Long ago there lived by the banks of the Great River on the edge of Wilderland a clever-handed and quiet-footed little people, said Gandolf to Frodo,
"I guess they were of hobbit-kind (and) the most inquisitous and curious-minded (of them all) was... Smeagol." (The Fellowhip of the Ring, J.R.R. Tolkien, p.65)
Smeagol was intensely interested in power, so in his quest for the knowledge of how things work here below he burrowed under trees, tunnelled into green mounds, examined roots and dove into deep pools. During his quest he fell further and further away from the personal God of life and creation and as his soul turned ever inward away from the Light above and into darkness, hardness and spiritual impoverishment, his soul materialized and he ceased to look up at all. For Gollum, Iluvatar (God) ceased to exist.
Just as Gollum's fall into an infinity of darkness was preceded by pride and haughtiness, so was pre-flood man's fall. In "Against the Heathen," early Church Father Athanasius reveals that a proud spirit led antediluvians to make light of the higher things of the Lord, and in their wickedness they deliberately disregarded what they knew to be true (Romans 1:18) and like Gollum, began to seek in preference power in the lower or natural dimension. Thus they fell into worship of self, sorcery, sexual pleasures and acquisition of status and things to the living God and His Truth.
The truth as to this evil said Athanasius,
"....is that it originates, and resides, in the perverted choice of the darkened soul" which, "materialized by forgetting God" and engrossed in lower things, "makes them into gods," and thereby "descends into a hopeless depth of delusion and superstition," whereby "they ceased to think that anything existed beyond what is seen, or that anything was good save things temporal and bodily; so turning away and forgetting that she was in the image of the good God, she no longer... sees God the Word after whose likeness she is made; but having departed from herself, imagines and feigns what is not (and then) advancing further in evil, they came to celebrate as gods the elements and the principles of which bodies are composed...." (Against the Heathen, New Advent)
From the antediluvians, to Gollum and their modern counterparts, all are infected by lust for earthly power and some by the delightful madness of showy spectacles:
"They love such temporal things and seek their happiness in them. They pursue the earthly objects of their desire wherever they lead and fear anyone who seems to have the power to take them away." ( On True Religion, 38,69; "Saint Augustine," Donald Burt, p. 30)
Saurons' Ring of Power symbolizes power here below, thus after Gollums' (Smeagols') fattened, covetous eyes fell upon the ring he obsessively pursued this earthly object even unto the murder of his friend Deagol. Then armed with his "precious" he used its' power (Saurons' power) to spy, to find out incriminating secrets, to blackmail, dominate and to put his ill-gotten knowledge to crooked and malicious uses:
"He became sharp-eyed and keen eared for all that was hurtful (and) he took to thieving and...muttering to himself, and gurgling in his throat." (ibid, Tolkien, p.67)
Desiring an end to his wickedness and a return to peace, the other Hobbit-kind cursed him and expelled him from the family. Even so, said Gandolf, Gollum was not yet fully ruined, not wholly desolate, as there yet remained a little corner of his mind that was still his own. Light (good memories) came into that corner as through a 'chink in the dark,' but these good memories only made the evil part of him angrier. (Tolkien, p. 68)
In these brief passages Tolkien masterfully paints a bleak and terrible picture of the spiritual destruction of Gollum's soul--- the deadening of conscience and hardening and turning of the will to wickedness together with disordered, imbecilic reasoning issuing in pathological lying, unhealthy obsessions, paranoia, psychosis and thoughts of vengeance and murder resulting in a darkened embittered soul devoid of hope, peace, love, confidence, truth and light.
