"Over against all that reason suggests or would measure and fathom, yes, all that our senses feel and perceive, we must learn to cling to the Word and simply judge according to it."


- Martin Luther




Luther's Rose


I wish most importantly to state a case for Christ and His Cross for the unbeliever, but I also wish to make the case for both the unbeliever and the "blessedly inconsistent" towards the true apostolic and catholic teachings of the blessed and orthodox Lutheran Church.



SOLI DEO GLORIA



If you read an article and wish to comment, then please do.


Do not worry about the date it was written.

I promise that I or the articles author will answer.


Why I Lean Towards Traducianism


If anyone has ever wondered about where our souls come from or how they are made, I believe Traducianism may just be the best answer.

What is Traducianism you ask?

According to the Christian Cyclopedia, Traducianism is the:

View that the soul* of a new infant is generated from the souls of its parents. Many prefer this view to creationism* because they feel that it helps to account for transmission of sin from parents to offspring (see also Sin, Original).


However, one should approach this doctrine cautiously for it is no where affirmed in scripture. Yet, given its logicality in relation to original sin, one can easily see why this theory is much more preferable as compared to its competitors.

What are its competitors?

I'll let C.P. Krauth explain the differences in his classic The Conservative Reformation and Its Theology, Krauth says regarding the propagation of the soul:


The propagation, or origination of the human soul, has been explained by three theories, viz: Preexistence: Creationism: Traducianism.

The theory of Preexistence was maintained by Plato, who dwelt upon a seemingly dim recollection of a former condition, anamneesis. It went over from Plato through Philo, to Origen, but never met with general acceptance in the Church, and was expressly condemned in the Council of Constantinople in 543. In recent times, it has been defended by Kant, who thinks, in his work "Religion within the bounds of Pure Reason," that to the explanation of the radical evil in man is required the intelligible fact of a decision made by him at some former time. Schelling has maintained the same view in his "Philosophical Investigation, in regard to the Essence of Freedom," 1809.

It has also been most ably defended by Julius Mueller, in his great work "On Sin" (4th Ed., 1858), (translated into English, Clark's For. Libr.,) who employs it to solve the problem of Original Sin. Nowhere,however, has the theory been put more beautifully, than in the lines of one of our great English poets, Wordsworth, in his "Intimations of Immortality,from the Recollections of Childhood." In that poem he makes this noble statement of the Platonic theory:

"Our birth is but a sleep and a forgetting;
The soul that rises with us, our life's star,
Hath had elsewhere its setting,
And cometh from afar.
Not in entire forgetfulness,
And not in utter nakedness,
But, trailing clouds of glory, do we come,
From Heaven, which is our home."

But beautiful as is this theory, and not without speciousness, it will not bear the test of logic, nor of the witness of Scripture. It only cuts the knot; it simply throws back the question, puts it out of sight, and does not answer it. It is an obvious subterfuge to get rid of a perplexity, and is like the hopeless cosmography of the Hindoos, except that it stops at the elephant. It is opposed to the great fact of our human experience, as to the similarity between the soul of the parent and child, and is contradicted by the general drift of Scripture, and specially by Gen. iii. and the whole argument in Rom. v. 12, seq. It in truth involves simply an undeveloped metempsychosis, a transmigration of the soul. Its latest defender is an American, Dr. Edward Beecher, who lays this theory as part of the basis of what he claims to be the solution of the "Conflict of Ages." (1854.) The theory of Preexistence in another form asserts simply that all souls were created at the beginning, by the word of God, and are united, at conception, with the human organism.

Immediate Creationism maintains that there is a direct creation of the soul by God, and that about the fortieth day after conception it is united with the embryo. The passages of Scripture which have been appealed to sustain this view are Jer. xxxviii. 16; Isa. Ivii. 16; Zach. xii. 1; Acts xvii. 28; Ps. cxix. 73; Job x. 12; Do. xxxiii. 4; Numb. xvi. 22; Do. xxvii. 16; Heb. xii. 9, and in the Apocryphal books, 2 Mace. vii. 22. Jerome asserts that this was the view of the Church, but this is an overstatement of the fact, although it certainly was the view of a number of the Fathers. Clemens Alexandrinus says: "Our soul is sent from Heaven." Lactantius says: "Soul cannot be born of souls." It is the predominant view of the Roman Church. Most of the Reformed (Calvinistic) theologians maintain it, and usually with the theory that by the union of the soul with the body the soul becomes sinful.

