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Monday, December 27, 2010

Eru, the Maiar/Ainur, and the Children -- Reading Material

Parma Eldalamberon xvii, (Root) PHAN- continues:
But [the Valar and Maiar] remained in direct contact with Eru, though they, as far as the legends go, usually 'addressed' Him through Manwë the Elder King. ... By nature one of the Valar, or of those of the prime order of created spirits to which they belonged, would be in the presence of Eru only by presenting themselves in thought.
{I think in American we would say "merely by presenting ...".  I think he is saying it is easy, rather than difficult, for a Vala to communicate with Eru.}
The Eldar, and still less the Elves of Middle-earth (and again still less Men, especially those who had no contact with Elves or shunned it), knew little of such things; but they believed that 'direct' resort to Eru was not allowed to them, or at least not expected of them, except in gravest emergency. The Valar were themselves 'on trial' – an aspect of the mystery of 'free will' in created intelligences. They had sufficient knowledge of the will of Eru and his 'design' to undertake the responsibility of guiding its development by means of the great prowess given to them and according to their own reason and intelligence.
[Footnote:] At this time there was no way for the Incarnate direct to Eru, and though the Eldar knew well that the power of the Valar to counsel or assist them was only delegated, it was through them that they sought for enlightenment or aid from Eru.
There was, however, one element in the Design of Eru that remained a mystery: the Children of Eru, Elves and Men, the Incarnate. These were said to be an addition made by Eru Himself after the Revelation to the primal spirits of the Great Design. They were not subject to the subcreative activities of the Valar, and one of the purposes of this addition was to provide the Valar with objects of love, as being in no way their own subject, but having a direct relationship to Eru Himself, like their own but different from it. They were, or were to be, thus 'other' than the Valar, independent creations of His love, and so objects for their reverence and true (entirely unselfregarding) love.

Another purpose they had, which remained a mystery to the Valar, was to complete the Design by 'healing' the hurts which it suffered, and so ultimately not to recover 'Arda Unmarred' (that is the world as it would have been if Evil had never appeared), but the far greater thing 'Arda Healed'.

With regard to Elves and Men Eru had made one absolute prohibition: the Valar were not to attempt to dominate the Children (even for what might seem to the Valar to be their own good), neither by force nor fear nor pain, nor even by the awe and reverence that their wisdom and overwhelming majesty might inspire if fully revealed. The minds of the Children were not open to the Valar (except by free will of the Children), and could not be invaded or violated by the Valar except with disastrous consequences: their breaking and enslaving, and the substitution in them of the dominating Vala as a God in place of Eru.

The Valar – all save one, Melkor – obeyed this prohibition by Eru, according to their wisdom [footnote mark]. But there was thus introduced an element of uncertainty into all their operations after the Coming of the Elves and Men. The wills and desires and the resultant deeds of the Elves remained forever in some measure unpredictable, and their minds not always open to admonition and instruction that was not (as was forbidden) issued as commands supported by latent power. This was even more evident in the case of Men, either by their nature, or by their early subjection to the lies of Melkor, or by both.

It was held by some that the Valar had even earlier failed in their 'trials' when wearying of their destructive war with Melkor they removed into the West, which was first intended to be a fortress whence they might issue to renew the War, but became a Paradise of peace, while Middle-earth was corrupted and darkened by Melkor, long unopposed. The obduracy of Men and the great evils and injuries which they inflicted upon themselves,and also, as their power increased, upon other creatures and even upon the world itself, was thus in part attributable to the Valar. Not to their willful revolt and pride, but to mistakes which were not by design intended to oppose the will of Eru, though they revealed a failure in understanding of His purposes and in confidence in Him.
[Footnote:] This is said because the invitation given to the Eldar to remove to Valinor and live unendagered by Melkor was not in fact according to the design of Eru. It arose from anxiety, and it mgiht be said from failure in trust of Eru, from anxiety and fear of Melkor, and the decision of the Eldar to accept the invitation was due to the overwhelming effect of their contact, while still in their inexperienced youth, with the bliss of Aman and the beauty and majesty of the Valar. It had disastrous consequences in diminishing the Elves of Middle-earth and so depriving Men of a large measure of the intended help and teaching of their 'elder brethren', and exposing them more dangerously to the power and deceits of Melkor. Also since it was in fact alien to the nature of the Elves to live under protection in Aman, and not (as was intended) in Middle-earth, one consequence was the revolt of the Noldor.

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