How does the concept of personality fit with a biblical worldview?

There is no inconsistency with the concept of personality fitting in with a biblical worldview. The Old Testament shows people whose personalities differ but who nevertheless still follow biblical views of good versus evil. There are even examples of an individual responding to different situations in different ways, such as Abraham's willingness to sacrifice Isaac despite the heaviness of his heart, yet negotiating with G-d over Sodom and Gomorrah.

Expert Answers

An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

There is no inconsistency with the concept of personality fitting in with a biblical worldview. There are examples throughout the Old Testament of people whose personalities differ from one another and who still conform to the basic biblical axes of good versus evil. In fact, there are even examples of...

Unlock
This Answer Now

Start your 48-hour free trial to unlock this answer and thousands more. Enjoy eNotes ad-free and cancel anytime.

Start your 48-Hour Free Trial

There is no inconsistency with the concept of personality fitting in with a biblical worldview. There are examples throughout the Old Testament of people whose personalities differ from one another and who still conform to the basic biblical axes of good versus evil. In fact, there are even examples of a single individual encountering different situations at different points in their lives and reacting in a way that might have seemed unimaginable in earlier years because their personality has changed or they have gained wisdom from their life experiences. G-d allows free will, meaning that individuals can have personalities and make choices based on those.

For example, G-d asks Abraham to leave his family and land and journey to an unknown place. Abraham sets out on this journey because he has confidence that it is the right thing to do since it is what G-d has asked of him. Similarly, when G-d tests Abraham and asks him to sacrifice his only son with Sarah, Isaac, Abraham will comply despite the heaviness of his heart. Yet, in another situation when G-d tells Abraham that he plans to destroy the wicked cities of Sodom and Gomorrah, Abraham argues with G-d. He beseeches G-d to reconsider his plan if he can find ten good people who are worth saving in the entire settlement. So, these are different examples of the same man changing his personality somewhat in response to different situations. He is one of the preeminent figures of the Old Testament. This underscores that people with different personalities can follow the tenets laid out in the bible equally.

Approved by eNotes Editorial Team
An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

The Bible states that humans were made in the Imago Dei or image of God. God says in Genesis 1:26–27 that

Let us make man in our image, after our likeness.

This idea is repeated in the New Testament in 1 Corinthians 11:7 and James 3:9.

God has many faces or personalities. In the Old Testament or Hebrew Bible, hundreds of words describe God, and we are offered images of a God who both gets angry at and yet loves his creations, a God who revels in creativity and variation. Further, in the concept of the Christian trinity God has three faces or personalities: creator, perfected human being, and spirit.

All of this aligns with human beings, made in the image of God, as having distinct personalities and having great value as individuals. In contrast to totalitarian doctrines, where humans are a faceless mass, or utilitarian doctrines, where humans are regarded as useful objects or things, in the Biblical worldview, every human is a distinct personality, and every human is infinitely precious, whether he or she has perceived "use value" or not. This has led to the protection of vulnerable human groups, such as disabled children, the mentally handicapped, or the very elderly, who totalitarian dictators like Hitler wanted to exterminate as "useless eaters."

Approved by eNotes Editorial Team
An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

This is a good question. If we define personality as the combination of characteristics or qualities that form an individual's distinctive character, then this idea is consistent with a biblical worldview. 

According to the Bible, we are all unique, because of two reasons. First, God created people. Second, all people have different experiences and reactions to the world. The most famous passage on the first point comes from Psalm 139:

For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well. My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place, when I was woven together in the depths of the earth.  Your eyes saw my unformed body; all the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be. How precious to me are your thoughts,[a] God! How vast is the sum of them! Were I to count them, they would outnumber the grains of sand— when I awake, I am still with you.

When it comes to the second point, the Bible is clear that people are also responsible for their actions. So, even though a person may have certain predispositions, he or she still have the responsibility and possibility to act in a way that is righteous, that is loving. This is why in the New Testament, there are many passages that command people to act in a certain way even in the most difficult situations.  Here is what Ephesians 4 states:

Therefore each of you must put off falsehood and speak truthfully to your neighbor, for we are all members of one body. “In your anger do not sin”: Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry, and do not give the devil a foothold. Anyone who has been stealing must steal no longer, but must work, doing something useful with their own hands, that they may have something to share with those in need. Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen. And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, with whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.

This point needs to be emphasized to be consistent with a biblical worldview. 

Approved by eNotes Editorial Team