'Answer to Job' by Carl Jung (1952)

Leon Frederic, Panel from All Things Return to the Death, but God's Love Creates Again.

A selection from Carl Jung's Answer to Job, 1952.

There are two distinct ways in which this book can be read: firstly, as a work of historical theology, which offers an interpretation of the evolution of God from the Yahweh of the Old Testament, as exemplified in Book of Job, to the Christ of the New Testament; and secondly, as a work of the 'psychology of the unconscious' which discovers in Yahweh an archetype (i.e., of the 'hysteric' or 'overvirtuous' character) and in Christ the alchemical symbol, with the Cross like a Mandela, for the process of 'individuation'. Of course, these readings are not mutually exclusive and can be seen as two aspects of the same 'divine drama'. Jung, in his autobiographical writings, spoke of the alchemy of the 16th and 17th centuries as providing the link between ancient Gnosticism and modern psychology, and thus offering "a kind of... basis for depth psychology", namely, by linking it up with hermetic philosophy.

From another angle, we can see it as part of a protracted effort, which began at the end of the Great War, with Jungs essay On the Role of the Unconscious, through to the end of the Second World War, with his essay After the Catastrophe, to make sense of 'contemporary events'.

Note: see Jung's Answer to Job: A Commentary by Paul Bishop.


 Job answers Yahweh thus:
Behold, I am of small account; what shall I answer thee?

And indeed, in the immediate presence of the infinite power of creation, this is the only possible answer for a witness who is still trembling in every limb with the terror of almost total annihilation. What else could a half-crushed human worm, grovelling in the dust, reasonably answer in the circumstances?

Yahweh's "justice" is praised, so presumably Job could bring his complaint and the protestation of his innocence before him as the just judge. But he doubts this possibility. "How can a man be just before God?" [...] "He destroys both the blameless and the wicked." [...] "I know," Job says to Yahweh, "thou wilt not hold me innocent." "If I wash myself... never so clean, yet shalt thou plunge me in the ditch." [...] "Thou knowest that I am not guilty, and there is none to deliver out of thy hand." "I desire to argue my case with God." "I will defend my ways to his face," "I know that I shall be vindicated." [...] God has put him in the wrong, but there is no justice. He has "taken away my right." "Till I die I will not put away my integrity from me. I hold fast to my righteousness, and will not let it go." His friend Elihu the Buzite does not believe the injustice of Yahweh: "Of a truth, God will not do wickedly, and the Almighty will not pervert justice." [...] But Job is not shaken in his faith, and had already uttered an important truth when he said: "Behold, my witness is in heaven, and he that vouches for me is on high... ." [...] And later: "For I know that my Vindicator lives, and at last he will stand upon the earth."
These words clearly show that Job, in spite of his doubt as to whether man can be just before God, still finds it difficult to relinquish the idea of meeting God on the basis of justice... . Because, in spite of everything, he cannot give up his faith in divine justice... . On the other hand, he has to admit that no one except Yahweh himself is doing him injustice and violence. [...] This is perhaps the greatest thing about Job, that, faced with this difficulty, he does not doubt the unity of God. He clearly sees that God is at odds with himself-- so totally at odds that he, Job, is quite certain of finding in God a helper and an "advocate" against God. [...] In a human being who renders us evil we cannot expect at the same time to find a helper. [...] Yahweh is not split but is an antinomy-- a totality of inner opposites-- and this is the indispensable condition for his tremendous dynamism, his omniscience and omnipotence. Because of this knowledge Job holds on to his intention of "defending his ways to his face,"... Yahweh is also man's advocate against himself when man puts forth his complaint.

His [God's] incalculable moods and devastating attacks of wrath had... been known from time immemorial. He had proved himself to be a jealous defender of morality and was specially sensitive in regard to justice. Hence he had always to be praised as "just," which, it seemed, was very important to him. [...] Yahweh... was interested in man. Human beings were a matter of first-rate importance to him. He needed them as they needed him, urgently and personally. [...] Yahweh... could get inordinately excited about man as a species and men as individuals if they did not behave as he desired or expected.

As we learn from the Eighty-ninth Psalm, Yahweh told him [David]:
My steadfast love I will keep for him for ever,
and my covenant will stand firm for him, 
I will not violate my covenant,
or alter the word that went forth from my lips.

And yet it happened that he, who watched so jealously over the fulfilment of laws and contracts, broke his own oath.

