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A Reexamination of Human Personality From A Biblical Perspective (Part Five)

In the last article, the author wrote about four specific assessments that measured the personality of the human being. After observing some of the histories of four mainstream personality assessments and their functions, there were five specific things to notice when it came to each of these surveys: the accuracy of the assessments in measuring personality, the possibility that personality does not measure personality, but one's behavior in a specific context, the limitations of the assessments due to the limited abilities of humanity, the participant of one who takes. A personality survey and their limited abilities and all personality assessments have a built-in worldview regarding human personality. The previous article concluded that personality tests do not measure personality but the frequency or infrequency of human behavior and conduct in a given environment. Since human beings are distinct from God's other creations, humanity can think, function, and respond in specific environments, and these assessments measure this conduct.

There is one last question to address concerning human personality: Why does examining this area of a human being matter? The author submits several reasons why this is significant, which are defined below:

  • When a person appeals to a specific theory to describe human personality, they presuppose this theorist by their particular theory is authoritative. Consequently, the theoretical model becomes the authoritative perspective by which one observes the substance of human beings. To assert the Scriptures are authoritative and adequate, and to use a theory to explain the human personality is in effect to undermine the statement that the authoritative and adequacy of the Scriptures concerning the personality of human beings.

  • When taking a personality assessment, a person is informed about their perceived personality; however, it does not tell a person how to make wise and informed choices in light of their personality. In short, the personality assessment tells the person their behavior in a certain environment. However, it does not give a person the information to inform them if their personality type has the ability to recognize what corresponds to reality and what does not.

  • Suppose a person who completes a personality assessment is confident they are a certain personality, and the characters of this personality describe a bad attitude or behavior. In that case, another person cannot admonish a person for acting poorly in different situations because that person's conduct may be associated with that person's natural personality. For example, a person who may have what researchers describe as a "driver" personality (a controlling and impatient personality type) cannot correct their attitude because to correct one's attitude or behavior is to reject one's own unique personality type.

  • A person may rate or view different personality types as being more valuable or important than other personality types. For example, if a person has an "analytical" personality type, they may conclude that others who have an "expressive" personality type are immature or infantile.

  • On a more extreme point, because humankind believes in the accuracy of personality assessments, it is possible for some organizations, institutions, employers, and even individual people to limit opportunities based upon evaluating one on a perceived personality type. People may lose a potential employment opportunity because they were not the "right personality" for the vocation. In the area of intimate relationships, a person may believe that another person is the "right match" (or not) based upon a compatibility score, which may include a personality assessment.

From a Biblical perspective, human personality is unique to human beings, and that all other created things do not possess these certain qualities. The Biblical outlook addresses each of the following points mentioned above. First, a person with a Biblical perspective presupposes that the Scriptures give a completely wholistic view regarding the substance of humankind and the qualities humanity possesses. As compelling as they may be, theories are unable to give a comprehensive view of humankind because the theorists do not possess the attribute of omniscience that God possesses. Second, Scripture gives special attention to the conduct of a person based upon who they are. In other words, as a result of a person being born again (John 3:16, First Peter 1:3. 1:23), one is to have an attitude and conduct that is consistent with who they are in the sight of God. As a result, a person can be admonished because their attitude and conduct ought to come from their identity from how they were made (imago Dei) and their identity in the sight of God in Christ, not a theoretical orientation.

Third, human personality from a Biblical worldview does not observe human beings in light of their perceived personality but examines humankind from the perspective that they are created in the image of God (imago Dei). As a result, all human beings can be analytical and expressive because God created humanity with function and the ability to do these actions. From a Biblical perspective, humankind being analytical and expressive are not personality types but show how God made humankind. The Biblical outlook also addresses the possibility of limiting a person's opportunities based on their personality. For example, when interviewing a potential employee for a job, employers ought not to examine if an employee is qualified from a personality assessment but by the necessary knowledge and physical ability to complete the job. The Biblical worldview instructs that wisdom and knowledge to make wise choices regarding one's conduct in the world has been given to humanity (c.f., Proverbs 1:1-7, Proverbs 9:10), which means that the character of the person and the wisdom to make sensible choices is more important than the perceived reality one believes they are. A very similar observation is found for a person seeking an intimate relationship with another. A person's character is even more important than a person's physical features (c.f., Proverbs 31:-31, Tit. 2:1-10). The Biblical outlook does not sanction a personality type as justification for a poor attitude or character (as with a person's personality described as a "driver"). However, it underscores a believer's identity in Christ and how their conduct should align with who they are.

What is the personality of a human being? This question is important; what is missing is the importance of worldview in light of this subject. Observing different explanations from various experts and researchers, it is unclear what the human personality is, where it originates, and how it develops over time. Depending on what theorist a person is convinced to believe, they will adopt that theory to explain human personality. However, throughout history, those who have researched human personality have done so from macroevolutionary perspective-that humankind is nothing more than an evolved animal that responds to certain environmental stimuli. These responses, when done frequently, are known as personality types. The Bible establishes the nature and substance of humanity from the book of Genesis. Humanity was made in God's image, and personality is qualities of personhood that separate humanity from all of the other things that God has created. A researcher's worldview also carries over in the surveys that assess human personality. It would appear that personality tests do not measure human personality but the frequency (or infrequency) of human behavior in a given environment. From a evolutionary perspective, there is a variation of explanation of how a human being develops their personality. However, from a Biblical perspective, human beings are created at birth with the ability and capacity from the information and perspective they acquire and their interests to make decisions that vary from others. From a Biblical worldview, this does not highlight different personalities but underscores the uniqueness of human beings from animals and vegetation. Finally, there are potential negative consequences relationally and vocationally when one adopts the perspective that human personality develops or forms over time. However, the Biblical worldview informs us that one's identity in the sight of God and one's character aligned with their identity is more important than one's perceived personality.

Worldview is very important when it comes to observing human beings and ought to be highly considered in light of this subject. God has all of the attributes that humanity does not possess and has revealed by His word when He created humanity, how He created humanity, and humanity's substance, faculties, and activity. Therefore, those who hold to a Biblical framework ought to be skeptical of theories and assessments used to evaluate the personhood of human beings and confident that the Bible is adequate to give humankind the proper philosophy concerning the personality of human beings. In doing so, the person who does this acknowledges God and His handiwork in humankind for His glory.

Until Next Time...

Soli Deo Gloria!

Dr. LS


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