Transformation of the Light:
Jungian Thought and 20th Century Friends
by Margery Post Abbott

Jungian thought and the methods of modern psychology pervade the everyday language of all branches of the Religious Society of Friends. “He’s an INFP” or “She’s an ESTJ” are phrases which might be heard at Pendle Hill or in classes on prayer at George Fox University. This cryptic code is part of the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI), an instrument for assessing personality types initially constructed based on C. G. Jung’s theory. The MBTI can be used by those advocating counseling as a way to mental health and wholeness; by pastors seeking to advise church members on ways of prayer; or in attempts to explain the differences among Friends. Are all liberal Friends introverts with strong intuitive capacity who need long periods of silence? Are evangelicals extraverts who rely on the experiences of the senses such as song, vocal prayer, and the energy of fellow worshipers to know God? Such approaches to our faith are at once helpful as tools for understanding and detrimental as stereotypes or substitutes for deeper approaches to God.

Jungian thought has also been the focus of theological debate among Friends. Is God totally immanent? Is the “Self” or the “Collective Unconscious” another way of speaking of God? Must we consider God as “Other” and transcendent? Is God “Thou” or “It”? These somewhat simplified questions speak to the varied theological approaches encompassed by Quakerism today. There are Friends to argue every position and others who are clear that the process of setting up dichotomies is in itself a false approach which restricts the actions of the Infinite to our own finite understanding. Some Friends welcome the concept of unity with the collective unconscious as unity with all Creation and others are equally clear that the Creator and the creation are forever distinct.

The strong language evident in Quaker Religious Thought articles about Jung illustrates how deeply positions are held. Similarly, the ready use of psychological terms in everyday conversation indicates how thoroughly the language and thought of psychology permeate contemporary culture.

Today, I will explore some of the ways in which psychological theory, in particular the thought of C. G. Jung, has influenced the Religious Society of Friends in the twentieth century. I will consider first some of the cultural changes, then focus on theology, in particular the theology of the Inward Light. I use the latter because the Inner (or Inward) Light is at once a distinctive theology of Friends and a place where changing thought is readily visible. The equally interesting topic of how the discipline of psychology has informed Quaker practice will have to be addressed at another time.

The Changing Culture

Then a few members decided to spend the next season studying Jung and his relation to our Quaker faith. My analyst, Dr. Tina Keller, participated. That spring she arranged for us to go to Zurich and meet with Dr. Jung. He invited us to his home . . . and for three or four hours he discussed with us the relationship of Quakerism and Jungian psychology. Jung agreed that the Quaker idea of the Inner Light was real. I remember his saying that if he had an early choice of Christian communities, he probably would have picked Quakerism.1

This afternoon tea took place in Switzerland in the 1930s. It is illustrative of the affinity between Quakers and Carl Jung. The theories related to understanding the human mind and emotions provide a glimpse at the relationship of Quaker thought and twentieth century secular thought. In the latter half of this century the theories and language of C. G. Jung have become part of what one might call the “background assumptions” of Anglo-American culture. They influence what is taught at Western Evangelical Seminary as well as course work at Woodbrooke.

However, the growing popular acceptance of psychology has been one of many factors contributing to the dis-ease many liberal Friends feel with doctrinal Christianity. By mid-century, belief in the power of various sciences to explain the world helped create a period when belief in the power of God became “passé” particularly in the more intellectual circles. Behavioral scientists were often intent on preserving the fundamental rule of objectivity of their work and the scientist was seen as one “who kept free of entangling commitments, to remain in a state of suspended judgment so far as many of life’s most serious issues are concerned.”2

For many people this meant keeping themselves free of any religious commitment and refusing to take Christianity seriously except as a social or historical phenomenon. Freudian thought served to deepen this distrust. David McClelland, a respected researcher in the area of personality, believed this anti-religious bias extended widely in intellectual circles and found it in striking contrast to their infatuation with psychoanalysis. “Psychoanalysis in particular,” he said, “believes in the ‘redeeming power of the analytic’ in a way which many Christians ministers might envy.”3

The period in which McClelland was writing, the 1950s and 1960s, was a time when many Friends were focused on issues of civil rights and the peace testimony, leaving the mystery and theology of Quakerism in the background. Yet evidence exists showing a significant distrust of psychology among Friends in mid-century.4

In 1970, Maurice Friedman noted how dominant Freudian thought still was despite Freud’s “dogmatic and simply negative approach to religion....” In particular, Friedman pointed out that “the search for linked causes, the distrust of the conscious... the loss of trust in the immediacy of our feelings, intuitions and insights, the loss of trust in our own good faith and that of others” was part of the legacy of Freud.

