Wednesday, January 09, 2008

The God of shapes

From Chesterton's The Everlasting Man:
The Creed was like a key in three respects... . First, a key is above all things a thing with a shape. It is a thing that depends entirely upon keeping its shape. The Christian creed is above all things the philosophy of shapes and the enemy of shapelessness.

That is where it differs from all that formless infinity, Manichean or Buddhist, which makes a sort of pool of night in the dark heart of Asia: the ideal of uncreating all the creatures. That is where it differs also from the analogous vagueness of mere evolutionism, the idea of creatures constantly losing their shape.

Our creed is about the God Whose spirit, at Creation, moved over the waters, which were without form, and void. God gives shape, and distinction, to things in every act of the Creation story.

Maybe I'm reaching, but I think there's a slim connection here with why I (and lots of others) instinctively dislike the blank, empty interiors of so many contemporary Catholic churches. They'd be fine spaces for the formless goal of Buddhism, or the meaningless non-goal of evolutionism.

They just aren't very good spaces in which to worship the God of shapes -- the God Who Really Is.