The problem of evil had occupied Jung since his childhood, raising, as it does, fundamental questions about the ideas of
God we live with in the form of images, concepts, and metaphors and their consequent effect on the meaning and conduct
of human existence.
Patients and public had put these questions to him for years.
In Aion he began tackling the issue of “the dark side of God” but found it needed a more direct focus.
The fateful Answer to Job was foreshadowed by a long dream ending in a scene which demonstrated underlying attitudes
of the dreamer:
“It was a high, circular room with a gallery running along the wall, from which four bridges led to a
The basin rested upon a huge column and formed the sultan’s round seat. . . .The whole was a gigantic mandala…
I suddenly saw that from the center a steep flight of stairs ascended to a spot high up on the wall. . . . At the top of the
stairs was a small door, and my father said, “Now I will lead you into the highest presence.”
Then he knelt down and touched his forehead to the floor.
I imitated him, likewise kneeling, with great emotion. For some reason I could not bring my forehead quite down to the
floor – there was perhaps a millimeter to spare. . . .
I . . . ought really to have touched my forehead to the floor, so that my submission would be complete.
But something prevented me from doing so entirely, and kept me just a millimeter away.
Something in me was saying, “All very well, but not entirely.”
Something in me was defiant and determined not to be a dumb fish: and if there were not something of the sort
in free men, no Book of Job would have been written several hundred years before the birth of Christ.
Man always has some mental reservation, even in the face of divine decrees.
Otherwise, where would be his freedom?
And what would be the use of that freedom if it could not threaten Him who threatens it?” ~Carl Jung, Memories Dreams and Reflections, P. 218-220.
[Also: Claire Dunne, Carl Jung: Wounded Healer of the Soul, P. 151-142.
Image: Anthony: “What Is the Object of all this?” / The Devil: “There is no Object.”
Plate XVIII from Tentation de Saint-Antoine, the third series, 1896.
Lithograph by Odilon Redon.
Satan, an angel of God, was used by Him to test Job.