C.G. Jung Speaking : Interviews and Encounters

QUESTION 7: What is the psychological difference between belief in a personal God and the concept of a divine impersonal principle?

Dr. Jung: Men naturally have ideas about God, and as my dead friend Albert Oeri quite rightly said, some imagine a good God, the conservatives imagine him as an elderly railway official with a beard, and the others as a little more gaseous.

So it goes—we have all sorts of ideas of a personal father god with a beard, and a universal “principle” which is really more than “gaseous”—much more abstract.

It is simply the difference between an infantile idea and a philosophical one.

Or, it is the difference between being personally addressed, the personal encounter, and a general philosophical hypothesis.

If one has an idea, that is to say a rationalized idea which has been discussed and reflected upon, it is always a paradox.

As Kant has already pointed out, only antinomial statements can be made about transcendental positions.

He exemplifies this by: God is, God is not.

Thus every statement about God is also represented by its opposite.

Hence God is personal, he is my Father, he is a universal principle.

An infinity of statements is possible, all of them valid in so far as they also state the opposite.

The antinomy of the statements is a proof of their honesty. ~Carl Jung, C.G. Jung Speaking: Interviews and Encounters, Pages 388-389.

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