What is it like going out with a bad boy

Evil in Carl Gustav Jung's "Answer to Job"

Table of Contents

1. Definition of Evil
1.1 Biblical approach
1.2 Own view and definition for the seminar paper

2. Carl Gustav Jung
2.1 biography
2.2 Some works and theses by C.G. Young
2.3 His image of evil

3. The book of Job
3.1 Summary
3.2 Historical-critical presentation
3.3 Significance for Christianity and Judaism
3.4 Interpretations Relating to Evil

4. Answer to Job
4.1 Table of contents
4.2 Jung's Handling of Evil in This Book
4.3 Reactions to the book and Jung's teachings in general

5. Final remarks

6. Illustrations
6.1 List of figures
6.2 Illustrations


1. Definition of Evil

1.1 Biblical approach

According to the biblical view, evil in no way originates from God. As mentioned several times in Genesis 1, God created the earth well and therefore a purely good creation can be assumed. If you look more closely, the Bible is not concerned with the origin of evil, but rather with its effects and its elimination.[1] The assumption that evil is repressed in Christianity is incorrect, but it is accepted by many non-Christians. In the Bible, the good is predominantly described, since man should come to good through God, but the evil is in no way excluded or denied.

Evil has five different names in the Bible, some of which are assigned a different type of evil. For example, the devil is often referred to as a troublemaker who creates chaos and tries to bring people away from God. Another personification of evil is found in Satan, who is considered the accuser. He accuses man to God and thus lets God judge what is good and what is bad. Through Satan it becomes clear that the final decision, according to the biblical view, always rests with God. In some cases, evil is also referred to as such and can then belong to many types of evil (an example where evil is mentioned directly can be found in "Our Father": "Deliver us from evil"[2] ). Evil is referred to as the enemy in Matthew 13:39, for example, whereby this is clearly opposed to man and accuses him of God. The fifth term for evil is found in John 12:31. Here one describes the suffering that reigns on earth as the prince of the world. This characterizes the earth, which does not correspond to paradise, as evil.[3]

Interestingly, evil, or evil personified as Satan, is less common in the Old Testament than in the New Testament.[4] However, since evil should be conquered by Jesus' resurrection, the opposite would be assumed. We can only assume that, from the times of Jesus to the time of Revelation, man became more and more aware of what evil is and how much it separates him from God. One could also relate this to the change in society through Jesus' example. In the Old Testament, for example, vengeance was still a legitimate means, which according to Jesus' statements such as "love your neighbor"[5] was considered evil. However, this is only an assumption and cannot be taken as a fact.

According to the Bible, evil never came into the world, as many people think, only through the fall of man. This only describes the main sin, but in no way the absolute origin. Evil has been solidified in this world by a series of human crossings.[6] It all started with the Fall, when man mistrusted God and did not obey his commandments. When Cain slew Abel, man turned against his fellow men in order to achieve his will. The two further steps in the great story of suffering and sin describe the striving for power and the will to be superhuman, which is found in Genesis 6: 1-4 through the marriage of men and angels and in Genesis 11: 1-9 show in the overestimation of the technical possibilities by humans in the case of the Tower of Babel.[7]

So in the Bible, evil is described as being separate from God. It is personified in several characters and develops in the course of the Bible, which I would like to come back to later with Job. Because the earth itself is described as evil, man has to struggle with the temptation to act against God in every situation.

1.2 Own view and definition for the seminar paper

Since this seminar paper is not about a person whose deed is to be evaluated, but rather about the attempt to understand God, provided that one recognizes the existence of a God, it is difficult to bring my own views on evil to good use. Rather, my ideas about the origin of evil will be asked. I would like to present these in more detail in this section.

