Finding God in the Lord of the Rings

“Tolkien cast his mythology in his form because he wanted it to be remote and strange, and yet at the same time not to be a lie. He wanted the mythology and legendary stories to express his own moral view of the universe; and as a Christian he could not place this view in a cosmos without the God that he worshipped. At the same time, to set his stories ‘realistically’ in the known world, where religious beliefs were explicitly Christian, would deprive them of imaginative colour. So while God is present in Tolkien’s universe, He remains unseen.

When he wrote the Silmarillion Tolkien believed that in one sense he was writing truth. He did not suppose that precisely such peoples as he described as, ‘elves’, ‘dwarves’, and malevolent ‘orcs’, had walked the earth and done the deed that he recorded. But he did feel, or hope, that his stories were in some sense an embodiment of a profound truth.

J.R.R. Tolkien – A Biography, by Humphrey Carpenter, 99.

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