Tolkien on Marriage, Lust, and Friendship

njspolk

New member
I was a part of my friends' wedding this weekend and I have also been reading through The Letters of J.R.R. Tolkien edited by Humphrey Capenter. I came to a letter that Tolkien had written to his son, Michael about marriage and relations between the sexes.

He says, "In this fallen world the 'friendship' that should be possible between all human beings, is virtually impossible between man and woman." (Carpenter 48)

Is he right? Is it possible for men and women to be just 'friends' without any lustful tension whatsoever?

He also says that marriage is self-denying. "Faithfulness in Christian marriage entails that: great mortification. For a Christian man there is no escape. Marriage may help to sanctify & direct to its proper object his sexual desires; its grace may help him in the struggle; but the struggle remains." (Carpenter 51)

I pose another question in light of this statement: Can the sacrament of marriage be a sanctifying agent, enough so that a couple can be cleaned entirely of lust? Is man the only subject to this lust in a man and woman marriage relationship? Or are all human beings unable to escape lust's grasp? What does Scripture or other theologians say about this?
 

jamie

New member
LIFETIME MEMBER
What does Scripture or other theologians say about this?

Paul said, "For the unbelieving husband is sanctified by the wife, and the unbelieving wife is sanctified by the husband; otherwise your children would be unclean, but now they are holy." (1 Corinthians 7:14)
 

njspolk

New member
Absolutely. What are your thoughts on men and women being friends with or without lust entering the picture. Is it possible?
 

jamie

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LIFETIME MEMBER
Absolutely. What are your thoughts on men and women being friends with or without lust entering the picture. Is it possible?

Lust is the antithesis of love. Paul equated lust with covetousness. (Romans 7:7 KJV)
 

HisServant

New member
I was a part of my friends' wedding this weekend and I have also been reading through The Letters of J.R.R. Tolkien edited by Humphrey Capenter. I came to a letter that Tolkien had written to his son, Michael about marriage and relations between the sexes.

He says, "In this fallen world the 'friendship' that should be possible between all human beings, is virtually impossible between man and woman." (Carpenter 48)

Is he right? Is it possible for men and women to be just 'friends' without any lustful tension whatsoever?

He also says that marriage is self-denying. "Faithfulness in Christian marriage entails that: great mortification. For a Christian man there is no escape. Marriage may help to sanctify & direct to its proper object his sexual desires; its grace may help him in the struggle; but the struggle remains." (Carpenter 51)

I pose another question in light of this statement: Can the sacrament of marriage be a sanctifying agent, enough so that a couple can be cleaned entirely of lust? Is man the only subject to this lust in a man and woman marriage relationship? Or are all human beings unable to escape lust's grasp? What does Scripture or other theologians say about this?

You also have to remember he was a devoted Roman Catholic... who led C.S. Lewis to Christ.. but was very disappointed that C. S. Lewis joined the Anglican Church instead of the Roman Catholic Church.

Tolkien's views on marriage are consistent with the RCC's views... nothing new here.
 

njspolk

New member
You also have to remember he was a devoted Roman Catholic... who led C.S. Lewis to Christ.. but was very disappointed that C. S. Lewis joined the Anglican Church instead of the Roman Catholic Church.

Tolkien's views on marriage are consistent with the RCC's views... nothing new here.

No disagreement here, but I think that his view that it is basically impossible for a man and woman to be friends because of the apparent power of lust, or covetousness, is pretty inconsistent with the RCC's holiness doctrine. If Christ calls us to be holy as our Heavenly Father is holy then sanctification is always possible through the Holy Spirit. I just wanted to start a discussion on whether or not this was Tolkien's own opinion or consistent with Holiness Doctrine.
 

HisServant

New member
No disagreement here, but I think that his view that it is basically impossible for a man and woman to be friends because of the apparent power of lust, or covetousness, is pretty inconsistent with the RCC's holiness doctrine. If Christ calls us to be holy as our Heavenly Father is holy then sanctification is always possible through the Holy Spirit. I just wanted to start a discussion on whether or not this was Tolkien's own opinion or consistent with Holiness Doctrine.