First of all, I would like to emphasize that I believe in the existence of a God because I cannot imagine that the earth was simply created that way. Basically, I can follow Carl Gustav Jung on the ideas of God, which I would like to go into in more detail later. Evil must have a source and, in my opinion, like the earth itself, cannot simply have been there. Since I recognize God as the Creator, I also see the origin of evil in him. So that means that in my opinion there is no such thing as a purely good God. However, it should be noted that with Christian God the good predominates and the bad is a small part of many good qualities of God. In the character of man, however, it often takes a larger part than in God himself.

What can now be assessed as evil often depends on the damage that an act causes and whether the person is aware of their actions and their consequences. In my opinion, a person who acts unconsciously - for example because of an illness - cannot be called evil.

The suffering that God inflicts on Job in the book named after him is clearly an evil act, which here is carried out by the evil side of God. In evaluating biblical stories, one should always make sure that God is always One. When angels are mentioned, it is God and when Satan is mentioned, it is also God. There is no such thing as the good and the bad side in heaven, which face each other and fight against each other, but it is always God who has two characters.

These are my views on the subject. Now I would like to show how Carl Gustav Jung feels about evil and illuminate this in more detail using the book “Answer to Job”. I would also like to get an idea of ​​whether Jung is not playing down evil in his books. In order to better understand Jung's later views and to recognize their origins, I think it makes sense to first present a biography of this important person.

2. Carl Gustav Jung

2.1 biography

Carl Gustav Jung was born on July 26, 1875 in Kessewil on Lake Constance as the son of Protestant pastors Johann Paul Achiles Jung and Emilie Jung. He was born into a very versatile family.[8] Almost six months after Carl Gustav was born, he moved to Schaffhausen and four years later he moved to Klein-Hüningen. In 1884 the birth of his sister Gertrud made the Jung family complete.[9] After successfully completing high school in Basel, Jung wavered between the natural sciences and the humanities when deciding to study. In the end he decided to study medicine, following the example of his grandfather Ignaz Jung, who lived from 1759 to 1831 and worked as a doctor. When Jung's father died in 1896, the family ran into financial difficulties and Carl Gustav had to finance his studies by doing many part-time jobs. Jung did not describe this time in poverty as negative, on the contrary, he said that one learns to appreciate simple things in poverty and therefore saw this time as a thoroughly positive experience.[10] Jung could never identify with the work of his father, because he was not ready to follow a dogma and, as in his opinion happened in the church, to preach without reflection things that one did not understand oneself. Jung never described himself as an unbeliever, he was just convinced that one cannot preach faith but must experience it for oneself[11] ("The image of God is not an invention, but an experience"[12] ).

Inspired by the book “Textbook of Psychiatry” by Krafft-Ebbing about the profession of psychiatrist, Jung started at the beginning of 1900 as an assistant to Professor Eugen Bleuler at the psychiatric clinic “Burghölzli” in Zurich. In this professional area, he saw his interest in the natural sciences and humanities combined with his studies in medicine. Jung finished his medical doctoral thesis “On the psychology and pathology of so-called occult phenomena” in 1902. After two years of work, he took a break and began a year-long stay in Paris to work with Professor Pierr Janet. Back in Zurich, he was hired as a senior physician in 1905. In 1903 he married Emma Rauschenbach and had five children, four girls and a boy with her.[13]

During his childhood, Jung had many dreams and visions that led to a kind of double life. On the one hand there was the outwardly visible Carl Gustav, who had a hard struggle with math and gymnastics. The side of his personality that was more important for Jung himself, however, was his inner experience, which became very clear in his later teachings. This spiritual side of C. G. Jung also appeared strongly in a fainting attack and a severe head injury, in which he had some visions.[14]

Another work (“On the Psychology of Dementia Praecox”) appeared in 1907. In the same year, personal contact with Sigmund Freud began through a meeting in Vienna in February. As a Jew at the time of anti-Semitism, Freud received little support for his theses. Nevertheless, his teachings, especially the work on dream interpretation, had an impact on the work of Jung, who gave a lot of thought to Sigmund Freud's theses. This does not mean that he always agreed with Freud; on the contrary, these two men were often in contrast.[15] A disagreement on one of Jung's theses led to the break of friendship in 1913. This loss plunged Jung into a deep internal crisis.

