[Carl Jung on the Incarnation of the God-Man and Sophia.]
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 approach of Sophia betokens a new creation. But this time it is not the world that is to be changed; rather it is God who intends to change his own nature. Mankind is not, as before, to be destroyed, but saved.
In this decision we can discern the “philanthropic” influence of Sophia: no new human beings are to be created, but only one, the God-man. For this purpose a contrary procedure must be employed. The Second Adam shall not, like the first, proceed directly 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 material sense as well. On the basis of the so-called Proto-Evangelium, the Second Eve corresponds to “the woman and her seed” mentioned in Genesis 3:15, which shall bruise the serpent’s head.
And just as Adam was believed to be originally hermaphroditic, so “the woman and her seed” are thought of as a human pair, as the Queen of Heaven and Mother of God and as the divine son who has no human father. Thus Mary, the virgin, is chosen as the pure vessel for the coming birth of God. Her independence of the male is emphasized by her virginity as the “sine qua non” of the process.
She is a “daughter of God” who, as a later dogma will establish, is distinguished at the outset by the privilege of an immaculate conception and is thus free from the taint of original sin. It is therefore evident that she belongs to the state before the Fall. This posits a new beginning.
The divine immaculateness of her status makes it immediately clear that she not only bears the image of God in undiminished purity, but, as the bride of God, is also the incarnation of her prototype, namely Sophia. Her love of mankind, widely emphasized in the ancient writings, suggests that in this newest creation of his Yahweh has allowed himself to be extensively influenced by Sophia.
For Mary, the blessed among women, is a friend and intercessor for sinners, which all men are. Like Sophia, she is a mediatrix who leads the way to God and assures man of immortality. Her Assumption is therefore the prototype of man’s bodily resurrection.
As the bride of God and Queen of Heaven she holds the place of the Old Testament Sophia.
Remarkable indeed are the unusual precautions which surround the making of Mary: immaculate conception, extirpation of the taint of sin, everlasting virginity. The Mother of God is obviously being protected against Satan’s tricks. From this we can conclude that Yahweh has consulted his own omniscience, for in his omniscience there is a clear knowledge of the perverse intentions which lurk in the dark son of God. Mary must at all costs be protected from these corrupting influences.
The inevitable consequence of all these elaborate protective measures is something that has not been sufficiently taken into account in the dogmatic evaluation of the Incarnation: her freedom from original sin sets Mary apart from mankind in general, whose common characteristic is original sin and therefore the need of redemption. The status “ante lapsum” is tantamount to a paradisal, i.e., pleromatic and divine, existence.
By having these special measures applied to her, Mary is elevated to the status of a goddess and consequently loses something of her humanity:
she will not conceive her child in sin, like all other mothers, and therefore he also will never be a human being, but a god.
To my knowledge at least, no one has ever perceived that this queers the pitch for a genuine Incarnation of God, or rather, that the Incarnation was only partially consummated. Both mother and son are not real human beings at all, but gods.
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, since this
was reduced by the perfectionizing tendency to the little bit of imperfection that still distinguishes Mary from Christ. Phoebus loses more lights!
Thus the more the feminine ideal is bent in the direction of the masculine, the more the 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 this never prevailed against the patriarchal supremacy. We have not, therefore, by any means heard the last of it.
Carl Jung, Psychology and Religion, Answer to Job, Page 397-399; Paragraphs 625-627.
Image: Ukrainian (Kyiv) Icon, Sophia, the Holy Wisdom, 1812.