Our Holiness is Christ's Holiness... there is nothing we can do to increase or lessen our Holiness.

The answer you are looking for is elsewhere.
 

serpentdove

BANNED
Banned
I was a part of my friends' wedding this weekend and I have also been reading through The Letters of J.R.R. Tolkien edited by Humphrey Capenter. I came to a letter that Tolkien had written to his son, Michael about marriage and relations between the sexes.

He says, "In this fallen world the 'friendship' that should be possible between all human beings, is virtually impossible between man and woman." (Carpenter 48)
Ac 3:3

Satan's strategy is: divide, deceive, destroy. 2 Co 2:11, Heb. 13:4


...He also says that marriage is self-denying. "Faithfulness in Christian marriage entails that: great mortification. For a Christian man there is no escape. Marriage may help to sanctify & direct to its proper object his sexual desires; its grace may help him in the struggle; but the struggle remains." (Carpenter 51)

I pose another question in light of this statement: Can the sacrament of marriage be a sanctifying agent...
Yes, if he is a believer, he sanctifies her. If she is a believer, she sanctifies him (1 Co 7:14).
...[E]nough so that a couple can be cleaned entirely of lust?
Marriage helps to prevent fornication (1 Cor. 7:2, 9).
Is man the only subject to this lust in a man and woman marriage relationship?
Mostly (Mt 5:28).


Or are all human beings unable to escape lust's grasp?
Escape or die (Ro 5:13, Re 2:7). :juggle:
 

northwye

New member
Matthew 19: 5-6: "And he answered and said unto them, Have ye not read,
that he which made them at the beginning made them male and female,
5. And said, For this cause shall a man leave father and mother, and shall
cleave to his wife: and they twain shall be one flesh?
6. Wherefore they are no more twain, but one flesh. What therefore God hath
joined together, let not man put asunder."

Proverbs 31: 10-12: "Who can find a virtuous woman? for her price is far
above rubies. 11. The heart of her husband doth safely trust in her, so
that he shall have no need of spoil. 12. She will do him good and not evil
all the days of her life."

I Corinthians 7: 2-4 "Nevertheless, to avoid fornication, let every man
have his own wife, and let every woman have her own husband.
3. Let the husband render unto the wife due benevolence: and likewise also
the wife unto the husband.
4. The wife hath not power of her own body, but the husband: and likewise
also the husband hath not power of his own body, but the wife."

See: http://biblehub.com/greek/2133.htm

εὔνοια, eunoia, means "With good will doing service.......kindness;
euphemistically, conjugal duty -- benevolence, good will."

I Corinthians 7: 10: "And unto the married I command, yet not I, but the
Lord, Let not the wife depart from her husband:"

I Corinthians 7: 18: "Is any man called being circumcised? let him not
become uncircumcised. Is any called in uncircumcision? let him not be
circumcised." Remember that I Corinthians 7: 18 is part of Paul's teachings on marriage, or what we would call the heterosexual relationship.

A number of New Testament scriptures warn against adultery to protect the
heterosexual relationship. For example, Mark 10: 19, says "Do not commit
adultery." "What therefore God hath
joined together, let not man put asunder."

"Ye have heard that it was said by them of old time, Thou shalt not
commit adultery:
28. But I say unto you, That whosoever looketh on a woman to lust
after her hath committed adultery with her already in his heart."
Matthew 5: 27-28

Again, Matthew 5: 28 is meant to protect the heterosexual relationship so that it is not destroyed by lust for a person of the opposite sex other than one's spouse.

The Song of Solomon is also about the heterosexual relationship. And in the Song of Solomon one man and one woman, bonded together, have an
exclusive or monogamous sexual relationship. In Song of Solomon 4: 12, "A
garden inclosed is my sister, my spouse; a spring shut up, a fountain
sealed."

