Is situationism compatible with the Bible?


By BibleAsk Team


Situationism is a theory in psychology that teaches that behavior is influenced by external, situational factors rather than internal traits or motivations. A situationalist believes that thoughts, feelings, past experiences and behaviors do not determine what a person will do in a given situation, rather, the situation itself does.

Situationism is not a logical theory because it simply undermines the role of the human will and choice in the life of a person. While it is clear that circumstances affect a person’s life, he still has the free will to act as he wills. Many of the great heroes of life were found in negative situations but they chose to not allow these situations to overcome them and instead they overcome their circumstances by their right choices.

Situationism Is Incompatible with the Bible

Situationism is not taught in the Bible. The Scriptures support the fact that humans are created with the freedom of choice (Deuteronomy 30:19), which when coupled by power of God, it can help a person rise above any negative circumstance (Philippians 4:13). Jesus, our great model of faith, lived in the city of Nazareth, which was known for its wickedness (John 1:46). Yet, Jesus, even though surrounded by evil and had hardships, ”committed no sin, nor was any deceit found in His mouth” (1 Peter 2:22).

Another example is that of Job. Satan attacked Job severely by destroying his family, possessions and health. Yet, Job didn’t permit his negative situation to affect his faith in God. He rose above his hopeless condition. And he remained steadfast in his trust to God. For he declared, “Though He slay me, yet will I trust Him“ (Job 13:15).

In like manner, Joseph the beloved and pampered son of Jacob was taken away from home, betrayed by his brothers and sold into slavery (Genesis 37). But he didn’t allow this horrible situation to shake his faith in God nor change his resolve to follow and be faithful to his Maker.

Hardships Refine Character

God allows all the situations in the believer’s life for his well being. “And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose” (Romans 8:28). Nothing can affect the believer except by the Lord’s permission (Job 1:12; 2:6). If God permits suffering and perplexity to come to the believer, it is not to destroy him but to refine and sanctify him (Romans 8:17).

James teaches the reverse of situationism: “The testing of your faith produces perseverance” (James 1:3). Patient endurance will help us to fulfill the task of reproducing the character of Christ, which is the “work” God has given us to do.

The apostle Peter stressed the same truth when he said, “genuineness of your faith, being much more precious than gold that perishes, though it is tested by fire, may be found to praise, honor, and glory at the revelation of Jesus Christ” (1 Peter 1:7). Gold is tested and refined by fire. Personal choices also go through the process of testing, so that its value may be fully displayed (1 Corinthians 3:13, 15; Hebrews 12:29; Revelation 1:14; 2:18; 19:12).

In His service,
BibleAsk Team

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