Happiness Academy Online

A Blog about Psychology (Jungian), Spirituality and Happiness, By Roberto Lima Netto.

Evolution of the God Image

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Evolution of the God Image

God Image

God Image

God has changed over time. Before you get mad at me for this bold statement, let me explain that I am referring to the God image that we all carry inside our psyche and is reflected in the Bible. The Yahweh of the Old Testament is different from Jesus, the sweet God of the New Testament

The real God, the major force that created the Big-Bang, or, if you prefer, created the world in six days as told in Genesis, cannot be grasped by the human mind. This Force is unknowable, well above human thinking. Probably the only ones that can contact this major power are the mystics, but the human language hinders them from communicating effectively their experiences. The God that we may know, the God that we can talk about is what Jung called the Image of God we keep inside our psyche. Therefore, when we talk about the evolution of God, we refer to the image of God we hold inside our psyche, or, using a Jungian term, the Self. The God Image evolved through six stage:

Animism

Through human history we can discern six major stages in the evolution of the God-image. The fist one – Animism – was present during the hunting and gathering phase of civilization. Our primitive ancestrals saw spirits everywhere: animals, trees, mountains rivers, stones.

Matriarchy

A second period – Matriarchy – came when agriculture was discovered. The nourishing earth, responsible for the crops – the Great Mother– was the deity.

Patriarchy

A third period – Patriarchy – corresponded to the development of the cities and the starting of wars. The masculine element grew in importance and humanity turned to a polytheism dominated by male Gods. Of special notice for the Western Civilization are the Greek Gods, ruled by Zeus.

Tribal Monotheism

A fourth period – Tribal Monotheism – started, at least in the Western world, with the Hebrews. Out of the many deities that populated the near Middle East, Yahweh, the God of one little tribe of nomads came forth.

Universal Monotheism

The fifth period – Universal Monotheism – came forth from the religion of the Hebrews. Christianity was the result of the universalizing of the Hebrew religion, and dominates the Western world for the last twenty centuries.

The major difference of Yahweh and Jesus is that the first was complete, encompassing good and evil. A better way of expressing this idea is to say that Yahweh was above good and evil. He did not dwell in the duality, but in the unicity. The Christian religion, with his exclusively good God – Jesus – called forth the demon. In the duality we live, there is no cold without warm, no light without darkness, no good without evil. Clement of Rome, one of the first fathers of the church is quoted saying that God governs the world with Christ in the right hand and the devil in the left. As a consequence, the devil appears four times in the Old Testament and sixty six in the New Testament.

Individuation

The sixth period – Individuation – is dawning in the world with the development of individualism in human beings. More and more persons are distancing themselves from what we could call the herd-complex and looking for their individual ways to search for happiness and the fulfillment of their lives.

Edward Edinger in his excellent book “The Creation of Consciousness” states that “human society cannot long survive unless its members are psychologically contained within a central living myth.” The problem is that the Christian myth, that sustained Western Civilization for two thousand years, is losing its attraction. Its symbols are getting old, and not being renovated. As a result, civilization is are passing through a chaotic stage. Human beings are more and more materialists, and I venture to say that the God that rules the world today is money.

The purpose of life

A new myth in accordance with the individualist leanings of modern human beings is gaining recognition. This is the Arthurian Myth, that I call new because it started to spread in the Western world in the XII century, although it has ancient roots in the Celtic and Irish myths.

When Parsifal and the round table noble went in their search for the Grail, they were instructed to follow an individual path, one that had never been treaded. It was considered shameful to choose an already tried route. This advice matches perfectly with Jung psychology. For him, each person has to choose his exclusive path in his journey of individuation. This is the purpose of life.

I’m Roberto Lima Netto, a Jungian. I write Jungian books –  The Jungian BibleThe Little Prince for Grownups — and Psychological thrillers – The Amazon Shaman, – In Search of Happiness.

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I was involved in the business world, as an executive of large companies and university professor since recently. I was the president CSN, the largest steel-mill of Latin America and was responsible for its turn-around. My first encounter with the teachings of the Swiss psychologist C. G. Jung, one of the greatest geniuses of the 20th Century, was during my midlife crisis. Reading "Man and his Symbols" at that time, inspired me to go into Jungian analysis and to begin devouring the writings of Jung and his disciples. Since then, I've been studying psychology, especially Jungian psychology and, after reaching my seventies, I decided to become a full time writer, specializing on books on Jungian psychology and psychological thrillers. Every masterpiece of literature can be absorbed through multiple interpretations, and yield powerful insights for our daily lives. My first Jungian book, “The Little Prince for Grown-ups“, in its fourth edition in Brazil, was based on the famous book of Saint-Exupéry. The second, - “The Jungian Bible” - interprets some stories of the Old Testament and world myths. As I get older and, with a bit of luck, wiser, I want to pass on to the younger generations the lessons life has taught me. Jesus Christ taught that it was easier to sell ideas with stories. Following the Master, I published in English "The Amazon Shaman" and "In Search of Happiness", two psychological thrillers around the theme of happiness.

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