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Saruman: From Wise to Foolish

     "'Radagast the Brown!' laughed Saruman, and he no longer concealed his scorn. "Radagast the Bird-tamer! Radagast the Simple! Radagast the Fool! Yet he had just the wit to play the part that I set him. For you have come, and that was all the purpose of my message. And here you will stay, Gandalf the Grey, and rest from journeys. For I am Saruman the Wise, Saruman Ring-maker, Saruman of Many Colours!'" (The Lord of the Rings)

Saruman: From Wise to Fool

Ted Sandyman and Bill Ferny aside, it is Saruman who we come to despise most, for he once was an ally to all that was good. He was head of the Council of the Wise. Now we see him as his treachery is unmasked. Notice that Saruman calls himself "Ring-maker". It is his will to use the Ring of Power against the Lord of Mordor. His ambition stops not with that, but extends to the defeat of all in Middle Earth. His folly is unmasked. He is captured in his own halls at Isengard. Although he escapes he does so as a beggar, a player of tricks. No more is he Saruman the Wise. He is Saruman the Fool. For he remains unrepentant. In researching this it is interesting to notice that Melkor, the Ainur who at first opposed Iluvatar and was cast out of his presence and made war upon Middle Earth, once repented. The repentance lasted for a season, but was not thorough. Yet one much lesser than Melkor does not repent at all.

When Jesus walked the streets of Israel he spoke to many people, both in crowds and face to face. What is interesting to notice is that, like Saruman, the religious leaders, the teachers of the Law, the Pharisees and Sadducess, for the most part, were singled out by God to be the wise leaders of His people. And yet these were the same people who opposed the very Messiah their prophets had taught would one day come. Like Saruman that had put off Godly wisdom and replaced it with their human wisdom, thereby making themselves fools in God's eyes, and before the world. Not all were like this. Nicodemus and Joseph of Aremathea were but two who believed in Jesus and His words. So let's not paint the picture with too wide a brush.

Still it is noteworthy that when Jesus talked to them as a group He seemed to always be attacking their foolish ways. On one occasion Jesus gives the parable of a Pharisee and a "publican", or tax collector, who came to the Temple to pray. The Pharisee "thanks God" that he is not like all these other people, even like this publican. The publican, on the other hand, is so ashamed that he dares not even lift his face towards heaven and asks that God would be merciful to him. For he knows he is a sinner. Jesus asks the people, "Which prayer do you think God shall hear?" Let us not become like Saruman and get caught up in our own wisdom, but let us realize how limited our wisdom is and rely upon God.

     "For Christ sent me not to baptize, but to preach the gospel: not with wisdom of words, lest the cross of Christ should be made of none effect. For the preaching of the cross is to them that perish foolishness; but unto us which are saved it is the power of God. For it is written, I will destroy the wisdom of the wise, and will bring to nothing the understanding of the prudent. Where is the wise? where is the scribe? where is the disputer of this world? hath not God made foolish the wisdom of this world? For after that in the wisdom of God the world by wisdom knew not God, it pleased God by the foolishness of preaching to save them that believe. For the Jews require a sign, and the Greeks seek after wisdom: But we preach Christ crucified, unto the Jews a stumblingblock, and unto the Greeks foolishness; But unto them which are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God, and the wisdom of God. Because the foolishness of God is wiser than men; and the weakness of God is stronger than men. For ye see your calling, brethren, how that not many wise men after the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble, are called: But God hath chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise; and God hath chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty; And base things of the world, and things which are despised, hath God chosen, yea, and things which are not, to bring to nought things that are." (I Corinthians 1:17-28)