In these circumstances a breach of contract was bound to have the effect not only of a personal but of a moral injury. One can see this from the way David answers Yahweh:
How long, Lord? wilt thou hide thyself for ever?
Lord, where are thy former lovingkindnesses,
which by thy faithfulness thou didst swear to David?

Certainly our interlocutor would never dare to remonstrate with his almighty partner about this breach of contract. [...] Because anything else would put him in peril of his life, he must retire to the more exalted plane of reason. In this way, without knowing it or wanting it, he shows himself superior to his divine partner both intellectually and morally. Yahweh fails to notice that he is being humored, just as little as he understands why he has continually to be praised as just. He makes pressing demands on his people to be praised and propitiated in every possible way, for the obvious purpose of keeping him in a good temper at any price.
The character thus revealed fits a personality who can only convince himself that he exists through his relation to an object. Such dependence on the object is absolute when the subject is totally lacking in self-reflection and therefore has no insight into himself. It is as if he existed only by reason of the fact that he has an object which assures him that he is really there. If Yahweh, as we would expect of a sensible human being, were really conscious of himself, he would, in view of the true facts of the case, at least have put an end to the panegyrics on his justice. But he is too unconscious to be moral. [...] At least this is the way he must be conceived if one is to form a unified picture of his character. We must only remember that what we have sketched is no more than an anthropomorphic picture which is not even particularly easy to visualize.



...it were better for the interlocuter of the Eighty-ninth Psalm not to wax too conscious of the slight moral superiority he has over the more unconscious God. Better to keep it dark, for Yahweh is no friend of critical thoughts which in any way diminish the tribute of recognition he demands. [...] One can imagine what would happen if this assembly [of his 'chosen people'] suddenly decided to stop the applause: there would be a state of high excitation, with outbursts of blind destructive rage, then a withdrawal into hellish loneliness and the torture of nonexistence, followed by a gradual reawakening of an unutterable longing for something which would make him conscious of himself.

The special providence which singled out the Jews from among the divinely stamped portion of humanity and made them the "chosen people" had burdened them from the start with a heavy obligation. As usually happens with such mortgages, they quite understandably tried to circumvent it as much as possible. Since the people used every opportunity to break away from him, and Yahweh felt it of vital importance to tie this indispensable object (which he had made "godlike" for this very purpose) definitely to himself, he proposed to the patriarch Noah a contract... . In order to strengthen this contract and keep it fresh in the memory, he instituted the rainbow as a token of the covenant. If, in future, he summond the thunder clouds that hide within them floods of water and lightening, then the rainbow would appear, reminding him and his people of the contract.
The Book of Job places this pious and faithful man, so heavily afflicted by the Lord, on a brightly lit stage where he presents his case to the eyes and ears of the world. It is amazing to see how easily Yahweh, quite without reason, had let himself be influenced by one of his sons, by a doubting thought [Authors note: In Persian tradition, Ahriman proceeded from one of Ormuzd's doubting thoughts], and made unsure of Job's faithfulness. With his touchiness and suspiciousness the mere possibility of doubt was enough to infuriate him and induce that peculiar double-faced behaviour of which he had already given proof in the Garden of Eden, when he pointed out the tree to the First Parents and at the same time forbade them to eat it. In this way he precipitated the Fall, which he apparently never intended. Similarly, his faithful servant Job is now to be exposed to a rigorous moral test, quite gratuitously and to no purpose, although Yahweh is convinced of Job's faithfulness and constancy.... . Why, then, is the experiment made at all... ? It is indeed no edifying spectacle to see how quickly Yahweh abandons his faithful servant to the evil spirit and lets him fall without compunction or pity into the abyss of physical and moral suffering. From the human point of view Yahweh's behaviour is so revolting that one has to ask oneself whether there is not a deeper motive hidden behind it. Has Yahweh some secret resistance to Job? That would explain his yielding to Satan. But what does man possess that God does not have? Because of his littleness, puniness, and defencelessness against the Almighty, he possesses, as we have already suggested, a somewhat keener consciousness based on self-reflection: he must, in order to survive, always be mindful of his impotence. [...] Could a suspicion have grown up in God that man possesses an infinitely small yet more concentrated light than he, Yahweh, possesses? A jealousy of that kind might perhaps explain his behaviour. [...] Hence Yahweh's surprising readiness to listen to Satan's insinuations against his better judgement.
Without further ado Job is robbed of his herds, his servants are slaughtered, his sons and daughters are killed by a whirlwind, and he himself is smitten with sickness and brought to the brink of the grave. To rob him of peace altogether, his wife and his old friends are let loose against him, all of whom say the wrong things. His justified complaint finds no hearing with the judge who is so much praised for his justice. Job's right is refused in order that Satan be not disturbed in his play.

