II. The Constitutional Nature of Man
The previous chapter is of a more or less introductory nature, and does not, strictly speaking, form an integral part of the systematic presentation of the doctrine of man in dogmatics. This explains why many treatises on systematic theology fail to devote a separate chapter to the origin of man. Yet it seemed desirable to insert it here, since it furnishes a fitting background for what follows. Under the present caption we shall consider the essential constituents of human nature, and the question of the origin of the soul in the individuals that constitute the race.
A. THE CONSTITUENT ELEMENTS OF HUMAN NATURE.
1. THE DIFFERENT VIEWS THAT WERE CURRENT IN HISTORY: DICHOTOMY AND TRICHOTOMY. It is customary, especially in Christian circles, to conceive of man as consisting of two. and only two, distinct parts, namely, body and soul. This view is technically called dichotomy. Alongside of it, however, another made its appearance, to the effect that human nature consists of three parts, body, soul, and spirit. It is designated by the term trichotomy. The tri-partite conception of man originated in Greek philosophy, which conceived of the relation of the body and the spirit of man to each other after the analogy of the mutual relation between the material universe and God. It was thought that, just as the latter could enter into communion with each other only by means of a third substance or an intermediate being, so the former could enter into mutual vital relationships only by means of a third or intermediate element, namely, the soul. The soul was regarded as, on the one hand, immaterial, and on the other, adapted to the body. In so far as it appropriated the nous or pneuma, it was regarded as immortal, but in so far as it was related to the body, as carnal and mortal. The most familiar but also the crudest form of trichotomy is that which takes the body for the material part of man’s nature, the soul as the principle of animal life, and the spirit as the God-related rational and immortal element in man. The trichotomic conception of man found considerable favor with the Greek or Alexandrian Church Fathers of the early Christian centuries. It is found, though not always in exactly the same form, in Clement of Alexandria, Origen, and Gregory of Nyssa. But after Apollinaris employed it in a manner impinging on the perfect humanity of Jesus, it was gradually discredited. Some of the Greek Fathers still adhered to it, though Athanasius and Theodoret explicitly repudiated it. In the Latin Church the leading theologians distinctly favored the twofold division of human nature. It was especially the psychology of Augustine that gave prominence to this view. During the Middle Ages it had become a matter of common belief. The Reformation brought no change in this respect, though a few lesser lights defended the trichotomic theory. The Roman Catholic Church adhered to the verdict of Scholasticism, but in the circles of Protestantism other voices were heard. During the nineteenth century trichotomy was revived in some form or other by certain German and English theologians, as Roos, Olshausen, Beck, Delitzsch, Auberlen, Oehler, White, and Heard; but it did not meet with great favor in the theological world. The recent advocates of this theory do not agree as to the nature of the psuche, nor as to the relation in which it stands to the other elements in man’s nature. Delitzsch conceives of it as an efflux of the pneuma, while Beck, Oehler, and Heard, regard it as the point of union between the body and the spirit. Delitzsch is not altogether consistent and occasionally seems to waver, and Beck and Oehler admit that the Biblical representation of man is fundamentally dichotomic. Their defense of a Biblical trichotomy can hardly be said to imply the existence of three distinct elements in man. Besides these two theological views there were, especially in the last century and a half, also the philosophical views of absolute Materialism and of absolute Idealism, the former sacrificing the soul to the body, and the latter, the body to the soul.
2. THE TEACHINGS OF SCRIPTURE AS TO THE CONSTITUENT ELEMENTS OF HUMAN NATURE. The prevailing representation of the nature of man in Scripture is clearly dichotomic. On the one hand the Bible teaches us to view the nature of man as a unity, and not as a duality, consisting of two different elements, each of which move along parallel lines but do not really unite to form a single organism. The idea of a mere parallelism between the two elements of human nature, found in Greek philosophy and also in the works of some later philosophers, is entirely foreign to Scripture. While recognizing the complex nature of man, it never represents this as resulting in a twofold subject in man. Every act of man is seen as an act of the whole man. It is not the soul but man that sins; it is not the body but man that dies; and it is not merely the soul, but man, body and soul, that is redeemed in Christ. This unity already finds expression in the classical passage of the Old Testament — the first passage to indicate the complex nature of man — namely, Gen. 2:7: “And Jehovah God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul.” The whole passage deals with man: “God formed man . . . and man became a living soul.” This work of God should not be interpreted as a mechanical process, as if He first formed a body of clay and then put a soul into it. When God formed the body, He formed it so that by the breath of His Spirit man at once became a living soul. Job 33:4; 32:8. The word “soul” in this passage does not have the meaning which we usually ascribe to it — a meaning rather foreign to the Old Testament — but denotes an animated being, and is a description of man as a whole. The very same Hebrew term, nephesh chayyah (living soul or being) is also applied to the animals in Gen. 1:21,24,30. So this passage, while indicating that there are two elements in man, yet stresses the organic unity of man. And this is recognized throughout the Bible.