In contrast to Freud, Jung provided a welcome entree to people of faith who wished to make use of the tools and approaches of the new sciences of the mind. By 1975, Ralph Hetherington’s Swarthmore Lecture on the power of psychology and consideration of the Inward Light was a significant indicator of a shifting understanding. By the 1990s, many people, including some psychologists and counselors, are coming to appreciate mysticism and affirm the relation of the spiritual life to mental health.

The strand of positive interaction between Quakers and psychology, primarily Jungian psychology, gained significant strength in the 1930s and 1940s. The Friends Conference on Religion and Psychology held its first meeting in 1943, despite the discomfort it generated among some Friends. Its initial roots were in a small group, including Howard Brinton, which met at the 1937 World Conference of Friends and started a mimeographed bulletin which became the journal Inward Light. This psychological approach was declared to be the joint legacy of William James and Rufus Jones.5 The actual Conference started with a gathering on “The Nature and Laws of Our Spiritual Life” in 1943. A self-described “manifesto” was signed by Elined Kotschnig and three other women and was included in the call to the Conference.6 This was approved by the Connecticut Valley Association of Friends before its release and became the frame of reference for the Conference.6 The manifesto included four main points:

1. The heritage of the Society of Friends in its group religious life, especially its mode of worship.... Even now are we not falling short of our full efficacy in commending it to the harassed contemporary world, which sorely needs to learn how to live with itself and how to be quiet and know that God is?
2. The development of the individual inner life.... how much instruction have we ever received in this most difficult art? ... We know of some, who joined the Society of Friends hoping for this very thing and being disappointed, turned to the East for guidance.
3. The pastoral function of the Friends Meeting.... What help and training do we give to meeting workers in this most important of all their tasks?
4. Training in pastoral psychology is coming more and more to the fore among our sister bodies in the Christian church who maintain professional pastors. We cannot afford to lag behind in availing ourselves of all the knowledge obtainable concerning the perils of the soul.

Despite the strong interest in pastoral counseling voiced in the manifesto, and which drew to the Conference many conscientious objectors working in mental hospitals, this practical focus was not sustained The topics turned more to mysticism, the tension between opposites (darkness and light, male and female, freedom and limitation), prayer, theology and personal growth. In its first fifty years of meeting, the Conference attracted speakers such as Paul Tillich, Ira Progoff and Joseph Campbell, as well as Quaker stalwarts like Henry Cadbury, Calvin Keene and Howard Brinton.

Psychology and the Theology of the Inward Light

The doctrine of the Inward Light offers one vehicle to consider ways in which some twentieth century Friends have used the language and insights of psychology to describe their own faith. This process started early in the century. Rufus Jones found Robert Barclay’s discussion of the Inward Light in The Apology, “unspiritual and contrary to all the known facts of psychology” by making the Seed something foreign to man’s nature and leaving man and the Divine forever a duality. Jones believed the true Quaker message was that:

...man’s spiritual nature is rooted and grounded in the Divine Life. The truth which comes will then be no injected revelation, no foreign interruption, but the genuine fruit and output of a personal life which unites in itself the finite and the infinite in one ever-expanding personality. The Inner Light, the true Seed. is no foreign substance added to an undivine human life. It is neither human nor Divine. It is the actual inner self formed by the union of a Divine and a human element in a single undivided life.8