Job's friends do everything in their power to contribute to his moral torments, and instead of giving him, whom God has perfidiously abandoned, their warm-hearted support, they moralize in an all too human manner, that is, in the stupidest fashion imaginable... . They thus deny him even the last comfort of sympathetic participation and human understanding, so that one cannot altogether suppress the suspicion of connivance in high places.

So long as Job does not actually die, the pointless suffering could be continued indefinitely [Editors note: death is the limit of torture, which it pursues but falls short of]. [...] Without Yahweh's knowledge and contrary to his intentions, the tormented though guiltless Job had secretly been lifted up to a superior knowledge of God which God himself did not possess.

Job realizes God's inner antinomy, and in the light of this realization his knowledge attains a divine numinosity. [...] Job, by his insistence on bringing his case before God, even without hope of a hearing, had stood his ground and thus created the very obstacle that forced God to reveal his true nature. With this dramatic climax Yahweh abruptly breaks off his cruel game... .But if anyone should expect that his wrath will now be turned against the slanderer, he will be severely disappointed. [...] Instead, he comes riding along on the tempest of his almightiness and thunders reproaches at the half-crushed human worm:

Who is this that darkens counsel
by words without insight?

In view of the subsequent words of Yahweh, one must really ask oneself: Who is darkening what counsel? The only dark thing here is how Yahweh ever came to make a bet with Satan. [...] The bet does not contain any "counsel" so far as one can see-- unless, of course, it was Yahweh himself who egged Satan on for the ultimate purpose of exalting Job.

Whose words are without insight? Presumably Yahweh... is rebuking Job. But what is Job's guilt? The only thing he can be blamed for is his incurable optimism in believing that he can appeal to divine justice. In this he is mistaken, as Yahweh's subsequent words prove. God does not want to be just; he merely flaunts might over right.

The answer to Yahweh's conundrum is therefore: it is Yahweh himself who darkens his own counsel and who has no insight. He turns the tables on Job and blames him for what he himself does: man is not permitted to have an opinion about him, and, in particular, is to have no insight which he himself does not possess. For seventy-one verses he proclaims his worldcreating power to his miserable victim, who sits in ashes and scratches his sores with potsherds [fragments of broken pottery lying in the dust], and who by now has had more than enough of superhuman violence. [...] Altogether, he pays so little attention to Job's real situation that one suspects him of having an ulterior motive which is more important to him: Job is no more than the outward occasion for an inward process of dialectic in God. His thunderings at Job so completely miss the point that one cannot help but see how much he is occupied with himself. The tremendous emphasis he lays on his omnipotence and greatness makes no sense in relation to Job, who certainly needs no more convincing, but only becomes intelligible when aimed at a listener who doubts it. This "doubting thought" is Satan, who after completing his evil handiwork has returned to the paternal bosom in order to continue his subversive activity there. Yahweh must have seen that Job's loyalty was unshakable and that Satan had lost his bet. He must also have realized that, in accepting this bet, he had done everything possible to drive his faithful servant to disloyalty, even to the extent of perpetrating a whole series of crimes. Yet it is not remorse and certainly not moral horror
that rises to his consciousness, but an obscure intimation of something that questions his omnipotence.

To the spectator it is not quite clear why Job is treated to this almighty exhibition of thunder and lightening, but the performance as such is sufficiently magnificent and impressive to convince not only a larger audience but above all Yahweh himself of his unassailable power.

Yahweh sees something in Job which we would not ascribe to him but to God, that is, an equal power which causes him to bring out his whole power apparatus and parade it before his opponent. Yahweh projects on to Job a sceptic's face which is hateful to him because it is his own, and which gazes at him with an uncanny and critical eye.

Yahweh cannot rest satisfied with the first victorious round. Job has long since been knocked out, but the great antagonist whose phantom is projected on to the pitiable sufferer still stands menacingly upright. Therefore Yahweh raises his arm again:

Will you even put me in the wrong?
Will you condemn me that you may be justified?
Have you an arm like God,
and can you thunder with a voice like his?

Man, abandoned without protection and stripped of his rights, and whose nothingness is thrown in his face at every opportunity, evidently appears to be so dangerous to Yahweh that he must be battered down with the heaviest artillery.

