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August 12, 2005

Ch. XIV. Q. 84. Traducianism and Creationism

ACCORDING to the ruling opinion of Catholic theologians the human soul is not received by parental propagation (traducianism), but by immediate divine creation (creationism).1 It is also generally held that the soul's creation coincides with its infusion into the human organism. "When this occurs is not so generally agreed, but many maintain that it takes place at the moment of conception.2

2. The traducianist arguments are (a) The transmission of "original sin" is best explained by supposing a propagation of souls; (b) Children are apt to exhibit the mental and moral as well as the physiological characters of their parents; (c) The creationist view implies that the creative activity God is in this direction determined by human wills, often in moments of illicit passion.

3. In reply it may be said: (a) The soul in any case begins to be as conditioned in functioning by an organism which has been inherited from Adam. Its independence of origin does not therefore exempt it from the influence of sinful heredity; (b) Mental and moral characters are conditioned, and apt to be determined, by physiological conditions, and these are undoubtedly determined in important measure by inheritance; (c) It is a mysterious fact that human action, including sin is always made possible by divine concursus.3 The providential order includes profoundly immoral possibilities, but the uninterrupted maintenance of this order constiutes an inevitable condition of the ultimate triumph of the righteous purpose of God.

1 On this question, Creation, pp. 197-199; H.P. Liddon, Some Elements, pp. 93-104; A. Moore, Essays, Scientific and Phil., pp. 75-82; Cath Encyc., s. v. "Creationism''; J.O. Dykes, Divine Worker, pp. 157-165. For patristic views, J.F. Bethune-Baker, Early Hist. of Christ. Doctr., pp. 302-305.

2 On this view is based the contention that abortion is always child-murder.

3 Creation, p. 74. Cf. idem, ch. iv.

Posted by AKMA at August 12, 2005 05:25 AM