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§ 3. Creationism.

The common doctrine of the Church, and especially of the Reformed theologians, has ever been that the soul of the child is not generated or derived from the parents, but that it is created by the immediate agency of God. The arguments generally urged in favour of this view are, —

1. That it is more consistent with the prevailing representations of the Scriptures. In the original account of the creation there is a marked distinction made between the body and the soul. The one is from the earth, the other from God. This distinction is kept up throughout the Bible. The body and soul are not only represented as different substances, but also as having different origins. The body shall return to dust, says the wise man, and the spirit to God who gave it. Here the origin of the soul is represented as different flap and higher than that of the body. The former is from God in a sense in which the latter is not. In like manner God is said to form “the spirit of man within him” (Zech. xii. 1) to give “breath unto the people upon” the earth, “and spirit to them that walk therein.” (Is. xlii. 5.) This language nearly agrees with the account of the original creation, in which God is said to have breathed into man the breath of life, to indicate that the soul is not earthy or material, but had its origin immediately from God. Hence He is called “God of the spirits of all flesh.” (Num. xvi. 22.) It could not well be said that He is 71God of the bodies of all men. The relation in which the soul stands to God as its God and creator is very different from that in which the body stands to Him. And hence in Heb. xii. 9, it is said, “We have had fathers of our flesh which corrected us, and we gave them reverence: shall we not much rather be in subjection unto the Father of spirits, and live?” The obvious antithesis here presented is between those who are the fathers of our bodies and him who is the Father of our spirits. Our bodies are derived from our earthly parents, our souls are derived from God. This is in accordance with the familiar use of the word flesh, where it is contrasted, either expressly or by implication, with the soul. Paul speaks of those who had not “seen his face in the flesh,” of “the life he now lived in the flesh.” He tells the Philippians that it was needful for them that he should remain “in the flesh;” he speaks of his “mortal flesh.” The Psalmist says of the Messiah, “my flesh shall rest in hope,” which the Apostle explains to mean that his flesh should not see corruption. In all these, and in a multitude of similar passages, flesh means the body, and “fathers of our flesh” means fathers of our bodies. So far, therefore, as the Scriptures reveal anything on the subject, their authority is against traducianism and in favour of creationism.

Argument from the Nature of the Soul.

2. The latter doctrine, also, is clearly most consistent with the nature of the soul. The soul is admitted, among Christians, to be immaterial and spiritual. It is indivisible. The traducian doctrine denies this universally acknowledged truth. It asserts that the soul admits of “separation or division of essence.”9797Shedd's History of Christian Doctrine, vol. i p. 343, note. On the same ground that the Church universally rejected the Gnostic doctrine of emanation as inconsistent with the nature of God as a spirit, it has, with nearly the same unanimity, rejected the doctrine that the soul admits of division of substance. This is so serious a difficulty that some of the advocates of the ex traduce doctrine endeavour to avoid it by denying that their theory assumes any such separation Dr division of the substance of the soul. But this denial avails little. They maintain that the same numerical essence which constituted the soul of Adam constitutes our souls. If this be so, then either humanity is a general essence of which individual men are the modes of existence, or what was wholly in Adam is distributively, partitively, and by separation, in the multitude of his descendants. Derivation of essence, therefore, does imply, and is generally 72admitted to imply, separation or division of essence. And this must be so if numerical identity of essence in all mankind is assumed to be secured by generation or propagation.

3. A third argument in favour of creationism and against traducianism is derived from the Scriptural doctrine as to the person of Christ. He was very man; He had a true human nature; a true body and a rational soul. He was born of a woman. He was, as to his flesh, the son of David. He was descended from the fathers. He was in all points made like as we are, yet without sin. This is admitted on both sides. But, as before remarked in reference to realism, this, on the theory of traducianism, necessitates the conclusion that Christ's human nature was guilty and sinful. We are partakers of Adam's sin both as to guilt and pollution, because the same numerical essence which sinned in him is communicated to us. Sin, it is said, is an accident, and supposes a substance in which it inheres, or to which it pertains. Community in sin supposes, therefore, community of essence. If we were not in Adam as to essence we did not sin in him, and do not derive a corrupt nature from him. But, if we were in him as to essence then his sin was our sin both as to guilt and pollution. This is the argument of traducianists repeated in every form. But they insist that Christ was in Adam as to the substance of his human nature as truly as we were. They say that if his body and soul were not derived from the body and soul of his virgin mother he was no true man, and cannot be the redeemer of men. What is true of other men must, consequently, be true of Him. He must, therefore, be as much involved in the guilt and corruption of the apostasy as other men. It will not do to affirm and deny the same thing. It s a contradiction to say that we are guilty of Adam's sin because we are partakers of his essence, and that Christ is not guilty of his sin nor involved in its pollution, although He is a partaker of his essence. If participation of essence involve community of guilt and depravity in the one case, it must also in the other. As this seems a legitimate conclusion from the traducian doctrine, and as this conclusion is anti-Christian, and false, the doctrine itself cannot be true.


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