If you have followed this website for any length of time, you will know that I am a big fan of The Lord of the Rings. Ever since I discovered these books in middle school, I have learned as much as I can about this world created by J.R.R. Tolkien. On one hand, you may say that I shouldn’t spend a substantial amount of time thinking about a fantasy world, but I would counter that part of Middle Earth is more real to me than some things that exist in our world today.
I have a feeling I have to explain that and justify what I am talking about.
As a Christian, I understand that our world has not always been the fallen, twisted, highly problematic place that it is right now. There was a time in history when everything was right, good, true and beautiful. Because God, the Creator, crafted the universe, it was perfect as one would expect from the handiwork of the perfect architect.
As we know, the world is a fallen place. Because of our sinful decision to rebel against God, many things are not as right, good, true or beautiful as they once were. However, I still think we have a sense of desire for things to be the way they were. We still have a desire for perfection. We fully recognize that our current situation does not reflect that perfection, but we long for it because that is what we were designed for.
Again, to return to the Garden of Eden, Adam and Eve were created in the image of God and were put in a perfect environment. Not only was that environment objectively perfect, but it was perfect for Adam and Eve. Everything they should have needed to live contentedly was in that garden. Of course, they utilized their free will in a disastrous way, but our human desires were for the things of God in the perfection that He created.
I don’t know that we entirely lost that desire. Out of the darkness of our world, we are always looking for things that remind us of that perfect state. Regrettably, when I turn on the news, I don’t see a lot that satisfies my longings for what could be. I don’t see a lot that points me towards that way things ought to be.
When I open The Lord of the Rings, I see some of my desires fulfilled. Middle Earth is far from perfect, but I see the triumph of justice. I see the rightful King back on his throne. I see happiness, joy, excitement and simple pleasure. Although I was not here before the fall, something resonates within me and lets me see a picture of what it might be like if things worked out in the way that they ought to.
I’m not advocating for escapism, and I am not trying to elevate The Lord of the Rings to some type of supernatural status or anything like that. Rather, I’m answering the question as to why I might want to spend time in this fantasy world, and the truth of the matter is that there are features of that world that seem much more real to me because they correspond to the way that God designed me and you. God designed us to desire justice, and when we read a story where justice prevails, the points us to the real world that God created rather than the broken one that we made it into. Why would I not want to return to that?