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The roots of the Work

Helcaraxë

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jallan said:
Helcaraxë posted:This stretches matters.

Eru is God. Eru has an exclusive right to anything he wishes. But if Eru were to share the Flame Imperishable by Eru's will, Eru's divine power would not be lessened.
Yes, but if Eru had shared the Flame Imperishable with Melkor, I think things would turn out a little differently. ;)

jallan said:
The rebellion did happen (as the explanation for evil) according to Zoroastrian/Jewish/Christian/Moslem mythology/theology. It becomes therefore a fact in any tale using that mythology whether it is Tolkien's The Lord of the Ring or Ira Levin's Rosemary's Baby.

But that the world is very much an unfriendly and evil place appears in numerous stories which indicate no necessary belief in monotheism or which even speak against it. The origin of evil is often unimportant in such tales. The origin of Evil is unimportant in The Lord of the Rings as written.

Even the theme of worshipping another than God is not made an important one in either The Silmarillion or The Lord of the Rings. We do not clearly see anyone tempted to worship Sauron. Even Saruman who will join with Sauron will be a potentially trecherous servant rather than a sincere worshipper.

What Tolkien seems to be talking about is why within the legendarium Sauron is wrong and those who oppose him are right. Tolkien points out that it is not just a matter of freedom from oppression (otherwise the Dunlendings who freely chose to follow Sauron are just as right as the Rorhirrim who throw in their lot with Gondor).

Sauron demands divine honor. But giving divine honor to Sauron is just wrong, wrong in the normal unmoral sense that paying divine honor to any single created being is wrong, if by divine honor we mean confusing that being with the creator, upholder and sustainer and subordinating all to that being.

But however this might have been an underlying theme in his legendarium, Tolkien did not make it a strong theme in the Silmarillion or The Lord of the Rings. He might have done so in his proposed sequel The New Shadow, the beginning of which contains a philosophical discussion of the meaning of Orkishness and implies that we are entering a tale in which decisions about what powers one should revere and worship will be central.
You are right in that it is not a strong underlying theme in the LotR. But I am not so sure about the Silmarillion. Melkor plays a crucially important role, and if not for Eru's refusal to give him the Flame Imperishable, Melkor would never have rebelled.
 

jallan

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Helcaraxë posted:
Melkor plays a crucially important role, and if not for Eru's refusal to give him the Flame Imperishable, Melkor would never have rebelled.
But that is not mentioned again outside of the Ainulindalë. Nornor even in the Ainulindalë is anything say about a refusal of the Flame Imperishable to Melkor. As far as we are told Melkor had never asked and knows little about it.

But from the point where he created his own theme during the Music Melkor/Morgoth is the monstrous foe of the Valar who attempts to destroy all their works and to pervert Arda. Why Melkor refused to follow Eru's theme is not given any importance in later tale. Except in the legend of the Fall of Man in the notes on the "Athrabeth" there is no emphasis on chosing between Eru and Melkor/Morgoth.

In Aman Melkor influence is damaging. But he works though misleading words and misrepresentation, not by prposing himself as a leader in Eru's place or in any way acting openly against Manwë or Eru. When his lies are made clear even those who had listened to him in Aman reject him.
 

Helcaraxë

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jallan said:
Helcaraxë posted:But that is not mentioned again outside of the Ainulindalë. Nornor even in the Ainulindalë is anything say about a refusal of the Flame Imperishable to Melkor. As far as we are told Melkor had never asked and knows little about it.
But he knows that he cannot be a primary creator, and he desires it.
jallan said:
But from the point where he created his own theme during the Music Melkor/Morgoth is the monstrous foe of the Valar who attempts to destroy all their works and to pervert Arda. Why Melkor refused to follow Eru's theme is not given any importance in later tale. Except in the legend of the Fall of Man in the notes on the "Athrabeth" there is no emphasis on chosing between Eru and Melkor/Morgoth.
No, but it is clear that Melkor wanted his own creations. It is said that evil can only mock, not create.
jallan said:
In Aman Melkor influence is damaging. But he works though misleading words and misrepresentation, not by prposing himself as a leader in Eru's place or in any way acting openly against Manwë or Eru. When his lies are made clear even those who had listened to him in Aman reject him.
True. But Melkor is by nature a deceiver. This has nothing to do with his desire for power. What else does Melkor want? He wants mastery, and mastery is the ability to create; the ultimate power.
 

