Opposition in all things

For it must needs be, that there is an opposition in all things.
If not so, my first-born in the wilderness, righteousness could not be
Brought to pass, neither wickedness, neither holiness nor misery,
Neither good nor bad. Wherefore, all things must needs be a compound
In one. Wherefore, if it should be one body it must needs remain as dead,
Having no life neither death, nor corruption nor incorruption,
Happiness nor misery, neither sense nor insensibility.
Wherefore, it must needs have been created for a thing of naught!
Wherefore there would have been no purpose in the end of its creation.
Wherefore, this thing must needs destroy the wisdom of God and
His eternal purposes, and also the power, and the mercy,
And the justice of God. And if ye shall say there is no law,
Ye shall also say there is no sin. If ye shall say there is no sin,
Ye shall also say there is no righteousness.
And if there be no righteousness, there be no happiness.
And if there be no righteousness nor happiness
There be no punishment nor misery. And if these things are not
There is no god. And if there is no god, we are not,
Neither the earth; for there could have been no creation of things,
Neither to act nor to be acted upon. Wherefore, all things
Must have vanished away.


The testament of Lehi came to mind as I sat and listened to Dr. Becca Tarnas’ class, and we discussed the nature of Evil. Does Evil serve a purpose? According to Lehi, it not only serves a purpose but is essential. There is an opposition to all things. It is directly tied to God’s (Ilúvatar) design, eternal purposes, and wisdom.

I went back and re-read The Music of The Ainur as recorded in The Book of Lost Tales and was struck by the similarities. Perhaps, Lehi read this account on those Plates of Brass? 

In the account found in The Book of Lost Tales, the Loremaster, Rúmil, tells of what the fathers of his father told him. Ilúvatar was alone, in the beginning, and created, through the song of His thought, the Ainur. He teaches them the themes of his mind and heart. The Ainur took those themes and begin to make music; joyous hymns that are sung about His throne.

And it came to pass that he returned to his own house at Jerusalem. And he cast himself upon his bed, being overcome with the spirit and the things which he had seen. And being thus overcome with the spirit, he was carried away in a vision, even that he saw the heavens open, and he thought he saw God sitting upon his throne, surrounded with numberless concourses of angels in the attitude of singing and praising their god.


Eventually, the One tells the Ainur that He wants them to take up the task of being sub-creators. He has given them the outline. There are gaps to be filled, and music and singing to enhance what has begun. He tells them that he will sit, listening to their creation, and delight in the fact that through them, such beauty will have come into existence. “This is my work and my glory.” 

Ilúvatar had given one Aninu, Melko, some of the greatest gifts, knowledge, power, and wisdom. Though gifted, Melko is seemingly not content, and goes into the dark, the void, seeking The Secret Fire – the power to give Life and Reality. While in these dark places, Melko’s thoughts began to turn to his own cunning and desire: to bring into Reality, into being, those things of his own devisings and imaginings. He kept his desires and thoughts a secret, even from the One.

Melko’s desires and secret thoughts began to flow into his music. It clashed and caused disharmony with the music being played around him, causing confusion and contention. Some could not continue with their music, for it left them unable to finish their thought. To others, his music persuaded, and they aligned their theory and music to his.

In this way the mischief of Melko spread darkening the music, for those thoughts of his came from the outer blackness whither Ilúvatar had not yet turned the light of his face; and because his secret thoughts had no kinship with the beauty of Ilúvatar’s design its harmonies were broken and destroyed.

Tolkien, J.R.R.. The Book of Lost Tales, Part One (History of Middle-Earth 1) (p. 54). HMH Books. Kindle Edition.

Though I don’t have a reference and could be mistaken, I believe this is from whence the idea of Melko being Ilúvatar’s shadow stems. At this moment, Ilúvatar is aware of the discord; He can no longer ignore His shadow. So, He listens. He listens as the theme of His music is plagued with a depth of gloom and ugliness unimaginable (p.53), before he raises his left hand. With this, a second them of music began, similar, yet different, than the first.

As time continued, the noise and clamor of Melko swelled and began to contend against the second theme.

Weeping, Ilúvatar raises his right hand, and thus begins the third theme. The music that danced at the feet of the One were at odds with one another. (At this point, I imagine it sounded something like classical music and dubstep playing at the same time).

The tumult of noise and struggle shook the halls of Eru-place and rang out into the dark places.  With a final chord, the One raised up both of his hands: the music crashed and ceased.

Ilúvatar, standing among the Noble and Great Ones, acknowledges the might, glory, power, and knowledge of the Ainur, chief among them Melko. He declares that He has altered their music that has played throughout the heavenly regions and brought joy to Him, and themselves; it now has shape and reality. What had once been near without flaw has now been marred by pain, misery, confusion, cruelty, darkness, violence, all things without mercy, and death without hope.

Yet is this through [Melko] and not by him; and he shall see, and ye all likewise, and even shall those beings, who must now dwell among his evil and endure through Melko misery and sorrow, terror and wickedness, declare in the end that it redoundeth only to my great glory, and doth but make the theme more worth the hearing, Life more worth the living, and the World so much the more wonderful and marvellous, that of all the deeds of Ilúvatar it shall be called his mightiest and his loveliest.”

Tolkien, J.R.R.. The Book of Lost Tales, Part One (History of Middle-Earth 1) (p. 55). HMH Books. Kindle Edition.

Through all the sorrows that this reality has to offer, we find a Life more worth the living.

We also find that Rúmil and Lehi agree: it must needs be, that there is an opposition in all things.


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