a certain extant anyway until Eru or the Valar intervened, then maybe they didn’t deserve their lives or to have control over the world Eru had created for them.  That’s an interesting thought what do you think?

AlatarOfOromė 18/Dec/2006 at 08:21 PM
Savant of Isengard Points: 393 Posts: 10 Joined: 18/Dec/2006

Radalas, if I may borrow from Christian theology (which, given Tolkien’s background, is not entirely inappropriate), you are discussing the omniscience of Iluvatar and equating it with perfect foreknowledge.  I don’t think the two (omniscience and perfect foreknowledge) are necessarily identical.  The same issue comes up in Christian theology when its adherants wish to maintain the freewill of humanity in the face of the omnipotence of God.  Christian apologist (and close friend of the Professor) C.S. Lewis said "[God] does not FORSEE humans making their free contributions in a future, but SEES them doing it in his unbounded Now."

Perhaps we could apply the same concept to Eru.  He is omnipotent, but he doesn’t FORESEE Melkor or Sauron commit atrocities in the future, but rather he transcends time and SEES them doing it in his Infinite Now.

Maybe that’s too much theology, but it seemed a decent way to address the post.

AlatarOfOromė 18/Dec/2006 at 09:15 PM
Savant of Isengard Points: 393 Posts: 10 Joined: 18/Dec/2006

I goofed in my previous post.  In the second paragraph where it says "He is omnipotent," it should say "He is omniscient"

my apologies.

Elhir Bregalad 18/Dec/2006 at 09:23 PM
Merchant of Mirkwood Points: 997 Posts: 777 Joined: 24/Feb/2005

Alatar- Perhaps we could apply the same concept to Eru.  He is omnipotent, but he doesn’t FORESEE Melkor or Sauron commit atrocities in the future, but rather he transcends time and SEES them doing it in his Infinite Now.

Alatar- That is an interesting point of view but if Eru is omnipotent and can transcend time wouldn’t he still know of Melkor and Sauron’s actions in his Infinite Now?

Elhir Bregalad 18/Dec/2006 at 09:32 PM
Merchant of Mirkwood Points: 997 Posts: 777 Joined: 24/Feb/2005
simul
AlatarOfOromė 18/Dec/2006 at 09:38 PM
Savant of Isengard Points: 393 Posts: 10 Joined: 18/Dec/2006

Yes.  He knows of them, but he does not forsee them.  I suppose I should have made that clear.  It’s not that he "sees" them ahead of time in order to prevent them.  His transcendence of time cannot be thought of in terms of Now, or Then, or In the Future.  Such terms would place Eru back within time.  It’s a very bizarre concept and not one i can properly explain.

All of that said, Eru sees the events, but not ahead of time, to justify a reason for him "preventing" such acts.  I suppose that comment should be directed toward the OP.

I’m done rambling on the subject for now.

Hithlum 18/Dec/2006 at 11:43 PM
Porter of Minas Tirith Points: 4567 Posts: 3327 Joined: 07/Oct/2003
Radalas - I think they could. Remember how easy one Numenorean army defeated and captured Sauron. They only got stronger at the time of the Downfall, and it is said the entire island was surroudned by war ships. Any idea how many that could be? They would be a bigger thread to Valinor than Melkor ever was.
Elhir Bregalad 19/Dec/2006 at 03:33 PM
Merchant of Mirkwood Points: 997 Posts: 777 Joined: 24/Feb/2005

Hithlum- I disagree, The Valar were the powers of the world and had a hand in creating it and I believe it says somewhere, either in the Silmarillion itself or in the Akallabeth, the mortal men could not set foot on the shores of Valinor without permission.  Sorry I don’t have a quote for that.

Alatar-Yes.  He knows of them, but he does not forsee them.

Wouldn’t these to things be the same knowing of them and foreseeing them?  Are you saying the Eru knew of their actions but could not prevent them because of free will?  If Eru sees the events as you say then he would have to see them ahead of time if not then he would be seeing them at the same time as let’s say an elf or man that lived during the time of Morgoth and Sauron’s actions and if that is so then what good is transcending time?