jallan

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Helcaraxë said:
But he knows that he cannot be a primary creator, and he desires it.
True enough. But that motive never appears again.
No, but it is clear that Melkor wanted his own creations. It is said that evil can only mock, not create.
Irrelevant. Melkor can't do lots of things. Melkor is not omnipotent, omniscient or omnipresent either. The idea that Melkor could not create by himself was a relatively late one in Tolkien's thinking and I don't see that this effects most of Tolkien's writing one way or the other. The theme doesn't appear in them.

That Melkor could not created spirits did make problems for Tolkien in considering such things as whether Orcs had souls and if so what became of them when an Orc died. But the same difficulty would arise for spirits created by Melkor.
But Melkor is by nature a deceiver. This has nothing to do with his desire for power. What else does Melkor want? He wants mastery, and mastery is the ability to create; the ultimate power.
Mastery is separate from the ability to create. One can imagine someone creating something over which he or she has no mastery. (See tales of the Frankenstein monster.) One can imagine someone mastering something which he or she has not created.

For the purposes of a story there is usually no difference between creatiing from nothing and creating from pre-existing material.

Melkor of course wants all every power and all power, as much as he can get of all kinds. But the power to create is not especially singled out beyond the Ainulindalë and Melkor's particular desire to create is not a theme in Tolkien's other writings. Indeed, according to Tolkien's later writing, by the time he entered Middle-earth Melkor had become a nihilist bent on spoiling and uncreating rather than creating to fit his own vision.

Tolkien might have put emphasis elsewhere on Melkor's own theme as an alternate vision of how things should be. He does not. Melkor is simply the great spoiler who resists Eru in every way he can. Melkor's motivations are not explored again save that Tolkien in Morgoth's Ring protrays him as falling from would-be creator to nihilist to would-be tyrant over creation as it did exist.
 

Lhunithiliel

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Helcaraxë said:
But he knows that he cannot be a primary creator, and he desires it.
This makes Melkor look extremly stupid. :eek: Oh, no! Hi did NOT know that he could not be a creator! Just on the contrary! He felt his power too well and he wanted to use it! He never doubted that he CAN create and taht he can wield the Flame Imperishable.
Yes, in fact what he intended to do is imitate Eru. But in fact Melkor himslef did not understand it this way! He just felt strong enough as to match Eru! It's simple - Melkor sees what Eru can do with the Flame Imperishable (FI), feels his own powers are great and he IS absolutely and most sincerely convinced he can wield this supreme power (FI) too. Melkor obviously considered himself almost a match to Eru and the only thing that made the difference was the FI. So, what he needed was to "erase" the diference! How? By finding some of the FI that Eru wielded, obviously believing that this "substance" is freely spilt somewhere in the Void and one just has to find it! :p . He searched for it throughout the Universe (=Void) - No chance! ;) Well, then, why not steal some? This explains Melkor's constant pursuit after light and this theme Tolkien introduced in his earliest writings and kept it later. Yes - the idea had many forms of interpretation - from Melkor-sun maiden (BoLT1), to Melkor destroying the Trees.... One reads through the development of the Legendarium and it is remarkable how Melkor always aimed at having the creative light. What for? To CREATE, of course!
So, you see, he did believe he could create and that's why he desired it!