Just as the spiritual source and taproot of Western Europes' and Americas' fall into apostasy and search for power here below is Satan (Lucifer), Gollum's fall was also a movement of spirit whose source and taproot is Sauron. Sauron is the first lieutenant of Melkor (Lucifer) who led Gollum away from Iluvatar, the supernatural, living, personal God above Who is the origin and only source of life and spirit, the Author and Designer of everything good, beautiful, natural and true and the Revitalizer of the spiritually dead souls of men:
"So we do not lose heart. Though our outer self is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day." (2 Corinthians 4:16, ESV)
Rather than renewal, by his own free choice Gollum chose spiritual desolation, thus became a walking dead body that somehow speaks, walks and sustains itself in the manner of a parasite or vampire.
Tolkien imaginatively depicts the inner desolation and decay of the souls of Gollum, Grima Wormtongue, and the Orcs (apostate elves) outwardly, with rotting gums and decaying teeth, fetid breath, blackened fingernails; stringy, greasy wisps of hair, and greasy bodies that obviously reek of blood, the putrid stench of decay, and death. The sign of their modern counterparts is the wildly popular Walking Dead.
Americas' Walking Dead exist at every level of society from the lowest to the highest corridors of financial, political and judicial power together with Hollywood, academia, the porn and abortion industries, certain seminaries, pulpits and congregations:
"The vague and tenuous hope that God is too kind to punish the ungodly has become a deadly opiate for the consciences of millions. It hushes their fears and allows them to practice all pleasant forms of iniquity while death draws every day nearer and the command to repent goes unheeded." A.W. Tozer The Knowledge of the Holy
The Walking Dead are relativists, universalists and sovereign rebels with a cause---the cause of doing and having whatever they want. They have their own sovereign opinions and ever-unfolding menu of privileges which they call 'rights.' They are empowered by their own version of the Golden Rule and of what constitutes good, such as their 'choice' to deny life to the inconvenient, to practice their own pansexual 'love,' and to live parasitic lives at the expense of the productive. As they are morally-perfect and autonomous they travel their own sovereign roads and expect the God of Revelation and everyone else to accept and tolerate them — to put up and shut up. This being the case, they resent the Holy Trinity, faithful orthodox Christians and morally ordered people in general and blame them for not accepting them just as they are, for not jumping through hoops for them, for not seeing things their way.
According to Scripture, spiritual desolation is a judgment rendered by the Holy Trinity against a proud, rebellious people whose inward turned souls have fallen into contemplation of 'self' rather than of the Lord. The book of Ezekiel for example, is a history of the apostasy of God's people and the resulting spiritual desolation while Jeremiah speaks of desolation as the cup of God's fury:
"For thus saith the Lord of hosts the God of Israel: Take the cup of wine of this fury at my hand: and thou shalt make all nations to drink thereof, unto which I shall send thee." Jeremiah 25:15
In "Nihilism: The Root of the Revolution of the Modern Age," Eugene Rose analyzes the causes and terrible effects of Western and American abandonment of the God of Revelation. At the deepest level of meaning, nihilism is spiritual desolation which Rose summarizes with the words, "God is dead in the hearts of modern Westerners:"
"...and it is as true of the atheists and Satanists who rejoice in the fact, as it is of the unsophisticated multitudes....Man has lost faith in God and in the Divine Truth that once sustained him... apostasy to worldliness... has characterized the modern age since its beginning..." (p. 60)
In his Concise Commentary Matthew Henry explains that the evil and the good events of life are often represented in Scripture as cups. Hence spiritual desolation is a cup of stupefaction poured out upon an idolatrous people, who like Gollum, have turned their backs on God and seek power here below. This cup deprives men of the use of their reason, it makes them insane. It is a destroying sword that deadens understanding; casts men into a dull, senseless state in which they both readily lie and believe lies. It takes from men all valuable blessings and soon fills a nation with spiritual desolation issuing in confusion, lying, hypocrisy, malice, perversion, discord, strife, enmity, treachery, greed, gluttony, paranoia, chaos, hatred, power-grabbing, and thoughts of murder.
In turning away from the Holy God Creator of heaven and earth and two thousand years of Christian witness, Western society is systematically replacing the living Holy God with spiritually dead "idolatrous self," His Word with autonomous opinions and scientism as the only legitimate form of knowledge. Whatever man places at the top of his idolatrous pyramid of self-gratifying, self-glorifying values is ultimately what he serves.
