Mind of the Maker chapter three

Cindy at Ordo Amoris is hosting a book club for Dorothy Sayers’ Mind of the Maker.  I’m trying to catch up and will probably be posting out of order.

In chapter three, Sayers takes issue with people’s unwillingness to try to understand the Trinity.  She says that though it is a great mystery, we are still able, through analogy, to understand it to some extent.

Firstly, we have difficulty understanding the Trinity because we are too close to it.  Sayers contends that trinity is everywhere and that we, as creators created in the image of the Creator, are part of a trinity in all of our creations.  Peter Piper picked a peck of pickled peppers.

When an artist creates, there is first the IDEA, not even consciously known to the artist.  Secondly there is the ACTIVITY.  Thirdly exists the POWER of the work.

Here’s something interesting, the very forming of the idea in the conscious mind, is itself part of the ACTIVITY.

The idea itself exists outside of consciousness, outside of time and space.  It is the second part, the energy or activity that causes the idea to exist in time.  The idea is a separate thing in spite of the fact that it can only be known by the activity.  And the Father is known through the Son. 

If the  IDEA and the ACTIVITY are always perceived together and cannot be understood apart from each other,  we can only know that the idea exists separately because the activity refers to itself as part of a complete whole and because it is known to the artist as part of a “complete and timeless whole” apart from the process of creation.

In the ideal, the activity, must express the idea.  Is it possible for the expression to contradict the idea?  In our less than ideal experience, this does happen – I often have difficulty expressing an idea, even in my own thoughts.  I am, in fact, struggling with it now.   In the ideal form however, there is integrity, it is not logical that the expression of the idea would be something other than the idea.

Remembering that we are discussing an analogy, my husband asked, “Then did Jesus have a choice?”  But that’s the wrong question, isn’t it?  He cannot be other than who He is, so of course, he does the will of the Father.  And we believers, imperfect though we are, are being transformed more and more into his likeness, and bit by bit, reflect more truly the One in whose image we are created.  We become more like ourselves, more like He made us to be, meaning more like Him – and our will begins to be to do the will of the Father.  It is such a long process, though!

The third part of Sayers’ creative trinity is the POWER that comes from the IDEA and the ACTIVITY.  It is the perceiving of the idea and the activity by both the artist and others.  I’m sorry that I’m going to give this third part short shrift, but I understand it as little as I understand the third person of the godhead.

Sayers goes on to say that the Creator, by the very fact of being a creator, must create something, but He need not create a particular something.  He has no dependence on a particular creation.  This makes me wonder, Is God the creator because he creates or does He create because He is the Creator?  Is “Creator” the name we’ve given to describe the one who creates or is Creator the very substance of who He is?    Capisce?

In the last bit of chapter three, Sayers launches into another defense of analogical language.  I don’t think the lady doth protest too much, but there are numerous fronts on which the battle must be fought.  So, she criticizes science for not understanding or accepting the analogical nature of language and says that this lack of understanding has forced its “flight into formulae.”

Sayers says that this condition of modern science is tied to the idea of progress, and that anything new is better than anything old.  In our own times I think I’ve heard this called chronological snobbery.  Sayers doubts whether progress is a law at all.  I take that to mean that she believes that the gradual betterment of humanity is not all inevitable and observable as natural laws are.

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2 thoughts on “Mind of the Maker chapter three

  1. Brandy @ Afterthoughts says:

    You’re here, you’re here! I’m happy you are joining us. 🙂

    I like your question about whether God is the Creator because He creates, or creates because He is the Creator. I’m tempted to say it is the latter, and that because it sort of parallels Athanasius’ argument for the Trinity. Athanasius basically said that because the Father is eternal–and IS the Father–He must eternally have a Son. To *not* have a Son at some point would be to *not* be the Father. This is probably over-simplifying his argument, but there it is. I see the latter–that God creates because He IS the Creator as following a similar logic…Doesn’t He need to eternally be the Creator because of His very permanence?

    • sara says:

      Hmmm. I’m thinking that yes, if what He expresses is creativity, then yes, that is, must be, at least part of who He is. Always, eternally.

      Thinking of it in terms of His Fatherhood is helpful – thanks. “Eternally begotten” so yes. Excellent.

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