No, but it is clear that Melkor wanted his own creations. It is said that evil can only mock, not create.
Not only evil, I'd say. Remember Aule's dwarves? ;)

True. But Melkor is by nature a deceiver.
Mmmmm.... I would not count too much on Melkor's "subttle" mind. No. I see him quite direct in his attitude. Yes, he tried sometimes to be cunning, but most of the time Melkor was direct and brutal in achieving his aims. I remember now that episode when he went to Formenos to speak to Feanor and ...well... if he was such a skillfull deceiver, Feanor wouldn't have understood his true intentions... No! Melkor is hardly to be described as a skillfull deceiver.
Sauron ... Ooooh! Yes! That was a true mastery of deceiving!!!
And I remember also that to back up my opinion there is that essay by a certain Tolkien where he compares the characters of both Dark Lords and he (Tolkien ) seems to agree with my opinion! ;) :D :D :D
 

Helcaraxë

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Lhunithiliel said:
This makes Melkor look extremly stupid. :eek: Oh, no! Hi did NOT know that he could not be a creator! Just on the contrary! He felt his power too well and he wanted to use it! He never doubted that he CAN create and taht he can wield the Flame Imperishable.
Yes, in fact what he intended to do is imitate Eru. But in fact Melkor himslef did not understand it this way! He just felt strong enough as to match Eru! It's simple - Melkor sees what Eru can do with the Flame Imperishable (FI), feels his own powers are great and he IS absolutely and most sincerely convinced he can wield this supreme power (FI) too. Melkor obviously considered himself almost a match to Eru and the only thing that made the difference was the FI. So, what he needed was to "erase" the diference! How? By finding some of the FI that Eru wielded, obviously believing that this "substance" is freely spilt somewhere in the Void and one just has to find it! :p . He searched for it throughout the Universe (=Void) - No chance! ;) Well, then, why not steal some? This explains Melkor's constant pursuit after light and this theme Tolkien introduced in his earliest writings and kept it later. Yes - the idea had many forms of interpretation - from Melkor-sun maiden (BoLT1), to Melkor destroying the Trees.... One reads through the development of the Legendarium and it is remarkable how Melkor always aimed at having the creative light. What for? To CREATE, of course!
So, you see, he did believe he could create and that's why he desired it!


Of course he knew he could not be a creator! The light that Melkor hates (I do not see him desiring it as much as I do Ungoliant) is completely distinct from the Flame Imperishable. Perhaps it is a remnant of his earlier ideas, that light was a "liquid" substance that was flowing everywhere (BoLT 1). But the Flame Imperishable was never described as a light, and certainly it was not a material substance, and Melkor knew this. He hated light, but he did not desire it. It was the bane of all his machinations; he was a thing of darkness. He did have some fire-ish qualities associated with him, such as Thangorodrim, but he always cloaks it with shadow.

Melkor was smart enough to understand the ontological power difference between himself and Eru. He desires Eru's power, certainly; he wants to create, more than anything. But he understands that he cannot. And this makes him all the more bitter and jealous, and all the more dangerous.
Lhunithiliel said:
Not only evil, I'd say. Remember Aule's dwarves? ;)


True. But the motivation for Aulë's attempts at primary creation and for Melkor's are very different.

Lhunithiliel said:
Mmmmm.... I would not count too much on Melkor's "subttle" mind. No. I see him quite direct in his attitude. Yes, he tried sometimes to be cunning, but most of the time Melkor was direct and brutal in achieving his aims. I remember now that episode when he went to Formenos to speak to Feanor and ...well... if he was such a skillfull deceiver, Feanor wouldn't have understood his true intentions... No! Melkor is hardly to be described as a skillfull deceiver.


Bear in mind that Feanor is a very perceptive Elf. Anyway, what about when he subtly planted the seed of rebellion into the minds of the Noldor, inevitably causing them to leave Valinor. I do see him as a deceiver, just as Sauron was after him.
Lhunithiliel said:
Sauron ... Ooooh! Yes! That was a true mastery of deceiving!!!
And I remember also that to back up my opinion there is that essay by a certain Tolkien where he compares the characters of both Dark Lords and he (Tolkien ) seems to agree with my opinion! ;) :D :D :D
Are you mocking me, Lhunithiliel? Sauron was certainly more subtle and deceptive than Melkor, but the quality was still present in Melkor's mind.
 

