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The Quarterly Journal of St. Philaret’s Institute

ISSN: 2658-7599 (print)
2713-3141 (online)

Nikolai Berdyaev and Carl Jung On God’s “Need” for Human Person

Romilo Knežević, Dr. Sci. (Theology), Innovation Center of the University of Nis; Faculty of Philology, University of Belgrade
С. 9–46
DOI: 10.25803/26587599_2023_46_9
The article deals with the possibility of developing religious thought and church teaching in the light of the influence of the human personality on the change in the image of God and on the capacity for the divine cognition. The generally accepted ideas of God’s being, based on Greek thought and the sacred patristic heritage, do not allow God to need anything or anyone else, since this would imply His incompleteness and imperfection. The concepts by N. A. Berdyaev and C. G. Jung of personality presented in this article challenge this view and suggest that God has a need for man. At the same time, Berdyaev only designates the idea of God’s “need” as a need for communion with man, while Jung, using the biblical story of Job, offers a detailed description of how man’s response to ­Yahweh can change the image of God himself. In this regard, unconscious forms such as dreams, visions and epiphanies are more reliable accounts of the nature of God than theological constructions.
The first part of the study identifies the essential features of personality in Berdyaev’s concept. It reveals the thesis that divine perfection manifests itself in God’s aspiration for His otherness as well as in His creation of another person, understood as an existential centre with an inexhaustible potential to generate novelty. The second part discusses Jung’s idea of individuation as the most ­important characteristic of personality — the event when an individual activates his consciousness and is ready to accept the mutability of God’s being and the consequent possibility of new revelations. It is suggested that although Jung’s approach is within the realm of psychoanalysis, it may also have implications for theology.
Keywords: theology, anthropology, personality traits, existential centre, individuation, Berdyaev, Jung
For citation: Knežević R. A. (2023). “Nikolai Berdyaev and Carl Jung On God’s Need for ­Human Person”. The Quarterly Journal of St. Philaret’s Institute, iss. 46, pp. 9–46. https://doi.org/10.25803/26587599_2023_46_9.

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