Tolkien and the Sinfulness of Creation 3


Tolkien wrote essays and poetry discussing the importance of art and myth, quite apart from his Middle-earth tales. There’s evidence in all his writings of an underlying struggle going on, as we have seen in earlier blog posts, between the value of Art and its relation to the world created by God. In his own words, his works of fantasy, are ‘fundamentally concerned with the problem of the relation of Art (and Sub-creation) and Primary Reality’. In the same letter, Tolkien writes ‘art and the creative (or as I should say, sub-creative) desire ... seems to have no biological function’ ; for Tolkien the reason why art is so poorly understood is because its source is not to be found in this world. Myth, he thought, manifested certain universal truths and by extension the human desire to create is evidence of the existence of a First Cause, God. But this was never a settled point for him, and this lack of settlement works its way as a theme into his fiction.