Helcaraxë

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jallan said:
True enough. But that motive never appears again.
The motive itself does not appear again, but the effects of it are very profound. I believe it is safe to say that his desire to create was what ultimately fueled his rebellion. What does Melkor truly want, most of all? Power. He wants power, and creation is the greatest power.

Anyway, this is the cause of his discord, the inevitable cause of evil in Arda: desire for power. The motive does not appear later because the evil is already set in motion. But it is important to remember that this creative desire was what inevitably caused the evil. Tolkien does not concentrate on this theme, because the cause of evil is not as relevant as its existence. But it is still a very important theme, because it was the desire which set in motion all of Tolkien's tales; the Silmarillion, the War of the Ring (I daresay Sauron had the same desire), ect.
jallan said:
Irrelevant. Melkor can't do lots of things. Melkor is not omnipotent, omniscient or omnipresent either. The idea that Melkor could not create by himself was a relatively late one in Tolkien's thinking and I don't see that this effects most of Tolkien's writing one way or the other. The theme doesn't appear in them.
Melkor is not omnipotent or omiscient, but he wants to be. It is what fueled his rebellion, the desire for power. The theme is not revisited later on because the effect is more relevant than the cause. But it is still important to consider the cause, as it is the reason for the existence of an effect. Melkor's creative desire was the Aristotlean "first cause" of evil; it was the push that toppled all of the dominoes.
jallan said:
That Melkor could not created spirits did make problems for Tolkien in considering such things as whether Orcs had souls and if so what became of them when an Orc died. But the same difficulty would arise for spirits created by Melkor.Mastery is separate from the ability to create. One can imagine someone creating something over which he or she has no mastery. (See tales of the Frankenstein monster.) One can imagine someone mastering something which he or she has not created.
True, but this is irrelevant.
jallan said:
For the purposes of a story there is usually no difference between creatiing from nothing and creating from pre-existing material.
But it is an important disctinction; Melkor has the power to create from pre-existing material; the orcs he created from the elves, for instance. But this does not satifsy him.
jallan said:
Melkor of course wants all every power and all power, as much as he can get of all kinds. But the power to create is not especially singled out beyond the Ainulindalë and Melkor's particular desire to create is not a theme in Tolkien's other writings. Indeed, according to Tolkien's later writing, by the time he entered Middle-earth Melkor had become a nihilist bent on spoiling and uncreating rather than creating to fit his own vision.
But creation is the primary power. It is what distinguishes between the Valar and Eru. You are correct in saying that Melkor wanted to destroy more than create, although this applies only to the Valar's sub-creations. But the desire for creation was an antecedent for his desire of destruction.
jallan said:
Tolkien might have put emphasis elsewhere on Melkor's own theme as an alternate vision of how things should be. He does not. Melkor is simply the great spoiler who resists Eru in every way he can. Melkor's motivations are not explored again save that Tolkien in Morgoth's Ring protrays him as falling from would-be creator to nihilist to would-be tyrant over creation as it did exist.
But this does not negate the importance of the desire that set everything in motion.
 

jallan

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Helcaraxë said:
The motive itself does not appear again, but the effects of it are very profound. I believe it is safe to say that his desire to create was what ultimately fueled his rebellion
The motivation is important within the Ainulindalë as one of the causes for Melkor's rebellion. But it is still not an important theme throughout Tolkien's writing. There is a difference between the two.
What does Melkor truly want, most of all? Power. He wants power, and creation is the greatest power.
Not necessarily.

God's creation is part of his ominipotence. As I've already indicated one can certainly imagine a creator who has no power at over his creations. One can imagine a being unable to create but omnipotent over all that is created by others.

That second being would be able to control what others created and so would have the greater power, able even to compel those who could create to create what he wished. Who is more powerful, Aladdin or the genie?

