Tuesday, July 4, 2017

What do I think of the Doctine of Traducianism?

I'm not sure.  But I'm kind of leaning towards it.

"In Christian theology, traducianism is a doctrine about the origin of the soul (or synonymously, "spirit"), holding that this immaterial aspect is transmitted through natural generation along with the body, the material aspect of human beings. That is, an individual's soul is derived from the souls of the individual's parents.[1] This implies that only the soul of Adam was created directly by God (with Eve's substance, material and immaterial, being taken from out of Adam), in contrast with the idea of creationism of soul (not to be confused with creationism as a belief about the origin of the material universe), which holds that all souls are created directly by God (with Eve's substance, material and immaterial, being taken from out of Adam).[2]"
In other words the Soul/Spirit reproduces the same way our bodies do.

This isn't like my other blog posts.  I don't have much of my own insights to add.  So I'll be quoting Wikipedia's section on the Biblical Arguments for it.
Supporters of traducianism present arguments from the Bible such as the following:
  • Begetting includes the image and likeness of God (Genesis 5:3), but since God is spirit, this must mean the immaterial aspect of human beings.
  • God's creation is finished (Genesis 2:2), thus no new souls are created directly, but are instead transmitted by natural generation just as the body is.
  • Creationism destroys the idea of the miraculous and supernatural, since it incorporates God's supernatural, miraculous creation of the soul (out of nothing or himself) into the natural process of reproduction. This is inherently contradictory, since it makes that which is against natural law a part of nature: it is against natural law that something is created out of nothing.
  • God created all things "very good" (Genesis 1:31), yet many Christians understand the Bible to teach that after the fall, all are sinful at birth (Job 14:1-4; 15:14; Psalm 58:3; John 3:6) and from conception (Psalm 51:5). Since most theologians hold that God would not have created something sinful, it follows that souls are not created directly but are generated. Those who adhere to Roman Catholicism believe that it is possible for God to create a soul that simultaneously takes on a fallen nature, much like He can create a soul that simultaneously is prevented from taking on a fallen nature (see The Immaculate Conception); this view is not typically held by Protestants or other Christian denominations.
  • Genesis 46:26 can be understood to teach that souls are already present in the loins, and Hebrews 7:10 ("When Melchizedek met Abraham, Levi was still in the body of his ancestor.") seems to take this view.
  • In Genesis 6, some interpreters see the traducian model as the best explanation for the begetting of monstrous offspring with human bodies and demonic souls by the angels that took wives of the daughters of men. The soul-creationist's difficulty of God creating souls for such monsters may be why most later churchmen rejected the literal interpretation of Genesis 6 as referring to angels interbreeding with human women.
The first of these arguments is perhaps the least likely one I'd use myself, since it sounds like diminishing the significance of our Physical Bodies being Made in God's Image.  The last one I'm also hesitant to use since my position on the Genesis 6 issue has become complicated.  And the third isn't much of a Biblical argument at all.  But the rest are pretty solid.

The Wikipedia section on the arguments against it don't mention any that impress me.

This view was supported by Augustine of Hippo.  A person I have generally emphasized my disagreements with in the past.  But I've never said he was wrong on everything.  Similar with Tertulian though I have recently questioned how sure we are he wasn't a Universalist.  Gregory of Nyssa was a Universalist who supported Traducianism.

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