Rufus Jones was influenced to some degree by William James’s writing and was directly taught by James’s friend Josiah Royce, whose psychological study of Fox also influenced James’s work. Stephen Kent noted that Jones and many others failed to pick up on and expand Royce’s insight into ways the social and political context affected George Fox’s mental health. Jones and James both saw Fox’s psychological distress as sensitizing him to religious and mystical experiences which helped him channel his immense energy into the work for which he is most known. Rufus Jones, however, criticized Jung’s work Modern Man in Search of a Soul for making the soul elusive and hard to find and telling us that there is “dirt and darkness and evil in this psychic hinterland.”9 Jones also decried both the Augustinian view of original sin and the scientific process of rationalization as “major assaults on the dignity and grandeur of the human soul.”10

William James, and to some extent Rufus Jones, both used the scientific and objective tools of psychology to understand the past and thus illuminate the present. Certainly both have greatly influenced the thinking of many Friends throughout the twentieth century.11 My research indicates that most liberal Friends today would, like Jones, reject Barclay’s separation of humanity and God. Original sin has little relevance for them. Some reject it in favor of Matthew Fox’s concept of “original blessing.” Others find their own definition in relation to our inherent tendency to be self-centered or other ways of articulating human weaknesses and failings.12 The acceptance of psychological, rather than the doctrinal, explanations of human nature greatly influences how liberal Friends understand the workings of the Light within.13

The question of duality—is God part of the “Self” and somehow part of the Psyche and known inwardly as Jung asserted, or is God clearly “Other’ than humankind?—is one of the significant points of disagreement among Friends. Calvin Keene, commenting on a paper by Maurice Friedman on Jung in the 1970 edition of Quaker Religious Thought, agreed with Friedman that the Psyche does not define the limits of reality. He found that while knowledge and revelation may come through the Psyche, the Self does not carry the power of salvation. “God may speak through the psyche,” he went on to say, “but the light which is experienced is the Light from beyond, not a light generated from oneself on any level, or native to one’s own depths.”15

In contrast, Elined Kotschnig, in the same issue, argued that Jung’s concept of the Self (with a capital “S”) is what Paul refers to in Galatians 2:20 when he says “It is no longer I who live, but it is Christ who lives in me.” She went on to extend this unity of meaning with the Hindu concept of Divinity as well. She spoke also to the disagreement between Martin Buber and Jung by asking whether Jung’s “collective unconscious” is an “It” or a “Thou.” She saw this same query among Friends in the disagreement about speaking of God as “The Light” or speaking of Christ Jesus. In both instances, she saw people taking two parts of a whole and creating a dichotomy where none should exist.16

Donald Broadribb, a former pastor in New York Yearly Meeting and a devotee of Jung, made explicit some of the ways Friends use concepts of Jung to reconsider Christianity while teaching Middle East Studies at the University of Melbourne in 1968. Broadribb defined “myth” as a pictorial way of describing spiritual matters. The Christian doctrine of Jesus Christ as both fully human and fully divine is a example of such a “myth.” In Jungian terms this doctrine was a way of saying Jesus’s nature was not divided but both the divine and human were integrated in him. This doctrine brought us back to the garden of Eden when humanity was first created, in the “image of God.”17 Broadribb traces the conception of God as Light from King Akhenaton of Egypt through Moses to the Gospel of John and finds the Light to be central to the founding of three monotheistic religions. He notes that a psychologist might consider that the Egyptians “projected” an inward, subjective experience onto the outward feature sunlight by worshipping the sun as god. Moses in his experience of the burning bush and Paul on the road to Damascus both experienced strong visions but conceptualized them outwardly. George Fox also had strong visions but realized that they were experienced inwardly, which “taught him that he must look nowhere else than within himself, to find God....” In contrast, Broadribb noted, for most of us, the phrase “inner light” acts as a metaphor, but still acknowledges the reality of the visions of Paul and Fox.

Broadribb argued that because Quakers understand the Inward Light to be always present, “the true light which enlightens every person” [John 1.9],it falls into the psychological category of an archetype. As an archetype, it is “one of the ‘given’ features of the human soul, an aspect of the soul which is present from the beginning, not accidentally acquired during our career in life.”18

Archetypes are always present even though we, as individuals, are not always aware of them or able to connect with them. Archetypes, and thus the Inner Light, are also universal to the human condition. Broadribb’s definition of the Light has aspects in common with early Friends’ understanding but owes more to Jung than to the Gospels.