This is not irrelevant at all except insomuch as Tolkien does not get into discussing such things. But you do, in ranking creative power against other kinds of power.

Power to create from nothing is not necessarily the greatest power if one is chosing between various powers.
Anyway, this is the cause of his discord, the inevitable cause of evil in Arda: desire for power.
Desire for power is not the same as desire to create. Tolkien sometimes mentioned the difference. An artist may create without any desire for power.
The motive does not appear later because the evil is already set in motion. But it is important to remember that this creative desire was what inevitably caused the evil.
Then show why] it is important to remember this? What portions Tolkien's writings would one not understand or not appreciate if one had never read that section of the Ainulindalë? I can't think of any.

Where else in the any of the other writings would one say: "Ah! the desire-to-create-from-nothing theme."

The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings can even be read and quite well understood without reference to The Silmarillion at all.

If the desire to be able to create from nothing is thematically important throughout Tolkien's writings then show examples.

Furthermore, it is likely enough that the creative desire in Melkor was placed there by Eru and was not itself evil. Varda will later create stars and Yavanna will create living things. Aulë will even attempt to create, like Melkor, outside of Eru's music. The difference is that Aulë repents.

Had Melkor repented, perhaps his theme might have been taken up in a friendly way within the Music.
Tolkien does not concentrate on this theme, because the cause of evil is not as relevant as its existence. But it is still a very important theme, because it was the desire which set in motion all of Tolkien's tales; the Silmarillion, the War of the Ring (I daresay Sauron had the same desire), ect.
You continue to confuse its use in a very important happening in the legendarium with it being important as a theme throughout the lengendarium. There is a difference. No-one is denying the motivation is important in Tolkien's account of the origin of Evil. But even there Melkor's impatience and Melkor's pride and his failure to repent are surely just as important. Without those the desire to create would have been harmless.
Melkor is not omnipotent or omiscient, but he wants to be. It is what fueled his rebellion, the desire for power. The theme is not revisited later on because the effect is more relevant than the cause. But it is still important to consider the cause, as it is the reason for the existence of an effect. Melkor's creative desire was the Aristotlean "first cause" of evil; it was the push that toppled all of the dominoes.
Eru himself is the first cause in the Aristotelean sense.
But creation is the primary power. It is what distinguishes between the Valar and Eru.
The ability to create something from nothing is one of the many differences between the omnipotence of Eru and the very limited power of the Ainur.
You are correct in saying that Melkor wanted to destroy more than create, although this applies only to the Valar's sub-creations. But the desire for creation was an antecedent for his desire of destruction.
Yes "an antecedent" but not the only antecedant.
But this does not negate the importance of the desire that set everything in motion.
Of course it does not negate what importance it has. But it is for you to show what kind and amount of importance it has as a theme throughout Tolkien's writings, rather than only a partial motivation in Tolkien's account of the origin of evil.

"God and his sole right to divine power" was what you orginally claimed to be a very important theme. It certainly was for Tolkien in his philosophy. It is part of the world portrayed by Tolkien in his legendarium. So are the sun and mooon. But that theme does not appear as an important theme in most of the tales he writes, at least not as stated in such words.

God's right to power and other questions of that kind are never discussed at all.
 
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Helcaraxë

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This is not irrelevant at all except insomuch as Tolkien does not get into discussing such things. But you do, in ranking creative power against other kinds of power.
What is the power that separates the Valar from Eru? Creation. Not merely the power of control; the Valar can control to a lesser extent, but their abilities of creation are on an entirely different level.
Power to create from nothing is not necessarily the greatest power if one is chosing between various powers.Desire for power is not the same as desire to create. Tolkien sometimes mentioned the difference. An artist may create without any desire for power.Then show why] it is important to remember this? What portions Tolkien's writings would one not understand or not appreciate if one had never read that section of the Ainulindalë? I can't think of any.