At the same time it also contains evidences of the dual composition of man’s nature. We should be careful, however, not to expect the later distinction between the body as the material element, and the soul as the spiritual element, of human nature, in the Old Testament. This distinction came into use later on under the influence of Greek philosophy. The antithesis — soul and body — even in its New Testament sense, is not yet found in the Old Testament. In fact, the Hebrew has no word for the body as an organism. The Old Testament distinction of the two elements of human nature is of a different kind. Says Laidlaw in his work on The Bible Doctrine of Man:[p. 60.] “The antithesis is clearly that of lower and higher, earthly and heavenly, animal and divine. It is not so much two elements, as two factors uniting in a single and harmonious result, — ‘man became a living soul.’” It is quite evident that this is the distinction in Gen. 2:7. Cf. also Job 27:3; 32:8; 33:4; Eccl. 12:7. A variety of words is used in the Old Testament to denote the lower element in man or parts of it, such as “flesh,” “dust,” “bones,” “bowels,” “kidneys,” and also the metaphorical expression “house of clay,” Job 4:19. And there are also several words to denote the higher element, such as “spirit,” “soul,” “heart,” and “mind.” As soon as we pass from the Old to the New Testament, we meet with the antithetic expressions that are most familiar to us, as “body and soul,” “flesh and spirit.” The corresponding Greek words were undoubtedly moulded by Greek philosophical thought, but passed through the Septuagint into the New Testament, and therefore retained their Old Testament force. At the same time the antithetic idea of the material and the immaterial is now also connected with them.
Trichotomists seek support in the fact that the Bible, as they see it, recognizes two constituent parts of human nature in addition to the lower or material element, namely, the soul (Heb., nephesh; Greek, psuche) and the spirit (Heb., ruach; Greek, pneuma). But the fact that these terms are used with great frequency in Scripture does not warrant the conclusion that they designate component parts rather than different aspects of human nature. A careful study of Scripture clearly shows that it uses the words interchangeably. Both terms denote the higher or spiritual element in man, but contemplate it from different points of view. It should be pointed out at once, however, that the Scriptural distinction of the two does not agree with that which is rather common in philosophy, that the soul is the spiritual element in man, as it is related to the animal world, while the spirit is that same element in its relation to the higher spiritual world and to God. The following facts militate against this philosophical distinction: Ruach-pneuma, as well as nephesh-psuche, is used of the brute creation, Eccl. 3:21; Rev. 16:3. The word psuche is even used with reference to Jehovah, Isa. 42:1; Jer. 9:9; Amos 6:8 (Heb.); Heb 10:38. The disembodied dead are called psuchai, Rev. 6:9;20:4. The highest exercises of religion are ascribed to the psuche, Mark 12:30; Luke 1:46; Heb. 6:18,19; Jas. 1:21. To lose the psuche is to lose all. It is perfectly evident that the Bible uses the two words interchangeably. Notice the parallelism in Luke 1:46,47: “My soul doth magnify the Lord, and my spirit hath rejoiced in God my Saviour.” The Scriptural formula for man is in some passages “body and soul,” Matt. 6:25; 10:28; and in others, “body and spirit,” Eccl. 12:7; I Cor. 5:3,5. Death is sometimes described as the giving up of the soul, Gen. 35:18; I Kings 17:21; Acts 15:26; and then again as the giving up of the spirit, Ps. 31:5; Luke 23:46; Acts 7:59. Moreover both “soul” and “spirit” are used to designate the immaterial element of the dead, I Pet. 3:19; Heb. 12:23; Rev. 6:9; 20:4. The main Scriptural distinction is as follows: the word “spirit” designates the spiritual element in man as the principle of life and action which controls the body; while the word “soul” denominates the same element as the subject of action in man, and is therefore often used for the personal pronoun in the Old Testament, Ps. 10:1,2; 104:1; 146:1; Is. 42:1; cf. also Luke 12:19. In several instances it, more specifically, designates the inner life as the seat of the affections. All this is quite in harmony with Gen. 2:7, “And Jehovah God . . . breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul.” Thus it may be said that man has spirit, but is soul. The Bible therefore points to two, and only two, constitutional elements in the nature of man, namely, body and spirit or soul. This Scriptural representation is also in harmony with the self-consciousness of man. While man is conscious of the fact that he consists of a material and a spiritual element, no one is conscious of possessing a soul in distinction from a spirit.