Broadribb took the position that many names exist for the Inner Light, noting that some call it Christ and that Paul Tillich called it the “centered self,” a Jungian term. Broadribb believed this was a good way to describe the Quaker understanding. Not only did Tillich make clear the universal nature of this experience, Friends long used the phrase “centering down” for the process of clearing our minds and opening our hearts. Broadribb saw centering down as a process of reaching the depths of the soul, not of a transcendent God. He delights in the apostle Paul, declaring how little interest Paul had in the person of Jesus and that Christ, for him, was the inward experience: the “inner light.” Broadribb believed that Christians overly concerned with doctrine make the same mistake that the Egyptians did of attributing the inward vision to the outward, historic Jesus. Neither the apostle Paul nor George Fox made that mistake, Broadribb asserted. Using the term “the centered self.” as Tillich did, avoids this problem of projection. Broadribb concluded by stating that the relationship of the inner light to God is an unanswerable question. He voiced a perspective common to a number of Friends today when he said:

There is no such thing as a Christian experience of God, or a Muslim knowledge of God, or of a Buddhist perception. There is only the human experience of what it means to be a whole self. We speak of and think of this experience in words and images which are familiar to us from the tradition in which we have been reared, but we must not mistake the words and images for the experience.19

More recently the British teacher and counselor, Jack H. Wallis, has written a comprehensive book Jung and the Quaker Way20 which gives a sense of how thoroughly popular perceptions of Jung’s thought have penetrated Quaker belief. Where Broadribb sought to show how the Inner Light was compatible with Jungian thought, Wallis raised hard questions for Friends. Even as he spoke to the compatibilities between Jung’s work and Quaker theology, Wallis used Jung to challenge British Friends. Like Fox, he urged Friends to consider the nature of evil and to become more sophisticated in their discernment of feelings and inward “voices.” Wallis, however, answered out of a different context than his forebears.

At the start of his book. Wallis juxtaposed quotations from the Advices of London Yearly Meeting and from C. G. Jung. Faith and Practice stated:

Be ready at all times to receive fresh light from whatever quarter it may come; approach new theories with discernment. Remember our testimony that Christianity is not a notion but a way.21

Jung wrote similarly that:

It is high time we realized that it is pointless to praise the light and preach it if nobody can see it. It is much more needful to teach people the art of seeing.22

Wallis noted how “light” is often used as a metaphor which pervades everyday speech in words of “seeing” and “throwing light” on an issue. He pointed out its use by some Friends, who speak of following the Inner Light as a lamp which lights our way, and as the destination of enlightenment as sought by Buddhists. Wallis believed Jung can help us recover a deeper meaning of the Light.

In addition to considering the ways Jung’s thought illuminates faith, Wallis challenged some of British Friends’ understanding of what Quakerism is about. Wallis saw Jung’s work as a challenge to those Friends who would look to their faith only as a comfort and not as a source of transformation, wholeness and growth. In contrast to Rufus Jones a half century earlier, Wallis saw a richness in Jung’s concepts of both light and dark within. His work recalls Fox’s words on the ocean of darkness and the ocean of light, but with a different meaning. Crucial to the Jungian perspective, he wrote, is the physical and metaphorical understanding that light by its nature throws a shadow. “Indeed, light has no meaning without darkness, or good without evil.” God encompasses all, both good and evil, and is the union of opposites. This view of the light and the dark would be alien to Fox who knew that the ocean of light would overcome the darkness, yet Wallis noted that Jung believed that there is a voice which summons us and directs us in the conscience, where God speaks.

Just as Fox was sure the Light was not the conscience, but rather illumined it, Jung also saw this inner voice as more than conscience. Jung also recognized a voice of evil within, “a darkness that is more potent than the mere absence of light and the personal shadow we wish to escape from.” Fox told all to look to the evils within themselves, but knew that only the Light of Christ could overcome sin. Jung saw mental health coming out of the tensions between opposites and asserted that the problem for religious people is to come to terms with this voice of evil.23 Wallis pointed out that it is the spiritual understanding of the light, and its shadow, the recognition of suffering and evil. which Jung brought into the forefront in the “chaotic confusion and unrest of present day life.”24

