Creationism vs. Traducianism

The biblical view of metaphysics requires creationism, that God directly and immediately creates every new soul.

Among others, there are two objections to this. First, some people think that this contradicts the view that God has rested after the creation of Genesis 1. But the rest there is relative to the six days of creation, and it is not as if Genesis 2:1-3 turned theism into deism. Jesus said that the Father never stopped working, and he said this when he was accused of working on the Sabbath (John 5:16-17). Second, the view that God must create every individual soul would necessarily mean that God creates every soul as sinful (after Adam and Eve). This would then imply that God is the author of sin. I eagerly acknowledge this, even insist upon it, and have demonstrated elsewhere that there is no problem with it.

The Bible teaches that “out of the same lump” of clay – not elect clay, not reprobate clay, but just clay – God creates the elect and the reprobates. That is, God does not draw the elect out of a larger pool of sinners, as many theologians assert. He does not rescue some and “leave” the rest to their own destruction, as if the reprobates created themselves. A potter does not take a large pile of common vessels, transform some into honorable vessels, and leave the rest to remain common vessels. If so, who created the large pile of common vessels? Is there another potter? That would be dualism or some other heresy. Did the common vessels create themselves out of clay? That would be even more incredible, and does not fit the biblical imagery. Rather, God directly creates men as either elect sinners (who would then convert to Christ and be saved), or as reprobate sinners (who would never believe).

God is the metaphysical author of sin, but not the moral approver of sin. The two are completely different, just as his decree and his precept are different. His decree is a determination of what would happen, or what he would cause to happen. His precept is a definition of what is good for men to believe, do, or not do. Again, one is a determination, and the other is a definition. Thus he could decree that a person would transgress his precept. There is a problem only if we say that he could decree that a person would transgress his decree, or that he issues a precept for a person to transgress the same precept. In any case, he has to be the metaphysical author and cause of everything, since no creature is God (which would be a contradiction), no creature has the power of God, thus no creature has “life in himself” — to sustain himself, to propagate himself, or to create new souls.

When we are referring to metaphysics, creationism must be right and traducianism must be wrong. We can make a place for traducianism only if we do not speak on this level. That is, it can be used as a description of the relationship between the parents and their offspring on a non-metaphysical level. In ordinary speech, if I push Tommy in the chest, it would be accurate to say that “Vincent pushed Tommy.” But if we are talking about metaphysics, about causation and such, then I must say that “God caused Vincent to lift his hand (that is, God lifted Vincent’s hand) and caused it to extend toward Tommy and to touch Tommy’s chest. Then God caused Tommy to feel an impact on his chest and caused his body to fall backward.” That is, there is no direct and necessary relationship between my pushing Tommy and Tommy’s falling back, since I do not have the metaphysical power to create (as if I am God) or to change anything in creation (as if to “create” a new configuration of the universe). Thus traducianism could be acceptable only in the relative sense and when not speaking on the creative level. But why make room for it if it is really useless? And it seems that almost all of the time, the question is indeed posed on the metaphysical level, so that creationism should be the answer. Man cannot create souls.

Like the doctrine of compatibilism, the doctrine of traducianism asks the question on one level and then answers it on another level, and ends up missing the whole point. Those who affirm traducianism either forget metaphysics, or they affirm some principle like secondary causation. Calvinists often say that God is the ultimate cause of sin, perhaps by a “permissive” decree or some other nonsense, but he uses man as a “secondary” cause — man is the one with direct contact with evil. This never answers the metaphysical question. Does man wield a metaphysical power to cause something or not? If he can wield this power apart from God, then man is God. If he wields it “with” God, then God is at least a co-author of sin. And who wields the power to move the man, if not God? If sin is an effect that we try to explain, is not the action of man also an effect? If man has no such metaphysical power, then the “secondary cause” is not a “cause” that does anything at all. It is just a description of the apparent (but not actual) relation between objects, and not a real cause of anything. The word “cause” in the term is misleading, and because it is misleading, the word “secondary” becomes useless and also misleading. If a “something” is really nothing, then a “secondary” nothing is still nothing.

This applies exactly to creationism vs. traducianism. Those who affirm traducianism do not think precisely about this. The upshot is that if they affirm that God is the only metaphysical author, then they just lost their traducianism. If they affirm that God is not the only metaphysical author (that man is the sole or some kind of co-author, as if this is possible), then they just lost their God.