THE ORIGIN OF THE HUMAN SOUL:
Soul Creation vs. Traducianism
Creationism essentially states that God creates each soul at the moment of conception. Proponents of this position offer the following as scriptural support: Sacred Scripture teaches a difference in the origin of the soul from the origin of the human body. (Ecclesiastes 2:17, Hebrews 12:9) This the Creationist proponent deduces that the separation of body and soul are maintained because God creates each soul Himself, as needed. The obvious problems with this position is that it has God continually creating, whereas scripture says God ceased to create. (Gen 2:2-3)
Traducianism teaches that we are created as wholistic beings, body and soul. Thus, the immaterial part of man (the soul) is generated naturally at the same time as the material part of man (the body). This means human soul is generated from the soul of the parents. A Traducianist would offer the following as scriptural support: God breathed life into Adam, causing him to be a living soul. (Gen. 2:7) There is no scriptural evidence of God having done so ever again. Adam's descendants were procreated in God's image as living souls without any scriptural evidence of God directly breathing life into them. (Gen 5:3) Scripture also seems to be very clear that God ceased from creating. (Gen. 2:2-3) The Traducianist would counter the Creationist by saying that the fall of humanity caused the entirety of man to be corrupt (body, spirit, soul) and infected humanity with inherited depravity. In saying God creates each soul at conception, the Creationist is having God create something that is corrupt. Thus, the only reasonable scriptural position is that the soul is generated from the parents at the moment of conception.
There is yet another position on the origin of the soul that is rarely encountered outside some heterodox sects. That is the notion of the pre-existence of the soul. This view states that all human souls were created before Adam, and prior to Genesis 1. Then at the moment of conception, God sends the soul into the body. The obvious problem with this view is that there is absolutely no Biblical evidence for it whatsoever. As the soul is eternal, this would mean that the soul eternally pre-existed. The concept of pre-existence cannot be followed to its logical conclusion. Pre-existence implies one of three things:
- the soul has always existed,
- the soul was created at a previous time and waited, incorporeal, until it could inhabit a body on earth, or
- the soul inhabited another body in the past and transmigrated to its current body.
If (1) is true and souls have always existed, then human beings are also part of God, uncreated and self-determined. This concept is clearly contrary to the Bible’s claims that there is no other God but Yahweh (Gen. 5:1, John 4:12). If (2) is true and the soul waited prior to earthly birth, then Gen. 2:7 is wrong. The words in Genesis 2:7 “man became” indicate a definite beginning in which Adam’s soul and body came to life at the same time. If (3) is true, and a soul inhabited another body, then we have reincarnation.