The Song of Solomon presents the man and woman in harmony with one another
and with the environment. It harks back to Genesis 2: 22-24, "And the rib,
which the LORD God had taken from man, made he a woman, and brought her
unto the man. 23. And Adam said, This is now bone of my bones, and
flesh of my flesh: she shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of
Man. 24. Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and
shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh. 25. And they
were both naked, the man and his wife, and were not ashamed."

The Song of Solomon shows us an ideal heterosexual relationship which agrees with Proverbs 31: 11-12 and I Corinthians 7: 3. The two people bonded to each other take care of each other - they do one another good and not evil, and render one another benevolence.
 

northwye

New member
See: https://www.futurechurch.org/brief-history-of-celibacy-in-catholic-church

Brief history of Celibacy in the Catholic Church:

The Catholic Church claims that in the First Century Peter was the first pope, and he was married.

In the Second and Third centuries Gnosticism taught that spirit is good but material things and things of the flesh are bad. But apparently most priests in this period were married.

Gnosticism in the Second and Third centuries could have helped lead to the Catholic doctrine that priests must be celibate and must not have wives. In addition to several forms of Gnosticism having an influence on Roman Catholicism, Origen, who influenced Augustine, was clearly opposed to sexuality, and he may have been under some influence from Gnostics in this opposition. While scripture is against a man or woman having sex with someone other than his or her spouse, to keep the marriage intact, key scriptures do not say that sex is wrong within the marriage bond.

See: http://bilerico.lgbtqnation.com/2012/06/the_gay_popes.php

"Recent studies suggest that a large percentage of Roman Catholic priests are homosexual. If this is so, it stands to reason that a relatively large number of popes, most of who were priests, were also gay. According to Wayne R. Dynes, who wrote about the "Papacy" in his Encyclopedia of Homosexuality, "given the custom of monastic sex-segregation and the extension of celibacy to the priesthood in the Western church beginning in the eleventh century, it is not surprising that a number of Roman pontiffs should have been involved in homoerotic sentiments and behavior."

The question then, is whether the presence of homosexual priests in the Catholic Church contributed to the doctrine of celibacy of priests. This point will be dealt with below in a few quotes from a study of writings by Catholic Anglo-Saxons and Normans against the Catholic rule against priests having wives.

See: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Clerical_celibacy

"The Council of Elvira (306) is often seen as the first to issue a written regulation requiring clergy to abstain from sexual intercourse."

"In 387 or 390, or according to others in 400, a Council of Carthage decreed that bishops, priests and deacons abstain from conjugal relations."

"Despite six hundred years of decrees, canons, and increasingly harsh penalties, the Latin clergy still did, more or less illegally, what their Greek counterparts were encouraged to do by law—they lived with their wives and raised families. In practice, ordination was not an impediment to marriage; therefore some priests did marry even after ordination."

"The First Lateran Council (1123 A.D.), a General Council: We absolutely forbid priests, deacons, subdeacons, and monks to have concubines or to contract marriage. We decree in accordance with the definitions of the sacred canons, that marriages already contracted by such persons must be dissolved, and that the persons be condemned to do penance."

"However, although the decrees of the Second Council of the Lateran might still be interpreted in the older sense of prohibiting marriage only after ordination, they came to be understood as absolute prohibitions, and, while the fact of being married was formally made a canonical impediment to ordination in the Latin Church only with the 1917 Code of Canon Law,[68] the prohibition of marriage for all clerics in major orders began to be taken simply for granted."

"The Reformers made abolition of clerical continence and celibacy a key element in their reform. They denounced it as opposed to the New Testament recommendation that a cleric should be "the husband of one wife" (see on 1 Timothy 3:2–4 above), the declared right of the apostles to take around with them a believing Christian as a wife (1 Corinthians 9:5) and the admonition, "Marriage should be honoured by all" (Hebrews 13:4). They blamed it for widespread sexual misconduct among the clergy.[71]"

"Judaism has no history of celibacy for its leaders, including rabbis."

