By: Tonya Parrott
Through personality typing, psychologists, counselors and psychiatrists make predictions about the future behaviour of human beings based on their past. This should be very alarming to Christians especially since these predictions are unable to take into account Christ’s atonement for sin as they are only able to deal with the Adamic nature of a person. Christians have put off the old Adamic nature and put on the new nature, which is Christ (Colossians 3:9-10).
Christians are warned of the dangers of philosophies such as this in Colossians 2:8, “Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ.” (Please note that the word ‘elements’ is a synonym for ‘rudiments.’)
Another warning is found in I Timothy 6:20, “O Timothy, keep that which is committed to thy trust, avoiding profane and vain babblings, and oppositions of science falsely so called.”
Gill’s Exposition of the Entire Bible explains:
And oppositions of science falsely so called; the false teachers boasted of their science and knowledge, but it was not true, solid, spiritual, and saving; it was not an experimental knowledge of the Gospel; it was not the excellent knowledge of Christ, which has eternal life connected with it; it was merely notional and speculative; it was idle, empty, and useless, mere pagan philosophy, and vain deceit, upon which they formed antitheses, or oppositions and objections to the truths of the Gospel; and even opposed themselves, and the word of God, as well as the faithful ministers of it.1
Elementalism and Dualism are two of the main false sciences that are the foundation for personality testing. Both of these sciences will be discussed in detail.
Elementalism & The Four Temperaments
Elementalism is defined as the theory that the heathen divinities originated in the personification of elemental powers.2 The elemental powers are earth, air, fire and water. Another way to define elementalism is a spirit or force that is said to appear in physical form.3 The belief behind this is that all physical and spiritual substances are made up of one or more of the four elements. It is also believed that each one has its own heathen divinity and that by communicating with it one can obtain a better understanding of themselves. Clearly, this is a form of divination and this is the original thought process behind personality testing.
The first philosopher to teach this theory was Empedocles (495-425 B.C.) Of this he states, “First, therefore, let me tell you of all that there is the four roots: Zeus the resplendent, the lifebearing Hera, and Aïdoneus, and Nestis who in her tears is spilling man’s fountain of life. Zeus is the fire, Hera the air, Aïdoneus the earth, and Nestis the water.”4 Later, Greek philosopher Hippocrates (c. 460-c. 380 B.C.), also know as the Father of Western Medicine, expanded on Empedocles’ notion with his theory of the Four Humors.5
The Four Humors are blood, phlegm, black bile, and yellow bile. It was believed that each humor preserves bodies and imitates its element: blood, air; yellow bile, fire; black bile, earth; phlegm, water.6 The first known personality model was based on the Four Humors with the Four Elements (rudiments/temperaments) corresponding to the amount of bodily fluids a person had. The test was called the Four Temperaments.
Claudius Galen (131-201 A.D.) was a Greek physician who added to Hippocrates theory in that he believed the Four Humors would produce one of Four Temperaments in an individual. So he categorized them as corresponding to elements, humors, astrological signs and emotions. What category a person was placed into was determined by the month in which they were born (astrology).
Those four categories are as follows:
- Sanguine-related to the element of air, the humor of blood, and the astrological sign of Gemini, Libra and Aquarius. Persons who were in this category were believed to be warm and moist and have personality traits of cheerful and warm. Their season is spring.
- Choleric-related to the element of fire, the humor of yellow bile, and the astrological sign of Aries, Leo and Sagittarius. Persons who were in this category were believed to be warm and dry and quick to temper. Their season is summer.
- Melancholy-related to the element of earth, the humor of black bile, and the astrological sign of Taurus, Virgo and Capricorn. Persons who were in this category were believed to be cold and dry and melancholy. Their season is autumn.
- Phlegmatic-related to the element of water, the humor of phlegm, and the astrological sign of Cancer, Scorpio and Pisces. Persons who were in this category were believed to be cold and moist, placid and sluggish. Their season is winter.7
Martin and Deidre Bobgan reinforce:
A brief look at the history of the four temperaments will reveal that their origins lie in ancient myths and occult practices. From ancient times through the Middle Ages, physicians and philosophers used their understanding of the four humors (bodily fluids), the four temperaments, and signs of the zodiac to treat diseases and understand individual differences among people.
Greek cosmology’s four elements are basic to the four temperament personality theory.8
Immanuel Kant further organized these ideas into categories of feelings and activities a short time later. As psychology gave way to more categories and tests, Wilhelm Wundt further categorized the four temperaments into changeability and emotionality. Although this method of personality testing has since evolved into a much more in depth scale for psychologists and psychiatrists and the principle of elementalism has been replaced by dualism; sadly, this exact form of personality testing is still very much alive in many churches today under the disguise of pastoral counseling.