In 1909 Jung finished his work at the clinic in Zurich and opened a private clinic in Küsnacht. In order to find out more about his theory of the collective unconscious, Jung started several expeditions to North Africa, to the Pueblo Indians, Kenya, Uganda and India, on which he came to the realization that there was an expansion of the Science needs. He wrote down his thoughts on the encounter between East and West in the essay "Yoga and the West" in 1936.[16] In the course of his life, Jung repeatedly described a certain loneliness that always accompanied him, as he had the feeling that he knew something that other people did not understand or did not want to understand.[17] His wife Emma died in 1955. After the development of many theories and the publication of many works, which, as Jung himself emphasized, still require reworking (“The systematic processing of my often thrown thoughts means a task for everyone who comes after me, and without such an achievement there will be no advance in the science of analytical psychology "[18] ), Carl Gustav Jung's life ended on June 6, 1961 at the age of 86.

2.2 Some works and theses by C.G. Young

First of all, I would like to point out that Carl Gustav Jung pursued such extensive and varied thoughts that it is not even possible to do justice to them in a seminar paper. The works and theses I have cited here seemed relevant to the topic of evil and are intended to represent Jung's typical thoughts.

The exact number of the works written by Carl Gustav Jung cannot be clearly established, as he did not publish many of his thoughts in a book, but instead noted them in his diary or other records. Accordingly, not all of his thoughts were published. One of his best-known works is “The Archetypes of the Collective Unconscious”, in which he describes his most fundamental thesis. For Jung, the collective unconscious represents a kind of collective subconscious that is independent of the individual.[19] In many other of his works he compares psychology with other teachings or sciences: "Psychology and Alchemy" (1944); "Psychology and Education" (1946) and "Psychology and Religion" (1937-1940).[20] In the last-named work, Jung describes self-development from the perspective of Christianity. Self-becoming is generally based on the distinction between “I” (human) and “self” (superhuman power). The self is the place of religion in this work. Thus, the incarnation of God, i.e. the realization of God in a person, describes self-becoming in the Christian sense. In other words, Christians can better identify with God through incarnation in Jesus. In addition, Jung describes in this work his idea of ​​the Trinity and the necessary addition to the quaternity (see Figure 1).[21]

Since I will mention many of Jung's works indirectly later, I don't think it makes sense to anticipate their content here. As mentioned earlier, not all of Jung's works were published, and many of his theses can only be found in the works of some of his students. Most of his theses were put together by one of his students and published in the work "Memories, Dreams, Thoughts".

2.3 His image of evil

Because Carl Gustav Jung never fully committed to one opinion, his image of evil also fluctuates from work to work. For example, Jung describes a twofold understanding of evil, which, however, cannot always be clearly differentiated in his works. For him, one side of evil is the prepersonal or natural side, which is opposed to moral or ethical evil. Jung primarily describes evil as a power that comes from the unconscious, whereby he ascribes it not only to people themselves but also to their environment, which does evil to people. Here, however, one cannot clearly distinguish between the evil that comes from the person himself, or rather from the subconscious of the person, and the evil that acts on the person from outside. Jung also emphasizes that the unconscious knows no good and bad, but that this value function applies to each person individually and therefore there is no clear bad ("quasi bad")[22] ). How a person evaluates this depends on the individual stage of development.[23]

Carl Gustav Jung often does not see evil as the sole driving force, but attaches great importance to the opposition of good and evil. For example, he compares good and bad with chaos and order or with the conscious and the unconscious. It must be emphasized here that he does not attribute these respective opposites to the good or the bad side, but only expresses a contrast. In this way, evil can be summarized as an independent energy that has its own power and dynamism and thus opposes the good.[24] With regard to the origin of evil, Jung is convinced that evil is also God's will, since - in contrast to the doctrine of Privatio-Boni - there can be no evil creation by a purely good God. Jung, however, in no way portrays evil as an invincible power; he even places great value on conquering evil, which for him belongs or should belong to the individuation process of every human being. In it, Jung describes evil as a shadow that it casts into the "self"[25] to integrate applies. If this integration does not succeed, evil appears. This is how Jung describes the "libido"[26] - if it cannot be integrated into the self - as a destructive power or as an “untamed libido”.[27]