Pellaęarien 19/Dec/2006 at 04:06 PM
Fletcher of Lothlorien Points: 1325 Posts: 622 Joined: 19/Dec/2005

Hithlum/Radalas: There was certainly a Ban on the Numenoreans sailing to Valinor. The restriction put on them was to sail no further west than they could go without losing sight of the shore of Numenor. But I don’t beleive, Hithlum, that your comparison of the events is completely appropriate. Firstly, Sauron was a Maia, not a Vala, and there were fourteen Vala, each greater in power than a Maia. Melkor was given the greatest power in the mind of Iluvatar, and the Valar could even kill him (See discussion about the death of Morgoth also in this fora). It says in the Silmarillion that the Numenoreans set foot upon the shore, even camping around the foot of Tuna, before Manwe called upon Eru. We must remember that Numenor was a gift, and a gift is free to be taken back. In my opinion, by breaking the Ban and challenging the Valar, the Numenoreans had just forefited it.

Regarding Alatar’s comments: What I think Alatar is trying to say is that, since Eru is not contained within Time, neither is he subject to it. Therefore, to him, all times are NOW. I’m not sure if this is a good example, but it’s like KNOWING that your birthday is coming but not FORESEEING how it is going to be. And in the beginning, before the Valar even descended into the world, Eru said that everything they did, even the evil that he knew Morgoth was going to do, would turn in the end to his glory.

Does that make any sense?

Elhir Bregalad 19/Dec/2006 at 06:24 PM
Merchant of Mirkwood Points: 997 Posts: 777 Joined: 24/Feb/2005
Yes that does make more sense.  So Eru knew it would happen but he also knew that those actions commited by Morgoth and Sauron would ultimately glorify Eru and his plan for Arda.  However that still leaves the question of why?  Why would Eru, knowing that these things would happen, allow Morgoth and Sauron to descend down the path that led to commiting these atrocities.  I’ve thought about this and the only answer I can come up with is Free Will;  Eru didn’t want to interfere with Melkor and Sauron’s free will.
AlatarOfOromė 19/Dec/2006 at 07:41 PM
Savant of Isengard Points: 393 Posts: 10 Joined: 18/Dec/2006

Pellaęarien, you hit the nail on the head.  you summed up exactly what i was trying to articulate.  I apologize to Radalas and any other posters if my comments were not very clear.

I agree that the birthday analogy may be troublesome.  in fact, the only good reference is Kurt Vonnegut’s Slaughterhouse Five.  I don’t know if anyone here has read it, but Eru’s omniscience would be mildy comparable to the knowledge of the Tralfamadorians (don’t know if i spelled that right.  it’s been a few years since i last read it).

KingODuckingham 19/Dec/2006 at 10:06 PM
Grey Counsellor of Isengard Points: 15053 Posts: 15390 Joined: 27/Aug/2006
I thought you meant it to be not like a birthday analogy, but rather like seeing a murder committed in front of your eyes. You certainly know of it, but it’s not like you are able to prevent it as it happens.

As the angels in C.S. Lewis’s The Great Divorce say, "All moments are contained within this one." It’s impossible to plan ahead, or make preparations. This may make Eru seem rather handicapped at first, but if he had it all planned anyway, which makes sense given that he told Melkor all the evil would work to Eru’s glory, then it doesn’t matter because it’s happening the way he wanted it to (all at the same time, if you will, for him).

The antsy question comes when you ask, How does he have all this planned out ahead of time, and yet still give his creation free will? Because he knows what they will choose? How then is it exactly free?

Oh, and by the way. Just because Eru is outside time doesn’t mean he can’t act inside it, which is how we get scenes like him talking to the Valar, destroying Numenor, etc. Just as we are three-dimensional but can move in two, so Eru is greater than time but can act inside of it when he deems necessary. After all, he created it.
Nav 19/Dec/2006 at 10:36 PM
Weathered Ent of Fangorn Points: 5671 Posts: 6218 Joined: 10/Dec/2005
Ducky, looks like Tolkien was a Calvinist, at least with respect to Eru. The only solution I can come to is that there wasn’t free will, but I’ll leave it to the theologians to decide.
KingODuckingham 19/Dec/2006 at 10:46 PM
Grey Counsellor of Isengard Points: 15053 Posts: 15390 Joined: 27/Aug/2006
I don’t think that’s an acceptable solution. There definitely was free will in Tolkien’s world. I don’t have the quote to prove it, but I know there was...trust me. There has to be, in any worldview, or the problem of evil becomes connected to the existence of God, which would mean that eventual freedom from evil is impossible.

