Saturday, February 23, 2013

'In Jung’s interpretation, Job is completely innocent. He is a scrupulously pious man who follows all the religious conventions, and for most of his life he is blessed with good fortune. This is the expected outcome for a just man in a rationally ordered universe. But then God goes to work on him, tests him with misfortune, reduces him to misery, and finally overwhelms him with questions and images of divine majesty and power. Job is silenced, and he realizes his inferior position vis-a-vis the Almighty. But he also retains his personal integrity, and this so impresses God that He is forced to take stock of Himself. Perhaps He is not so righteous after all! [As Marc Fonda observes, God’s omniscience precludes self-awareness. Being omniscient, God has no concentrated self to speak of. Being a part of everything, God has no opportunity to distinguish self from non-self. However, as God knows the thoughts of humans, through the thoughts of his creation he can experience what self-awareness is.] And out of this astonishing self-reflection, induced in God by Job’s stubborn righteousness, He, the Almighty, is pushed into a process of transformation that leads eventually to His incarnation as Jesus. God develops empathy and love through his confrontation with Job, and out of it a new relationship between God and humankind is born.'

Murray Stein, Jung on Christianity

'Job’s innocence is indeed righteous, and the tricky thing about his unfair fate, as Jung zeroes in on, is that the Devil made God do it. Somewhat like the serpent manipulating the first woman and man in the Garden of Eden, Satan challenges God to test Job’s faith by inflicting maximum suffering on this innocent civilian. Satan bets God that Job will then “curse thee to thy face.” God takes the wager, at the obvious and total expense of Job.

But in Jung’s view God hasn’t just taken a wager, he’s taken the bait. Jung says that God has been suckered (“bamboozled”), and goes on to cast an extremely critical eye on the Old Testament Yahweh. He describes God’s “personality” and actions vis a vis Job in these words: unconscious, amoral, totally lacking in self-reflection...no insight, savage, ruthless, revolting, touchy, suspicious, double-faced, jealous [Jung means here “envious”], despotic, intolerable, tantalizing, less than human, non compos mentis, clueless, a monster, etc. If God were a man – and Jung addresses and assesses him as such – Job would clearly be the better man. Furthermore, from Jung’s description God sounds like some sort of superhuman narcissistic personality disorder...'


'God, in the power position, has no need to be self-reflective, that is until God encountered Job who stood his ground and showed God who God is. Job as the more conscious but less powerful figure in relation to God has more knowledge about God than God, and thus in standing up to God is able to make God conscious of  Godself, in particular of  God’s shadow side....

Indeed God’s "answer to Job", far from being found in the Yahweh speeches in Job 38-41, is found in Christ’s cry of abandonment from the cross - "my God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me" - for this, Jung maintains, is the moment in which God reaches full self-consciousness, experiencing what Job and humanity experience: "at that moment God experiences what it means to be a mortal man [sic] and drinks to the dregs what he made his faithful servant Job suffer. Here is given the answer to Job..." In this moment God catches up with the moral development of  humankind.'


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