Episode 21 – God and the Hierarchy of Authority

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Lecture 3 from my Psychological Significance of the Biblical Stories Lecture Series.

Although I thought I might get to Genesis II in this third lecture, and begin talking about Adam & Eve, it didn’t turn out that way. There was more to be said about the idea of God as creator (with the Word as the process underlying the act of creation). I didn’t mind, because it is very important to get God and the Creation of the Universe right before moving on 🙂 .

In this lecture, I tried to outline something like this: for anything to be, there has to be a substrate (call it a potential) from which it emerges, a structure that provides the possibility of imposing order on that substrate, and the act of ordering, itself. So the first is something like the precosmogonic chaos (implicitly feminine); the second, God the Father; the third, what the Christian West has portrayed as the Son (the Word of Truth).



  • Brian

    At about 1:24 in the talk, you say that the individual who is the master at being invited to play all sets of games is the same person who goes forthrightly into the unknown to conquer chaos. But you weren’t sure about why that was. The reason this is the same person is that the skill required to get invited to play all sets of games and the skill required to conquer chaos is the same skill – it’s the ability to demolish the self, incorporate the previously unknown, and then reconstitute the self.

  • Jules Maher

    Dr Peterson,

    Thank you for this lecture series. It is one of the most unique Biblical studies I have encountered and I’m enjoying your insights very much.

    I’m writing in regards to a specific response you had at the end of this lecture with regards to the “embodiment of psychological truth of the Bible”, and the question seemed to refer to 1 Corintians 15:14.

    I am hoping that C S Lewis may be helpful in this regard. As an atheist who was a lover of the Nordic myths, he became convinced of the “myth that became fact”. Two of his works “God in the Dock” and “Miracles” deal with this.

    From the “God in the Dock” essay “Myth Became Fact”:
    “For this is the marriage of heaven and earth: perfect myth and perfect fact: claiming not only our love and our obedience, but also our wonder and delight, addressed to the savage, the child, and the poet in each one of us no less than to the moralist, the scholar, and the philosopher.”

    From “Miracles”
    “Men are reluctant to pass over from the notion of an abstract and negative deity to the living God. I do not wonder. Here lies the deepest tap-root of Pantheism and of the objection to traditional imagery. It was hated not, at bottom, because it pictured Him as a man but because it pictured Him as king, or even as warrior. The Pantheist’s God does nothing, demands nothing. He is there if you wish for Him, like a book on a shelf. He will not pursue you. There is no danger that at any time heaven and earth should flee away at His glance. If He were the truth, then we could really say that all the Christian images of kingship were a historical accident of which our religion ought to be cleansed. It is with a shock that we discover them to be indispensable. You have had a shock like that before, in connection with smaller matters—when the line pulls at your hand, when something breathes beside you in the darkness. So here; the shock comes at the precise moment when the thrill of life is communicated to us along the clue we have been following. It is always shocking to meet life where we thought we were alone. “Look out!” we cry, “it’s alive.” And therefore this is the very point at which so many draw back—I would have done so myself if I could—and proceed no further with Christianity. An “impersonal God”—well and good. A subjective God of beauty, truth and goodness, inside our own heads—better still. A formless life-force surging through us, a vast power which we can tap—best of all. But God Himself, alive, pulling at the other end of the cord, perhaps approaching at an infinite speed, the hunter, king, husband – that is quite another matter. There comes a moment when the children who have been playing at burglars hush suddenly: was that a real footstep in the hall? There comes a moment when people who have been dabbling in religion (“Man’s search for God”!) suddenly draw back. Supposing we really found Him? We never meant it to come to that! Worse still, supposing He had found us?”

  • Sarah

    Sorry to bomb this comment section, but I don’t know how else to be heard……

    How about letting us know when you are going to be speaking? A schedule, perhaps, on the website?
    You visited Vancouver not too long again and I had no idea, even though I live close by. I would have loved to have seen the talk, and my son NEEDS to hear what you have to say.

  • Kevin

    The soundcloud upload isn’t showing a download button. Usually the download button next to the share button.

    • Kevin

      Thank you so much!!