Reading Bandersnatch – C.S. Lewis, J. R. R. Tolkien and the Creative Collaboration of the Inklings by Diana Pavlac Glyer, I’m struck by this quote by Tolkien’s son regarding his father’s writing process for The Lord of the Rings:
“It was far indeed from being a fixed text, and did not remain unchanged even in certain fundamental ideas concerning the world it portrays… As the years passed the changes and variants…became so complex, so pervasive, and so many-layered that a final and definitive version seemed unattainable.”
And then this, by Glyer: “Tolkien was constantly working on the world he had invented. Some of the most foundational aspects of plot and characters kept changing. Even the nature of Middle-earth remained in flux throughout his life.”
What strikes me about it is this: that an author whose genius achieved perhaps the most thorough creation of a fictitious world in literary history (complete with its own original and unique geography, history, populations, languages, alphabetic scripts etc.) – though indeed reflecting, by his act of sub-creation, the Creator of our own true world – was not able to come near the genius that must reside in the God who created an entire universe (ex nihilo!).
Our world, though replete with the seemingly endless variations available to free-willed characters, nevertheless has had an Author immutable in His one clear-minded, unchanging purpose and plot since before the beginning until after the end! Wow. Not even genius compares.
How can we respond except to say, “Glory to God alone”?