There are two passages, however, that seem to conflict with the usual dichotomic representation of Scripture, namely, I Thess. 5:23, “And the God of peace Himself sanctify you wholly; and may your spirit and soul and body be preserved entire, without blame at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ”; and Heb. 4:12, “For the word of God is living, and active, and sharper than any two-edged sword, and piercing even to the dividing of soul and spirit, of both joints and marrow, and quick to discern the thoughts and intents of the heart.” But it should be noted that: (a) It is a sound rule in exegesis that exceptional statements should be interpreted in the light of the analogia Scriptura, the usual representation of Scripture. In view of this fact some of the defenders of trichotomy admit that these passages do not necessarily prove their point. (b) The mere mention of spirit and soul alongside of each other does not prove that, according to Scripture, they are two distinct substances, any more than Matt. 22:37 proves that Jesus regarded heart and soul and mind as three distinct substances. (c) In I Thess. 5:23 the apostle simply desires to strengthen the statement, “And the God of peace Himself sanctify you wholly,” by an epexigetical statement, in which the different aspects of man’s existence are summed up, and in which he feels perfectly free to mention soul and spirit alongside of each other, because the Bible distinguishes between the two. He cannot very well have thought of them as two different substances here, because he speaks elsewhere of man as consisting of two parts, Rom. 8:10; I Cor. 5:5; 7:34; II Cor. 7:1; Eph. 2:3; Col. 2:5. (d) Heb. 4:12 should not be taken to mean that the word of God, penetrating to the inner man, makes a separation between his soul and his spirit, which would naturally imply that these two are different substances; but simply as declaring that it brings about a separation in both between the thoughts and intents of the heart.[Cf. for a discussion of the psychology of Scripture especially, Bavinck, Bijbelsche en Religionize Psychologie; Laidlaw, The Bible Doctrine of Man, pp. 49-138; H. Wheeler Robinson, The Christian Doctrine of Man, pp. 4-150; Delitzsch, System of Biblical Psychology; Dickson, St. Paul’s Use of Terms Flesh and Spirit.]
3. THE RELATION OF BODY AND SOUL TO EACH OTHER. The exact relation of body and soul to each other has been represented in various ways, but remains to a great extent a mystery. The following are the most important theories relating to this point:
a. Monistic. There are theories which proceed on the assumption that body and soul are of the same primitive substance. According to Materialism this primitive substance is matter, and spirit is a product of matter. And according to absolute Idealism and Spiritualism the primitive substance is spirit, and this becomes objective to itself in what is called matter. Matter is a product of the spirit. The objection to this monistic view is that things so different as body and soul cannot be deduced the one from the other.
b. Dualistic. Some theories proceed on the assumption that there is an essential duality of matter and spirit, and present their mutual relations in various ways: (1) Occasionalism. According to this theory, suggested by Cartesius, matter and spirit each works, according to laws peculiar to itself, and these laws are so different that there is no possibility of joint action. What appears to be such can only be accounted for on the principle that, on the occasion of the action of the one, God by His direct agency produces a corresponding action in the other. (2) Parallelism. Leibnitz proposed the theory of pre-established harmony. This also rests on the assumption that there is no direct interaction between the material and the spiritual, but does not assume that God produces apparently joint actions by continual interference. Instead it holds that God made the body and the soul so that the one perfectly corresponds to the other. When a motion takes place in the body, there is a corresponding movement in the soul, according to a law of pre-established harmony. (3) Realistic Dualism. The simple facts to which we must always return, and which are embodied in the theory of realistic dualism, are the following: body and soul are distinct substances, which do interact, though their mode of interaction escapes human scrutiny and remains a mystery for us. The union between the two may be called a union of life: the two are organically related, the soul acting on the body and the body on the soul. Some of the actions of the body are dependent on the conscious operation of the soul, while others are not. The operations of the soul are connected with the body as its instrument in the present life; but from the continued conscious existence and activity of the soul after death it appears that it can also work without the body. This view is certainly in harmony with the representations of Scripture on this point. A great deal of present day psychology is definitely moving in the direction of materialism. Its most extreme form is seen in Behaviorism with its denial of the soul, of the mind, and even of consciousness. All that it has left as an object of study is human behavior.
