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Remembering C.S. Lewis and J.R.R. Tolkien

Nov 23, 2013

C. S. Lewis was one of the most influential theologian philosphers of the 20th century. He died the same day that J. F. Kennedy was killed November 22, 1963.


(RNS) As the nation marks the 50th anniversary of the death of President John F. Kennedy on Friday (Nov. 22), many Christians will also pause to recall the death of C.S. Lewis, who died the same day, just one week short of his 65th birthday....

Raised in the Church of Ireland but an atheist by age 15, Lewis slowly embraced Christianity through the works of authors George MacDonald, J.R.R. Tolkien and G.K. Chesterton. Lewis joined the Church of England, to the disappointment of Tolkien, who had hoped he would become a Catholic.

George McDonald of Scotland believed in the restoration of all things. I have read a few of his books from the 19th century, and they clearly teach this.

J.R.R. Tolkien, of course, wrote The Hobbit, and his trilogy of Lord of the Rings is a study of world history from the late 1400's to the present. The "two towers" are the Masonic Order, with its all-seeing "eye" and the tower of Eisengard, which is the Vatican. Tolkien understood that these two "towers" (or power bases) had formed an alliance. Gandalf identifies himself as the church as it ought to be. The hobbits are the little people who are the only ones who can be entrusted with "the ring of power."

Years ago, the books says, gollem (the Jews) came into possession of that ring of power. Gollem was originally a hobbit, but it corrupted him and turned him into an unrecognizable schizophrenic creature dominated by his darker side. The kindness of Frodo, the hobbit, (Britain) briefly gave Gollem an opportunity to overcome that dark side. However, when Frodo was forced to betray Gollem in order to spare his life from the army of Gondor (Germany), Gollem reverted back to his dark side.

Gollem, in turn, led Frodo to the great spider (Nazi flag), hoping that the spider would kill Frodo and allow him to retrieve the ring of power. But Samwise the Brave (Uncle Sam, the USA, "home of the brave"), his best friend, came to his rescue, depicting America's entrance into World War 2. All of this led finally to the third book in the trilogy, where Tolkien projected his view of the future, the coming of Christ (Gandalf on the white horse), and Frodo's ultimate mission to destroy the ring of power in the Mountain of Doom (hell).

One of these days I plan to write a commentary on Lord of the Rings. I still have not worked out some of the smaller details, however, so that project will have to wait.

Meanwhile, C.S. Lewis was a friend of Tolkien, because Tolkien was instrumental in turning Lewis to Christ. He was disappointed, however, when Lewis joined the Church of England, rather than the Catholic Church.

I find it interesting that Tolkien was aware of the Vatican's alliance with Masonry, for this is one of the main features of his trilogy. He strongly criticizes the Vatican by showing Gandalf and Saruman the White (i.e., the Pope) in conflict. The Wikipedia says,

Saruman the White is a fictional character and a major antagonist in J.R.R. Tolkien's fantasy novel The Lord of the Rings. He is leader of the Istari, wizards sent to Middle-earth in human form by the godlike Valar to challenge Sauron, the main antagonist of the novel, but eventually desires Sauron's power for himself and tries to help the Dark Lord take over Middle-earth....

Saruman is one of several characters in the book illustrating the corruption of power; his desire for knowledge and order leads to his fall, and he rejects the chance of redemption when it is offered. The name Saruman means "man of skill"; he serves as an example of technology and modernity being overthrown by forces more in tune with nature. Saruman is represented by a white hand.

Saruman, then, represents the popes who were sent into the earth to overcome the lust for power, but they themselves were overcome. This is much like King Saul being overcome by the Philistines (carnal mind), though he was originally sent to overcome. It illustrates "the corruption of power," which obviously Tolkien, though a Catholic himself, saw as the main problem with the Vatican.

The "white hand" was the symbol of Irish Catholic gangs in the 1920's in America. They came into conflict with the Mafia, which eventually won.


Tolkien makes Saruman, the pope, create the great army led by the one with the white hand painted on his forehead.

The trilogy is a complex study of history with all of its wars in the past 500 years. His writings inspired C.S. Lewis to write his own historical studies, the various Narnia books, which trace all the main aspects of church history as well. These books are just fantasies until you study church history and can see the meaning of the stories.

Anyway, I thought this might be of interest to you.

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Category: Commentary
Blog Author: Dr. Stephen Jones