[1] See Stubhann, Prof. Dr. Matthias et al. (1985) pp. 112f

[2] Hope for All (Bible) Matthew 6: 9-13

[3] See Jentsch, Werner; Jetter, Hartmut; Kießig, Manfred and Reller, Horst (year unknown) p. 336 (refers to the entire section)

[4] Cf. Frei-Anthes, Henrike, Satan (AT), In: Bibelwissenschaften (https://www.bibelwissenschaft.de/wibilex/das-bibellexikon/lexikon/sachwort/informationen/details/satan-at/ch/329f71e94f3863bd3896dca1528020a4/ Last : 04/17/2017) 2007, without pagination

[5] Hope for all (Bible), Mt 5,43

[6] See Jentsch, Werner; Jetter, Hartmut; Kießig, Manfred and Reller, Horst (year unknown) p. 255

[7] See Jentsch, Werner; Jetter, Hartmut; Kießig, Manfred and Reller, Horst (year unknown) p. 257

[8] See.Wehr, Gerhard (1st edition: 1969; 22nd edition: 2013) p.9

[9] See Krapf, Pascal (2000) p.3

[10] See Wehr, Gerhard (22nd edition: 2013) p.19; Wehr cites a quote from "Memories, Dreams, Thoughts". This book was compiled and published by a student Jung (Aniela Jaffé) after his death.

[11] See Karpf, Pascal (2000) p.4

[12] Jung, Carl Gustav, Aion, Zurich 1951, p.281

[13] Cf. Gawlick, Ramona, Carl Gustav Jung Biography, in: Carl Gustav Jung.net (http://www.carl-gustav-jung.net/impressum.shtml Last: April 15, 2017) 2013, without pagination

[14] See Wehr, Gerhard (22nd edition: 2013) p.12

[15] See Wehr, Gerhard (22nd edition: 2013) p. 26, 28, 31 or Beck, Irene (1976) p. 26; here the views of Freud and Jung with regard to the concept of libido are compared

[16] See Krapf, Pascal (2000) page 3 and Wehr, Gerhard (22nd edition: 2013) page 89, 97

[17] See Wehr, Gerhard (22nd edition: 2013) p.15

[18] From Wehr, Gerhard (22nd edition: 2013) p. 125; This quote comes from a letter from Jung to his pupil Jolande Jacobi, which was taken from the work "The Path to Individuation" (Zurich 1965 by Jolande Jacobi, p.7)

[19] See Krapf, Pascal (2000) p.5

[20] See Wehr, Gerhard (22nd edition: 2013) pp.141ff

[21] Cf. Rieländer, Maximilian; Silberer, Michael (1969) 6, 8, 9

[22] Jung, Carl Gustav, About the archetypes of the collective unconscious, Zurich 1954, p.46

[23] See Beck, Irene (1976) pp. 5, 17, 18, 22

[24] See Beck, Irene (1976) pp. 22, 23

[25] For Jung, the self describes the divine power to which every human being should submit. In the self, unconscious and conscious factors meet. Jung mentions this constellation of I (the individual) and self and individuation (the recognition of the I in the self and the integration of evil) in many of his works.

[26] The definition of libido was another point of contrast between Jung and Freud. Freud saw in the libido exclusively the sexual urge, while Jung compared it with the energy: There are different forms that follow an empirical law but remain unknown in themselves. See Beck Irene (1976) p.26

[27] Beck, Irene (1976) p.30

End of the reading sample from 21 pages