Mind of the Maker preface – chapter 2

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.

Sayers begins, in the preface, by saying that the book is an explanation of a few of the Christian beliefs.  She takes great pains to say that she is not defending the truth of these creeds, but is only explaining them.

The first chapter makes the case that the creeds are necessary and foundational to Christianity.  Within the context of Christianity, they are not optional, they are not opinions.  As the late Christopher Hitchens said in a 2009 interview with Unitarian minister, Marilyn Sewell, “I would say that if you don’t believe that Jesus of Nazareth was the Christ and Messiah, and that he rose again from the dead and by his sacrifice our sins are forgiven, you’re really not in any meaningful sense a Christian.”  (Excellent interview, btw.  He was a really bright man and knew what he was criticizing.)

Sayers goes on to say that while the moral code imposed by Christianity may be arbitrary, the law upon which it is based is not.  By law, Sayers means something observable, discoverable by experience.

In the second chapter, Sayers explains that the language she is using is analogical and that it must be analogical.  She maintains that all language is analogical because it is all comparative.  We cannot know anything except by comparison.  She urges her readers, therefore, to accept the necessity and the limits of analogy.

After a caveat not to take the analogy beyond its intended limits, she begins with the belief, as written in Genesis, that people are made in the image of God.   Her explanation here is that the only thing revealed about God in these first chapters of the Bible is that he created and so, if humans are like Him, then we must be creators too.

While I believe that Sayers is correct that God is Creator and has endowed humanity with creativity, I think her definition of “the image and likeness of God” is too limited.  I concede that I perhaps do not grasp the fullness and weight of what it means to be a creator, but with what small understanding I do have, I believe that being made in God’s image encompasses a great deal more than being a creator.

It is worth noting, that Sayers seems to identify strongly as a creator herself, so she seems to be, thus far in my reading, looking at the creeds through that lens.  It isn’t wrong, but it is particular.


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