Images of God
To artists who love God and to Christians who love the arts, this book is dedicated in the hope that it may deepen their mutual understanding.
As readers will soon discover, this essay is not so much a work of research or scholarship as one of synthesis. In some respects, it has turned out to be rather more controversial than I could have wished; for my intention has been to bridge gulfs, not to widen them. If, to however small an extent, this book helps to draw together those who, to-day, too often are divided – artists and Christians, poets and theologians, Catholics and Protestants, conservatives and radicals, sacramentalists and transcendentalists – it will have been worth writing. For, in a dark and divided world, which lives more and more in the water-tight compartments of specialization, and in a Church wounded by divisions, what is needful, above all, is the eirenic glimmer – however faint – of a new understanding and a new language to repair the damage done to traditional forms and language by old bigotry and old shibboleths. However dangerous new forms in theology may be, they must be sought, and if the risk of being considered grossly arrogant is one of those involved in so presumptuous a search, it must be incurred. For many of the forms, in which the common belief of Christendom has been traditionally expressed, now divide those whose unity they were created expressly to preserve; and this is intolerable.
My debt to the ideas and scholarship of others is so obvious and so great that it would be invidious to single out for acknowledgement any one person from the many whose brains I have picked, and whose labours I have plundered. But, while the shortcomings of this essay are entirely my own, perhaps I may be allowed here to thank those who have tacitly encouraged me to develop its main these. Its germ appeared first in The Student Movement. This was developed more fully in Theology, and later the fully developed theme formed the basis of a series of lectures to the theological faculty of King’s College, London. To the Editors of these journals and to the Dean of King’s, I wish to express my thanks; while, to the Vicar and people of Hythe, by whose sufferance I wrote most of this book when I was working as a curate there, I send my love and apologies.