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.
Can we know the mind of the maker through his created works? Dorothy Sayers says we can know it some, but not completely.
Sayers believes it is possible to be aware of the created works with out any direct awareness of the author just as “…we may, and do, know the Iliad without knowing Homer.” Then again, Romans 1:20 says “For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse:”
So, just as knowing the entire works of Shakespeare will give us some character of the man, God can be known, to some extent, by his works.
One limitation to knowing the Creator by his creation is that it is not possible for us to know and consider all of the Creator’s works from beginning to end, because he is eternal and we are not. But even if we could see all of his works and take them together as a group, we are further limited by the fact that all we see are the expressed works, the Activity, but not all the that the mind holds.
For example, Hamlet is not Shakespeare. Sayers wrote that is impossible “to say that the author is fully express in any speech, character or single work of his.” Put all the works together, relate them to each other, and you get a pantheistic view, but it is still not the entire mind of the maker. “The mind is not the sum of its works, though it includes them all…. Before it made them it included them all potentially, and having finished them, it still includes them.”
A third limitation is in the interpretation, understanding the significance of a creation. If a character in a written work is merely a mouthpiece for the author, a device or tool, to express the author’s own agenda, then the work is propaganda. Good writing will allow the characters to express their own ideas. Sayers suggests that in the same way, all of creation must speak for itself, tell its own story in order to express truth.