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Traducianism says that one's soul is derived from one's parents' souls, but creationism says that God creates a soul for each body.

The Wikipedia articles are a start, but I'm especially interested in learning about the implications for the transmission of the sinful nature and how Jesus is fully man (and God) yet without sin.

It seems this question isn't really an issue in broader Christianity today, but instead is more of an in-house debate in Reformed theology, e.g. W.G.T. Shedd holds to traducianism, but Louis Berkhof holds to creationism, and John Frame thinks that both are wrong. I have this general knowledge about these authors, but I haven't yet read their material.

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@curiousdannii I'm asking because Augustine thought it had significant implications regarding the refutation of Pelagianism, so he was attracted to Traducianism, though it seemed he didn't fully embrace it, yet Aquinas considers anyone who holds to Traducianism to be a heretic. Whether it's "mainstream" in Christianity today shouldn't determine the usefulness of a question. The question of the origin of the soul and its implications for theology has been around for a long time in Christianity and it has some very in-depth answers. I'm willing to open it for answer from other traditions though. –  Cohen_the_Librarian Mar 18 '14 at 17:43
This is actually a very good and on-topic question! Welcome to C.SE! When you get the chance, please check out our tour and specifically How we are different than other sites. –  Affable Geek Mar 18 '14 at 19:27
Where did my comment go? In any case I think it's better now that you've removed the mention of Reformed Theology - I wasn't saying that only mainstream things should be asked but that it seemed odd to single them out when all the other branches of Christianity I'm familiar with are creationist too. –  curiousdannii Mar 18 '14 at 20:55
Either way it is still a good question, but I think it was better when it had the specific scope. –  Caleb Apr 1 '14 at 9:27

2 Answers 2

We also are in the image of the Father.

So God created man in His own image; in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them. (Genesis 1:27 NKJV)

So we also are gifted as a creative source through the imaginations of our minds. Now considering that the universe and all that is in it are a manifestation of mind of the Father. We can see what we are as a thought that is in his mind. Now the individualization of the thought between his thought of you, and his thought of me is what classifies us as us.

This is our soul, the thought that the Father maintains about us. And to show that the soul is the entire container of the body, and the attitude, and the mind. {

The soul in reference to the flesh of the body:

Or if a soul touch any unclean thing, whether it be a carcase of an unclean beast, or a carcase of unclean cattle, or the carcase of unclean creeping things, and if it be hidden from him; he also shall be unclean, and guilty. (Leviticus 5:2 KJV)

The soul in reference to the attitude:

But Hannah answered and said, “No, my lord, I am a woman of sorrowful spirit. I have drunk neither wine nor intoxicating drink, but have poured out my soul before the Lord. (1 Samuel 1:15 NKJV)

Now David was greatly distressed, for the people spoke of stoning him, because the soul of all the people was grieved, every man for his sons and his daughters. But David strengthened himself in the LORD his God. (1 Samuel 30:6 NKJV)

The soul in reference to the mind by omission of the body and the attitude:

And do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. But rather fear Him who is able to destroy both soul and body in hell. (Mat 10:28 NKJV)

“Behold! My Servant whom I have chosen, My Beloved in whom My soul is well pleased! I will put My Spirit upon Him, And He will declare justice to the Gentiles. (Mat 12:18 NKJV)

Now may the God of peace Himself sanctify you completely; and may your whole spirit, soul, and body be preserved blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. (1 Thessalonians 5:23 NKJV)

Therefore since the features for each other are separate and individualized God does indeed create a soul for each body, for that is how the body can be of its own separate unit.}

To show that the child has a soul as well as the parent.

But Hamor spoke with them, saying, “The soul of my son Shechem longs for your daughter. Please give her to him as a wife. (Gen 34:8 NKJV)

Therefore since the son has also a soul this shows that an alternate soul is now in existence.

Let us look deeper to the meaning of the soul:

The Hebrew word for Soul is נפש, and has been translated in both of the following verses,

And God said, Let the waters bring forth abundantly the moving creature that hath life, and fowl that may fly above the earth in the open firmament of heaven. (Genesis 1:20 KJV)

And the Lord God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul. (Genesis 2:7 KJV)

Let us also look to the Hebrew for the meaning for in each Hebrew word the meaning to the word is in the letters.

נ(Nun: Seed; Continue, Heir, Son)
פ(Pey: Mouth; Blow, Scatter, Edge)
ש(Shin: Two front teeth; Sharp, Press, Eat, Two)

Now of Traducianism I know very little, but you can tell that one's soul is also derived from one's parents'. For the meaning to the word in Ancient Hebrew can be derived from any combination to get an all around meaning. "Seed blown pressed from two".

Now in the act of sexual intercourse "seed that can continue an heir as a son is blown from the mouth of a certain body part scattering in another place and when it gets to the edge the two meet and the sperm peirces into the egg where they devour each other and the cell splits into two".