Where else in the any of the other writings would one say: "Ah! the desire-to-create-from-nothing theme."
I'm not talking about "what portions of his work we would not understand." I'm speaking from within the mythology. I'm thinking about the importance of the theme in the origin of evil only.
The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings can even be read and quite well understood without reference to The Silmarillion at all.

If the desire to be able to create from nothing is thematically important throughout Tolkien's writings then show examples.
The orcs. The orcs are a mockery; Melkor is jealous of the Elves because they are "kindled with the Flame Imperishable."
Furthermore, it is likely enough that the creative desire in Melkor was placed there by Eru and was not itself evil. Varda will later create stars and Yavanna will create living things. Aulë will even attempt to create, like Melkor, outside of Eru's music. The difference is that Aulë repents.

Had Melkor repented, perhaps his theme might have been taken up in a friendly way within the Music.You continue to confuse its use in a very important happening in the legendarium with it being important as a theme throughout the lengendarium. There is a difference. No-one is denying the motivation is important in Tolkien's account of the origin of Evil. But even there Melkor's impatience and Melkor's pride and his failure to repent are surely just as important. Without those the desire to create would have been harmless.Eru himself is the first cause in the Aristotelean sense.
Eru is not in any way evil. You suggest He is, because to be a first cause of evil he would have to be partially evil himself. Eru did not create evil, he created Melkor in such a way so that he could do evil. He created the possibility of Evil, but not evil itself. It's an important distinction.

The ability to create something from nothing is one of the many differences between the omnipotence of Eru and the very limited power of the Ainur.Yes "an antecedent" but not the only antecedant.Of course it does not negate what importance it has. But it is for you to show what kind and amount of importance it has as a theme throughout Tolkien's writings, rather than only a partial motivation in Tolkien's account of the origin of evil.
You are right in that it is only one of the motivations, but it seems to me to be a primary one. Again, I'm talking from inside the mythology; I'm not considering its thematic importance in other parts of the story per se.



"God and his sole right to divine power" was what you orginally claimed to be a very important theme.
And I still claim that. The quote I had used to back it up turned out to be invalid, but the theme is very much observable, or at least its effects are.

It certainly was for Tolkien in his philosophy. It is part of the world portrayed by Tolkien in his legendarium. So are the sun and mooon. But that theme does not appear as an important theme in most of the tales he writes, at least not as stated in such words.

God's right to power and other questions of that kind are never discussed at all.
Again, not as a pervasive theme present in all of Tolkien's work, but rather as an important theme when considering the effects of evil.
 

jallan

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Helcaraxë posted:
What is the power that separates the Valar from Eru? Creation. Not merely the power of control; the Valar can control to a lesser extent, but their abilities of creation are on an entirely different level.
All their powers are on an entirely different level. Ainur are not omnipotent in any sphere, not omniscient, not omnipresent.
I'm not talking about "what portions of his work we would not understand." I'm speaking from within the mythology. I'm thinking about the importance of the theme in the origin of evil only.
Then stop pretending it has a greater importance for Tolkien’s work as a whole. If the entire passage about the Flame was missing the loss to the Ainulindalë would be minimal. Accordingly it is not especially important.
The orcs. The orcs are a mockery; Melkor is jealous of the Elves because they are "kindled with the Flame Imperishable."
Everything that is real in Tolkien’ legendarium is "kindled with the Flame Imperishable" including therefore, Orcs. The Flame Imperishable (all of it?) is set at the heart of the World amdst the Void. Nowhwere is it stated that Melkor is jealous of the Elves because they are “kindled with the Flame Imperishable.”
Eru is not in any way evil. You suggest He is, because to be a first cause of evil he would have to be partially evil himself. Eru did not create evil, he created Melkor in such a way so that he could do evil. He created the possibility of Evil, but not evil itself. It's an important distinction.
I pointed out that you were wrong about the Artistotelian First Cause in Tolkien” legendarium. The Aristotelian First Cause is Eru. Read Aristotle or any discussion of Aristotle.