But this theory is really untenable. The strongest of the Scripture passages quoted to sustain it, imply no more than that the spirit of man has higher attributes than his body, is preeminent as God's work, and the chief seat of his image, without at all implying that His creation of the soul is a direct one. It would be quite as easy, not only to show from other passages, but to show from a number of these, that the body of man is the direct creation of God, which, nevertheless, no one will maintain.

To Pelagians, and the Pelagianizing Romanists, this theory indeed is not encumbered with the great moral difficulty arising from the acknowledgment of Original Sin, but to all others, this view involves, at its root, unconscious Gnosticism. It makes matter capable of sin and of imparting sinfulness. It represents the parents of a child as really but the parents of a mere material organism, within which the nobler part, all. That elevates it, all that loves and is loved, is in no respect really their child. On this theory, no man could call his child really his own. He has no more relation, as a parent, to its soul, which is the child, than any other man in the world, and is as really the father of that which constitutes a human being, to every other person's children as he is to his own. Moreover, with all the explanations and ingenious resorts which have been found necessary in retaining this theory, there is no escaping the inference, that it makes God the author of Sin. According to this theory, God creates a perfect, spotless, holy soul, and then places it in a polluted body; that is, He takes what is absolutely innocent, and places it, where it inevitably, not by choice, but of necessity, is tainted with sin, justly subject to damnation, and in a great majority of cases actually reaches eternal damnation. We do not hesitate to say, that though the doctrine has been held by good men, who have guarded with great care against obvious abuse, it could be pressed until it would assume almost the character of a "Doctrine of Devils."

The third view is that of Traducianism, or mediate Creationism: the theory that both body and soul are derived from the parents. This theory corresponds with the prevailing and clear statements of the Holy Scriptures, as, e. g. Gen. v. 3; Acts xvii. 24-26. It is a doctrine absolutely demanded by the existence of original sin, and the doctrine that God is not the author of sin. This view is defended, among the Fathers, especially by Tertullian, Athanasius, Gregory of Nissen, and many others. Augustine remained undecided, confessing his ignorance, yet leaning strongly to the Traducian View. The Lutheran Divines, with very few exceptions, are Traducian. The expressions in the Symbolical Books, such as in the Catechism, "I believe that God has created me," and in the Formula of Concord, "God has created our souls and bodies after the fall," are meant of the mediate creation, not of the direct.

The true theory of Traducianism is, that it is a creation by God, of which the parents are the divinely ordained organ. The soul of the child is related mysteriously, yet as closely, to the soul of the parent as its body is to theirs, and the inscrutable mystery of the eternal generation of God's Son from the absolute Spirit, mirrors itself in the origin of the human soul.
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30 comments:

If anyone has ever wondered about where our souls come from or how they are made, I believe Traducianism may just be the best answer.

No, but I have often wondered how anybody could be stupid enough to believe in a soul, which is invisible and has exactly zero evidence for it.

I guess there's nothing too childish for the brainwashed masses to believe.

August 18, 2009 at 7:35 AM  

"stupid...childish...brainwashed"

If you have anything substantive to say it would be greatly appreciated.

By the way, ad-hominems do not refute arguments.

God Bless!

August 18, 2009 at 8:58 AM  

Consider paternal traducianism where only the father's seed 'carries' the soul to the child. Hence the virgin birth of Christ unstained by Adam's sin. Our sin nature is derived from our father and thus Jesus had no sin nature since his father was not human but God alone.

September 27, 2010 at 7:32 PM  

While it's pleasing logically to assume that this is the reason why Christ is without sin, it too can be dangerous, in that there is no scriptural backing for it.

Many, if not most, heresies have started with a misunderstanding of the Trinity or the dual natures of Christ. So, one must tread a very narrow path while contemplating such things and submit reason to scripture.

Christ is a mystery, I see it better to leave Him that way.

God's blessings!

September 28, 2010 at 1:41 PM  

Jesus claimed his origin as a son was by Paternal Traducianism, not preexistence.

Jesus claimed to have proceeded forth and come out from his Father (his Father sent him) to be conceived as son in the womb of his mother.

To say a son is co-eternal with his father is to deny the father gave him life.
How can you give life to someone if they have always been alive?
Perhaps something can happen "outside of time" when there is no before or after... no TIME for anything to happen?

Was that when God-the-1st-person gave life to God-the-2nd-person...outside of TIME where there is no before or after?

What nonsense!

Clearly, Trinitarians deny both the Father and the Son.

February 26, 2011 at 3:01 PM  

"Jesus claimed his origin as a son was by Paternal Traducianism, not preexistence."

