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

In the previous article, the word personality was defined as simply what constitutes or makes up a person. The aspect or quality of personality was examined in the book of Genesis where God declared humanity would be made in His image and likeness (Genesis 1:26-28). This passage informed the reader that humanity would bear the communicable attributes of God and that humanity was made into two different creatures: male and female. Male and female would not come from the animals or vegetation that God created but would be distinct from the other creatures that God had made. While other perspectives concerning the substance of humankind seeks to define personality by observations from external behaviors or internal responses, the Biblical perspective defines personality as something human beings have that makes them unique from the rest of creation. Because all human beings possess the same qualities (material and immaterial), all human beings have the same personality.

If, according to the Biblical perspective, humanity has the same personality, why do we have different interests, hobbies? Why do we respond differently to certain situations, or why do some people act or think differently from their parents? Some of the underlying principles for these questions can be seen in Genesis chapter 1:26-28.

Genesis chapter 1:26-28 says, "Let Us make mankind in Our image, according to Our likeness; and let them rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the sky and the livestock and all the earth, and over every crawling thing that crawls on the earth." So God created man in His image, in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them. God blessed them; and God said to them, "Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth, and subdue it; and rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the sky and over every living thing that moves on the earth (Genesis 1:26-28 NASB20)."' These statements made by God in this historical account underscored that human beings would have the capacity to think and reason, as they would have been responsible for ruling over the things that God created. Furthermore, God had told male and female to be fruitful and multiply. The statement further corresponds to the reproductive system within males and females that would enable them to conceive children. In addition, male and female with thier ability to think and reason would care for them and raise them.

In Genesis chapter two, God created male and female to labor in the garden that was located in Eden (Genesis 2:5-8). This point highlights that God created male and female with the ability to labor and be industrious. In addition, because male and female were the same substance this quality would be the standard for intimate relationships, particularly marital relationships and families (Genesis 2:20-25). All of these concepts observed in the first two chapters of Genesis are significant in understanding the substance, activity, and choices of humanity.

A human being has the ability to pursue activities based on their worldview, perception, and interest. Every person who acts or thinks differently from another person may not reinforce a human being's unique personality, but may highlight that humanity all bears the same personality. For example, animals that God created do not acquire hobbies or have differences of hobbies like human beings do. Animals do not have the unique type of reasoning and thinking that humanity possesses. Animals do not build structures and buildings like humankind constructs. Animals do not produce different goods or provide various services that many people use. All of these various things are accomplished by human beings who are created in the image of God.

From the Biblical perspective, there is unity and diversity in the substance, activity, and choices of humanity. The Biblical text does not inform human beings about what specific type of labor a person ought to do but gives a believer the paradigm of how to view labor (Proverbs 14:23, Ecclesiastes 5:18-19, 1 Thessalonians 4:11). God does not instruct a person what physical features one should consider when they are desire to marry but gives human beings the proper perspective concerning the establishment of marriage (male and female) (Genesis 1:26-28), and the proper conduct and motivation that is within married couples (Ephesians 5:22-33, Colossians 3:18-19, 1 Peter 3:1-7). The Scripture does not tell a believer whom a person ought to establish friendships with respect to their physical features. However, the Scripture does instruct humanity on the qualities they ought to look for in a friendship (Proverbs 17:17, Proverbs 27:9). Concerning child rearing the Bible does not give a specific method and technique that parents should use to instruct their children. However, the word of God does instruct parents that they ought to train their children in the word of God (c.f., Deuteronomy 6:7, Ephesians 6:3). Humanity ponders personal experiences and assigns value to these experiences. However, God's word gives humanity the wisdom as to how to observe experiences from a Biblical perspective (Ecclesiastes 12:10-14). God did not give these instructions to labor, create friendships, build families, or make wise choices to plants or animals-but only to those who possess the material and immaterial properties He created humankind to possess. Based on these above points it would seem the Bible anticipated these sorts of differences in the choices and activity of humanity concerning labor, relationships, and hobbies.

In addition, the Biblical text is not concerned with personality, as it is popularly defined, but is more concerned with the character of a person. Paul wrote that it is the grace of God that motivates the person to reject deeds and words that are opposed to God's word (i.e., ungodliness) and to live sensibly, righteously, and godly in the present age (Titus 2:11-12). Paul wrote that males and females ought to be known by their character rather than external features (1 Timothy 2:8-10, Titus 2:1-8). Paul also wrote to the believers in Rome that a believer's motivations ought not to come out of one's perceived personality but out of a renewed outlook from the Scriptures (Romans. 12:1-2). God's special revelation does not instruct that different human beings have different personalities but emphasizes that various choices humankind makes, and the different actions humanity complets promote the qualities of personhood because humankind is created in the image of God.

Furthermore, there are many reasons why human beings respond and act the way they do, take on their interest, and acquire the hobbies they adopt. For example, because human beings are creatures that establish relationships a human being may respond in certain ways due to their parental upbringing. Because human beings have the ability and capability of thinking and reasoning humanity may be influenced by the things they view, hear, and adapt to their overall perspective, which could very well convince them on how they believe they ought to respond in a given situation. However, according to the Biblical worldview, these are not indicative of differing personalities that human beings possess, but internal and external factors that influence people's thoughts, attitudes, and understanding. As a result these create variations in humanity in terms of hobbies, choices, decisions and attitudes.

According to the Biblical perspective, people acquire different hobbies and interests because men and women are created in the image of God. People may respond to events differently because of how they were raised by their parental figures, and other ideas and other ideas they may have aquired from other sources, such as friends, teachers and even media. this would include what a person chooses to believe, and adopt into their overall thinking. The differences found in the responses, attitudes, and choices of humanity are not indicative of different personalities in each person possesses, but underscores how humanity is distinct from the rest of creation. In addition, the word of God makes room for these differences in humanity, telling humankind the proper worldview, motive, and character one is to possess because every human being possesses the qualities of personhood (i.e., personality).

So, if personality assessments do not measure personality types, what is a person observing when he or she completes a personality assessment? This question will be explored in the next article.

Until next time...

Soli Deo Gloria!

Dr. L.S.


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