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Old 08-16-2019, 10:48 PM   #28
Johnny1A.2
 
Join Date: Feb 2007
Default Re: Elven maturation and population growth

Quote:
Originally Posted by Stormcrow View Post
Weeeeelllll, not really. Yes, it's a pre-Christian world, though Middle-earth was not always firmly meant to be our own Earth in a mythic past. The stories started out that way, but drifted away from it a lot.

But it's not the case that pre-Christian humans couldn't achieve the immortal souls that Christians could. In Tolkien's mythology, human spirits go somewhere unknown, while elves' spirits remain in the world to eventually be reborn or reincarnated. Some of the details of this changed over Tolkien's life, but this basic idea was always there. Elven mythology considers human death a Gift from Iluvatar, a positive feature which lets humans escape the weariness of the world in a way the elves cannot.
Note too that this point goes to the heart of a key psychological difference between the Kindreds. Original Sin haunts every human down through every Age, one way or another none of us is able to avoid it and its consequences, save by Divine grace. Elves lack that (except for the Noldor in a smaller way).

The Elves say of Men that 'we have a Darkness behind us' that haunts us. But the Elves say of themselves that they have a Darkness before them that haunts them.

What do they mean? Elves live forever, or until the end of the world, at least, either in body or as a ghost. They can be rebodied if the Valar grant this, but either way they stay in this world (Arda) or at least this universe (Ea).

Which means that every Elf, no matter when born, will still be around for the End. Only the last generations of Men will experience the coming of Antichrist or the End Times in life. Every Elf will be there...and they don't know what happens to them then, or if they continue afterward. So they have a Darkness before them that haunts them.
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Last edited by Johnny1A.2; 08-16-2019 at 10:57 PM.
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