For my “Theories of Personality” class final I had to combine all the theories that I had studied during the course and synthesize them into one core theory. We had studied Freud, Jung, Horney, Erikson, Adler, Allport, Maslow, May and a handful of others; now it was time to take a theory from each person and synthesize them! While I understand that some of these psychologists might roll over in their grave if they found out I was using their theory as part of the Gospel, here’s what I came up with:
My synthesis of these ideas is simple: we need God to rescue us from ourselves. In the beginning, God created the Heavens and the earth and it was very good. Then he created humanity; something went wrong. Since then we have been born with a fallen nature (evolutionary psychology). Because of this fallen state in which we exist, we sin against one another and against our children (basic evil). Additionally, our children are born in our fallen image and also have a predisposition to sin (collective consciousness). This sinful nature will manifest itself differently in men and women (anatomy and destiny) but we all fall short of God’s perfect moral standard. Consequently, we are in a constant struggle to redeem ourselves, especially when we compare ourselves to others (inferiority vs. superiority). The good news is that, because we are made in the image and likeness of God, He creates us all uniquely (traits) and influences the world around us so that we may seek him (environment). The best case scenario is that, through a series of events, we will be guided into a redeeming relationship with God (self-efficacy). Once this happens, we (the ego) will live the rest of our life in a struggle between our flesh (id) and our spirit (superego). There are three ways in which we mess this up. First, we may become legalistic and use religion against one another (token economics). Second, we may worship false gods and seek our fulfillment in the wrong places (displacement). Third, and finally, we may just altogether deny that we have any depravity at all (actualizing tendency). God is graceful and has given us minds that, although they are influenced by the world around them, they are able to stop and think, to ponder, to choose how we respond to our world (human dilemma). Finally, when we choose to accept the gracious invitation granted to us by God, we will have all our spiritual needs met (hierarchy of needs).