Catholic FAQ


Help support Catholic Answers!

Latest Threads
newest posts



Go Back   Catholic Answers Forums > Forums > Apologetics
 

Welcome to Catholic Answers Forums, the largest Catholic Community on the Web.

Here you can join over 400,000 members from around the world discussing all things Catholic. Membership is open to all, Catholic and non-Catholic alike, who seek the Truth with Charity.

To gain full access, you must register for a FREE account. Registered members are able to:
  • Submit questions about the faith to experts from Catholic Answers
  • Participate in all forum discussions
  • Communicate privately with Catholics from around the world
  • Plus join a prayer group, read with the Book Club, and much more.
Registration is fast, simple and absolutely free. So join our community today!

Have a question about registration or your account log-in? Just contact our Support Hotline.

Closed Thread
 
Thread Tools Search Thread Display
  #1  
Old Aug 26, '09, 5:12 pm
praise_Jesus praise_Jesus is offline
Junior Member
Prayer Warrior
 
Join Date: April 17, 2009
Posts: 366
Religion: Catholic
Default When is the soul created?

I've been looking around and can't quite seem to find an answer to the question I have.

My question is When is the soul created? Not when is the soul infused in the body but when the actual soul is created. From my understanding some think it is created around the time of conception whereas others think it was created long ago possibly around the same time as the angels.

Is there any definitive catholic teaching on when the soul is created?

Thanks.
  #2  
Old Aug 26, '09, 5:27 pm
liquidpele liquidpele is offline
Banned
 
Join Date: April 16, 2009
Posts: 1,426
Religion: Agnostic
Default Re: When is the soul created?

According to some movie I saw once, there is a hall of souls and once that's used up it's Armageddon time. Unless a woman chooses to die for her baby in a vision and then the hall gets refilled anyway.

Edit: Ah, I remember now, it was called "the omen".

No idea if that is in-line with Catholicism, but it was an interesting take.
  #3  
Old Aug 26, '09, 5:45 pm
praise_Jesus praise_Jesus is offline
Junior Member
Prayer Warrior
 
Join Date: April 17, 2009
Posts: 366
Religion: Catholic
Default Re: When is the soul created?

I just saw a similar question on another thread and it appears that our soul is created at the time of conception or around there. Does anyone have any sources for this?

I've found it in the Summa Theologica Question 90 Article 4, but I'm just curious where I could find this dogmatically defined.

Thanks!
  #4  
Old Aug 26, '09, 6:07 pm
Joe Kelley Joe Kelley is offline
Forum Master
 
Join Date: June 24, 2004
Posts: 14,269
Religion: Catholic
Default Re: When is the soul created?

Quote:
Originally Posted by praise_Jesus View Post
I've been looking around and can't quite seem to find an answer to the question I have.

My question is When is the soul created? Not when is the soul infused in the body but when the actual soul is created. From my understanding some think it is created around the time of conception whereas others think it was created long ago possibly around the same time as the angels.

Is there any definitive catholic teaching on when the soul is created?

Thanks.
From the Catechism of the Catholic Church
Quote:
365 The unity of soul and body is so profound that one has to consider the soul to be the "form" of the body:234 i.e., it is because of its spiritual soul that the body made of matter becomes a living, human body; spirit and matter, in man, are not two natures united, but rather their union forms a single nature.
366 The Church teaches that every spiritual soul is created immediately by God - it is not "produced" by the parents - and also that it is immortal: it does not perish when it separates from the body at death, and it will be reunited with the body at the final Resurrection.235
I think that is interpreted as immediately at the time of infusion.
__________________
I have set before you life and death, blessing and curse; therefore choose life, that you and your descendants may live,
  #5  
Old Aug 26, '09, 6:58 pm
Katholish's Avatar
Katholish Katholish is offline
Regular Member
 
Join Date: May 19, 2004
Posts: 1,010
Religion: Roman Rite Catholic
Default Re: When is the soul created?