Balancing Dualism & Taoism
The base belief in most personality testing today is called balancing dualism. Balancing dualism is the concept that says there are two opposing, but interacting and balancing forces in the universe. It teaches that man is simply a microcosm, or a small development of the two interacting forces of good and evil.
Yin/Yang, I-Ching and Yoga are some familiar forms of balancing dualism also known as Taoism. Taoists use these concepts to explain the universe, which basically says there is a constant balance of good and evil, light and dark, black and white and that if it is allowed to stay in harmony it will result in perfection. In addition, the belief teaches that if perfection is lost the balance is interrupted. Most also believe in a higher spiritual plane that can be advanced in the afterlife.9
Yin/Yang is a Chinese philosophy that seeks to harmonize and balance all things in the cosmos. It is a form of astrological divination.
I-Ching is probably the easiest to discern because it blatantly advertises itself as divination. It is also called the Book of Changes, which is an ancient Chinese book of prophecy and wisdom.
I-Ching is an extension of Yin/Yang seeking to balance the cosmos. Many people are not aware of the fact that Yoga is about positioning the body into a form to allow communication with gods or goddesses. The idea is to empty the mind, body and soul to allow another spirit divinity to enter and heal the one practicing. It is also a form of divination.
The questions in modern day personality tests are developed with the intention of obtaining dualism, or of keeping the balance of good and evil in place. There is no evaluation of moral code incorporated into these tests. They are merely ‘graded’ on how well the individual balances good and evil. These actions are in direct conflict with Scripture. The entire Bible is not about balancing good and evil but rather good overcoming evil.
Modern Day Personality Tests
There is nothing new under the sun and personality testing is no exception. Most of the world credits Carl Jung (pronounced Young) for the research that allowed for the development of these tests in the 20th century. However, a brief look at history reveals that the ancients were using personality testing well before his time. While Mr. Jung did not invent the idea or the tests for that matter, he certainly did have a very significant role in bringing them into modern times.
Mr. Jung’s research on personality type is responsible for one of the largest well known personality tests today created by Katharine Cook Briggs (1875-1968) and her daughter Isabel Briggs Myers (1897-1980). It is called the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator. The two were fascinated by his ideas on psychological type and believed it could aid others in making better choices in their careers and lives.
It is this mother and daughter’s life work combined with the ideas of Mr. Jung that created the 16 Personality Profiles, which is the source from which other personality tests were developed. Some of those include the Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory, which is used in forensic settings to determine the outcome of child custody cases, Keirsey Temperament Sorter and the Big Five Personality Traits. Since so many people depend on the information provided by these tests to make vital life and career oriented decisions, an investigation into the life of the man responsible for them is in order.
Meet the Father of Modern Day Personality Testing
Carl Gustav Jung was born in 1875 and raised the son of a preacher. He and his father did not have a very good relationship and Carl despised the fact that his father was a Christian. Carl’s grandfather was a minister but was known to regularly carry on conversations with the dead as he believed himself to be constantly surrounded by spirits. Jung states of this, “My mother often told me how she had to sit behind him while he wrote his sermons because he could not bear ghosts pass behind him while he was studying. The presence of a living human being at his back frightened them away!”10
Carl was not without certain characteristics of his grandfather apparently even from his early adolescents. He states, “From the door to my mother’s room came a frightening influence. At night Mother was strange and mysterious. One night I saw coming from her door a faintly luminous indefinite figure whose head detached itself from the neck and floated along in front of it, in the air like a little moon.”11
In his childhood, his mother would read books to him and teach him of pagan gods and religions that were rooted in dualism. Not exactly the average event for mother and son but nevertheless, he felt close to her. She apparently perverted his view of Jesus and Christianity through these pagan teachings.
Further adding to his confusion was a dream he had. Of which he writes:
Through this childhood dream I was initiated into the secrets of the earth. What happened then was a kind of burial in the earth, and many years were to pass before I came out again. Today I know that it happened in order to bring the greatest possible amount of light into the darkness. It was an initiation into the realm of darkness. My intellectual life had its unconscious beginnings at that time.12
It was partially because of this dream that Carl rejected Christ. He reasoned:
Lord Jesus never became quite real for me, never quite acceptable, never quite lovable, for again and again I would think of his underground counterpart. Lord Jesus seemed to me in some ways a god of death. Secretly, his love and kindness, which I always heard praised, appeared doubtful to me.13
In 1906, now a young man, Carl became intrigued with the studies of Sigmund Freud. In 1907, they finally met face to face after exchanging correspondences for approximately one year. Mr. Freud was a neurologist who had begun to experiment with psychoanalysis, a form of treatment for the mentally ill that verbalizes experiences as a way to understand conscious and unconscious mental processes.
