Psychology and Religion: West and East (The Collected Works of C. G. Jung, Volume 11)
[Carl Jung: It was only quite late that we realized (or rather, are beginning to realize) that God is Reality itself and therefore last but not least man.]
Although the birth of Christ is an event that occurred but once in history, it has always existed in eternity.
For the layman in these matters, the identity of a non-temporal, eternal event with a unique historical occurrence is something that is extremely difficult to conceive.
He must, however, accustom himself to the idea that “time” is a relative concept and needs to be complemented by that of the “simultaneous” existence, in the Bardo or pleroma, of all historical processes.
What exists in the pleroma as an eternal process appears in time as an aperiodic sequence, that is to say, it is repeated many times in an irregular
To take but one example: Yahweh had one good son and one who was a failure.
Cain and Abel, Jacob and Esau, correspond to this prototype, and so, in all ages and in all parts of the world, does the motif of the hostile brothers, which in innumerable modern variants still causes dissension in families and keeps the psychotherapist busy.
Just as many examples, no less instructive, could be found for the two women prefigured in eternity.
When these things occur as modern variants, therefore, they should not be regarded merely as personal episodes, moods, or chance idiosyncrasies in people, but as fragments of the pleromatic process itself, which, broken up into individual events occurring in time, is an essential component or aspect
of the divine drama.
When Yahweh created the world from his prima materia, the “Void,” he could not help breathing his own mystery into the Creation which is himself in every part, as every reasonable theology has long been convinced.
From this comes the belief that it is possible to know God from his Creation.
When I say that he could not help doing this, I do not imply any limitation of his omnipotence; on the contrary, it is an acknowledgment that all possibilities are contained in him, and that there are in consequence no other possibilities than those which express him.
All the world is God’s, and God is in all the world from the very beginning. Why, then, the tour de force of the Incarnation? one asks oneself, astonished. God is in everything already, and yet there must be something missing if a sort of second entrance into Creation has now to be staged with so much care and circumspection.
Since Creation is universal, reaching to the remotest stellar galaxies, and since it has also made organic life infinitely variable and capable of endless differentiation, we can hardly see where the defect lies.
The fact that Satan has everywhere intruded his corrupting influence is no doubt regrettable for many reasons, but it makes no difference in principle.
It is not easy to give an answer to this question.
One would like to say that Christ had to appear in order to deliver mankind from evil.
But when one considers that evil was originally slipped into the scheme of things by Satan, and still is, then it would seem much simpler if Yahweh would, for once, call this “practical joker” severely to account, get rid of his pernicious influence, and thus eliminate the root of all evil.
He would then not need the elaborate arrangement of a special Incarnation with all the unforeseeable consequences which this entails.
One should make clear to oneself what it means when God becomes man.
It means nothing less than a world-shaking transformation of God. It means more or less what Creation meant in the beginning, namely an objectivation of God.
At the time of the Creation he revealed himself in Nature; now he wants to be more specific and become man.
It must be admitted, however, that there was a tendency in this direction right from the start.
For, when those other human beings, who had evidently been created before Adam, appeared on the scene along with the higher mammals, Yahweh created on the following day, by a special act of creation, a man who was the image of God.
This was the first prefiguration of his becoming man.
He took Adam’s descendants, especially the people of Israel, into his personal possession, and from time to time he filled this people’s prophets with his
spirit. All these things were preparatory events and symptoms of a tendency within God to become man.
But in omniscience there had existed from all eternity a knowledge of the human nature of God or of the divine nature of man.
That is why, long before Genesis was written, we find corresponding testimonies in the ancient Egyptian records.
These intimations and prefigurations of the Incarnation must strike one as either completely incomprehensible or superfluous, since all creation ex nihilo is God’s and consists of nothing but God, with the result that man, like the rest of creation, is simply God become concrete.
Prefigurations, however, are not in themselves creative events, but are only stages in the process of becoming conscious. It was only quite late that we realized (or rather, are beginning to realize) that God is Reality itself and therefore last but not least man.
This realization is a millennial process. ~Carl Jung, Psychology and Religion, Paragraphs 629-631