While it is dogmatically defined that all souls are the immediate creation of God, it has not been definied at what point this occurs, though it is by far the overwhelming theological consenses that this occurs at the moment of infusion, which given scientific evidence not available to Aristotle and Thomas, most theologians beleive this occurs at the moment of conception.
__________________
Student of Systematic Theology at the Notre Dame Graduate School of Christendom College.

A good site to learn more about Catholic homeschooling:
Catholic Homeschooling
  #6  
Old Aug 26, '09, 7:08 pm
praise_Jesus praise_Jesus is offline
Junior Member
Prayer Warrior
 
Join Date: April 17, 2009
Posts: 366
Religion: Catholic
Default Re: When is the soul created?

Thanks for the help.
  #7  
Old Aug 26, '09, 7:20 pm
WillieWonka WillieWonka is offline
Banned
 
Join Date: July 2, 2009
Posts: 2,107
Default Re: When is the soul created?

"Certainly no experimental datum can be in itself sufficient to bring us to the recognition of a spiritual soul; nevertheless, the conclusions of science regarding the human embryo provide a valuable indication for discerning by the use of reason a personal presence at the moment of this first appearance of a human life: how could a human individual not be a human person? The Magisterium has not expressly committed itself to an affirmation of a philosophical nature, but it constantly reaffirms the moral condemnation of any kind of procured abortion. This teaching has not been changed and is unchangeable.[26]"

RESPECT FOR HUMAN LIFE (Donum Vitae)
Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith
During an audience granted to the undersigned Prefect after the plenary session of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, the Supreme Pontiff, John Paul II, approved this instruction and ordered it to be published.
Given at Rome, from the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, February 22, 1987, the Feast of the Chair of St. Peter, the Apostle.
Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger Prefect
Alberto Bovone Titular Archbishop of Caesarea in Numidia Secretary

http://www.cin.org/vatcong/donumvit.html
  #8  
Old Aug 26, '09, 7:24 pm
rskempf rskempf is offline
Junior Member
 
Join Date: September 16, 2007
Posts: 338
Religion: Catholic
Default Re: When is the soul created?

The creation of the soul and ensoulment at the moment of conception is consistent with the statement that when we procreate we are participating in the creative process with God. God is there with us at that moment of conception.
__________________
May God bless you all!
  #9  
Old Aug 26, '09, 7:37 pm
chaunceygardner's Avatar
chaunceygardner chaunceygardner is offline
Regular Member
 
Join Date: July 24, 2009
Posts: 1,146
Religion: a disciple of Jesus
Default Re: When is the soul created?

A very interesting question, which is similar to one from another thread. Here are a few thoughts from my contributions on that thread, keeping in mind that is in my own personal view point:

First, if we accept that God is infinite, then everything is contained in Him and He is in everything.

Second, that means he is in every human being. We call this part of God in each of us our “soul”.

Third, you can neither gain nor lose your soul, since it is a part of God and is therefore eternal. It existed before we were created, and will exist after our physical bodies are gone.

Fourth, we must be receptive to God within us, we must respond to His word and His call, for God’s power inside us to have any effect. This is what we would call “Grace”.

The merging of our physical existence with our soul at conception (infusion?) is what makes us human, and is the reason we are said to be created "in the image of God".

So in my view, our soul was never "created" because it is a part of God, it is the essence of God within us. We "receive" it from God at conception (and yet it always remains a part of God), the moment we are physically "created".

Here is an excerpt from remarks made by Pope Benedict during a General Audience where he talks about the relationship between the Holy Spirit and our souls:

Quote:
It is as if to say that the Holy Spirit, that is, the Spirit of the Father and of the Son, is henceforth as it were the soul of our soul, the most secret part of our being, from which an impulse of prayer rises ceaselessly to God, whose words we cannot even begin to explain.
__________________
Turn your ear to wisdom, incline your heart to understanding....like hidden treasures search her out...you will find the knowledge of God. - Inspired by Proverbs 2

Behold, the Kingdom of God is within you. — Luke 17
  #10  
Old Aug 26, '09, 7:53 pm
JimG JimG is offline
Forum Elder
 
Join Date: May 23, 2004
Posts: 21,722
Religion: Catholic
Default Re: When is the soul created?