Based on his interactions with his mental patients, he developed a personality theory called Freud’s Psychosexual Theory and also believed that there were five stages in human development. They were oral, anal, phallic, latency and genital. In addition, he believed that there were three components of personality (the id, ego and super ego) which corresponded to the psychosexual stages.14 Needless to say, Mr. Freud was obsessed with sex.
Mr. Jung was the understudy of Mr. Freud for seven years until the two parted ways. The split is contributed to Jung’s fear of Freud no longer being able to control his homosexual desires for him. Although at one time in their relationship, these feelings were mutual.
Mr. Jung was the first man to teach analytical psychology, also know as Jungian psychology. It primarily explores how the collective unconscious, that part of the unconscious that is cross-cultural and common to all human beings, influences personality.15 He also practiced divination through the I-Ching and is actually the person responsible for introducing it to the Western world.
The first personality tests were typed after the four rudiments, or rather elements, of the world. The astrological sign of the individual determined which temperament group the individual was. These tests were a form of astrology and divination.
Modern day personality testing is a form of balancing dualism which is also a form of astrology making it divination as well.
Personality testing should certainly not be practiced by a person professing to be a Christian as it is far from the harmless test it presents itself to be. Such tests have no way of accurately predicting what type of personality a person has because God has created each person uniquely. It should also be said that divination is an abomination in the eyes of the Lord.
13 Thou art wearied in the multitude of thy counsels. Let now the astrologers, the stargazers, the monthly prognosticators, stand up, and save thee from these things that shall come upon thee. 14 Behold, they shall be as stubble; the fire shall burn them; they shall not deliver themselves from the power of the flame: there shall not be a coal to warm at, nor fire to sit before it.
It is because of the research of Carl Jung and the efforts of Isabel Briggs Myers and Katharine Cook Briggs that personality testing has managed to survive. Mr. Jung openly denied Christ and his teachings are in stern contrast with Scripture. It certainly is no path for a Christian to follow.
It could easily be said that when Paul wrote II Timothy 6 and Colossians 2, he was dealing with some of the same problems people face today regarding personality testing. There is absolutely no place for divination through personality testing in the Church. God and the occult have nothing in common and God’s people should have nothing in common with the occult either.
II Corinthians 6:11-18:
11 O ye Corinthians, our mouth is open unto you, our heart is enlarged. 12 Ye are not straitened in us, but ye are straitened in your own bowels. 13 Now for a recompence in the same, (I speak as unto my children,) be ye also enlarged. 14 Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness? 15 And what concord hath Christ with Belial? or what part hath he that believeth with an infidel? 16 And what agreement hath the temple of God with idols? for ye are the temple of the living God; as God hath said, I will dwell in them, and walk in them; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people. 17 Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you. 18 And will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be my sons and daughters, saith the Lord Almighty.
1 Gill, John. Gill’s Exposition of the Entire Bible.http://bible.cc/1_timothy/6-20.htm (accessed October 2012).
2 Porter, Noah. Webster’s Revised Unabridged Dictionary. Springfield, MA: C. & G. Merriam Co., 1913. Elementalism.
3 Elementalism. http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/elementalism(accessed October 2012).
4 Cleve, Felix M. The Giants of Pre-Sophistic Greek Philosophy: An Attempt to Reconstruct Their Thoughts, Vol. 2, The Hague, Netherlands: Martinus Nijhoff, 1965.
5 Abrams, Lidia; Abrams, Mike and Ellis, Albert. Abrams Personality Theories: Critical Perspectives. Sage Publications, Inc.: Thousand Oaks, CA, 2009.
6 Brehaut, Ernest. An Encyclopedist of the Dark Ages, Vol. XLVIII. London: Longmans, Green & Co., Agents, 1912.
7 Lewis, James R.. The Astrology Book: The Encyclopedia of Heavenly Influences. Canton, MI: Visible Ink Press, 2003.
8 Martin & Deidre Bobgan. Four Temperaments, Astrology & Personality Testing. (Santa Barbara, California: EastGate Publishers, 1992.
9 Foskey, Medford. “Comparing World Religions to the Christian Faith.”http://www.biblemaster.com/studies/study.asp?study_id=1268(accessed October 2012).
10 Hannah, Barbara. Jung: His Life and Work. New York: G.P. Putnam’s Sons, 1976.
11 Jung, Carl. Memories, Dreams, Reflections. New York: G.P. Putnam’s Sons, 1976.
14 Shaffer, David R. Social and Personality Development. Belmont, CA: Wadsworth, 2009.
15 New World Encyclopedia. “Analytical Psychology.”http://www.newworldencyclopedia.org/entry/Analytical_psychology(accessed October 2012).