Core: noun, the most important part of a thing, the essence; from the Latin cor, meaning heart.

Click for Front Page of Current Issue (Home)

 Volume 2.13 This View’s Prose December 2, 2002 


    The Rationality of the Trinitarian Creed    
         
   

So far, we have been inquiring into the correspondence between the Christian Creeds and the experience of the artist on the subject of the creative mind and we have seen that there is, in fact, a striking agreement between them. Now, how does all this concern the common man? It has become abundantly clear of late years that something has gone seriously wrong with our conception of humanity and of humanity’s proper attitude to the universe. We have begun to suspect that the purely analytical approach to phenomena is leading us only further and further into the abyss of disintegration and randomness, and that it is becoming urgently necessary to construct a synthesis of life.

It is dimly apprehended that the creative artist does, somehow or other, specialize in construction, and also that the Christian religion does, in some way that is not altogether clear to us, claim to bring us into a right relation with a God whose attribute is creativeness. Accordingly, exhorted on all sides to become creative and constructive, the common man may reasonably turn to these two authorities, in the hope that they may shed some light, first, on what creativeness is, and, secondly, on its significance for the common man and his affairs.

Now we may approach this matter in two ways — from either end, so to speak. We may start from the artist himself, by observing that he has, in some way or other, got hold of a method of dealing with phenomena that is fruitful and satisfying to the needs of his personality. We may examine the workings of his mind when it is creatively engaged, and discover what is its intrinsic nature. Having done so, we may arrive at some conclusions about the nature of creative mind as such. And at this point we may set our conclusions over against those dogmatic pronouncements which the Church has made about the Creator, and discover that between the two there is a difference only of technical phraseology, and between the mind of the maker and the Mind of his Maker, a difference, not of category, but only of quality and degree.

Or we may begin with the Creeds alternatively, and ask what meaning for us, if any, is contained in this extraordinary set of formulae about Trinity-in-Unity, about the Eternal-Uncreate-Incomprehensible incarnate in space-time-matter, about the begotten Word and the Ghost proceeding, and about the orthodox God-Manhood so finickingly insisted upon and so obstinately maintained amid a dusty mêlée of mutually-contradictory heresies. We may take the statements to pieces, and translate them into the terms of an artistic analogy, only to discover that there then emerges a picture of the human artist at work — a picture exact to the minutest detail, familiar at every point, and corroborated in every feature by day-to-day experience. When we have done this, we may consider how strange and unexpected this must appear, if we hold it to be accidental. Obviously, it is not accidental.

We may, of course, conclude that it is yet another instance of the rooted anthropomorphism of theologians. In seeking to establish the nature of the God they did not know, the Fathers of the Church began by examining the artist they did know, and constructed their portrait of Divinity upon that human model. Historically, of course, it is clear that they did not do this intentionally; nothing, I imagine, would be further from their conscious minds than to erect the Poet into a Godhead. But they may have done it unconsciously, proceeding from the human analogy, as human reasoning must. The theory is perfectly tenable. Let us, however, take note that if we hold this theory, we cannot, at the same time, hold that Trinitarian doctrine, as formulated, is obscure, apriorist and unrelated to human experience; since we are committed to supposing that it is a plain a posteriori induction from human experience.

On the other hand, we may conclude that the doctrine derives from a purely religious experience of God, as revealed in Christ and interpreted by abstract philosophic reasoning about the nature of the Absolute. In that case, we cannot call it irrational, however intricate and theoretical it may appear, since we have said it is a product of the reason. But if this theory, erected upon reason and religious experience, turns out to be capable of practical application in a totally different sphere of human experience, then we are forced to conclude also that the religious experience of Christianity is no isolated phenomenon; it has, to say the least of it, parallels elsewhere within the universe.

   
         
   

Dorothy Sayers (1893-1957)

   
   

The Mind of the Maker (1941)
Chapter XI “Problem Picture” pp. 181ff

   

    The Defense of Liberty    
         
    What constitutes the bulwark of our own liberty and independence? It is not our frowning battlements, our bristling seacoasts, the guns of our war steamers, or the strength of our gallant and disciplined army. These are not our reliance against a resumption of tyranny in our fair land. All of them may be turned against our liberties, without making us stronger or weaker for the struggle. Our reliance is in the love of liberty which God has planted in our bosoms. Our defense is in the preservation of the spirit which prizes liberty as the heritage of all men, in all lands, everywhere. Destroy this spirit, and you have planted the seeds of despotism around your own doors. Familiarize yourselves with the chains of bondage, and you are preparing your own limbs to wear them. Accustomed to trample on the rights of those around you, you have lost the genius of your own independence, and become the fit subjects of the first cunning tyrant who rises.
   
         
    Abraham Lincoln (1809-1865)
   
    from Speech at Edwardsville, Illinois, September 11, 1858
Collected Works
Volume III p. 95
   



 Volume 2.13 This View’s Prose December 2, 2002 





The View from the Core, and all original material, © 2002 E. L. Core. All rights reserved.

Cor ad cor loquitur J. H. Newman — “Heart speaks to heart”