Tolkien Creative Wisdom 2: All Tales May Come True…

“All tales may come true; and yet, at the last, redeemed, they may be as like and as unlike the forms that we give them as Man, finally redeemed, will be like and unlike the fallen that we know.”

Tree and Leaf 73

  • This is where Tolkien’s creativity and spirituality meet – in his eschatological vision.
  • For those unfamiliar with eschatology, it’s basically the study of the end, final purpose, and fulfillment of all things.
  • Tolkien’s most blatantly eschatological work is the short-story “Leaf By Niggle.” I’ll be covering it here soon enough, but if you’ve never read it, you need to. It can be found in Tree and Leaf or The Tolkien Reader.
  • A lot of overlap with Romans 8 here, especially the latter half of that chapter.
  • I’m not sure if this was part of Tolkien’s original speech in 1939, but I have to imagine that if it was, it left a lot of folks feeling like Tolkien was nuts. “Wait – you think stories are actually going to come TRUE?” I don’t think Tolkien really cared though. He just kept at it, and wrote the best-selling book of the 20th century.
  • The key is of course “as like and unlike the forms that we give them.” No one can really say how, any more than one can say how that thing that looks like bread is really the body, blood, soul, and divinity of Christ. Perhaps that was one reason Tolkien was such a passionate devotee of the Eucharist.
  • One can see why Tolkien was so passionate about creating – he believed in its eternal value.

Please feel free to leave your thoughts and questions on this post in the comments below.