B. THE ORIGIN OF THE SOUL IN THE INDIVIDUAL.
1. HISTORICAL VIEWS RESPECTING THE ORIGIN OF THE SOUL. Greek philosophy devoted considerable attention to the problem of the human soul and did not fail to make its influence felt in Christian theology. The nature, the origin, and the continued existence of the soul, were all subjects of discussion. Plato believed in the pre-existence and transmigration of the soul. In the early Church the doctrine of the pre-existence of the soul was practically limited to the Alexandrian school. Origen was the chief representative of this view and combined it with the notion of a pre-temporal fall. Two other views at once made their appearance and proved to be far more popular in Christian circles. The theory of creationism holds that God creates a new soul at the birth of every individual. It was the dominant theory in the Eastern Church, and also found some advocates in the West. Jerome and Hilary of Pictavium were its most prominent representatives. In the Western Church the theory of Traducianism gradually gained ground. According to this view the soul as well as the body of man originates by propagation. It is usually wedded to the realistic theory that human nature was created in its entirety by God and is ever-increasingly individualized as the human race multiplies. Tertullian was the first to state this theory of Traducianism and under his influence it continued to gain favor in the North African and Western Church. It seemed to fit in best with the doctrine of the transmission of sin that was current in those circles. Leo the Great called it the teaching of the catholic faith. In the East it found no favorable reception. Augustine hesitated to choose between the two views. Some of the earlier Scholastics were somewhat undecided, though they regarded creationism as the more probable of the two; but in course of time it became the consensus of opinion among the Schoolmen that the individual souls were created. Says Peter the Lombard: “The Church teaches that souls are created at their infusion into the body.” And Thomas Aquinas went even further by saying: “It is heretical to say that the intellectual soul is transmitted by way of generation.” This remained the prevailing view in the Roman Catholic Church. From the days of the Reformation there was a difference of opinion among the Protestants. Luther expressed himself in favor of Traducianism, and this became the prevailing opinion in the Lutheran Church. Calvin, on the other hand, decidedly favored creationism. Says he in his commentary on Gen. 3:16: “Nor is it necessary to resort to that ancient figment of certain writers, that souls are derived by descent from our first parents.” Ever since the days of the Reformation this has been the common view in Reformed circles. This does not mean that there were no exceptions to the rule. Jonathan Edwards and Hopkins in New England theology favored Traducianism. Julius Mueller in his work on The Christian Doctrine of Sin again put up an argument in favor of the pre-existence of the soul, coupled with that of a pre-temporal fall, in order to explain the origin of sin.
2. PRE-EXISTENTIANISM. Some speculative theologians, among whom Origen, Scotus Erigena, and Julius Mueller are the most important, advocated the theory that the souls of men existed in a previous state, and that certain occurrences in that former state account for the condition in which those souls are now found. Origen looks upon man’s present material existence, with all its inequalities and irregularities, physical and moral, as a punishment for sins committed in a previous existence. Scotus Erigena also holds that sin made its entrance into the world of humanity in the pre-temporal state, and that therefore man begins his career on earth as a sinner. And Julius Mueller has recourse to the theory, in order to reconcile the doctrines of the universality of sin and of individual guilt. According to him each person must have sinned willingly in that previous existence.
This theory is open to several objections. (a) It is absolutely devoid of both Scriptural and philosophical grounds, and is, at least in some of its forms, based on the dualism of matter and spirit as taught in heathen philosophy, making it a punishment for the soul to be connected with the body. (b) It really makes the body something accidental. The soul was without the body at first, and received this later on. Man was complete without the body. This virtually wipes out the distinction between man and the angels. (c) It destroys the unity of the human race, for it assumes that all individual souls existed long before they entered the present life. They do not constitute a race. (d) It finds no support in the consciousness of man. Man has absolutely no consciousness of such a previous existence; nor does he feel that the body is a prison or a place of punishment for the soul. In fact, he dreads the separation of body and soul as something that is unnatural.