Job is challenged as though he himself were a god. [...] In his stead God must set up his miserable servant as the bugbear whom he has to fight, in the hope that by banishing the dreaded countenance to "the hidden place" he will be able to maintain himself in a state of unconsciousness.

With brazen countenance he can project his shadow side and remain unconscious at man's expense.

Shrewdly, Job takes up Yahweh's aggressive words and prostrates himself at his feet as if he were indeed the defeated antagonist. Guileless as Job's speech sounds, it could just as well be equivocal. [...] Formerly he was naive, dreaming perhaps of a "good" God, or of a benevolent ruler and just judge. He had imagined that a ''covenant" was a legal matter and that anyone who was party to a contract could insist on his rights as agreed; that God would be faithful and true or at least just, and, as one could assume from the Ten Commandments, would have some recognition of ethical values or at least feel committed to his own legal standpoint. But, to his horror, he has discovered that Yahweh is not human but, in
certain respects, less than human... .

Unconsciousness has an animal nature. Like all old gods Yahweh has his animal symbolism with its unmistakable dependence on the much older theriomorphic gods of Egypt, especially Horus and his four sons. [...] Ezekiel's vision attributes three-fourths animal nature and only one-fourth human nature to the animal deity. [...] This symbolism explains Yahweh's behaviour, which, from the human point of view, is so intolerable: it is the behaviour of an unconscious being who cannot be judged morally. Yahweh is a phenomenon and not a human being.

Yahweh calmed down at last. The therapeutic measure of unresisting acceptance had proved its value yet again.

One can hardly avoid the impression that Omniscience is gradually drawing near to a realization, and is threatened with an insight that seems to be hedged about with fears of self-destruction.

He needs Job's loyalty, and it means so much to him that he shrinks at nothing in carrying out his test. This attitude attaches an almost divine importance to man, for what else is there in the whole wide world that could mean anything to one who has everything? Yahweh's divided attitude, which on the one hand tramples on human life and happiness without regard, and on the other hand must have man for a partner, puts the latter in an impossible position. [...] He reacts irritably to every word that has the faintest suggestion of criticism, while he himself does not care a straw for his own moral code if his actions happen to run counter to its statutes.
One can submit to such a God only with fear and trembling, and can try indirectly to propitiate the despot with unctuous praises and ostentatious obedience. But a relationship of trust seems completely out of the question to our modern way of thinking. Nor can moral satisfaction be expected from an unconscious nature god of this kind.

Anyone can see how he unwittingly raises Job by humiliating him in the dust. By so doing he pronounces judgment on himself and gives man the moral satisfaction whose absence we found so painful in the Book of Job.



Before turning to the question of how the germ of unrest developed further, we must turn back to the time when the Book of Job was written. Unfortunately the dating is uncertain. It is generally assumed that it was written between 600 and 300 B.C.-- not too far away, therefore, from the time of the Book of Proverbs (4th to 3rd century). Now in Proverbs we encounter a symptom of Greek influence... . This is the idea of Sophia or the Sapientia Dei, which is coeternal and more or less hypostatized pneuma of feminine nature that existed before the Creation.

Like God, she has her throne in heaven. As the cosmogonic Pneuma she pervades heaven and earth and all created things.

As a psychopomp she leads the way to God and assures immortality.

...we... have to find out in what sort of relation the Book of Job stands to the change that occurred in the status of Yahweh at about the same time, i.e., its relation to the appearance of Sophia. It is not a question of literary history, but of Yahweh's fate as it affects man. From the ancient records we know that the divine drama was enacted between God and his people, who were betrothed to him, the masculine dynamis, like a woman, and over whose faithfulness he watched jealously. A particular instance of this is Job, whose faithfulness is subjected to a savage test. [...] His readiness to deliver Job into Satan's murderous hands proves that he doubts Job precisely because he projects his own tendency to unfaithfulness upon a scapegoat. There is reason to suspect that he is about to loosen his matrimonial ties with Israel but hides this intention from himself. This vaguely suspected unfaithfulness causes him, with the help of Satan, to seek out the unfaithful one, and he infallibly picks on the most faithful of the lot, who is forthwith subjected to a gruelling test. Yahweh has become unsure of his own faithfulness.

Self-reflection becomes an imperative necessity, and for this Wisdom is needed. Yahweh has to remember his absolute knowledge; for, if Job gains knowledge of God, then God must also learn to know himself. It just could not be that Yahweh's dual nature should become public property and remain hidden from himself alone. Whoever knows God has an effect on him. The failure of the attempt to corrupt Job has changed Yahweh's nature.