Chapter and verse. Traducianism is an attempt at understanding the propagation of the soul. It is not affirmed in scripture, and therefore subject to revision and/or error.

Christ is a mystery, I do not understand His incarnation beyond what scripture tells me.

"Clearly, Trinitarians deny both the Father and the Son."

I don't understand why you say this. Please explain.

February 26, 2011 at 9:42 PM  

Paternal Traducianism is concerned with the origin of the person, the "I".
Levi was in his father's loins (great grand father, Abe).
Thus "Levi" was not created ex-nihilo at conception/gestation as Creationists believe, nor was he a preexisting person (human or nonhuman) in some other realm or on some other planet.
Levi was in his father.

To say God created the soul/person of Levi is to deny that the person of Abe is the father of the person who is Levi, denying both father and son.

Creationists must believe that Abe sired a soulless human body, a golem-zygote that needed a soul to be created by God at the moment of conception or sometime during gestation, or perhaps even after birth, or maybe even into adulthood. Who knows?

It's no mystery where Jesus came from because he plainly explained that he proceeded forth and came out from his Father (his Father sent him).
Jesus was clearly claiming Paternal Traducianism as the origin of his person.

Jesus was not "incarnated", he was conceived into existence as a person in the womb.
To say otherwise is to deny that God is the father of the MAN Jesus.
To say a preexisting nonhuman person assumed a human nature/body is to make the MAN a golem occupied by a nonhuman entity.

Trinitarians say the Son is eternal, denying that the Father gave him life.
Thus they deny both the Father and the Son.

Thanks for your time.

March 4, 2011 at 8:50 PM  

"Trinitarians say the Son is eternal, denying that the Father gave him life.
Thus they deny both the Father and the Son."


Trinitarians say that the Son is eternal, because the word of God says that the son is eternal(Jn 1:14, 18; Ro 1:3; 8:32; 1 Jn 1:7; 1 Ptr 1:3; 1 Th 1:1; Heb 1:5; Mi 5:2; Ps 2:7). To not affirm what the scriptures say, is to not affirm Christ. If one doesn't affirm Christ, then one doesn't affirm Father or Holy Ghost.

March 5, 2011 at 10:47 PM  

Scripture says the Father gave the Son life.
If the Son always had life then how did his Father give him life?

An eternal being has no father because no one gives him life.
The God I worship has no father and no one gave him life.

Your imaginary God ( the 2nd person) has a father who gave him life, yet he, somehow, always existed?

Thanks a lot!









Thanks.

March 8, 2011 at 11:34 PM  

I'll be the first to admit that the Trinity is impossible to understand apart from God's word. I hold to the faith that even though I don't understand the Trinity, that God is honest in what He tells us about Himself according to His word.

As for how such an answer can leave me intellectually satisfied; it doesn't. However, I think about it like this, a new born baby doesn't understand why I stare into a screen of light most of the time. Maybe the light catches their attention but for a second, but the changing images, one after another, and many sounds, to them makes no sense. At least makes no sense until they are older. Likewise, I, like a baby, look at the things of God and they make no sense, but, one day long beyond this world it will. That's good enough for me.

Who is the God you worship?

March 9, 2011 at 3:44 PM  

I will second your admission that the Trinity cannot be understood.
If it makes no sense then it must be true?

Paternal Traducianism can easily be understood, especially in an agrarian society, that a branch springs forth out from the root.
A son proceeds forth and comes out from his father (his father sends him).

Levi proceeded forth and came out from his father, and so did Jesus.

A son is not a preexisting person within or beside his father, but is his father's "own glory", his father's essence that is sent by the father to proceed forth and be conceived as a separate person in the form of a son (or daughter) within the womb of the mother.

The God I worship gave life to his Son and they have a REAL father-son relationship because one person gave life/existence to the other person.
To say the person of the Son is eternal is to deny he has a father who gave him life.

I have said just about all I wish to say.
Thanks for your time and cyber-space.

March 9, 2011 at 10:14 PM  

"If it makes no sense then it must be true?

I've never said such a thing. All I've said is that what I believe is consistent with scripture. It doesn't have to make sense to my reason. In this case I don't have to put reason before scripture, but scripture before reason. Here reason is ministerial, not magisterial.

Even after saying this I believe we are at an impasse.

However, scripture states that yes while Christ was born temporally, His is also eternal. I rest my case with scripture.

To Christ be the glory!

God bless you!

March 10, 2011 at 8:55 PM  

One last thing before I go, you say you "lean toward traducianism" but when it comes to the MAN Jesus you clearly lean towards preexistence.

