The goal of psychological, as of biological, development is self-realization, or individuation. But since man knows himself only as an ego, and the self, as a totality, is indescribable and indistinguishable from a God-image, self-realization-to put it in religious or metaphysical terms-amounts to God’s incarnation.

That is already expressed in the fact that Christ is the son of God. And because individuation is an heroic and often tragic task, the most difficult of all, it involves suffering, a passion of the ego: the ordinary, empirical man we once were is burdened with the fate of losing himself in a greater dimension and being robbed of his fancied freedom of will. He suffers, so to speak, from the violence done to him by the self.

The analogous passion of Christ signifies God’s suffering on account of the injustice of the world and the darkness of man. The human and the divine suffering set up a relationship of complementarity with compensating effects. Through the Christ-symbol, man can get to know the real meaning of his suffering: he is on the way towards realizing his wholeness.

As a result of the integration of conscious and unconscious, his ego enters the “divine” realm, where it participates in “God’s suffering.” The cause of the suffering is in both cases the same, namely “incarnation,” which on the human level appears as “individuation.”

The divine hero born of man is already threatened with murder, he has nowhere to lay his head, and his death is a gruesome tragedy. The self is no mere concept or logical postulate; it is a psychic reality, only part of it is conscious, while for the rest it embraces the life of the unconscious and is therefore inconceivable except in the form of symbols.

The drama of the archetypal life of Christ describes in symbolic images the events in the conscious-life-as well as the life that transcends consciousness-of a man who has been transformed by his higher destiny. ~Carl Jung, Psychology and Religion, A Psychological Approach to the Trinity, Paragraph 233.

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