God's marriage with Israel was... an essentially masculine affair, something like the founding of the Greek polis, which occurred about the same time. The inferiority of women was a settled fact. Woman was regarded as less perfect than man, as Eve's weakness for the blandishments of the serpent amply proved. Perfection is a masculine desideratum, while woman inclines by nature to completeness. [...] ...just as completeness is always imperfect, so perfection is always incomplete... .

At the bottom of Yahweh's marriage with Israel is a perfectionist intention which excludes that kind of relatedness we know as "Eros." The lack of Eros, of relationship to values, is painfully apparent in the Book of Job: the paragon of all creation is not a man but a monster! Yahweh has no Eros, no relationship to man, but only to a purpose which man must help him fulfil.

The faithfulness of his people becomes the more important to him the more he forgets Wisdom. [...] ...Yahweh agrees without any hesitation to inflict the worst tortures on him [Job]. One misses Sophia's "love of mankind" more than ever. Even Job longs for the Wisdom which is nowhere to be found.
Job marks the climax of this unhappy development. He epitomizes a thought which had been maturing in mankind about that time... . [...] Because man feels himself at the mercy of Yahweh's capricious will, he is in need of wisdom... . [...] Taking a highly personified form that is clear proof of her autonomy, Wisdom reveals herself to men as a friendly helper and advocate against Yahweh, and shows them the bright side, the kind, just, and amiable aspect of their God.

...the reappearance of Sophia in the heavenly regions points to a coming act of creation. She is indeed the "master workman"... . [...] A momentous change is imminent: God desires to regenerate himself in the mystery of the heavenly nuptials... and to become man. For this he uses the Egyptian model of the god's incarnation in Pharaoh... . It would, however, be wrong to suppose that this archetype is merely repeating itself mechanically. So far as we know, this is never the case, since archetypal situations only return when specifically called for. The real reason for God's becoming man is to be sought in his encounter with Job.

[Cont. here]

Just as the decision to become man apparently makes use of the ancient Egyptian model, so we can expect that the process itself will follow certain prefigurations.

The Second Adam shall not, like the first, proceed from the hand of the Creator, but shall be born of a human woman. So this time priority falls to the Second Eve, not only in a temporal sense but in a substantial sense as well. [...] Thus Mary, the virgin, is chosen as the pure vessel for the coming birth of God. [...] It is... evident that she belongs to the state before the Fall. This posits a new beginning. [...] Like Sophia, she is a medicatrix who leads the way to God and assures man of immortality. Her Assumption is therefore the prototype of man's bodily resurrection.

By having these special measures ['immaculate conception, extirpation of the taint of sin, everlasting virginity'] applied to her, Mary is elevated to the status of a goddess and consequently loses something of her humanity... .

This arrangement, though it had the effect of exalting Mary's personality in the masculine sense by bringing it closer to the perfection of Christ, was at the same time injurious to the feminine principle of imperfection or completeness.... . Thus the more feminine ideal is bent in the direction of the masculine, the more woman loses her power to compensate the masculine striving for perfection, and a typically masculine, ideal state arises which, as we shall see, is threatened with an enantiodromia. No path leads beyond perfection into the future-- there is only a turning back, a collapse of the ideal, which could easily have been avoided by paying attention to the feminine ideal of completeness. Yahweh's perfectionism is carried over from the Old Testament into the New, and despite all the recognition and glorification of the feminine principle it never prevailed against the patriarchal supremacy. We have not, therefore, by any means heard the last of it.


The new son, Christ, shall on the one hand be a chthonic man like Adam, mortal and capable of suffering, but on the other hand he shall not be, like Adam, a mere copy, but God himself, begotten by himself as the Father, and rejuvenating the Father as the Son.

Although the birth of Christ is an event that occurred but once in history, it has always existed in eternity. For the layman in these matters, the identity of a nontemporal, eternal event with a unique historical occurrence is something that is extremely difficult to conceive. He must, however, accustom himself to the idea that "time" is a relative concept and needs to be complemented by that of "simultaneous" existence, in the Bardo or pleroma, of all historical processes. What exists in the pleroma as an eternal process appears in time as an aperiodic sequence, that is to say, it is repeated many times in an irregular pattern. [...] When these things occur as modern variants, therefore, they should not be regarded merely as personal episodes, moods, or chance idiosyncrasies in people, but as fragments of the pleromatic process itself, which, broken up into individual events occurring in time is an essential component or aspect of the divine drama.