I did not therefore suggest Eru is evil. I am quite aware of Christian theology on the origin of Evil. But the Aristotelian First Cause is generally and naturally identified in Christian theology with God, not with a some supposed motive that led Satan to rebel, since both motive and Satan himself obviously have causes.
And I still claim that. The quote I had used to back it up turned out to be invalid, but the theme is very much observable, or at least its effects are.
I do not obvserve that theme much. If the effects are observable than they are likely to be more important themes than one of their causes.
Again, not as a pervasive theme present in all of Tolkien's work, but rather as an important theme when considering the effects of evil.
What effects of what evil? What has Morgoth’s stealing of the Silmarils or the devastation of Mordor or the death of Théoden or Smaug”s attack on Laketown or Gríma’s treachery or Gollum’s betrayal to do with "God and his sole right to sovereignty"?

Locate a discussion of the effects of evil in Tolkien by anyone that indicates that God’ sole right to divine power is especially important. Or write your own that supports your claim instead of asserting it without supporting it.



Any connection is very tenuous.
 

Helcaraxë

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jallan said:
Helcaraxë posted:All their powers are on an entirely different level. Ainur are not omnipotent in any sphere, not omniscient, not omnipresent.
True, but I don't think that Melkor particularly wanted omniscience.

Then stop pretending it has a greater importance for Tolkien’s work as a whole. If the entire passage about the Flame was missing the loss to the Ainulindalë would be minimal. Accordingly it is not especially important.Everything that is real in Tolkien’ legendarium is "kindled with the Flame Imperishable" including therefore, Orcs. The Flame Imperishable (all of it?) is set at the heart of the World amdst the Void. Nowhwere is it stated that Melkor is jealous of the Elves because they are “kindled with the Flame Imperishable.”
You are right in that considering the entire mythology, this creative desire is not a primary theme. But when considering the origins of evil.

I pointed out that you were wrong about the Artistotelian First Cause in Tolkien” legendarium. The Aristotelian First Cause is Eru. Read Aristotle or any discussion of Aristotle.
I have read Aristotle. The efficient cause, is the cause of motion or being. Eru is not the cause of evil. He is the cause of the possibility of Evil, but not of Evil itself. He does not set Evil in motion, Melkor's own nature does. So Eru is not the cause.

I did not therefore suggest Eru is evil. I am quite aware of Christian theology on the origin of Evil. But the Aristotelian First Cause is generally and naturally identified in Christian theology with God, not with a some supposed motive that led Satan to rebel, since both motive and Satan himself obviously have causes. I do not obvserve that theme much. If the effects are observable than they are likely to be more important themes than one of their causes.What effects of what evil? What has Morgoth’s stealing of the Silmarils or the devastation of Mordor or the death of Théoden or Smaug”s attack on Laketown or Gríma’s treachery or Gollum’s betrayal to do with "God and his sole right to sovereignty"?
The motive and Satan both have causes, but God is only indirectly the cause of evil. He creates Satan, the motive, and the possibility for Evil. But he does not create evil. Indirect causes are not first causes.
Locate a discussion of the effects of evil in Tolkien by anyone that indicates that God’ sole right to divine power is especially important. Or write your own that supports your claim instead of asserting it without supporting it.
I believe I have supported it. The fact that I have not supported it to you satisfaction is a different matter.
 

