Sunday, October 7, 2007

Marred Arda and Tolkien's Hope for the Future Part 3

Those of the "Old Hope" ... say that the One will will himself enter into Arda, and heal Men and all the Marring from the beginning to the end. This they say also, or
they feign, is a rumour that has come down through years uncounted, even from
the days of our undoing. [Morgoth's Ring (Houghton Mifflin 1993), p. 321]

These are the words of Anreth, Wise-woman of Men, to the Elf Finrod. She apparently does not believe the prophesy herself, but the words begin to give Finrod a new Hope.

"Athrabeth Finrod Ah Andreth" (The Debate of Finrod and Andreth) apparently was planned as an Appendix to The Silmarillion. [ibid., p.329] In it Finrod, "the wisest of the exiled Noldor," [p.305] discusses the nature and future of Men and Elves with the Wise-woman Andreth. It is the days of the Long Peace during the First Age, while Morgoth has been under siege in Angband. [p.305] Even in this time of Peace, Andreth holds little, if any, hope that the marring of Arda by Morgoth would ever be healed.

The Elves have two words for Hope: Amdir and Estel. Amdir is "an expectation of good, which though uncertain has some foundation in what is known." Andreth sees no foundation for any Hope. But Finrod talks of a Hope that is "founded deeper":

Estel we call it, that is "trust". It is not defeated by the ways of
the world, for it does not come from experience, but from our nature and first
being. If we are indeed the Eruhin, the Children of the One, then He
will not suffer [allow] himself to be deprived of His own, not by any Enemy,
not even ourselves. This is the last foundation of Estel, which we keep
even when we contemplate the End: of all His designs the issue must be for His
Children's joy. [p. 320]

The Hope of the Elves was that the One would somehow bring the Consolation—the eucatastrophe, if you will. Somehow He would heal the marring of Arda. This Hope was based on their Trust (Estel) in His love for them. (You many remember that Aragorn's Elvish name was Estel.) The Elves did not know the reason for their Hope, but they Trusted anyway. Men knew that reason for Hope, but many despaired, losing their Trust through the influence of Morgoth.

During the Years of Peace, many joined the ranks of the "Old Hope" thinking that Morgoth had been defied. But their Hope was misplaced: "For it was not on the might of Men, or any of the peoples of Arda, the the old hope was grounded." [p.321]

I am conservative by nature. My theology and politics are what most would call Conservative. I am not afraid to voice my opinion to my elected officials on the issues. But I think perhaps too many who share my Conservatism put their Trust in what can be accomplished by numbers. And often their negativity is counter-productive. The marring of America--the marring of the world--will not be healed by political agendas, whether Conservative or Liberal. Our marring can only be healed by the One who entered this world and defeated our Enemy forever.

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