cfelch wrote:Now you are saying that mankind is alien to middle earth?
Which deity has more power, Illuvatar or Morgoth? Explain.
If elves and humans and the Maiar can interbreed, doesn't that imply that they are biologically all the same species?
Mankind isn't alien to Middle-Earth, per se, but they are not linked to the fate of the world like the Elves are. They are called the second-born, the aftercomers, and also the visitors by the elves. Here's a quote from the Tolkien Gateway (an excellent resource site) that might help clear things up a little.
"It was said among the Elves that after they died, the fëar of Men were gathered in the Halls of Mandos, and then departed from the World for a destination unknown even to the Valar. Whereas all other beings in Arda, including the Valar themselves, were bound to the World and its fate, the Gift freed Men from this destiny, allowing them to shape their own lives as they wished. For this reason, the Elves, who must live as long as Arda exists and become burdened with its sorrows, often envy the Gift given to Men, and it is said that even the Valar shall do so as well."
This necessitates a bit of a breakdown on who this cast of characters is. Bear in mind that there are a lot of tie ins to Christian mythology so I'll break it down in those words.
Illuvatar is God, period. There is only one God and that is Illuvatar. Illuvatar is responsible for all of creation and the fate of the world. Illuvatar created lesser beings to accompany him and heaven; these are the Valar and the Maiar, which in the analogy are the greater and the lesser angels, though they have somewhat more agency than the angels of Christian mythology. Melkor/Morgoth (whose analog is pretty much Lucifer/Satan) was the most powerful of the Valar.
Illuvatar came up with the plan for creation and then had the Valar and Maiar sing it into being. Each Vala and Maia knew only one small part of creation and the destiny of the world, the whole is known only to Illuvatar. Melkor/Morgoth wanted to create things of his own within this broader canvas but everything he did to try and add his own will and design into the creation created discord in the music. Finally Illuvatar halted the music and a final music which was only his own ended the creation, and this final music was the creation of Elves and Men, the children of Illuvatar. It would fall to them to complete creation, and their destinies are unknown to any of the Valar or Maiar.
When the music was finished, time basically began. Illuvatar allowed those Valar and Maiar that wished to to enter the world and begin creation. Many did, including Melkor/Morgoth. Everything the Valar wrought he would undo and destroy and so on and so forth. For this reason the world is not the world that was originally envisioned and has pain, and fear and all these other bad things as an intrinsic part of it, however, Illuvatar proclaimed that ultimately all of the discord sown by Melkor/Morgoth would ultimately lead to a greater beauty than even the original design.
When it comes to the power of Illuvatar and the Valar, Illuvatar is omnipotent, all powerful, able to do anything he wishes at any time. The Valar are not omnipotent but I'm not sure that they could ever be destroyed or killed by any save Illuvatar, even between each other. Of the Valar, Morgoth was originally the most powerful; however, he spread his power into the physical essence of the world, which ultimately weakened him to the point where he lost much of his original power.
The Valar and Mair exist in a spirit form but they can, and do, incarnate themselves into physical form as well. Morgoth, because he spent so much of his power in infusing himself into the physical world, could only exist in a physical form eventually, whereas the other Valar can put their physical form on or off much like clothing. When in this physical form it would appear that they can interbreed with Elves, and probably Men at that. There is only one time this has happened in history though, the marriage between Melian and Thingol, and the child of that union was Luthien.