3. TRADUCIANISM. According to Traducianism the souls of men are propagated along with the bodies by generation, and are therefore transmitted to the children by the parents. In the early Church Tertullian, Rufinus, Apollinarus, and Gregory of Nvssa were Traducianists. From the days of Luther Traducianism has been the prevailing view of the Lutheran Church. Among the Reformed it is favored by H. B. Smith and Shedd. A. H. Strong also prefers it.
a. Arguments in favor of Traducianism. Several arguments are adduced in favor of this theory. (1) It is said to be favored by the Scriptural representation (a) that God but once breathed into man’s nostrils the breath of life, and then left it to man to propagate the species, Gen. 1:28; 2:7; (b) that the creation of Eve’s soul was included in that of Adam, since she is said to be “of the man” (I Cor. 11:8), and nothing is said about the creation of her soul, Gen. 2:23; (c) that God ceased from the work of creation after He had made man, Gen. 2:2; and (d) that descendants are said to be in the loins of their fathers, Gen. 46:26; Heb. 7:9,10. Cf. also such passages as John 3:6; 1:13; Rom. 1:3; Acts 17:26. (2) It is supported by the analogy of vegetable and animal life, in which the increase in numbers is secured, not by a continually increasing number of immediate creations, but by the natural derivation of new individuals from a parent stock. But cf. Ps. 104:30. (3) It also seeks support in the inheritance of mental peculiarities and family traits, which are so often just as noticeable as physical resemblances, and which cannot be accounted for by education or example, since they are in evidence even when parents do not live to bring up their children. (4) Finally, it seems to offer the best basis for the explanation of the inheritance of moral and spiritual depravity, which is a matter of the soul rather than of the body. It is quite common to combine with Traducianism the realistic theory to account for original sin.
b. Objections to Traducianism. Several objections may be urged against this theory. (1) It is contrary to the philosophical doctrine of the simplicity of the soul. The soul is a pure spiritual substance that does not admit of division. The propagation of the soul would seem to imply that the soul of the child separates itself in some way from the soul of the parents. Moreover, the difficult question arises, whether it originates from the soul of the father or from that of the mother. Or does it come from both; and if so, is it not a compositum? (2) In order to avoid the difficulty just mentioned, it must resort to one of three theories: (a) that the soul of the child had a previous existence, a sort of pre-existence; (b) that the soul is potentially present in the seed of man or woman or both, which is materialism; or (c) that the soul is brought forth, that is, created in some way, by the parents, thus making them in a sense creators. (3) It proceeds on the assumption that, after the original creation, God works only mediately. After the six days of creation His creative work ceased. The continued creation of souls, says Delitzsch, is inconsistent with God’s relation to the world. But the question may be raised, What, then, becomes of the doctrine of regeneration, which is not effected by second causes? (4) It is generally wedded to the theory of realism, since this is the only way in which it can account for original guilt. By doing this it affirms the numerical unity of the substance of all human souls, an untenable position; and also fails to give a satisfactory answer to the question, why men are held responsible only for the first sin of Adam, and not for his later sins, nor for the sins of the rest of their forebears. (5) Finally, in the form just indicated it leads to insuperable difficulties in Christology. If in Adam human nature as a whole sinned, and that sin was therefore the actual sin of every part of that human nature, then the conclusion cannot be escaped that the human nature of Christ was also sinful and guilty because it had actually sinned in Adam.
4. CREATIONISM. This view is to the effect that each individual soul is to be regarded as an immediate creation of God, owing its origin to a direct creative act, of which the time cannot be precisely determined. The soul is supposed to be created pure, but united with a depraved body. This need not necessarily mean that the soul is created first in separation from the body, and then polluted by being brought in contact with the body, which would seem to assume that sin is something physical. It may simply mean that the soul, though called into being by a creative act of God, yet is pre-formed in the psychical life of the fœtus, that is, in the life of the parents, and thus acquires its life not above and outside of, but under and in, that complex of sin by which humanity as a whole is burdened.[Cf. Bavinck, Geref. Dogm. II, pp. 630 f.]
a. Arguments in favor of Creationism. The following are the more important considerations in favor of this theory: (1) It is more consistent with the prevailing representations of Scripture than Traducianism. The original account of creation points to a marked distinction between the creation of the body and that of the soul. The one is taken from the earth, while the other comes directly from God. This distinction is kept up throughout the Bible, where body and soul are not only represented as different substances, but also as having different origins, Eccl. 12:7; Isa 42:5; Zech. 12:1; Heb. 12:9. Cf. Num. 16:22. Of the passage in Hebrews even Delitzsch, though a Traducianist, says, “There can hardly be a more classical proof text for creationism.”[Bibl. Psych., p. 137.] (2) It is clearly far more consistent with the nature of the human soul than Traducianism. The immaterial and spiritual, and therefore indivisible nature of the soul of man, generally admitted by all Christians, is clearly recognized by Creationism. The traducian theory on the other hand, posits a derivation of essence, which, as is generally admitted, necessarily implies separation or division of essence. (3) It avoids the pitfalls of Traducianism in Christology and does greater justice to the Scriptural representation of the person of Christ. He was very man, possessing a true human nature, a real body and a rational soul, was born of a woman, was made in all points like as we are, — and yet, without sin. He did not, like all other men, share in the guilt and pollution of Adam’s transgression. This was possible, because he did not share the same numerical essence which sinned in Adam.
