A Pre-Christian Christian Myth

Many have wondered how a book with no apparent religion or reference to Christianity could be considered a wholely Christian work.  Many have claimed the work is in no way Christian; and much worse uses what appears to be magic.  What is this work?  Lord of the Rings, of course!

What is probably the most important thing to recall when reading The Lord of the Rings for Christian meaning, or any religious belief for that matter, is that it is a pre-Christian myth.  Furthermore, to make it a Christian pre-Christian myth, Tolkien deleted any overt reference to religion, gods or any other “pagan” reference in the work.  Therefore, to find meaning, the reader must look deeper.  The sad part is that most don’t, and never discover the hollowed vaults of glittering insights to be found at the foundation of Tolkien’s work. 

The issue is should not be where are Tolkien’s beliefs in the work.  Rather, we should ask “Where are they not?”  The spiritual aspect of Tolkien’s work is so deeply ingrained into the mythos of his world and core of his story that it cannot be separated easily, if at all, without ruining it alltogether. 

And as to magic, what of that?  We are like hobbits, anything odd or unexplained seems to us magic.  But if you recall Galadriel’s responce to Sam, she does not understand to what he is refering.  What the elves and other “magic users” are doing is merely something beyond the hobbits’ understanding, and therefore beyond our own. 

What is crucial to the understanding of “magic” in The Lord of the Rings, is Gandalf’s confrontation with the Balrog.  Ganalf is the “servant of the Secret Fire, wielder of the flame of Anor” (FotR 322).  What or who might you ask in the ‘Secret Fire?’ Think a bit.  Does the imagery remind you of something?  What happens during Pentecost?  The Secret Fire is the Holy Spirit.  Gandalf’s power is not his own, it is the power of Iluvatar; the power of God.  Like Moses, Gandalf works the miracles of God. 

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