When the greater part of society has turned away from the Holy Triune God to deified self, it is an idolatrous society heading for destruction because at the root of the rejection of the living God is the stupid, rebellious assertion that man has not been created by Him, that he is not dependent upon Him for his own life, thus he is not created in His spiritual image. He is not dependent upon the living God but is rather a man-god, the creator of God, and the master of time, being, and the world who through his own powers will save himself.
"But as the days of (Noah) were, so shall also the coming of the Son of man be." Matthew 24:37
Scripture tells us that prior to the return of Jesus Christ at the end of history, the nations of the earth will have become thoroughly evil societies consisting of spiritually desolate Gollums, Grima Wormtongues and Orcs who prefer evil over good, lie over truth, crooked over straight, and unholy over holy. Earth will have deteriorated to the condition that it had been during Noah's day.
Lest we mistakenly perceive idolaters as nice, misunderstood people, in "Journey to the Celestial City," Wayne Martindale sets straight this error with his unvarnished depiction of hell-bound idolaters as haters of good people. As with Gollum, Grima, and the Orcs, all that's left in them is self-centeredness, covetousness, sadistic pleasure received from hurting other people, hate, envy, lies, and thoughts of theft and murder, thus they prefer evil thoughts, evil words, evil companions and evil acts, and when they encounter good people they,
"...condemn them, perverting their reason by rationalizing evil and finding ways to blame the good or God or religion for their problems and the problems of the world. They already hate goodness because it implicitly condemns the evil they have chosen. They wouldn't like heaven if they could have it. They are, in a sense, already in hell, preferring darkness to light." (Eternal Perspectives, Randy Alcorn, p 76)
Because of their stubbornness and hardened, unrepentant hearts, the Walking Dead are storing up wrath against themselves for the day of God's wrath when his righteous judgment will be revealed (Romans 2:5):
"For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each one may be recompensed for his deeds in the body, according to what he has done, whether good or bad." (2 Cor. 5:10) "He repays everyone for what they have done; he brings on them what their conduct deserves." (Job 34:11) "For the Son of Man is going to come in his Father's glory with his angels, and then he will reward each person according to what they have done." (Matthew 16:27) "...he will separate the people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats." (Matthew 25:32)
Since idolatry leads to the conceptual murder of God and the rejection of His work on the cross, this means that like Gollum (meaning by their own choice) the Walking Dead judge themselves unfit for Paradise:
"Celebration, holy days (holidays) of fellowshipping and feasting together is a vibrant part of heaven. It is very much associated with joy and rejoicing in the Bible. Food, conversation, singing, shouting, praise, nature, music, thankfulness, rewards, prayer and people, are all associated with rejoicing in heaven. This is how we will celebrate together. The feasts of the Old Testament went on for days. Imagine how long the parties in heaven will last!" Larry Dick, A Taste of Heaven
"Heaven, as the eternal home of the divine Man and of all the redeemed members of the human race, must necessarily be thoroughly human in its structure, conditions, and activities. Its joys and activities must all be rational, moral, emotional, voluntary, and active. There must be the exercise of all the faculties, the gratification of all tastes, the development of all talent capacities, the realization of all ideals. The reason, the intellectual curiosity, the imagination, the aesthetic instincts, the holy affections, the social affinities, the inexhaustible resources of strength and power native to the human soul must all find in heaven exercise and satisfaction....Heaven will prove the consummate flower and fruit of the whole creation and of all the history of the universe." A.A. Hodge, Evangelical Theology
It is idolaters who willfully shut themselves out of paradise. In affirmation, C.S. Lewis says that Hell is of the choosing of the walking dead:
"There are only two kinds of people in the end: those who say to God, 'Thy will be done,' and those to whom God says, in the end, 'Thy will be done.' All that are in Hell chose it."