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 philosophi- cal 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.