Editorial -- By: Ron J. Bigalke, Jr.
Since its publication in 1954–55, J. R. R. Tolkien’s heroic romance, The Lord of the Rings, has accumulated fame, fans, and critical acclaim. No other writer of Tolkien’s century created a world as distinct and imaginary as Middle Earth. By design, The Lord of the Rings is not a Christian allegory; rather, it is an invented myth with regard to Christian truths.
The Lord of the Rings presents a biblical foundation for understanding good and evil because it emphasizes the reality of a repulsive and sinister evil by contrasting that wickedness with characters that epitomize that which is good. The foundation of the drama is the obvious contrast between good and evil resulting in great conflict. The story is not the type of meaningless drama that arises from obscure or unidentifiable distinctions between good and evil; rather, the narrative is meaningful as the good perseveres to ultimately triumph and eradicate great wickedness (a contrast with pagan myths where characters merely introduce “balance” among good and evil). The themes of redemption in The Lord of the Rings are familiar and personal, thereby allowing readers to become engaged in the characters’ struggles.
The great battle between the forces of good and evil is won by the heroism of Frodo Baggins and Sam Gamgee. Aragorn is a Christ figure, with his people yearning for his return to take his rightful place as king. Jesus, of course, is the believer’s true King, and the One whom his people await to return. Tolkien demonstrated belief that the history of humanity is truly a conflict between good and evil. Tolkien’s heroic romance captivates readers because the quest of the characters is an emotional/spiritual one. The Lord of the Rings presents a biblical understanding of God’s power and his ultimate victory of sin and wickedness. The book of Revelation is the God-inspired disclosure of good triumphing over evil, specifically with the coming of Jesus Christ in power and glory; it is truly an appropriate climax to the Bible.
The kingdom of God is an important emphasis of Scripture. The doctrine of the kingdom is that God is not only king over the present world, but also is sovereign over a coming kingdom of peace and righteousness. Each of the articles in this issue addresses various aspects relating to that kingdom. Moreover, while not ignoring “several flaws” in the thought of Thomas Aquinas, the review article does prove that the scholastic can be a benefit to Protestantism. Scripture exhorts believers to build upon the foundation “which is Jesus Christ” for in doing so one labors for that which no time can efface because such work will endure for all eternity (1 Cor 3:10–15). We trust that the articles herein, in addi...
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