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).



  • Brilliant lecture, thank you!

    Is it possible to get a bibliography of the works you cite in this episode (God and the Hierarchy of Authority)?

    Thank you!


  • Josh Shepperd

    We need to help Jordan come up with a better word for dominance hierarchy. I’m thinking competence hierarchy, virtue hierarchy, community hierarchy, cardinal hierarchy, etc…. What suggestions do you have?

    • Let Me Recover My Sight -Mk 10

      Professor Peterson has already started using “competence hierarchy,” I’ve noticed. But he still means “dominance hierarchy.”

    • Let Me Recover My Sight -Mk 10

      See the comment “THE TERM “DOMINANCE HIERARCHY”: ITS ORIGIN & MEANING” found under this video: Chimpanzees and Dominance Hierarchies | Jordan B Peterson Jordan B Peterson Clips Published on Aug 10, 2017

  • Paul Green

    Hi Jordan.
    Just seen your talk on this and felt I had to track you down. Like Brian below I was captivated by the question you ask in this talk. My view, fwiw: The person who brings order to chaos is the person who abandons emulation (either of others or themselves- as in practise) to live on their wits; in a dynamic and responsive game with the universe at large. I wonder if it’s useful to think of this person as the archetype of the Fool. Like Brian below, my instinct is that they are fully embracing themselves here with total compassion for the self and others at this moment, allowing themselves to act without the tyranny of rules, conventions or even ego. I think that the dynamics of such contexts could be slow rather than fast- in song-writing, painting or poetry rather than gymnastics for example. This changes the nature of the struggle to realise this self. Either way there are punitive social consequences for failure here summarised in the paradox of the Fool. Just some of the many thoughts provoked by your talk. Thanks for that.

  • David Wall

    Really been enjoying your series on the bible. Something that might be of interest is how the tetrahedron model is a good description of the direct relationships between the individual, group, highest good (God), and nature. It’s a simple way to represent all that for what it’s worth. Some more about it here: https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/individual-group-design-model-david-wall

  • Dylan

    The rise of Anti-America

    Chapter 1
    The fall of academia
    Colleges and universities Have historically been the birth place of intellectual supremacy and higher learning. More recently children are raised to believe that university is the single most important factor in obtaining some extent of success. But those who believe this are far from the truth, in America at the very least. Success is born from something becoming more elusive and more often overlooked. Hard work is equivalent to the ability to growth and the individuals’ ability to use critical thinking, creativity, and luck is the leverage of that ability clearly. More and more colleges and universities absorb Americas brightest youth into an indoctrination of Marxism on steroids. Social Justice as described in critical theory refers to an extra juridical concept of fairness that is focused on exposing and ending social inequalities. This term has since become more predominant then the originating source, but for those who don’t know what critical theory is I will describe it in the foot note. (a philosophical approach to culture, and especially to literature, that seeks to confront the social, historical, and ideological forces and structures that produce and constrain it. The term is applied particularly to the work of the Frankfurt School.) The problem with this “theory” is its origins at the Frankfurt school. And the American dissenters who coin this “theory”.
    More and more American campuses are experiencing radical revolutionary ripples that forecast a much more dangerous future. To be clear on the bias of my writing it is important to note that my current political views are on the right of a modern political spectrum. And the reason this is important is because in the past my political views were on the left. As a young adult, I leaned to the left because I felt it was proper for my personal agenda in life to lean to the side that is “progressive” and pro-Insert values here. But I moved to the right more and more as the layers of the left were peeled back and I finally realized how corrupt and dangerous the leftist ideology is in modern politics. And what peeled back the layers of leftist nonsense? The academic fairy land that has raised the most unsure, sensitive, aggressive, and ideologically dangerous collection of intellectual humans, this is quite possibly a very new phenomenon that has been birthed by a perfect storm of Marxism, Nazi pressure, social justice, and our own advances as an entire planet.
    So what could we attribute the fall of the colleges and universities in the 21st century to? Let’s re-iterate some of my previous points in more depth. Inside the college campuses today it is important to note that the students value as students and scholars themselves is decreased sharply as more and more colleges are opening themselves up to a greater number of students. This increase in students actually cripples the scholars’ ability to obtain a position in their chosen field because the competition for the same job is also increased. The more people that can efficiently work a skill, field or trade directly influences if not solely the value and demand for that job. As for the perfect storm that has caused the chaotic environment inside of the American academies? Let’s start with Marxism, which found a home in the hearts of many scholars in the LATE 1800’S and still exists albeit vastly decreased in popularity after the vast amounts of data analyzing why and how it has failed and been a core belief in communism and the slaughter of millions. The Marxist movement shares many similarities with the current leftist movement and is extremely dangerous. Apologists for Marxism could argue that communism is not true Marxism and instead a flawed offshoot. But this would be incorrect, Marxism is the core belief in communism, the force by which communism is realized. On college campuses or fairy land students of Marxism daydreamed about the perfect utopia that Marxism would bring and how everybody in the world needed to conform to it. on our college campuses in modern America students dream about social justice and its utopia and all the good it would do. The problem here is that in order for social justice to work like Marxism it need to be enforced, and who better to enforce social Marxism, err I mean social justice than the progressive left. For many years the colleges have been becoming more and more left leaning as proffers and educators on the left either lost the interest to teach or were slowly forced out by passive aggressive notes and nudges out the door. But the students as a result of this cycle become indoctrinated into left ideology. Not because they believe it or want to be a liberal, but because the intellectual diversity just isn’t there, the student force their opinions onto anyone who doesn’t agree with them and bombards them with hate on the internet, using force. All the while these students degrade the outsider as being a Nazi, and hating equality, a bigot a racist. Which is a tactic used by the same individuals who coined the term critical theory. But what is interesting is that these same people are actually introducing the racist and degrading policies, the left is the side that introduces “progressive policies” that suppress child birth in “oppressed” groups and that want to give social welfare to those who are less privileged. So that covers Marxism and how schools pressure one group into being “Nazis” but what about social justice, what about the tech we’ve created? Social justice is Marxism, like communism except social justice is an offshoot ideology rather than a political government. Just replace the words economic equality with social equality and you have what I would call Marxism 2.0 it’s on steroids because not only is this being fueled by the power house of modern civilizations intellectual groups, but it’s also equipped with the world’s richest financial backers like George Soros and has all new modern-day tech to disperse its propaganda and enslave not just America but the entire world. If this sounds like a conspiracy theory I think you need to simply use a search engine like Bing and research. Everything I have talked about up to this point. The American way of life is being threatened and nobody wants to pay attention. The enemies that America faces at this moment in history are some of the gravest dangers that other fallen societies have ever faced. War, Terrorism, Powerful enemies creating diplomatic alliances, Problems with heads of state and subversion, Economic ruin, and ideologues crying about your imaginary offence to somebody else’s culture. A perceived sleight of hand that is used to undermine an entire race of human’s existence. Its beyond insane, but it is happening and we are being told it is not.