Both the understanding of the inward darkness and the need for transformation are Jungian concepts which Wallis saw as important for Quakerism. Original sin is part of the human condition, not in the Augustinian sense, but in the reality of the evil within which is universal. Developing awareness of the inner voice that urges us to evil and learning to recognize and follow the voice which teaches us the way to righteousness and love, is one of Jung’s important reminders which would sound familiar to early Friends.25

In Jungian thought, discernment of the inner voices is essential both to mental health and spiritual wholeness. Wallis remarked that we should welcome the clash of opposites. The resultant spark provides “the union from which new life springs.”26 We must choose which voice to follow, as Friends have always known. Jung believed that if we do not accept the reality of the inward darkness, we can all too easily project it on others without realizing the damage this does. Wallis described two of the great gifts of psychotherapy as; listening with unconditional acceptance of the inner experience, and pointing out the choices for right behavior. Recognition of the reality of our own sin and undergoing a deep transformation are part of the process of spiritual and emotional growth. In this, Wallis and Jung bring us back closer to the understanding of early Friends.

Jung saw Christianity as unable to deal with the momentous problems of modern life. He saw our social goals as aimed at making life more comfortable, not better, leaving progress a hollow thing. Jung also believed that the churches have failed to cultivate the spirit or safeguard the integrity of the individual against mass marketing and ldquo;mass-mindedness.” Jung, like William James, saw great lack in those churches which focus too strongly on the good and do not accept the propensity of all humanity to sin. Wallis suggested that many modern British Friends fall into this category and thus asks:

Can we accept both the Inner Light and Inner Dark? We speak sometimes of the Inner Voice and indeed experience it as a reality, as the prompting of God within our heart. Can we accept the possible reality of a second Inner Voice also?27

The Inner Light is different than the peak experience or direct awareness of the numinous in the mystical tradition. Rufus Jones and Jack Wallis both agree on this. Wallis defines them as two separate ways Quakers understand religious experience, with the former being more readily accepted as coming from God.28 Wallis found that Quakers are at ease with Jung’s assertion that the unconscious is the medium of religious experience. He went on to conclude that the conscious and unconscious can meet as the sparks of opposites generating true creativity in Meeting for Worship and in business meeting.29

Concluding Thoughts

Jungian thought is one of many forces reshaping the Religious Society of Friends. Particularly among liberal Friends, many threads of twentieth century thought, from the work of Teilhard de Chardin to Asian religions, are influencing the way Friends understand the Inward Light. Jung’s voice is one of many which are affirming faith and calling individuals to be centered in the Other in a way which people who have rejected Christianity can hear. Though active Jungians seem to be a very small group among Friends, many individuals have been exposed to Jungian thought or tools inspired by Jung such as the MBTI. Unprogrammed Meetings for Worship have provided a place where individuals can live out this deep longing for a life grounded in holiness and a passion for justice. The openness to a range of beliefs in these Meetings gives much room for individual approaches to theology and incorporation of a multitude of concepts such as those proposed by Jung.

In the twentieth century, anecdotal evidence strongly suggests the loss of much of early Friends’ skills in knowing both the vagaries of the inner life and the means of spiritual growth and maturity. The tools of psychology give added means for Friends to regain the “introspective expertise” of earlier generations in the midst of infinitely busier lives.30 Jung provides one language for speaking of this when traditional Christian language triggers strong negative reactions. Some of the ways in which this has happened are in:

Even while it provides a language and approach to faith for a number of Friends, Jungian psychology is reshaping aspects of Friends’ theology. Consideration of the theology of the Inward Light helps make some of these shifts in meaning explicit.

Fox’s original opening was the reality of Christ as his inward teacher. An apparently growing number of Friends see the Light as immanent without also accepting the transcendent nature of the Light. The Light has become divorced from the risen Christ as well as the historic figure of Jesus. Psychology encourages introversion and focuses attention on inner processes with the intent of broadening the individual’s perspective. But attention to the process at times combines with a distrust of theology to support those who downplay the transcendent aspects of the Inward Light and wish to redefine its relationship to Christ Jesus.

