Traducianism

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Traducianism

Postby A. Guy » Tue Jun 30, 2015 6:01 am

When are human souls borne into existence? Was my soul present with Adam, along with everybodies 'soul-stuff', à la traducianism? Or created uniquely at conception or birth?

Existing in Adam seems to explain original sin and fallenness better that God creating a depraved soul; but I imagine Universalists' have a different take on this. That's why I'm asking here. Can somebody shed light?
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Re: Traducianism

Postby Holy-Fool-P-Zombie » Tue Jun 30, 2015 6:27 am

A. Guy wrote:When are human souls borne into existence? Was my soul present with Adam, along with everybodies 'soul-stuff', à la traducianism? Or created uniquely at conception or birth?

Existing in Adam seems to explain original sin and fallenness better that God creating a depraved soul; but I imagine Universalists' have a different take on this. That's why I'm asking here. Can somebody shed light?

If you want more on the history of Traducianism, read the Wiki article.

But as the article Got Questions points out:

Traducianism is the belief that at conception both the child’s body and soul or spirit are passed on to the child from the parents. In other words, the child inherits both the material and immaterial aspects of his being from his biological parents.

A differing view is creationism, which holds that God creates a new soul ex nihilo for each child conceived. Both traducianism and creationism have their strengths and weaknesses, and both have been held by various theologians of the past. There is a third view, not supported by the Bible at all, which sets forth the theory that God created all human souls at the same time, prior to Adam in Genesis 1. At the time of conception, God attaches a soul to the child’s body.


But here's an important element or conclusion, from the Got Questions site:

Scripture does not clearly affirm or deny traducianism.


And if we look at the Theopedia site, the brief scriptural quotes for each side, give credence to the Got Questions site conclusion. I like its summary of weaknesses of both positions:

The weakness of Traducianism is that it is unclear how an immaterial soul can be generated from another soul.

The weakness of Creationism is that it has God continually creating new human souls, while Genesis 2:2-3 indicates that God ceased creating. Also, since the entire human existence, body, soul, and spirit, are infected by sin – if God creates a new soul for every human being, how is that soul then infected with sin?


And there is a good, four part article on this topic by Reasons to Believe:


There is an interesting article at Creationism vs. Traducianism. Depending on which perspective we take, it has philosophical and theological repercussions for sin, according to the article.

The Catholic encyclopedia gives a short Catholic perspective and history, on the topic.

Probably it would be best to read the links I have provided, before taking and defending any particular position. I particular recommend these:

    Got Questions
    Theopedia
    Creationism vs. Traducianism
    The Origin of the Human Soul Series
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Re: Traducianism

Postby A. Guy » Sat Jul 18, 2015 5:57 pm

Thanks Randy. Good articles.

I'm sifting through volume two of Herman Bavinck's Reformed Dogmatics and noticed an objection to traducianism that is unique.
First we have to understand that Bavinck asserts that a soul is "akin to the angels... in that it can think spiritually ...and if necessary exist without a body."[p.556]
Bavinck's view of Imago Dei necessitates immortality. " The spirituality, invisibility, unity, simplicity, and immortality of the human soul are all features of the image of God." [p.556]

So, when Bavinck mulls over traducianism he can't find a proper vehicle to transport this immortality to a fetus. He instead postulates that God creates a new soul at conception. Bavinck's objection to traducianism is based on preserving the human imago dei, and his logic goes something like this: neither a sperm or an ovum have life in and of itself and will die when removed from its host. If two non-immortal chemicals comming together can produce an immortal soul in a fetus then as Bavinck says "both the sperm and ovum posses the actual creative power to impart an immortal spiritual soul..."[p.582]

Bavinck then takes his arguement to his conclusion by saying one can then justifiably "lapse into an evolutionary theory implying that animal life can gradually and of itself develop into human life." p.583] That would destroy our Imago Dei.

Personally, I think when the absolute, inherent immortality of the soul is a non negotiable from the onset, your ticket's punched and some of the legitimate destinations are unattainable.
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