For this week’s food for thought, we are tackling psychoanalyst Carl Jung’s work, ‘Answer to Job’. Not only is it Jung’s most controversial work, but it was also one of his personal favorites despite all the Christian spite it brought upon him.
This infamous book of the Bible sees Yahweh wager a bet with Satan over the life of one of Yahweh’s most faithful followers. Job is not only pious and faithful but also very successful, seemingly without a reason to doubt God. But Satan poses: what if Job hadn’t been so fortuitous? What if he had been given a great many more reasons to doubt God’s love or even existence? Would he still be a faithful follower? Going against most of general Christian teachings would lead one to assume, Yahweh does something morally dubious and accepts this wager with Satan, allowing Job to suffer a tremendous amount. And all the while, throughout the book, we see Yahweh take an outright petulant jealousy out upon Job, as his faithful follower suffers without any notion as to why it’s happened or how it may end.
The interpretation of the Book of Job’s many archetypal, metaphysical, and ethical quandaries indeed helps set the context for the rest of the Bible in many cases. For if we cannot understand what kind of God would do such an extreme thing as engaging in a jealous bet, then how can we really understand the foundations of this God’s love?
CG Jung tackles this massive topic in a way that holds the inspiration of a theologian, while still holding the practical and skeptical analysis of a psychoanalyst. Let it be remembered that one need not believe in God in order to understand the psychological significance of gods, goddesses, and so many other archetypes. Whether or not we believe in these things, they have inspired and fascinated humankind all throughout our historical existence — and they have played a critical role in our adaptation process as a whole. Regardless of whether they exist “physically” or not, they exist in the psyche, and this isn’t even saying anything about the archetypal forces of nature that they represent to begin with.
This is a behemoth of a topic — one that will leave you mulling it over well after you’ve listened.
It’s this, Christ being crucified on the cross, the Book of Revelation and more this week on Black Hoodie Alchemy!
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Written by: Anthony Tyler
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