The universal nature of the Light is one of the most central features of this doctrine for contemporary liberal Friends. Jung’s “Self” or “Psyche” is part of the human condition and thus available to all people of all times and places. The contemporary desire to equate the Light, the Self, and the Truth which is at the core of all religions, brings many liberal Friends to an understanding of the universal nature of the Light which is distinct from the New Covenant sealed by the blood of Christ, something which early Friends found central.

Jung’s belief in the reality of “original sin” and the darkness may be important for consideration of the nature of sin and evil. However, his theory of the “tension of opposites” relating to the darkness and the light seems to bear little relation to Fox’s vision of the ocean of light which always overcomes the ocean of darkness.

Quaker theology is in a state of flux at the end of the twentieth century. A growing interest in Quaker history and biblical study among liberal Friends promises that their theology will change again in another generation. The increasing prevalence of training in psychology and counseling among pastors indicates that Jungian (and other) thought may have more influence among evangelical Friends than is yet appreciated. Self-consciousness about both our spiritual forebears and about ways of remaining in the spirit of Gospel Order while incorporating new knowledge about the universe can help raise questions which may eventually strengthen the witness of Friends.


Notes

1Elined Kotschnig as cited in Lucille Eddinger, “Elined Prys Kotchnig: A Profile,” Inward Light, 46 (Spring 1984), 9.

2 David C. McClelland. Psychoanalysis and Religious Mysticism (Wallingford.PA: Pendle Hill Press, 1959), 3.

3McClelland, 6. Joe Havens has also written of the fact that “For many people this phrase [being moved by the Holy Spirit] is associated with hearing voices, and thus with psychopathology . . . this is a serious error on the part of modern psychiatry.” Joe Havens, “A Working Paper: Towards a Pastoral Theology of the Holy Spirit” (Carleton College, June 1959. unpublished).

4“ ‘At that time,’ Elined Kotschnig recalled, ‘one couldn't mention the word psychology. It was suspect. It would queer the pitch.’ For example, at a meeting for business the Clerk of the Connecticut Valley Association questioned whether psychology wasn’t ‘dangerous.’ Elined Kotschnig immediately countered, ‘So is religion.’ ” See Eddinger, “Kotschnig,” 8,9.

5Stephen A. Kent. “Psychology and Quaker Mysticism: The Legacy of William James and Rufus Jones”, Quaker History. 76 (Spring 1987). 2-3. “Complementing and often competing with the mystical interpretation is a psychological perspective which claims that early Quakerism emerged or flourished as the result of complicated psychological dynamics of its early leaders. These psychological interpretations are quite varied in content and contain at least three distinct branches. One branch insists that early Quakers’ religious experiences bespoke their basic insanity or mental instability. .. The second branch of psychological interpretation is less extreme, claiming instead that supposedly mystical experience differs from other psychological phenomena only to the extent that interpreters impute qualities of ‘otherness’ to it. ... Finally, a third branch ignores the psychological dynamics of Quakers themselves but instead focuses on the Quakers’ curative effects on mentally distressed persons.”

6 The four women were Elined Kotchnig, Elizabeth T. Butterworth, Mary Champney, and Phoebe F. Perry, and encouraged by the Connecticut Valley Association of Friends. See Inward Light, 46 (Spring 1984), 13-15.

7Eleanor Perry. “FCRP: A Perspective” in Inward Light, 46 (Spring 1984), 22.

8Rufus Jones. Social Law in the Spiritual World as quoted in Elizabeth Gray Vining, Friend of Life: The Biography of Rufus M. Jones (Philadelphia: J.B.LippincottCo; 1958), 105. Vining notes that this is as close as Jones ever came to omitting the concept of transcendence. She emphasized his hostility to “humanism.”

9David Hinshaw claims a major change in Jones‘ understanding of mysticism between his first expressions/studies in 1885 and 1934: In the earlier period he had not, for example, seen “what a large pathological factor there has been in the lives of many mystics in the long historical line” and how lack of “tightness in the mental organization brought with it a touch of genius and allowed a unique quality of light to break through.” Hinshaw also pointed out how Jones wrote of “Consciousness of discovery brought health and healing to the body” and much more on the distinction between mental health and pathology in mystics. His later studies convinced him Karl Schmidt was an unsafe guide because the professor had attempted to turn “the Friends of God” into a group of “pre-reformation apostles” and to read back into their writings the ideas which dominated Luther and his followers. Hinshaw sees The Flowering of Mysticism as Jones’ definitive book on mystical religion. David Hinshaw. Rufus Jones: Master Quaker (New York: G.P. Putnam’s Sons.l951,215.