jallan

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Helcaraxë said:
You are right in that considering the entire mythology, this creative desire is not a primary theme. But when considering the origins of evil.
Yes. Only in considering that. But the origins of evil is so little covered in Tolkien’s legendarium that it would be more accurate to say it is an indicent in the origin of evil.
I have read Aristotle. The efficient cause, is the cause of motion or being. Eru is not the cause of evil. He is the cause of the possibility of Evil, but not of Evil itself. He does not set Evil in motion, Melkor's own nature does. So Eru is not the cause.
You stated that the you meant the first cause in the Artistotelian sense. From Whether the supreme good, God, is the cause of evil?:
But the evil which consists in the corruption of some things is reduced to God as the cause. And this appears as regards both natural things and voluntary things. For it was said (1) that some agent inasmuch as it produces by its power a form to which follows corruption and defect, causes by its power that corruption and defect. But it is manifest that the form which God chiefly intends in things created is the good of the order of the universe. Now, the order of the universe requires, as was said above (22, 2, ad 2; 48, 2), that there should be some things that can, and do sometimes, fail. And thus God, by causing in things the good of the order of the universe, consequently and as it were by accident, causes the corruptions of things, according to 1 Kgs. 2:6: "The Lord killeth and maketh alive." But when we read that "God hath not made death" (Wis. 1:13), the sense is that God does not will death for its own sake. Nevertheless the order of justice belongs to the order of the universe; and this requires that penalty should be dealt out to sinners. And so God is the author of the evil which is penalty, but not of the evil which is fault, by reason of what is said above.
Helcaraxë posted:
The motive and Satan both have causes, but God is only indirectly the cause of evil. He creates Satan, the motive, and the possibility for Evil. But he does not create evil. Indirect causes are not first causes.
Aquinas claims that God created a universe in which by necessity some things must fail. Accordingly God has created in universe in which Evil will arise, if not in one way then in another. How important is it by what actual means Evil arises? In any case Melkor’s desire to himself create in the Void rather than wait on Eru must come from Pride. His desire to find the Flame Imperishable has some prior cause. Why then is Pride or this other prior cause not more important to you if you are concerned with early causes? In all cases Eru remains the first cause of everything in some sense, including Evil, though without being evil himself by Aquinas’ reasoning.
I believe I have supported it. The fact that I have not supported it to your satisfaction is a different matter.
You have supported it only by reducing it to being important only from a particular viewpont of Tolkien’s legendarium concentrating almost solely on the Ainulindalë and even there by ignoring such other causes of various kinds for Melkor’s introduction of his own theme into the Music of the Ainur.

It is a reason for Melkor to rebel, and important as are all details given by Tolkien in the Ainulindalë and exactly as important. But even within the Ainulindalë the theme that greater good will come from evil seems to me a far more important theme, one more stressed in the Ainulindalë and one that also appears more elsewhere in Tolkien’s writing.

Yet even that them is not always of importance compared with other themes in different parts of Tolkien’s writing.
 

Helcaraxë

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jallan said:
Yes. Only in considering that. But the origins of evil is so little covered in Tolkien’s legendarium that it would be more accurate to say it is an indicent in the origin of evil.
Perhaps. We aren't getting anywhere debating this.

You stated that the you meant the first cause in the Artistotelian sense. From Whether the supreme good, God, is the cause of evil?:Helcaraxë posted:Aquinas claims that God created a universe in which by necessity some things must fail. Accordingly God has created in universe in which Evil will arise, if not in one way then in another. How important is it by what actual means Evil arises? In any case Melkor’s desire to himself create in the Void rather than wait on Eru must come from Pride. His desire to find the Flame Imperishable has some prior cause. Why then is Pride or this other prior cause not more important to you if you are concerned with early causes? In all cases Eru remains the first cause of everything in some sense, including Evil, though without being evil himself by Aquinas’ reasoning.
Eru is the first cause of everything, but he still only created the possibility of Evil and not evil itself. He is only indirectly the cause of Evil.

You have supported it only by reducing it to being important only from a particular viewpont of Tolkien’s legendarium concentrating almost solely on the Ainulindalë and even there by ignoring such other causes of various kinds for Melkor’s introduction of his own theme into the Music of the Ainur.
I don't recall saying that it was the only motivation for Melkor's rebellion (I misspoke if I did). But would he still have rebelled without the creative desire?
It is a reason for Melkor to rebel, and important as are all details given by Tolkien in the Ainulindalë and exactly as important. But even within the Ainulindalë the theme that greater good will come from evil seems to me a far more important theme, one more stressed in the Ainulindalë and one that also appears more elsewhere in Tolkien’s writing.
This is an important theme, but it is a different sort of theme.
 

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