See: http://www.medievalists.net/2013/12...medieval-church-banned-priests-from-marrying/

This is a discussion of arguments against the Catholic Church not allowing its priests to marry in the middle ages.

"One of the main battlegrounds between pro and anti-marriage forces was in the Anglo-Norman kingdom."

"However, much of the writings by the pro-marriage clerics is actually centered on homosexual behaviour.."

"The Cambrai clergy noted that the advocates of celibacy ‘detest marriage because they practice with impiety and without respect a vice both abominable and without name’, here referring to sodomy."

"Serlo wrote the the ‘men who live the shameful, obscene lives of sodomites,’ created the laws against clerical marriage. He accused reformers of banning what was lawful (clerical marriage) and hiding what was “a kind of sickness which might cause a grievous end to the human race.’ The author of ‘We married clergy’ uses similar language to express disgust at the acceptance of sodomy while married clerics were persecuted. "

"Thibodeaux also notes that they might have been justified in complaining that while clerical marriage was being eradicated, homosexual practices were being allowed to go unpunished. “A survey of Anglo-Norman regional ecclesiastical councils from 1072 to 1128 shows that there was no legislation created against sodomy..."

See: http://www.cuttingedge.org/news/n1671.cfm

"Father Andrew Greeley, for instance, made the point that the image of the priesthood has been dealt a savage blow by well-publicized resignations, by the pedophile crisis, and by the fact that the priesthood is increasingly a gay group, a gay occupation ... the link between celibacy and sexual misconduct remains unsubstantiated." [P. 276]"

"Thus, author Michael Rose states at the very beginning, and repeatedly throughout the book, that the gays began their takeover of the Catholic priesthood two generations ago [40 years], turning away as many heterosexual candidates for the priesthood as possible, using whatever creative means they could find to do so. Thus, now, the Catholic priesthood is predominately gay."

"The priests' and monks' great sexual crimes are homosexuality and sexual abnormalities of various descriptions. The victims are young boys and often young girls."
 

Lon

Well-known member
I was a part of my friends' wedding this weekend and I have also been reading through The Letters of J.R.R. Tolkien edited by Humphrey Capenter. I came to a letter that Tolkien had written to his son, Michael about marriage and relations between the sexes.

He says, "In this fallen world the 'friendship' that should be possible between all human beings, is virtually impossible between man and woman." (Carpenter 48)

Is he right? Is it possible for men and women to be just 'friends' without any lustful tension whatsoever?
Here is a debate over this question, might be worth a few moments of your time:

He also says that marriage is self-denying. "Faithfulness in Christian marriage entails that: great mortification. For a Christian man there is no escape. Marriage may help to sanctify & direct to its proper object his sexual desires; its grace may help him in the struggle; but the struggle remains." (Carpenter 51)
Imho: Freudian. It says what that particular man and perhaps his company of friends, struggle with.
Physical attraction is part of looking for a spouse and is not sexual. They are not the same thing.

I pose another question in light of this statement: Can the sacrament of marriage be a sanctifying agent, enough so that a couple can be cleaned entirely of lust? Is man the only subject to this lust in a man and woman marriage relationship? Or are all human beings unable to escape lust's grasp? What does Scripture or other theologians say about this?
Again, I think this points to an individual's make-up. One of the most godly professors I had in seminary at the age of 95 said we struggle until the day we die and that part of being a Christian is denying appetites of the flesh in favor of appetites of the spirit/indwelling Spirit. For me? I find this also true.
This is a different subject addressed, but the scriptures, apply here too, if you've got a little more time.
 

serpentdove

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Banned
[Tolkien] He says, "In this fallen world the 'friendship' that should be possible between all human beings, is virtually impossible between man and woman." (Carpenter 48)

Is he right? Is it possible for men and women to be just 'friends' without any lustful tension whatsoever?
He's right (Mt 22:30).
 
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