One should make clear to oneself what it means when God becomes man. it means nothing less than a world-shaking transformation of God. It means more or less what Creation meant in the beginning, namely an objectivation of God.


...it always looks as if Yahweh were completely uninformed about his son's [Satan] intentions. That is because he never consults his omniscience. We can only explain this on the assumption that Yahweh was so fascinated by his successive acts of creation, so taken up with them, that he forgot about his omniscience altogether.

It is only the careful and farsighted preparations for Christ's birth which show us that omniscience has begun to have a noticeable effect on Yahweh's actions. [...] After Job... a real novum now appears on the scene, namely apocalyptic communications. This points to metaphysical acts of cognition, that is, to "constellated" unconscious contents which are ready to irrupt into consciousness.

If we consider Yahweh's behaviour, up to the reappearance of Sophia, as a whole, one indubitable fact strikes us... . His consciousness seems to be not much more than a primitive "awareness" which knows no reflection and no morality. [...] Today we would call such a state psychologically "unconscious," and juristically it would be described as non compos mentis. The fact that consciousness does not perform acts of thinking does not, however, prove that they do not exist. They merely occur unconsciously and make themselves felt indirectly in dreams, visions, revelations, and "instinctive" changes of consciousness, whose very nature tells us that they derive from an "unconscious" knowledge... .
Some such process can be observed in the curious change which comes over Yahweh's behaviour after the Job episode. There can be no doubt that he did not immediately become conscious of the moral defeat he had suffered at Job's hands. In his omniscience, of course, this fact had been known from all eternity, and it is not unthinkable that the knowledge of it unconsciously brought him into the position of dealing so harshly with Job in order that he himself should become conscious of something through this conflict, and thus gain new insight. [...] ...it was he [Satan] who placed those unforeseen incidents in Yahweh's way, which omniscience knew to be necessary and indeed indispensable for the unfolding and completion of the divine drama. Among these the case of Job was decisive, and it could only have happened thanks to Satan's initiative.

As always when an external event touches on some unconscious knowledge, this knowledge can reach consciousness. The event is recognized as a deja vu, and one remembers a pre-existent knowledge about it. Something of this kind must have happened to Yahweh. Job's superiority cannot be shrugged off. Hence a situation arises in which real reflection is needed. That is why Sophia steps in. She reinforces the much needed self-reflection and thus makes possible Yahweh's decision to become man. [...] Yahweh must become man precisely because he has done man a wrong. He, the guardian of justice, knows that every wrong must be expiated... . Because his creature has surpassed him he must regenerate himself.
As nothing can happen without a pre-existing pattern,... the choice of a model for the son who is now about to be begotten lies between Adam... and Abel... . [...] The short, dramatic course of Abel's fate serves as an excellent paradigm for the life and death of a God become man.


If one takes the doctrine of predestination literally, it is difficult to see how it can be fitted into the framework of the Christian message [i.e., 'for all mankind']. But taken psychologically, as a means to achieving a definite effect, it can readily be understood that these references to predestination give one a feeling of distinction. If one knows that one had been singled out by divine choice and intention from the beginning of the world, then one feels lifted beyond the transitoriness and meaninglessness of ordinary human existence and transposed to a new state of dignity and importance, like one who has a part in the divine world drama. In this way man is brought nearer to God, and this is in entire accord with the meaning of the message in the gospels. 

Here [where he cried in despair from the Cross: "My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?"] his human nature attains divinity; at the moment God experiences what it means to be a mortal man and drinks to the dregs what he made his faithful servant Job suffer. Here is given the answer to Job.

...it has been assumed... that Christ was nothing but a myth,... no more than a fiction. But myth is not fiction: it consists of facts that are continually repeated and can be observed over and over again. It is something that happens to man, and men have mythical fates just as much as the Greek heroes do. The fact that the life of Christ is largely myth does absolutely nothing to disprove its factual truth-- quite the contrary. I would even go as far as to say that the mythical character of a life is just what expresses its universal human validity. It is perfectly possible, psychologically, for the unconscious or an archetype to take complete possession of a man and to determine his fate down to the smallest detail. [...] My own conjecture is that Christ was such a personality. The life of Christ is just what it had to be if it is the life of a god and a man at the same time. It is a symbolum.... as if Job and Yahweh were combined in a single personality. Yahweh's intention to become man, which resulted from his collision with Job, is fulfilled in Christ's life and suffering.


There can be no doubt that man's importance is enormously enhanced if God himself deigns to become man.

Cases like the Job tragedy are apparently no longer to be expected. He proves himself benevolent and gracious.

