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Did Tolkien write anything about the theodicy implied in the great music and later events?

Iluvatar (if i recall correctly) had perfect knowledge of every moment of his music and universe. The all-father knew exactly what was going to happen when he created Melkor. So why did he do it knowing the horrors Melkor would cause?

Tolkien was a scholar and devout Catholic in a university. He had access to theologians, philosophers and texts discussing the source of evil from the past 1000 years or so. I would expect him write something about the source of evil in his world.

I have a spin off question for bonus points: Did any characters ask about the necessity of evil, in-universe? (My copy of the Silmarilion is packed away, otherwise I'd just re-read it)

marked as duplicate by Jason Baker, Shevliaskovic, Null, Ward, KutuluMike Sep 27 '15 at 21:03

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  • @Richard Anyone who might answer this question must be able to do their research, so they should be able to Google 'theodicy' and find out what it means! – Rand al'Thor Sep 27 '15 at 17:51
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    @randal'thor - Yes, but it's still nice to be inclusive. There's never a need for recrementitious oppugnancy. – Valorum Sep 27 '15 at 18:01
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    @Richard I'm fully discombobulated. – user46509 Sep 27 '15 at 18:05
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    @CarlSixsmith Richard would no doubt be anispeptic, frasmotic, even compunctuous to have caused you such pericombobulation. – Mr Lister Sep 27 '15 at 18:42
  • Please don't do "spin-off" questions; they make it difficult to pick a right answer, and when the main question gets closed (as this one's about to) the spin-off question gets lost. Just go ask it :) – KutuluMike Sep 27 '15 at 21:03
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In the Silmarillion Eru himself address it (sort of), when he tells Ulmo that without Melkor's meddlings there wouldn't be as much beauty.

And Ilúvatar spoke to Ulmo, and said: ‘Seest thou not how here in this little realm in the Deeps of Time Melkor hath made war upon thy province? He hath bethought him of bitter cold immoderate, and yet hath not destroyed the beauty of thy fountains, nor of thy clear pools. Behold the snow, and the cunning work of frost! Melkor hath devised heats and fire without restraint, and hath not dried up thy desire nor utterly quelled the music of the sea. Behold rather the height and glory of the clouds, and the everchanging mists; and listen to the fall of rain upon the Earth! And in these clouds thou art drawn nearer to Manwë, thy friend, whom thou lovest.’ - AINULINDALË

It is the evil and the sad that create the real beauty in the word.

  • +1 And this is true even out-of-universe! We can see that Melkor and Sauron are responsible for the beauty that are the stories set in Middle-earth. After all -- and I think Tolkien said as much in the preface to one of his books -- no-one wants to read about nice Hobbits and Elves living in harmony and without conflict. Conflict, war and betrayal are what makes LotR interesting to read. – Andres F. Sep 27 '15 at 21:04

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