Tolkien and Biblical Cosmology

All Along the Watchtower

My recent phase in Christian reading has involved the supernatural. I recently read Francis Frangipane’s The Three Battlegrounds, which is about spiritual warfare, and Bill Johnson’s When Heaven Invades Earth and The Supernatural Power of a Transformed Mind, which are on the relationship between miracles and preaching the Kingdom of Heaven. Needless to say, this sort of reading reminds one of angels and demons, the unseen spiritual world that has a very real impact on the seen world. Readers of my posts will know that I enjoy fantasy books and games and that I am a fan of JRR Tolkien. Being a devout Catholic, intentionally or not, he imbued his created world (Middle-Earth is only part of it) with a cosmology that in many ways parallels our own. He was, of course, deeply interested in fairytales, mythology and folklore from many ethnicities, not only the Germanic groups; the…

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13 Responses to Tolkien and Biblical Cosmology

  1. To be perfectly honest, when I first read The Silmarillion as a senior in high school, I really didn’t notice much on the lines of a “Biblical” cosmology. Sure, I could find a lot of Christian inspiration from Iluvatar but not much else.

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  2. whitefrozen says:

    I agree somewhat. I think a lot of the ‘biblical cosmology’ things are way overblown, actually. I mean, you can get it from his writing, but it’s easy to get a lot of things from his writing. I’m a lifelong student of Tolkien and adore his works, and they’re the reason I’m the person I am today, but a lot of the ‘cosmological’ and ‘metaphysical’ things people pull from his works are just overdoing it.

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  3. Fr Aidan Kimel says:

    One day I want to reread the Ainulindale and then blog on it. I love that the world is sung into existence, just as Aslan sang Narnia into existence. In my secret moments (and I’ll deny it if anyone challenges me) I think I prefer Tolkien’s version of the creation story to God’s. 🙂

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    • Which version of God’s creation story do you prefer the most if any?

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    • whitefrozen says:

      I remember when I first read it, I totally didn’t get it at first. But the more I read it, the more I got it, and once you get it, you really get it. Definitely something formative in my life. Feanor’s great speech is a highlight for me. That and the losing of the different Silmarils.

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    • Well, there is the much more mythical version in Job 38: “Whereupon were the foundations thereof fastened? Or Who laid the Cornerstone thereof? When the morning stars sang together, and the sons of God shouted for joy…I made clouds the garment thereof, And thick darkness a swaddling band…Hath the rain a Father? Or Who hath begotten the drops of dew? Out of Whose womb came the ice? And the hoary frost of heaven, Who hath gendered it?”

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  4. Fr Aidan Kimel says:
  5. Pingback: J.R.R. Tolkien’s Ainulindalë – Illustrated « Theologians, Inc.

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