Plato believed all men preexisted before they were born.
It seems you have a Platonic Christ.

Thanks again!

March 11, 2011 at 1:32 AM  

Let God be true, and every man a liar.

I have stated my case; you just wish to pick a fight.

God bless you in Christ!

March 11, 2011 at 7:23 AM  

No, I wish not to fight.
Besides, you have the choice to edit.
I'm just confused, that's all.

Lutherans ( and other Trinitarians) who lean towards traducianism believe both parents contribute to the "soul" of a man.
Some Trinitarians who lean towards paternal traducianism must believe Jesus to have no human soul seeing that it is only the father who is the "soul-giver"!

The question arises, Did the man Jesus have a complete human soul seeing that only his mother was his soul-giver?

And was this human soul a person or potential person other than the preexisting nonhuman person who assumed the body and soul at the so-called incarnation?

March 11, 2011 at 4:37 PM  

Reason leads me to understand your confusion. What you say makes sense to naked reason. However, I do not trust the things of God to my mere human reason, I've said this many times.

How about you play some offense and tell me what you believe in regarding Christ? Is he preexistent, or just a man?

You sound like someone comfortable and acquainted with the truth, teach me!

March 11, 2011 at 8:44 PM  

Come, let us reason together?

Some Lutherans say the preexisting nonhuman person of God-the-Son squelched the potential "personal soul" that was inherited from Mary when he assumed the zygote and the soul that normally would be a human person never developed and is now only a part of the "human nature" this nonhuman person assumed.

If that pesky soul was allowed to develop into a human person there would be two persons who are Jesus: one human person who "issued" from Mary and one preexisting nonhuman person who is not related to Mary in any way.

Mary's REAL son is only a pathetic potential person who exists as an appendage of the nonhuman person who assumed the "human nature-soul".

I guess that is why most Trinitarians are Creationists...who have another set of problems in that Mary must conceive a soulless golem-zygote that God creates a soul for.

But, please, don't try to reason it all out.

March 12, 2011 at 10:36 PM  

What Lutherans teach this? Did you even read what the original article says?

Besides you are the one making this about Jesus' nature, something the original article never took up. If you want some clarity, look at this: http://sites.google.com/site/arlomax/twonaturesofchrist

You may attack me if you wish based on reason alone, but, human reason cannot comprehend the things of God apart from His word.

Do you believe the historical Jesus Christ who existed in space-time to be God incarnate?

March 13, 2011 at 10:02 AM  

Also, you might want to check this out:

http://www.lighthouselibrary.com/pdf/LUTHER,%20MARTIN/DISPUTATION%20ON%20THE%20DIVINITY%20AND%20HUMANITY---%5BMartin%20Luther%5D.pdf

March 13, 2011 at 10:19 AM  

In your article you lean toward the traducianism most Lutherans lean to where the soul of a son/daughter is somehow transmitted from the mother and the father.
So, you must figure out a way for the MAN Jesus to receive his soul from Mary without it being a human person.
Otherwise there would be two persons who are Jesus: the soul transmitted from Mary and the preexisting nonhuman person of God-the-Son.

Some Trinitarian traducianists say the soul the MAN Jesus received from Mary never developed into a human person, that it never existed of and by itself but was assumed from the get-go by the nonhuman person of God-the-Son at the moment of conception when Mary's ovum became a zygote and is only a "potential person" lodged within the human-nature somewhere.

The Man Jesus is this case would be co-joined twins as one fully developed nonhuman person and one only a "potential human person".

I suppose Trinitarian who are paternal traducianists think they have no problem because they believe Mary did not supply a human soul for the MAN Jesus.
However, they must figure out a someway for the MAN Jesus do have a human soul.
Did God-the-Son become a human soul?
If so, then that is preexistence of a human soul as something nonhuman.
Did God create a human soul at the moment God-the-Son assumed the human nature?
If so, then that would be Creationism and not Traducianism.

It seems that no matter what Trinitarians invent they end up with a nonhuman absurdity they call the MAN Jesus.

March 15, 2011 at 11:50 PM  

"So, you must figure out a way for the MAN Jesus to receive his soul from Mary without it being a human person."

Why "must" I figure this out.

Scripture states that Jesus is both God and Man, or, a better theological term, Theanthropos, or as translated, God-man. If this is what God's word states, let God be true, and every man a liar. Right?

I don't have to have it make sense. Do you understand my point?

