Gollum: Mankind Bound By Sin (Part I)
Looking at Smeagol, who most of us better know as Gollum, I cannot help but feel this character is perhaps the closest to humanity in terms of our struggles with temptation. This is why it seemed only fitting to explore this rather decrepit looking Lord of the Rings character further.
Who Was Smeagol? Who Is Gollum?
In order to better understand Gollum’s significance, we must first examine who he was and is as a Lord Of The Rings character.
Who Was Smeagol?
Smeagol, was much like Frodo, in the sense that he was a Hobbit. Yes, Smeagol was a Hobbit. When his story began, he lived on the banks of Anduin. (This possibly could explain his later love for fish.) He was a creature who lived a quiet life and one likely that did not have many burdens or cares until the One Ring found him.
Everything changed in the twinkling of an eye for this Tolkien character. For once the One Ring presented itself to his close friend and or relative, Deagol, the peaceful existence this riverbank dwelling hobbit lived was over.
Who Is Gollum?
In his desire to possess the One Ring, Smeagol killed Deagol. As a result, those he loved turned on him. He was banished from the lands he had loved and known all his life. He was made to wander the world alone. His only love, his own friend, the corruption of the One Ring.
Does this sound eerily familiar? Ring any bells?
Let us look to the story of Cain and Abel…
Genesis 4:1-16 King James Version (KJV)
4 And Adam knew Eve his wife; and she conceived, and bare Cain, and said, I have gotten a man from the Lord. 2 And she again bare his brother Abel. And Abel was a keeper of sheep, but Cain was a tiller of the ground. 3 And in process of time it came to pass, that Cain brought of the fruit of the ground an offering unto the Lord. 4 And Abel, he also brought of the firstlings of his flock and of the fat thereof. And the Lord had respect unto Abel and to his offering: 5 But unto Cain and to his offering he had not respect. And Cain was very wroth, and his countenance fell. 6 And the Lord said unto Cain, Why art thou wroth? and why is thy countenance fallen? 7 If thou doest well, shalt thou not be accepted? and if thou doest not well, sin lieth at the door. And unto thee shall be his desire, and thou shalt rule over him. 8 And Cain talked with Abel his brother: and it came to pass, when they were in the field, that Cain rose up against Abel his brother, and slew him. 9 And the Lord said unto Cain, Where is Abel thy brother? And he said, I know not: Am I my brother’s keeper? 10 And he said, What hast thou done? the voice of thy brother’s blood crieth unto me from the ground. 11 And now art thou cursed from the earth, which hath opened her mouth to receive thy brother’s blood from thy hand; 12 When thou tillest the ground, it shall not henceforth yield unto thee her strength; a fugitive and a vagabond shalt thou be in the earth. 13 And Cain said unto the Lord, My punishment is greater than I can bear. 14 Behold, thou hast driven me out this day from the face of the earth; and from thy face shall I be hid; and I shall be a fugitive and a vagabond in the earth; and it shall come to pass, that every one that findeth me shall slay me. 15 And the Lord said unto him, Therefore whosoever slayeth Cain, vengeance shall be taken on him sevenfold. And the Lord set a mark upon Cain, lest any finding him should kill him. 16 And Cain went out from the presence of the Lord, and dwelt in the land of Nod, on the east of Eden.
Cain and Abel, akin to Deagol and Smeagol, were close. The desire for something drove them apart, and brought one to murder the other. While Cain may not have sought fortune, gold, or riches…he wanted something very much. When he did not get it, he turned his wrath upon his brother who received what Cain sought…God’s favor. Like Smeagol, Cain was pained…frustrated, determined even…and in that desire as well as jealousy he acted in a sinful way.
What Does This Teach Us?
Have you ever wanted something, that you perhaps prayed about it? Have you been disappointed when your hard work was not quite enough? Have you perhaps quietly envied or scorned a brother or sister in Christ for their blessings or successes in the absence of your own?
I admit, I have….
Gollum teaches us a very important lesson in terms of relationships as well as humility, and thankfulness.
- Relationships – Our relationship with God should never be based upon how much we are given or received. For if that is where our hearts lie, then we have opened them to the ways of corruption and can harbor a great deal of bitterness and resentment in our hearts.
- Humility – When we begin to measure what we feel we deserve, we forget the gifts that God has already given us. We tend to neglect to appreciate the blessings we have and take them for granted. Our pride, if we allow it to swell or be damaged by what we feel we are lacking, can act as a wrecking ball toppling the foundation of our relationships.
- Thankfulness – We do not always get everything we want. This does not by any means mean that God does not love us or care for us. In fact, He loves us very much. He loved us so much He sent His Son to wash away our sins and free us from sin, condemnation, damnation, and an eternity in Hell. Sometimes too, during our time on this earth…God does not allow us certain things we want because He has something better in store. While we may not see it or realize it away, God is always looking out for us. He always has a plan and purpose for our lives.