There is of course a mythological structure behind the story It is a monotheistic but subcreationalmythology[Letters p235236

[Monotheistic = belief in One God]

Tolkien describes his creation as sub-creational. Why? The first reason is that like St Thomas Aquinas, he understood God as the Primary Artist in the universe and his artistic pursuits flowed from this reality. But another reason why he mentions this is to firmly and humbly submit his sub-creation under the authority and majesty of the True Artist.

Tolkien hasn't set up a new religion or philosophy of mythological beliefs for man to then give worship or reverence to. He has written a story, a story that sits inside and under the fundamental creative power of God. By mentioning it is sub-creational he is acknowledging that the Truth in its fullest sense is far greater and deeper than anything he could write or invent. But his story does reflect and point to the greater Truth [see Metaphysical Elements]

And what is the Truth, as Pontius Pilate asked?

The Truth is Jesus Christ, "I am the Way, the Truth and Life."

Origins:

At the beginning of the Silmarillion there are in fact two accounts of the Source and Creation of Middle-earth, much like the Bible.

The two accounts in the Bible are figurative & symbolic stories that give us the deep Truths of our Being and Existence.

The first one is very transcendent. In it God uses light [which reflects his intellect] and wills the universe into Being through his Word. It is metaphysical and powerful in the way it describes how man and woman is created. It is often referred to as the Yahwist text because God is named this way and it is quite objective.

The second is more imminent [closer and personal]. God uses gestures [rather than word] in creating the world and man. The gestures demonstrate a loving kindness and fatherly touch. God caresses as He shapes and moulds man and woman. It is more personal and interactive. This text is referred to the Elohist version of the Genesis creation account and is more subjective as it looks at man as a created subject of the Loving God.

Tolkien's two accounts of the Creation of Middle-earth are in fact similar to this. The first is very metaphysical and transcendent as it uses Music to describe the Creation. The second is more personal and interactive as it delves into the position and figures of the Valar and their roles and interactions in the created world.

In both stories, Tolkien explains that at the very beginning of the mythology there existed an eternal being Eru [Iluvatar], the Father of All. And that from his thought came the Holy Ones.

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