It's something beyond my comprehension, like the movement of particles on the quantum level. It simply is, why do I have to make it make sense to me or anyone else. It may not make sense logically, but that doesn't necessarily mean it's not true, just like quantum physics.

Does this make sense?

March 16, 2011 at 4:40 PM  

Also, you never answered my question:

Do you believe the historical Jesus Christ who existed in space-time to be God incarnate?

Not only do I now ask you this again, but I'll raise another question, and please answer.

Do you believe that the historical Jesus of Nazareth who existed in space-time to be the God Who has saved your soul from His wrath upon the cross at calvary?

March 16, 2011 at 4:44 PM  

The term "God-man" does not occur in scripture.

Oneness folks say Jesus is "God incarnate" and that the ENTIRE Godhead became incarnate.
Folks who believe in a binary God must say one of two persons who are the Godhead became incarnate, or 1/2 of the Godhead became incarnate.
Folks who are Trinitarians must believe that only 1/3 of the triune God (one of three persons = 1/3) became incarnate.
I suppose if folks believe God to be four persons then 1/4 of the Godhead became incarnate, and so on.
Infinitarians, folks who believe God to be an infinity of persons, well, I have no clue what they would say.

If any preexisting person became incarnate, that would deny that the MAN Jesus is God's Son.
I say the MAN Jesus is God's Son.

If a preexisting person from a Oneness, Binary or Triune God, or a preexisting person who is human, nonhuman, angel or alien incarnated into the human nature in Mary's womb it would make that human nature a golem.
Likewise, if God created the soul-person at conception/gestation that would also make the human nature in Mary a golem that needed a soul to be created therein.

As for God dying, the God I worship is immortal and cannot die.
Sorry to hear about the death of yours.

I do not think of myself so highly as to insist that God Almighty must die for my sins.
Why do you insist that God Almighty must die for YOUR sins?
Who are to be so great a being that only the death of God will suffice?

March 16, 2011 at 11:23 PM  

Stop being coy, are you a Christian or not?

I never insisted on God dying for me, I love Him because He first loved me.

March 18, 2011 at 9:32 PM  

Yes, I believe I am a Christian, just like you believe you are one.

You say one of three persons, who together are your one God, incarnated and died, or 1/3 of God died?

Binitarians say one of two persons who are the one God incarnated and died, or 1/2 of God died.

Oneness say one person who is God alone incarnated and died, or 100% of God died.

I am more impressed with 100% or even 50% of God dying than I am with only 33% (aprox) of God dying.

However, I believe God is immortal and cannot die and if he "incarnated" yet remained God Almighty he still could not die.

Only a MORTAL being can die.
If a being is both man and God, an immortal being and a mortal being then he died yet did not die at the same time?
Nonsense!
No, the great immortal, eternal and everlasting God did not die for your secret little sins.

Did this person who you say is a God-man die yet did not die?
Did this same person die as a man yet did not die as God?
The same person did and did not die?

If your God died then he is MORTAL and not God at all.
If your God did not die, then how can you claim he died for your sins?

March 19, 2011 at 11:14 AM  

Would you say that Mohammed was demon possessed? Or, that he was bewitched by a demon who appeared as an angel of light?

March 19, 2011 at 4:55 PM  

Also, is Islam of the devil? Yes or no?

March 19, 2011 at 4:59 PM  

Sorry, I only have a casual knowledge of Islam and do not wish to discuss things I know little about.
It seems you do not wish to discuss if your God died or not.

So, did your Triune God (or persons thereof) die or not?
If he died then you have a mortal God and he is not really God at all.
If your God did not die then why do you say God died for your sins?

March 19, 2011 at 6:08 PM  

Oh, I'm sorry, I figured I would ask some non-sequiturs like you.

That's what this whole dialogue has been, at least as the departure has been from the original article; one tangential non-sequitur.

This blog states explicitly what I believe. You, however, do not.

Anyone who calls themselves a Christian, but doesn't believe that Christ died for their sins, or was resurrected so that the ones He died for might live again (as the Bible explicitly states), is surely not a Christian.

This is my closing salvo, you may have your parting shot if you wish, I promise to publish.

God's blessings!

March 19, 2011 at 9:43 PM  

Do you, like Luther, believe the Pope to be Anti-Christ and demon possessed?
Are the majority of Trinitarians, namely Catholics, of the devil?

I understand why you wish to avoid the question, did God Almighty die.

If God died then he is mortal.
If God did not die then God did not die for your sins.
Did your Triune God (or specific persons thereof) die?

March 22, 2011 at 9:42 PM