Or we could say that the parts of the soul of the Father and part of the soul of the Mother combine to create this new soul. Therefore both points of view happen at the same time.


Now on Wikipedia it appears that Traducianism was not only in search for the origin of the soul, but also that of the transmission of original sin.

Now to really understand the transmission of the sinful nature a better understanding of the spirit is needed.

And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance. (Acts 2:4 NKJV)

The Greek word for Spirit is Πνεῦμα. Pronounced Pneuma

In such passages as Romans 8:15; 1 Corinthians 4:21; 2 Timothy 1:7; 1 John 4:6 pneuma denotes 'mood,' 'attitude,' or 'state of feeling.

If I told you that the girls had school spirit. You could picture in your mind a display of a specific type of attitude. For the Spirit indeed displays an attitude, which in turn displays the emotional result. For once again being in the Image of God, not only do we have the creative feature of our minds in similarity to the Father, but we also have the flesh that holds our mind, and the attitude that is on display through the flesh.

Now in the beginning Adam was told to not eat of the fruits of the Knowledge of Good and Evil, for if he did he would die. Now I conjecture here, most likely the result was a form of pride. So we have been given the term "The Fall of Man" which is the falling to a state of depression. I come to this conclusion because the answer that has been given by Jesus in John 15 fixes this problem.

Also is implied by the nature of "Weeping and Gnashing of the Teeth" Depression and Anger. Both follow after denial in the stages of grief. Faith is the opposite of denial therefore prevents both Depression and Anger.

Now to explain the passing down of the original sin. For authority by its nature allows for a weakness. Because refusal to a command can hurt the pride of the commander. For example if we where to topically look at the scene in the garden, let us see Adam telling Eve to go in a specific direction, and her refusal because of the snake. The effect on pride would have caused Adam to fall into depression.

By nature the children have been given gene of authority, yet when used as authority over the parent, the parents denial of the command also in of itself can cause the depression to occur to the child.

So in the now natural state the exalting of pride will cause the anger, and the fall of pride will cause the depression. So God then sent his Son to deliver to use the answer that can cleanse us of this nature, and that answer is that of faith. For the problem can be summarized in the Stages of Grief. Denial is the lack of faith, leading to anger bargaining and depression, yet through forgiveness, acceptance can occur and the perfect state can once again become manifested. Through faith in God's judgement the pride can balance well in God's perspective, and for those that have fallen into temptation forgiveness offers the return to the holy attitude.

Now how Jesus is fully man (and God) yet without sin. Remember that we are all thoughts that are in the mind of the Father, and that the nature of that thought was that of a soul, that also has flesh and attitude and that of mind. Therefore if the Father thinks of himself he creates for himself a separate thought, therefore of a separate soul then from the rest as the others. Yet carried within that thought is part of his own mind, and his own attitude and also the flesh that is required to allow this to occur.

Since he must have a body to maintain the nature of the mind and the attitude, that body is fully man. Yet the attitude shines as the template offering to all the other thoughts. That attitude is acceptable and loved by the father, for he is the designer of the template so that it can be so. Of the mind as well being of his own mind through the speaking only of the words given from the mind. Is perfectly him as the Father, for the body of the thought becomes like a phone. The speaker is the one identified, and not the phone itself. For it is written:

I will raise up for them a Prophet like you from among their brethren, and will put My words in His mouth, and He shall speak to them all that I command Him. (Deuteronomy 18:18 NKJV)

Therefore since the word becomes of the flesh, and the mouth of God made all of this, and the word spoke through perfectly between the thinker and the thought. The identity of the thought is also that of the thinker, and yet also separated as the thought and the thinker.

Now since God does not offend himself, this is why Jesus never did sin. And since even you being human can think of yourself, open your eyes and again think of yourself. How many times could our All Powerful God think of himself? So for him to resurrect himself is like super easy for him. In fact for him to think again about all that he thought of is also super easy for him. This gives us great hope for our own resurrection!

Therefore since the perfect attitude has been given to us by this great sacrifice. Let us not become guilty of not accepting this spirit of faith in humility and forgiveness casting away the anger and the depression. For when we have done this, the children become clean, for the message of faith can be delivered to the children, and the spirit of them can be saved. All until the final day that God decides to separate out those with the faith, and those lost in rage and depression. Leaving only that of peace on the earth as explained:

Then comes the end, when He delivers the kingdom to God the Father, when He puts an end to all rule and all authority and power. (1 Corinthians 15:24)


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"For in the common understanding of sexual intercourse parts of the soul of the Father and part of the soul of the Mother combine to create this new soul." Ahh, I don't think that's the common understanding. Before this question I had never heard of the idea before! –  curiousdannii Mar 23 '14 at 11:45
The explanation was not considered common only the root. Maybe I should have put a comma after intercourse. –  Only he is good. Mar 23 '14 at 13:31
Ok comma is placed. Thanks –  Only he is good. Mar 23 '14 at 13:32
I still think you're wrong - the idea that the souls of the father and mother combine in sex to make a new soul is not a common idea! –  curiousdannii Mar 23 '14 at 21:18
@Onlyheisgood. Would you mind sharing what tradition this perspective comes from? Also, do you have any sources besides your own thinking about the Scriptures (not that it's absolutely necessary, but I'm not quite following all of the argument you are making, especially the part about depression). Thanks. –  Cohen_the_Librarian Mar 27 '14 at 21:18

This is a very good question and I can see how the answer would have implications in regards to the formation of Jesus's body (and soul).

