Reb Yakov Leib HaKohain, Founder & Spiritual Director
"As it gradually dawns on people, one by one, that the transformation of God is not just an interesting idea but is a living reality, it may begin to function as a new myth. Whoever recognizes this myth as his own personal reality will put his life in the service of this process. Such an individual offers himself as a vessel for the [continuing] incarnation of deity and thereby promotes the on-going transformation of God by giving Him human manifestation." -- Edward F. Edinger (The Creation of Consciousness: Jung's Myth for Modern Man, page 113.)
In other lectures I explain Jung's theorem of the "continuing incarnation of God" as each of us can participate in it; here I want to discuss this "incarnation" of God as a transformation of God, particularly as it applies to what others have dubbed our "Yalhakian" Neo-Sabbatian Kabbalah. This "transformation of God," as I point out in other lectures, is a corollary to Jung's notion of the "continuing incarnation." In fact, it is by the latter that the former takes place. In the words of Edward Edinger, Jung's "prophet" and chief exegete:
"As it gradually dawns on people, one by one, that the transformation of God is not just an interesting idea but is a living reality, it may begin to function as a new myth. Whoever recognizes this myth as his own personal reality will put his life in the service of this process. Such an individual offers himself as a vessel for the [continuing] incarnation of deity and thereby promotes the on-going transformation of God by giving Him human manifestation." (The Creation of Consciousness, page 113.)
But what, exactly, did Jung mean by this? What is this "transformation of God" he speaks of? To begin with we need to understand that for Jung -- as for Hinduism and Kabbalah as well -- God is "unchanging" only in the sense that He is eternal and not in the sense that He and His divine personality are fixed in place for all time. As I'll discuss later in more detail, the Bible itself -- beginning with the Old Testament and concluding with the Gospels -- is, among other things, a record of this gradual evolution in the mind and personality of God from the "angry" and "punitive" Yahweh to the "loving" and "forgiving" Abba, or Father of Christ. This is not to suggest that Yahweh doesn't display qualities of loving forgiveness, or that Abba isn't at times angry and punitive; it's only that the emphasis given to these qualities gradually shifts within God as He evolves as a result of his continuing encounter with mankind. And in that we find what Jung means by the "transformation" of God.
By His very nature, God is the "whole" of many "parts." In Him are all things, and out of Him all things come. For Jung, He is the "archetype of wholeness," the "center of totality," and finally, "a quantity that is supraordinate to the conscious ego . . . a personality we also are." ("Two Essays on Analytical Psychology", Collected Works 7, par. 274)
By the "transformation" of God, therefore, Jung is referring to that process by which the potential in the Divine Nature becomes actual through its continuing encounter with man. This means that when God created man, He "diminished" his own storehouse of Divine Qualities, such as loving kindness, by sharing them with his creation through the process of "Psychic Mitosis" that I described in earlier lectures. Therefore, God "re-owns" those aspects of Himself that He shared with His creation by incarnating in the latter "part" in order to restore Himself to His former "whole."
I've already mentioned that the Bible can be seen as the record of God's gradual transformation from the angry and punitive Yahweh of the Old Testament to the loving and compassionate Abba (or Father) of the Gospels. In Answer to Job, Jung describes and makes ready for our own adoption and use the intra-psychic process by which that transformation takes place through the continuing incarnation of the Self in man.
In the Old Testament we see the Divine Personality evolving from the undifferentiated Elohim (literally "Gods") of Genesis to the differentiated Ehyeh Asher Ehyeh, (or "I Am Who I Am") of Exodus, with several steps between as shown in the table below:
Thus, we see that as man's consciousness of himself evolves, so too does that of God as He introduces Himself to His creation and comes away from each encounter with increasing degrees of self-reflective awareness.
In the Ten Sephiroth of Kabbalah we find the same gradual transformation of God from the undifferentiated Ein-Sof to the highly differentiated Ten Sephiroth. In fact, in a letter to my mentor, James Kirsch, dated 18 November 1952, Jung says of this Kabbalistic model of divine transformation,
"Your question [regarding the role which Christ and the Christian mystery play in the Jewish psyche] is a very important one and I think I can understand its full import. I would not be able to give you a satisfactory answer, yet having studied the question as far as possible, I can call your attention to the extraordinary development of the Kabbalah. I am rather certain that the Sefiroth tree contains the whole symbolism of Jewish development parallel to the Christian idea." (Collected Letters, Vol. 2, pages 91-92.)
Thus, we see here that Jung draws a parallel between his idea of the transformation of God, vis-a-vis His continuing incarnation in man, and the differentiation of Ein-Sof through the Ten Sephiroth.
"The deifying effect of the Holy Ghost [Hebrew = Ruach HaKodesh] is naturally assisted by the imago Dei stamped on the elect. God, in the shape of the Holy Ghost, puts up his tent in man, for he is obviously minded to realize himself continually not only in Adam's descendants, but in an indefinitely large number of believers, and possibly in mankind as a whole." -- C.G. Jung (Answer to Job, par. 656)
In other lectures, I introduce the process of what I call, "giving a voice to God," whereby each of us can assist the Deity in His divine intention to "realize himself continually," as Jung puts it, "in an infinitely large number of believers." Before describing the deceptively simple procedures of this process in my next lecture, I'd briefly like to consider it's human as well as divine intention.
The Jewish philosopher and theologian, Martin Buber (who fell out with Jung, incidentally, after a prolonged visit with him) describes two basic reasons for pursuing the spiritual path. These can be classified as either "self improvement" or "world improvement." Of this, Buber writes:
"We have heard that everyone should search his own heart, choose his particular way, bring about the unity of his being, begin with himself; and now we are told [by Judaism] that man should forget himself. But if we examine this injunction more closely, we find that it is not only consistent with the others, but fits into the whole as a necessary link, as a necessary stage, in its particular place. One need only ask one question: 'What for?' What am I to choose my particular way for? What am I to unify my being for?
Thus, we exist not for the sake of our personal salvation, but "for the sake of the work [we are] destined to perform upon the world" -- for the sake of "giving a voice to God" so that He may become One with His creation by our uniting of the Conscious and Unconscious Realms of existence. Thus, "Jesus" (if he actually existed) is reputed to have said,
"When you make the inside like the outside and the outside like the inside . . . then will you enter [The Kingdom of Heaven]." (Nag Hammadi Library: The Gospel of Thomas II, 2,22)
It is this trick of consciousness -- this making of the "inside like the outside" -- that every avatar from Krishna to Sabbatai Zevi (and even including C.G. Jung) was able to "perform upon the world" and came to teach the rest of us how so that "God will be One and His name One," so that, in Buber's words (which echo those of Jung's with which I began this essay):
"[In Kabbalah] the Shekinah . . . the conception of the divine 'indwelling,' [is] a hypostasis or emanation that joins itself to the human race [and thereby also becomes] exiled from Paradise . . . and wanders with it over the earth -- it too means only the divine participation in the destiny of His sinful and suffering creation; the work of the 'stilling' of His suffering." (Ibid pages 35-36)
It is for this "stilling" of God's "suffering" -- for the rectification of His separation from Himself -- for returning Him to His premundane state of Unity from which He has fallen by His act of creation -- that we are called upon to make Tikkun and "give a voice to God." As the Talmud states, "Make God's will your will, so that he may make his will your will; sacrifice your will to God's will so that he will place the will of others under yours." (Pirke Avoth 2:4)