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Traducianism and Original Sin

In the following correspondence, the e-mailer's questions are in black and enclosed in "greater than" and "lesser than" signs. My replies are in red.

>Subject: Re: Darkness to Light - Vol.2, No.1 [the article Hail Mary: Part One]

Dear Gary,

One important point that you didn't make:

Since the word for "full of grace" is the same with Mary as it is as used toward other believers [compare Luke 1:28 with Ephesians 1:6], we can look at its effect on other believers to see what its effect on Mary was.

All Christian women are full of grace if the Spirit dwells in them. However, all of them that we know of have continued to sin after being filled with grace and have also conceived sinful children. In fact, even the Bible seems to indicate that Jesus rebuked his mother for trying to call him away from His ministry - suggesting that she was in sin at the moment in question - thirty years after His conception [see Luke 8:19].

Therefore, the "filling with grace" doesn't seem to produce sinless offspring in normal believers. The "reproductive well" of the elect remains tainted in this life - causing their offspring to be born in sin. Christian redemption and baptism in Christ does not appear to redeem our offspring - as they too must be baptized, indwelt with the Holy Spirit and walk in faith in order to be saved.

There are only two ways that Mary could have conceived a sinless Christ child:

1. God inserted a complete created embryo of Christ into her womb that was in no part from her seed.

2. The "traducian" view that the spirit is inherited from the father of the child - therefore God used Mary's physical seed, but the human spirit of Christ came from God the Father.

The traducian position is the only one that allows for Christ's body to have literally been made from the "seed of the woman", yet allowing Him to be conceived without sin. If the spirit of a child comes from the father, then the sinful nature comes from the father. Therefore, God the Father could have taken Mary's ovum and divinely provided the other half of the genetic material to make it conceive and imparted the sinless divine spirit of God the Son into the conceived child.

Traducianism has been a minority position in the Church for over 1000 years and has never been considered heretical. Neither has any splinter group ever formed over the traducian view, so thankfully, it has not been a source of schism in the Church like heresies inevitably do.

It also is able to explain several other "problems" in Scripture that the "soul creation" position cannot. .. [such as] how Isaac could be in the "loins of his father" when Abraham tithed to Melchizedek.

Traducianism is an interesting doctrine. It doesn't seem to be terribly important except for its use in destroying the elevation of Mary to the level of a goddess.

In Christ,

Actually, I ascribe to traducianism, mainly because of the issue of original sin. If God created a new soul of each person at the moment of conception as the "soul creation" position has it, then God would be creating a sinful person and thus would be the author of sin. But the traducianism position has each person's soul being inherited the same as their physical body, from their parents, and thus their sinful nature is inherited. It also explains points like you mention, like Levi being in "the reproductive organs" of Abraham [see Heb 7:4-10].

Books and eBooks by Gary F. Zeolla, the Director of Darkness to Light

The above e-mail exchange was posted on this Web site July 21, 2007.

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