Our soul was never part of God, because God is indivisible, and we are not pantheists.

Since the soul is the animating principle of the body, it is created and infused simultaneously with the beginning of a new bodily human being--i.e., at conception.
  #11  
Old Aug 27, '09, 8:27 am
praise_Jesus praise_Jesus is offline
Junior Member
Prayer Warrior
 
Join Date: April 17, 2009
Posts: 366
Religion: Catholic
Default Re: When is the soul created?

Well Aquinas in the summa Question 90, Article 2 states:

Quote:
I answer that, The rational soul can be made only by creation; which, however, is not true of other forms. The reason is because, since to be made is the way to existence, a thing must be made in such a way as is suitable to its mode of existence. Now that properly exists which itself has existence; as it were, subsisting in its own existence. Wherefore only substances are properly and truly called beings; whereas an accident has not existence, but something is (modified) by it, and so far is it called a being; for instance, whiteness is called a being, because by it something is white. Hence it is said Metaph. vii, Did. vi, 1 that an accident should be described as "of something rather than as something." The same is to be said of all non-subsistent forms. Therefore, properly speaking, it does not belong to any non-existing form to be made; but such are said to be made through the composite substances being made. On the other hand, the rational soul is a subsistent form, as above explained (75, 2). Wherefore it is competent to be and to be made. And since it cannot be made of pre-existing matter--whether corporeal, which would render it a corporeal being--or spiritual, which would involve the transmutation of one spiritual substance into another, we must conclude that it cannot exist except by creation.
So It seems pretty clear that yes the soul is created and Article 4 of the same question indicates that the soul is created at the same time as the body.

Now Augustine and Origen thought that all human souls were created at the time of the angels. (which does make a little bit of sense if you think about unique guardian angels being created for each and every soul). They both had 2 different arguments for this - none which considered guardian angels by the way, but involving the substance of the soul.

Aquinas says in the summa: "Now the soul, as a part of human nature, has its natural perfection only as united to the body. Therefore it would have been unfitting for the soul to be created without the body." (1,90,4)

I think I'm going to side with Aquinas on this one.

Thanks for all of your insights.
  #12  
Old Aug 27, '09, 11:27 am
chaunceygardner's Avatar
chaunceygardner chaunceygardner is offline
Regular Member
 
Join Date: July 24, 2009
Posts: 1,146
Religion: a disciple of Jesus
Default Re: When is the soul created?

Quote:
Originally Posted by JimG View Post
Our soul was never part of God, because God is indivisible, and we are not pantheists.

Since the soul is the animating principle of the body, it is created and infused simultaneously with the beginning of a new bodily human being--i.e., at conception.
Well, so far I have been called a Gnostic, a Hindu and now a Panthiest. I am not dividing God, since God is infinite and something that is infinite cannot be divided. Again, if the universe and we are contained within God (not separate from Him), then no slicing and dicing is required. If the soul is "created" at conception, then what is it created from? What does it consist of? My vision of our soul is that it is neither created nor does it ever end. It is God who becomes infused in the human body, not a separate entity created by him. "God within us". "I am in you and you are in Me." What Jesus says.

"praise Jesus" quotes Aquinas:
Quote:
And since it [the soul] cannot be made of pre-existing matter--whether corporeal, which would render it a corporeal being--or spiritual, which would involve the transmutation of one spiritual substance into another, we must conclude that it cannot exist except by creation.
I know everyone loves to quote and base their theology on Aquinas, but I must disagree with him on this one. First, I would say that the soul CAN be made of something pre-existing, not matter but spirit, the eternal God. No transmutation of a spiritual substance is involved because it is not changing; it was, is, and remains part of God. When we are created (conceived), we are created into His universe, His existence. And because we have been given the ability to understand and know Him, the God within us, the connection is made

We often refer to the "light of Christ". Let’s say that the light of Christ inside us is like a light bulb we call our “soul”. And just like a light bulb is dark until the power is switched on, the filament in our bulb will only work if we let the power of God flow through us. The amount of light emitted from that bulb, light that can reach out to others, depends on us. For some people, that light is mostly dark. For others, those we consider saints, the light burns very bright, so bright that others can see it and feel its intensity.