One must admit that it would be contrary to all reasonable expectations to suppose that a God who, for all his lavish generosity, had been subject to intermittent but devastating fits of rage ever since time began could, suddenly become the epitome of everything good. [...] [in the Apocalypse] Yahweh again delivers himself up to an unheard-of fury of destruction against the human race... .

Compared with the end of the world, the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah and even the Deluge are mere child's play; for this time the whole of creation goes to pieces.

The end of the world is, however, preceded by the circumstance that even Christ's victory over his brother Satan-- Abel's counterstroke against Cain-- is not really and truly won, because, before this can come to pass, a final and mighty manifestation of Satan is to be expected.


...the belief in a loving father, who has sent his only begotten son to rescue the human race, has repressed the persistent traces of the old Yahweh and his dangerous affects. Such a belief, however, presupposes a lack of reflection or a sacrificium intellectus ["sacrifice of the intellect"], and it appears questionable whether either of them can be morally justified. [...] One ought not to make oneself out to be stupider and more unconscious than one really is, for in all other respects we are called upon to be alert, critical, and self-aware, so as not to fall into temptation, and to "examine the spirits" who want to gain influence over us "to see whether they are of God," [1 John 4:1 (mod.). See also Cassian]... . It even needs superhuman intelligence to avoid the cunning snares of Satan. 


From a strictly clinical standpoint Ezekiel's visions are of an archetypal nature... . There is no reason to regard them as pathological [authors note: It is altogether wrong to assume that visions as such are pathological]. They are a symptom of the split which already existed at that time between conscious and unconscious. [...] Their quinta essentia is respresented by a figure which has "the likeness of a human form." Here Ezekiel has grasped the essential content of the unconscious, namely the idea of the higher man by whom Yahweh was morally defeated and who he was later to become.

Ezekiel grasped, in a symbol, the fact that Yahweh was drawing closer to man.

The disturbance of the unconscious continued for several centuries. Around 165 B.C., Daniel had a vision of four beasts and the "Ancient of Days," to whom "with clouds of heaven there came one like a son of man." ...a son whose task it is to rejuvenate the father.
The Book of Enoch, written around 100 B.C., goes into considerably more detail.

Enoch's unconscious is vastly excited... and its contents burst out in a spate of apocalyptic visions.

Enoch... had a quite special understanding of the coming Incarnation. The "Son of Man" who is with the "Head [or Ancient] of Days" looks like an angel (i.e., like one of the sons of God). He "hath righteousness"; "with him dwelleth righteousness"; the Lord of Spirits has "chosen him"; "his lot hath the preeminence before the Lord of Spirits in uprightness." It is probably no accident that so much stress is laid on righteousness, for it is the one quality that Yahweh lacks, a fact that could hardly have remained hidden from such a man as the author of the Book of Enoch. Under the reign of the Son of Man

...the prayer of the righteous has been heard.

Enoch sees a "fountain of righteousness which was inexhaustible." The Son of Man

...shall be a staff to the righteous...
And the wisdom of the Lord of Spirits hath revealed him...
For he hath preserved the lot of the righteous.

In him dwells the spirit of wisdom,
And the spirit which gives insight,
And the spirit of understanding and of might.
The Elect One shall in those days sit on My throne,
And his mouth shall pour forth all the secrets of wisdom and counsel.

At the end of the world the Son of Man shall sit in judgement... . "The darkness shall be destroyed, and the light established for ever." [...] The "Head of Days" comes forth with the angelic quaternity (Michael, Gabriel, Raphael, Phanuel) and speaks to him, saying: "This is the Son of Man who is born unto righteousness, and righteousness abides over him, and the righteousness of the Head of Days forsakes him not."
It is remarkable that the Son of Man and what he means should be associated again and again with righteousness. It seems to be his leitmotif, his chief concern. Only where injustice threatens or has already occurred does such an emphasis on righteousness make any sense. [...] It looks as though, with this, Enoch had unconsciously given an answer to Job.

From all this we can see the aftereffects of some psychological trauma, the memory of an injustice that cries to heaven and beclouds the intimate relationship with God.

Job... declares: "I know that my Vindicator lives." This highly remarkable statement can, under the circumstances, only refer to the benevolent Yahweh. The traditional Christian interpretation of this passage as an anticipation of Christ is correct in so far as Yahweh's benevolent aspect incarnates itself, as its own hypostasis,  in the Son of Man, and in so far as the Son of Man proves in Enoch to be a representative of justice and, in Christianity, the justifier of mankind.