Answering this question in regards to Christ, I think would answer the question in general in regards to the rest of us.

I did some study in Luke 1 a while back and did some looking up of verse 35 in the Greek. The angel's explanation of how Mary was to bear a child without him being conceived in the conventional matter, came out that the Spirit of God was to use "the stock" of her in creating this child.

From a biologist's viewpoint, I came to understand that as the Holy Spirit using her DNA to create Jesus's body. Now obviously this would have to be an act of creation because all Mary would have is an XX genome and Jesus would need a Y. An egg before it's fertilized has the full compliment of 46 chromosomes and since all the organelles needed by the cell comes from the mother, all that was already there. (Sperm in contrast are only composed of proteins, mitochondria (which drive their flagellum) and and 23 chromosomes of DNA.) So in essence, of the genetic material the Holy Spirit had to work with, He'd basically have to make Jesus genetically a male clone of his mother Mary, since Jesus had to be "related" to the first Adam.

Now, as I'd mentioned earlier, this had to also be an act of creation because all creatures that are capable of reproducing asexually only produce female offspring and those are usually sterile. We know that wasn't the case with Jesus, he had a body that was reproductively viable, since Leviticus 21 states that a priest who'd offer sacrifices couldn't be deformed in any way, or have "his stones (testicles) broken".

So we know by this, that the fallen nature can't be passed from mother to child strictly in the biological process of embryonic/fetal development. When we look at Adam and Eve, we'll notice that neither were held culpable for Eve's eating the fruit until Adam ate it too. God makes reference to the seed of Eve in verse 15. This is commonly and rightfully understood to point to Christ. Notice though that Jesus is the seed of Eve, not the seed of Adam. The propensity to be corrupted on account of being born into this fallen world is passed from father to child, not mother to child. So in theory, if a woman could conceive a child without a father it would be sinless. Obviously we know that isn't possible outside of an act of God, because much more goes into conventional conception than strictly DNA. There are hormonal changes in both men and women that are transferred in the process. Obviously in the case of Mary and Jesus, all that happened without that type of hormonal exchange.

So in that regard, we know enough about biology to figure out in general how Jesus's body was formed. Where did his soul come from? Obviously it didn't come from any sort of union. Which this brings up another interesting point of what we know of biology; identical twins and even clones. We know enough to clone an animal, and probably a human being too, but you can't clone a soul. We know when identical twins are born, obviously each has their own soul. Did they start as one soul that split in half? That sounds a bit preposterous. Did the embryo split in half because by some freaky accident it inherited two souls? That's just as preposterous as splitting a soul in half. So on those three accounts, I'd come to the conclusion that souls are created, not inherited.

I know this doesn't answer the question of how a new soul goes into a biological entity who's biology is not the source of their fallen nature, only to fall? How does that happen? I'm not sure, but I think it has something to do with coming into contact with the inherent corruption of a fallen world that was made aware of that corruption on account of Adam's disobedience.

On the flip side of this, I think the reason Jesus was not corrupted, was because there was an aspect of him that was eternal. God had the knowledge of good and evil long before Adam or Eve ever at that fruit, but by nature of who and what God is, He's unable to be corrupted by that knowledge.

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Please explain more about the Greek which prompted this theory. –  curiousdannii Aug 10 '14 at 5:29
The Greek is pretty simple. You need either an interlinear Bible and a Strong's concordance, or "Complete Word Study New Testament". It's either the word "overshadow" or "the holy thing that will be born of you...." talks about "the stock" of Mary. –  Renee Nichols Aug 10 '14 at 5:38
I meant that it would if you edited this answer to put in the Greek word, perhaps with a link to an online lexicon. Are you talking about the verb ἐπισκιάσει which means "she will be overshadowed"? If so I don't see the connection to any noun meaning "the stock"... –  curiousdannii Aug 10 '14 at 5:43
You want me to do your homework for you - LOL. alright, I'll find the word for you. –  Renee Nichols Aug 11 '14 at 1:39
No, I'm trying to help you have a good answer. At the moment it is vague, unspecific and non-trustworthy. If you think you have something worth saying then it's your responsibility to actually put forward a coherent detailed argument. If you want to make an argument about the Greek rather than just relying on English translations then you actually need to be specific and tell us the Greek words you're referring to. –  curiousdannii Aug 11 '14 at 1:56

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