    Chapter 2
    God, where have our morals gone?
    It’s bittersweet to see the social justice warriors eat their own feet while trying to advocate for an oppressed group that claims to not be oppressed but since the SJW’s are in college and we are not, they must be right and we must be wrong. But there is another factor that exists. It is not a Fairy tale of the son of God who walked on earth and was born a man, died a man and was reborn for mankind. But something underlying the fabric of modern civilizations. The Holy Bible, a book considered of great and holy importance, in the story of man and how we will one day ascend from the material bounds of the universe to an immortal dimension to be with the holy trinity. It is Hope, we have done what is right as mankind with this book and its predecessors as our guides, Our moral compass. And it has been all but embraced in the 21st century. The very moral standard upon which our America has been built upon has fallen to skepticism and ridicule. A design that should not be considered a choice of our own moreover the lures of modern technology offer us more substance in our lives, more information to consume then ever possible before, but none entertain the idea of bringing you closer to the Holy Bible. There is no advocate for your morals to remain upstanding and for chivalry to be reborn. We are taught to eat the other dog, or get eaten. It happens for the same reason that colleges are almost completely liberal institutions. Contempt for the bible and for the rules and guide laid down within breeds more contempt for the bible and the rules and guides within, this rich book full of wonders and miracles, history and promise, hope and suffering is sadly a stranger to more and more Americans, why? Because it holds no truth they say, or because God doesn’t exist. And so, history could look back on our generation as the generation that killed belief, and honor, and tradition. We will be looked at with prying eyes, looking to unlock our society’s secrets as being the generation that laid down its morals and gave into sexual perversions, and dangerous ideas. Where have our Morales gone? They left us with our God.
    Chapter 3
    The atrocities of the democratic party
    Traditionally the democratic party in The United States advocated slavery, yes, the democratic party fought for slavery, owned the majority of slaves, and was in fact the white supremacists party during the United States civil war. Now in modern day politics something that should be considered a modern day political wonder is the fact that the democratic party has flipped the tables on the American republican party. Putting the mask of political correctness on and claiming the republican party is actually the racist anti-black party. The wonder in this is how it was architected and actually achieved. If you want more details on how the democratic party has done this just Bing search republican and democratic roles in the civil rights movements. You will notice that the democratic party suddenly switched their stance on slavery, this is referred to as the big switch, and it is a lie, the republican party has always been the pro American party and that includes for blacks, and the liberal party still to this day refers to blacks as minorities, and goes a step further by creating political correctness. To really drive the point home, consider the planned parenthood program in the united states, its creator, a racist, and democrat. Now when planned parenthood was created its purpose was to murder black babies. Minorities babies. It’s a disgusting program and is hailed by the democratic party, why? Because they are the modern slave owners. Woodrow Wilson was correct, those negroes are and will be voting for the democratic party for some time. This should call massive upheavals to the democratic party, Americans who are descended from American slavery have serious ground to strongly oppose the democratic party so why don’t they? Parlor tricks, the democratic party has used political savviness to reform its appearance, and outwardly appear to favor minorities, the same thing is happening in Canada where the liberal party offers refuge and citizenship to refugees for what? Votes. But the difference? The democratic party creates humiliating laws and policy and intentionally creates divide between black Americans and white Americans, and the liberal party nurtures the refugees while the conservative party fights to strengthen laws and prevent refugees from moving into the country without being properly vetted. The point? The democratic party uses small “favors” to gain the vote of black Americans essentially keeping them enslaved. By making them rely on their “favors.”
    The American democratic party was victim to one of the biggest upsets in political history, Donald trump over Hilary Clinton.

  • 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!!