...certain scholars have wished to see Enoch's Messianic ideas Christian interpolations. For psychological reasons this suspicion seems to me unjustified. One has only to consider what Yahweh's injustice, his downright immortality, must have meant to a devout thinker. It was no laughing matter to be burdened with such an idea of God.

The Book of Enoch was an anticipation in the grand manner, but everything still hung in mid air as mere revelation that never came down to earth. In view of these facts one cannot, with the best will in the world, see how Christianity as we hear over and over again, is supposed to have burst upon world history as an absolute novelty. If ever anything had been historically prepared, and sustained and supported by the existing Weltanschauung, Christianity would be a classic example.


Christ... holds an important position midway between the two extremes, man and God, which are so difficult to unite. Clearly the focus of the divine drama shifts to the mediating God-man.


...when God incarnates only his light aspect and believes he is goodness itself... . An enantiodromia [a 'conversion into the opposite'] in the grand style is to be expected. This may well be the meaning of the belief in the coming of the Antichrist. 


One could hardly imagine a more suitable personality for the John of the Apocalypse than the author of the Epistles of John. It was he who declared that God is light and that "in him is no darkness at all." [...] John then preaches the message of love. God himself is love; perfect love casteth out fear. [...] He talks as if he knew not only a sinless state but also a perfect love, unlike Paul, who was not lacking in the necessary self-reflection. John is a bit too sure, and therefore he runs the risk of a dissociation. Under these circumstances a counterposition is bound to arise in the unconscious, which can then irrupt into consciousness in the form of a revelation. ...the revelation... compensates the one-sidedness of an individual consciousness.

So far as we can see, the Apocalypse corresponds to these conditions.

This apocalyptic "Christ" behaves rather like a bad-tempered, power-conscious "boss" who very much resembles the "shadow" of a love-preaching bishop. 


The Book of Revelation is on the one hand so personal and on the other so archetypal and collective that one is obliged to consider both aspects. [...] Irritability, bad moods, and outbursts of affect are the classical symptoms of chronic virtuousness. In regard to his Christian attitude, his own words probably give us the best picture:

Beloved, let us love one another; for love is of God, and he who loves is born of God and knows God. [...] There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear. For fear has to do with punishment, and he who fears is not perfected in love... . If any one says, "I love God," and hates his brother, he is a liar... .

But who hates the Nicolaitans? Who thrists for vengeance and even wants to throw "the woman Jezebel" on a sickbed and strike her children dead? Who cannot have enough of blood-thirsty fantasies? Let us be psychologically correct, however: it is not the conscious mind of John that thinks up these fantasies, they come to him in a violent "revelation." They fall upon him involuntarily with an unexpected vehemence... .

We can say that just because John loved God and did his best to love his fellows also, this "gnosis," this knowledge of God, struck him. Like Job, he saw the fierce and terrible side of Yahweh. For this reason he felt his gospel of love to be one-sided, and he supplemented it with the gospel of fear... .

God has a terrible double aspect: a sea of grace is met by a seething lake of fire... . 


The Book of Revelation, rightly placed at the end of the New Testament, reaches beyond it into a future that is all too palpably close with its apocalyptic terrors.

It is altogether amazing how little most people reflect on numinous objects and attempt to come to terms with them, and how laborious such an undertaking is once we have embarked upon it. [...] If one has positive religious convictions... then doubt is felt as very disagreeable and also one fears it. [...] If one has no religious beliefs, then one does not like to admit the feeling of deficit, but prates loudly about one's liberal-mindedness and pats oneself on the back for the noble frankness of one's agnosticism. From this standpoint, it is hardly possible to admit the numinosity of the religious object, and yet its very numinosity is just as great a hindrance to critical thinking, because the unpleasant possibility might then arise that one's faith in enlightenment or agnosticism would be shaken. Both types feel, without knowing it, the insufficiency of their argument. Enlightenment operates with an inadequate rationalistic concept of truth and points triumphantly to the fact that beliefs such as the virgin birth, divine filiation, the resurrection of the dead, transubstantiation, etc., are all moonshine. Agnosticism maintains that it does not possess any knowledge of God or of anything metaphysical, overlooking the fact that one never possess a metaphysical belief but is possessed by it. Both are possessed by reason, which represents the supreme arbiter who cannot be argued with. But who or what is this "reason" and why should it be supreme? Is not something that is and has real existence for us an authority superior to any rational judgement, as has been shown over and over again in the history of the human mind?