I think my view of our soul is closer to what the Fathers of the Eastern Church believed and taught than what the Western Church ended up with. It is actually much "cleaner" and requires fewer complex subsidiary explanations for it to work with other doctrine (such as what happens to the souls of the unborn).

But I am not saying anyone else should accept what I say; if fact, you shouldn't accept this or anything else without thinking it through and examining it for yourself, and determining whether it fits in with the Gospel message of Jesus.
__________________
Turn your ear to wisdom, incline your heart to understanding....like hidden treasures search her out...you will find the knowledge of God. - Inspired by Proverbs 2

Behold, the Kingdom of God is within you. — Luke 17
  #13  
Old Aug 27, '09, 12:02 pm
Katholish's Avatar
Katholish Katholish is offline
Regular Member
 
Join Date: May 19, 2004
Posts: 1,010
Religion: Roman Rite Catholic
Default Re: When is the soul created?

This denies that the body is actually "part of" who you are. It reverts to the Platonic that we are essentially souls trapped in a body which is worn by the soul like a set of clothes. While you might not personally put it in those terms, it is the consequence of your position.

For Thomas, the soul is the integral form of the body, and even while the soul is capable of existing part from the body, it remains the soul of that particular body. In fact, it is only because our souls are the forms of our particular bodies that they are individuated. Otherwise, there would be no principle of individuation which justify me saying that my soul is different from your soul. However, perhaps you don't even maintain a difference since you claim that the soul is part of God in us.

Without Thomas's explanation, the whole system falls apart very quickly.
__________________
Student of Systematic Theology at the Notre Dame Graduate School of Christendom College.

A good site to learn more about Catholic homeschooling:
Catholic Homeschooling
  #14  
Old Aug 27, '09, 12:26 pm
cerad cerad is offline
Banned
 
Join Date: July 10, 2008
Posts: 421
Religion: Atheist
Default Re: When is the soul created?

Quote:
Originally Posted by rskempf View Post
The creation of the soul and ensoulment at the moment of conception is consistent with the statement that when we procreate we are participating in the creative process with God. God is there with us at that moment of conception.
The existence of twins rules out the possibility that a soul is infused at the moment of conception. Unless you accept the notion that a person could have multiple souls.
  #15  
Old Aug 27, '09, 1:43 pm
Katholish's Avatar
Katholish Katholish is offline
Regular Member
 
Join Date: May 19, 2004
Posts: 1,010
Religion: Roman Rite Catholic
Default Re: When is the soul created?

Quote:
Originally Posted by cerad View Post
The existence of twins rules out the possibility that a soul is infused at the moment of conception. Unless you accept the notion that a person could have multiple souls.
Or you could argue that there is only one person to begin with, and then the body of another forms, so the second soul only comes when there is a second body. (we are obviously just talking about identical twins and not fraternal twins here)
__________________
Student of Systematic Theology at the Notre Dame Graduate School of Christendom College.

A good site to learn more about Catholic homeschooling:
Catholic Homeschooling
Closed Thread

Go Back   Catholic Answers Forums > Forums > Apologetics

Bookmarks

Thread Tools Search Thread
Search Thread:

Advanced Search
Display

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Forum Jump



Prayer Intentions

Most Active Groups
8032Meet and talk,talk talk
Last by: GLam8833
4819CAF Prayer Warriors Support Group
Last by: James_OPL
4286Devotion to the Sorrowful Mother
Last by: lsbar
4027OCD/Scrupulosity Group
Last by: fencersmother
3810SOLITUDE
Last by: Prairie Rose
3363Let's empty Purgatory
Last by: James_OPL
3184Catholic Vegetarians & Vegans
Last by: libralion
3145Poems and Reflections
Last by: PathWalker
2959For seniors and shut- ins
Last by: Kellyreneeomara
2683Petitions Before the Blessed Sacrament
Last by: grateful_child



All times are GMT -7. The time now is 2:32 am.

Home RSS Feeds - Home - Archive - Top

Copyright © 2004-2013, Catholic Answers.