[Carl Jung: I would like to ask: If God is so powerful and so good that he can make good out of evil, what does he make evil out of?]
To Wilhelm Bitter
Dear Colleague, 7 December 1960
Best thanks for kindly sending me the extract from your introduction to the report of the meeting.
As you rightly conjecture, I was particularly interested in the Dominican reaction to your question.
You have poked into a sleeping hornets’ nest, but we cannot be sure that the hornets have woken up.
I have taken special note of Augustine’s gem: Aufer meretrices de rebus humanis, turbaveris omnia libidinibus.
St. Thomas, as usual, gets out of it by begging the question.
I would like to ask: If God is so powerful and so good that he can make good out of evil, what does he make evil out of?
The world may have been perfect “sortant des mains de l’Auteur des choses,” but it fell into an almighty suffering because of the division into particulars .
Who was responsible for this division?
It is the cause of all those mala et defectus which afflict the whole of creation.
In view of the omnipotentia Dei the world cannot have fallen away from God.
He could easily have kept it in his hands, but according to the creation story, things were created in their differences by God himself, each “after his kind,:’ which even St. Thomas cannot deny.
Even the venerable Church Fathers had to admit that evil is not only unavoidable but actually necessary in order to avert a greater evil.
The modern approach to this question is one they would applaud.
There is no clear dividing line between prostitution and crime.
The one is an evil like the other and is in some degree necessary, for a crimeless society would speedily go to rack and ruin.
In this respect our criminal justice stands on a weak footing; it punishes something that is a social necessity.
Understandably enough, such a dilemma is an occasion for syllogistic acrobatics, judicial as well as ecclesiastical.
Punishment is also an evil and just as much a transgression as crime.
It is simply the crime of society against the crime of the individual.
And this evil, too, is unavoidable and necessary.
Psychology has the invidious task of rubbing the world’s nose into these truths.
No wonder nobody takes to it or loses a wink of sleep over it.
And it never ceases to amaze me that theologians are incapable of drawing conclusions from their own premises.
With cordial greetings and best wishes for your health,
C.G. Jung ~Carl Jung, Letters Vol. II, Pages 614-615
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