P.S. I’m a Calvinist, and I still believe in free will (to an extent) The point is, there is a middle ground.
Addicted 20/Dec/2006 at 02:15 AM
Banned Points: 89 Posts: 32 Joined: 14/Sep/2008
hi all. fascinating conversation. i have a strong belief in God, and its great to see people drawing comparisons between Him and Eru (as no one would argue Tolkien did.) i am constantly amazed by people’s unwillingness to discuss God or anything of the like (its almost ... Taboo to many). keep up the good work, hopefully it causes us all to think about the possiblity of a real Eru .... or as non LOTR fans would say ... God

drawing once again on the God comparison, i think that maybe Eru would completely be able to foresee everything. and yet CHOOSE to allow everything (save for the Numenoreans), because he wanted his creations to HAVE free will (even im many use it for evil). isnt that the definition of free will? to do anything we choose - regardless of someone knowing better?
NegruVoda 20/Dec/2006 at 03:37 AM
Mercenary of Minas Tirith Points: 506 Posts: 106 Joined: 02/Sep/2005
I have said it once before, and I shall say it again: Eru created Arda, Erucreated the Ainur, he does not need to forsee anything, nothing that he has not devised will ever happen.
The point is he knew well enough tha Melkor would become Morgoth, that Sauron wold cheat the Numenoreans and that the Dark Lords would eventualy be unmade. Let’s look at the general outlines, not at the details. I’m not saying that Eru knew Frodo would distroy the Ring, i’m not saying Middle-Earth is a book written by Eru and the Valar only made a movie after it. I’m saying that the general outlines of all the Ages were drawn by Eru, the Valar, Maiar and inhabitants of Middle-Earth just fill in the details, giving therefor free will to the inhabitants but not to the general Hisory.
The fate of Arda is alive and complete in the mind of Iluvatar therefor nothing Melkor or Sauron could do can change this, if Beren died, would there had not been another man or elf or dwarf to fill his roll?
Lady-Galadriel: The paralell between God and Eru is existent, yet I don’t think a pagan who likes Tolkien is going to start beliving in God because of his love for Middle-Earth. and the fact that Tolkien stated that there was once one god, Eru, and then he made the Ainur(who men often call Gods). I enjoy seeing Eru as the good old Professor, and the Ainuliandale as a wonderful metaforisation of the birth of Arda in his mind. Then again I could be crazy
KingODuckingham 20/Dec/2006 at 08:20 AM
Grey Counsellor of Isengard Points: 15053 Posts: 15390 Joined: 27/Aug/2006
Negru: How do you reconcile these two statements:
nothing that he has not devised will ever happen and:
the general outlines of all the Ages were drawn by Eru, the Valar, Maiar and inhabitants of Middle-Earth just fill in the details.

If Eru has devised everything, how is free will possible? If not, how can we be sure of statements like Eru telling Melkor everything he does will turn back to Eru’s glory?

Lady-G: X-nay. Keep that up and you may find out exactly why that sort of thing is taboo on the plaza. It’s ok (I think) to draw a comparison to God, but hopefully it causes us all to think about the possiblity of a real Eru .... or as non LOTR fans would say ... God is going too far, here.
NegruVoda 20/Dec/2006 at 12:45 PM
Mercenary of Minas Tirith Points: 506 Posts: 106 Joined: 02/Sep/2005
The first sentence was not so well thought, I apologise. But I still stand by my statement about general outlines.
P.S: I hope this disscution does notgo as far as the omnipotence pardox (thats the problem with monotheism)
KingODuckingham 20/Dec/2006 at 09:02 PM
Grey Counsellor of Isengard Points: 15053 Posts: 15390 Joined: 27/Aug/2006
the omnipotence pardox (thats the problem with monotheism) Meh...I don’t see that as a problem. Just because one has ultimate power does not mean one must always exercise it, or that one would wish to.
AlatarOfOromė 21/Dec/2006 at 07:52 AM
Savant of Isengard Points: 393 Posts: 10 Joined: 18/Dec/2006

KingODuckingham, glad to see a fellow fan of C.S. Lewis.

I agree that omnipotence does not always mean intervention.  Such a scenario would only occur if there were no free will.  As soon as free will enters the picture, then omnipotence must be tempered with discretion.

Eru sees all acts occuring in his Unbounded Now (stealing that directly from Lewis) but does not intervene in all cases because if he did, then Men/Elves/Dwarves/Hobbits/Ents/Maia/etc. would make no meaningful decisions in life.  It is only because they have the capacity to fail that their right choices become meaningful.

The problem people have with Eru’s omniscience and free will, is that they keep placing Eru within time.  He does not exist within time.  He transcends it.  All times are NOW for him.  if you apply this concept, then the two are easily reconciled.