Creed or Chaos


Dorothy Sayers



Last week we spent some time talking about Dorothy Sayers.  She was a contemporary of CS Lewis and JRR Tolkien and a part of the literary society – The Inklings – they shared at Oxford before and during WWII.  We made reference to Sayer’s essay, “Creed or Chaos,” that was written in 1940 and decried what she considered the abysmal lack of understanding of the faith then in England.

Since then I have picked up another one of Sayers’ books, this one called The Mind of The Maker.  To borrow a corny line from a movie (or two) It’s not what you think it is.  That is, it isn’t primarily a book about theology.  The “maker” that Sayers has in mind as she writes the book is not primarily the maker of the universe, but rather the human artist – the writer, painter, sculptor or composer who uses his or her imagination to create.

In the book, she argues that the trinitarian nature of God is reflected in His creation, to include most profoundly those He created in His image – human beings.  In creating the universe, God acted in His trinitarian nature and, Sayers argues, when women and men create, they – on a much lower scale or level – necessarily employ trinitarian steps.

I have not gotten into the meat of the book yet, but I have read the Introduction written by Madeline L’Engle, the author of the Wrinkle In Time Quintet and no stranger herself to the creative process.  She says a couple of interesting things that I think may relate to our present study of the creeds.

First, that theological statements – like those in the creeds – are statements of fact about the nature of God and the nature of the universe and thus have great practical application.  That is, if we know something about the nature of the universe and the God who created it, we may be better equipped to navigate our way through life.  Less likely to stumble or err.

The other thing she says is this:

. .  . the statements in the creeds came into being not because the early Fathers were eager to force the limitations of language onto what they believed about the nature of God, but to combat heresy, statements that distorted the truth about the nature of the Creator.



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