b. Objections to Creationism. Creationism is open to the following objections: (1) The most serious objection is stated by Strong in the following words: “This theory, if it allows that the soul is originally possessed of depraved tendencies, makes God the direct author of moral evil; if it holds the soul to have been created pure, it makes God indirectly the author of moral evil, by teaching that He put this pure soul into a body which will inevitably corrupt it.” This is undoubtedly a serious difficulty, and is generally regarded as the decisive argument against Creationism. Augustine already called attention to the fact that the Creationist should seek to avoid this pitfall. But it should be borne in mind that the Creationist does not, like the Traducianist, regard original sin entirely as a matter of inheritance. The descendants of Adam are sinners, not as a result of their being brought into contact with a sinful body, but in virtue of the fact that God imputes to them the original disobedience of Adam. And it is for that reason that God withholds from them original righteousness, and the pollution of sin naturally follows. (2) It regards the earthly father as begetting only the body of his child, — certainly not the most important part of the child, — and therefore does not account for the re-appearance of the mental and moral traits of the parents in the children. Moreover, by taking this position it ascribes to the beast nobler powers of propagation than to man, for the beast multiplies itself after its kind. The last consideration is one of no great importance. And as far as mental and moral similarities of parents and children are concerned, it need not necessarily be assumed that these can be accounted for only on the basis of heredity. Our knowledge of the soul is still too deficient to speak with absolute assurance on this point. But this similarity may find its explanation partly in the example of the parents, partly in the influence of the body on the soul, and partly in the fact that God does not create all souls alike, but creates in each particular case a soul adapted to the body with which it will be united and the complex relationship into which it will be introduced. (3) It is not in harmony with God’s present relationship to the world and His manner of working in it, since it teaches a direct creative activity of God, and thus ignores the fact that God now works through secondary causes and ceased from His creative work. This is not a very serious objection for those who do not have a deistic conception of the world. It is a gratuitous assumption that God has ceased from all creative activity in the world.
5. CONCLUDING REMARKS.
a Caution required in speaking on the subject. It must be admitted that the arguments on both sides are rather well balanced. In view of this fact it is not surprising that Augustine found it rather hard to choose between the two. The Bible makes no direct statement respecting the origin of the soul of man, except in the case of Adam. The few Scriptural passages that are adduced as favoring the one theory or the other, can hardly be called conclusive on either side. And because we have no clear teaching of Scripture on the point in question, it is necessary to speak with caution on the subject. We ought not to be wise above that which is written. Several theologians are of the opinion that there is an element of truth in both of these theories, which must be recognized.[Cf. Smith, Chr. Theol., p. 169; Dabney, Syst. and Polemic Theol., pp. 320 f.; Martensen, Chr. Dogm., p. 141; Bavinck, Geref. Dogm. II, p. 630; Raymond, Syst. Theol. II, pp. 35 f.] Dorner even suggests the idea that each one of the three theories discussed represents one aspect of the whole truth: “Traducianism, generic consciousness; Pre-existentianism, self-consciousness or the interest of the personality as a separate eternal divine thought; Creationism, God-consciousness.”[Syst. of Chr. Doct. II, p. 94.]
b. Some form of Creationism deserves preference. It seems to us that Creationism deserves the preference, because (1) it does not encounter the insuperable philosophical difficulty with which Traducianism is burdened; (2) it avoids the Christological errors which Traducianism involves; and (3) it is most in harmony with our covenant idea. At the same time we are convinced that the creative activity of God in originating human souls must be conceived as being most closely connected with the natural process in the generation of new individuals. Creationism does not claim to be able to clear up all difficulties, but at the same time it serves as a warning against the following errors: (1) that the soul is divisible; (2) that all men are numerically of the same substance; and (3) that Christ assumed the same numerical nature which fell in Adam.[For further study of this subject confer especially the study of Dr. Honig on Creatianisme en Traducianisme.]