At what point in the evolutionary line did humans start getting souls.

Evolution tells us that we didnt all start out as human. So at what point did we first get a soul? Evolution is a very slow process. Someone must have been the first to have had a soul.

The basic timeline is a 4.5 billion year old Earth, with (very approximate) dates:

  • 3.8 billion years of simple cells (prokaryotes),

  • 3 billion years of photosynthesis,

  • 2 billion years of complex cells (eukaryotes),

  • 1 billion years of multicellular life,

  • 600 million years of simple animals,

  • 570 million years of arthropods (ancestors of insects, arachnids and crustaceans),

  • 550 million years of complex animals,

  • 500 million years of fish and proto-amphibians,

  • 475 million years of land plants,

  • 400 million years of insects and seeds,

  • 360 million years of amphibians,

  • 300 million years of reptiles,

  • 200 million years of mammals,

  • 150 million years of birds,

  • 130 million years of flowers,

  • 65 million years since the non-avian dinosaurs died out,

  • 2.5 million years since the appearance of the genus Homo,

  • 200,000 years since humans started looking like they do today,

  • 25,000 years since Neanderthals died out.

mammals have been around for 200 million years and humans first started appearing around 2.5. Scientist say that humans and monkeys evolved from a common ancestor. Did this common ancestor have a soul? Remember this evolution happened very slowly. Its not like yesterday there was a common ancestor and today it split into a group of monkeys and a group of humans.

Define “soul”.

the part that we have that enables us to go on to heaven. I’m not a religious person but I figure that was what the definition was, or close to. Either way, the bible says animals do not have souls. Since we all started out as animals there must have been a point where someone just all of a sudden was born with a soul

Well, theologically there is no way to be sure when God first endowed humans with an immortal soul. My personal thoughts though were that it was sometime in the last 200,000 years. Neanderthals and Homo Sapiens both seemed to have some religious ideas. In any case, at some point in the last 200,000 years, maybe as recently as 50,000 years ago, Homo Sapiens started rapidly progressing in terms of art which seems to indicated the development of something… maybe the soul? Who knows. :slight_smile:


The bible says that!?

My understanding is that all living things have souls (be they vegetable souls, or animal souls, or human souls).


Thats what someone told me

Adam the first human created by God around 6000 years at the beginning of the world. He had a soul. To say we didn’t start out as humans is absurd. As Catholics we must believe that God created all things and that Adam and Eve are our first parents and the first humans created.

Science has very strong evidence to suggest that the earth is 4 billion years old

science isn’t always accurate. As the Bible suggest human life is approximately 6000 years. No where is it even hinted in the Bible that humans evolved from animals or plants or anything else, but rather was created by God the Father. As Catholics we accept that God the Father created man from the dirt of the earth. I for one believe that the earth is roughly 6000 years old. You are free to believe what you want on the age of the earth. As for me I put God before and his word before man. As Catholics we are obligated to acknowledge God created man and that Adam and Eve are our first parents. We can accept evolution as long as it doesn’t deny God as creator of all living things.

Then “someone” would have to back that up. I do not believe he will not be able to do so because as far as I know the bible says no such thing.


Does science have evidence to suggest the existence of a soul?

It seems to me that in above exchange you are taking what the bible says (or: what someone has told you it says) as reliable in some areas but not in others. Is this not disingenuous?
(Or do you also find science to be reliable in some areas but not in others? Perhaps you should stick with one or the other?)


If there earth is only 6000 years old then how is it possible that we are able to see something that is over 6000 light years away?

Science does not have evidence of the existense of the soul. The bible claim it exists so Im asking at what point in the time line did it appear

When God created Adam!

But doesnt God creating adam contradict with evolutions stance that humans evolved over many forms?

We have fossils of about 20 different species of humans that have evolved over a few millions of years.

The bible claims that creation took place much more recently than you seem to accept? :shrug:




The Church teaches that Adam and Eve were real people and that they were our first parents.

The only reason this is brought up here is to present supposed evidence that this is not the case. I’m told science is silent about the supernatural, but apparently, not here. Eve was formed from Adam’s side. Apparently, some would like science to contradict a miracle.


If I may hazard a guess, it happened when one of two things happened (if you’re taking a metaphorical view of Genesis):

Humans became endowed with souls the moment they decided to act consciously good on their own free will (showing mercy, etc).

Humans became endowed with souls the moment they decided to act consciously evil beyond the nature of animals.

DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit