Catholic Dictionary




A theory that traces the origin of the human soul, as well as the origin of the body, back to the act of generation performed by the parents. Parents are therefore the originators of both body and soul. The cruder form of generationism, called traducianism, teaches that with the bodily semen a part of the soul substance of the parents (tradux) is transmitted to the child. A less crude form, taught by St. Augustine to be possible, holds fast to the spirituality of the soul but makes the soul of the child emerge from the spiritual semen of the parents. Generationism of any kind is incompatible with the simplicity and spirituality of the soul and has been several times condemned by the Church (Denzinger 1007, 3220).