Creationism is a doctrine held by some Christians that God creates a soul for each body that is generated. Alternative Christian views on the origin of souls are traducianism and also the idea of a pre-existence of the soul.
Augustine of Hippo was undecided between creationism and traducianism, while Jerome condemned traducianism and held that creationism was the opinion of the Church, though he admitted that most Western Christians were traducianists. The question has never been authoritatively determined, but creationism, which had always prevailed in Eastern Christianity, became the general opinion of the medieval theologians, and Peter Lombard's creando infundit animas Deus et infundendo creat ("in creating, God pours in the soul, and in pouring, He creates") was an accepted formula. Martin Luther, like Augustine, was undecided, but Lutherans have as a rule been traducianists. John Calvin favoured creationism.
Peter Lombard's phrase perhaps shows that even in the twelfth century it was felt that some union of the two opinions was needed, and Augustine's toleration pointed in the same direction, for the traducianism he thought possible was one in which God "'works' in maintaining those natures which He has created, not in creating new natures". Modern psychologists teach that while "personality" can be discerned in its "becoming," nothing is known of its origin. Hermann Lotze, however, who may be taken as representing the believers in the immanence of the divine Being, puts forth - but as a "dim conjecture" - something very like creationism. It is still, as in the days of Augustine, a question whether a more exact division of man into body, soul and spirit may help to throw light on this subject.
This view is generally held by the contemporary magisterium of the Roman Catholic Church, most notably in the instruction Dignitas Personae, in consistency with the Church's desire to defend the personhood of embryos and to oppose abortion in a pro-life perspective. The Catechism of the Catholic Church, 366, states that "The Church teaches that every spiritual soul is created immediately by God- it is not 'produced' by the parents...."
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- Ep. 166.5.11
- Microcosmus, bk. iii. chap. v. ad fin
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