10Rufus Jones. The Testimony of the Soul (New York: The Macmillan Company,1936), 71,72.

11Thomas Mann’s Magic Mountain (1924) brought another aspect of psychology into popular thought by his vision of the healing aspects and religious character of psychology.

12From series of interviews by author with approximately 70 Friends in 1995-96.

13The affirmative approach is not confined to liberal Friends, however. While original sin is part of the statement of faith of the more evangelical Yearly Meetings, it is not always easily accepted by those Christian Friends who assert that humankind is made in the image of God.

14The debate about the unity of man and God flows out of the scholarship on George Fox as well as in the consideration of modern influences on Friends’ theology. Richard G. Bailey has sought to piece together “bowdlerized fragments” and bring to the fore Fox’s doctrine of “celestial inhabitation (the notion that the saints became flesh and bone of Christ).” Bailey presents this strange and thoroughly unorthodox theology which brings together the individual and Christ in a unity as thorough as any Jungian approach, yet seeing this unity in the concrete, visceral presence of the body of Christ. He quotes George Fox: “And are there not three that bear record in heaven, the Father, the word and the spirit, and are they not all one? How then are they distinct? ... Christ saith, ‘I and my Father are one’ . . . and he is in the saints and so not distinct.” Bailey goes on to say: “Fox did not subscribe to the orthodox notion that each person in the Godhead was coequal. Even more shocking was his belief that the fullness of the Godhead dwelt in the believer. To say that the glorified body of Christ was within meant no less than the presence of the fullness of the Godhead.” Richard G. Bailey, “The Making and Unmaking of a God: New Light on George Fox and Early Quakerism,” in Michael Mullet, ed., New Light on George Fox 1624-1691(York. England: The Ebor Press, 1991), 111.

15Calvin Keene, “Comment” in Quaker Religious Thought, 12 (1970),41.

16Elined Kotschnig, “Comment,” Quaker Religious Thought, 12 (1970), 33.

17Donald Broadribb, “The Inner Light from a Psychological Viewpoint”, pamphlet published by the Canberra-Sydney (Australia) Seminar Continuation Committee, 1968. 18Broadribb, 10.

19Broadribb, 17.

20Jack H. Wallis. Jung and the Quaker Way (London: Quaker Home Service,1992).

21London Yearly Meeting.Church Government (London: Quaker Home Service, 1964), Item 702, 111.

22As cited in Wallis, frontispiece. From C. G. Jung,Psychology and Alchemy, Para 14.

23Wallis, 51-54.

24Wallis, 5.

25Margaret Fell at one point in her writings apologized for speaking so much about the dangers of the flesh, but continued nonetheless, feeling this was so important to the salvation of the soul. Margaret Fell “A True Testimony.” in A Sincere and Constant Love, Terry S. Wallace, ed. (Richmond, IN: Friends United Press. 1992).

26Wallis, 189.

27Wallis. 10.

28Rufus Jones wrote, “The core of the Quaker belief is the Inner Light—that intuition of the presence of God which enables the individual to learn how to discover and realize what is evil for him and by avoiding it to bring himself into harmony with the universal spirit.” Quoted in Hinshaw, Rufus Jones, 11.

29 Wallis, 100.

30 Elined Prys Kotschnig. “Quakerism and Analytical Psychology,” Inward Light, 46 (Spring 1984), 46


Margery Post Abbott is author of two books, A Certain Kind of Perfection and Planning The New West, as well as numerous articles and pamphlets about Quakers. She is a graduate of Swarthmore College with a Masters degree from Old Dominion University. She is a member of Multnomah Monthly Meeting in Portland, Oregon.


© 2000 Quaker History, vol. 89, #1 (Spring 2000), 47-59.
Reprinted with permission