When are human souls borne into existence? Was my soul present with Adam, along with everybodies ‘soul-stuff’, à la traducianism? Or created uniquely at conception or birth?

Existing in Adam seems to explain original sin and fallenness better that God creating a depraved soul; but I imagine Universalists’ have a different take on this. That’s why I’m asking here. Can somebody shed light?


If you want more on the history of Traducianism, read the Wiki article.

But as the article Got Questions points out:

But here’s an important element or conclusion, from the Got Questions site:

And if we look at the Theopedia site, the brief scriptural quotes for each side, give credence to the Got Questions site conclusion. I like its summary of weaknesses of both positions:

And there is a good, four part article on this topic by Reasons to Believe:

The Origin of the Human Soul, Part 1 (of 4)
The Origin of the Human Soul, Part 2 (of 4)
The Origin of the Human Soul, Part 3 (of 4)
The Origin of the Human Soul, Part 4 (of 4)

There is an interesting article at Creationism vs. Traducianism. Depending on which perspective we take, it has philosophical and theological repercussions for sin, according to the article.

The Catholic encyclopedia gives a short Catholic perspective and history, on the topic.

Probably it would be best to read the links I have provided, before taking and defending any particular position. I particular recommend these:

Got Questions
Creationism vs. Traducianism
The Origin of the Human Soul Series


Thanks Randy. Good articles.

I’m sifting through volume two of Herman Bavinck’s Reformed Dogmatics and noticed an objection to traducianism that is unique.
First we have to understand that Bavinck asserts that a soul is “akin to the angels… in that it can think spiritually …and if necessary exist without a body.”[p.556]
Bavinck’s view of Imago Dei necessitates immortality. " The spirituality, invisibility, unity, simplicity, and immortality of the human soul are all features of the image of God." [p.556]

So, when Bavinck mulls over traducianism he can’t find a proper vehicle to transport this immortality to a fetus. He instead postulates that God creates a new soul at conception. Bavinck’s objection to traducianism is based on preserving the human imago dei, and his logic goes something like this: neither a sperm or an ovum have life in and of itself and will die when removed from its host. If two non-immortal chemicals comming together can produce an immortal soul in a fetus then as Bavinck says “both the sperm and ovum posses the actual creative power to impart an immortal spiritual soul…”[p.582]

Bavinck then takes his arguement to his conclusion by saying one can then justifiably “lapse into an evolutionary theory implying that animal life can gradually and of itself develop into human life.” p.583] That would destroy our Imago Dei.

Personally, I think when the absolute, inherent immortality of the soul is a non negotiable from the onset, your ticket’s punched and some of the legitimate destinations are unattainable.