Did we exist before we were conceived?

I was sent a website by a Catholic priest that claims we existed in spirit form previous to our conception. Do you believe this and what does the Catholic church teach on this subject?

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.

So does that mean that every soul was created immediately at the creation of man or is each soul created by God immediately at the point of conception in the womb of the mother?


The Church has condemned the notion that souls pre-exist. See, for instance the Second Council of Alexandria condemnations of Origen:
If anyone asserts the fabulous pre-existence of souls, and shall assert the monstrous restoration which follows from it: let him be anathema.



The notion of a premortal existence is a Mormon belief. They believe that our souls are first created by “spirit parents” in heaven before being born to “earth parents” (I’m not sure if it’s required that everyone be born of earth parents. or if Mormons believe that some souls just stay in heaven forever and never come to earth). The idea of reincarnation (Hindu and other eastern religions) would be similar: our souls just continually get recycled into new bodies, until we attain “nirvana” (spiritual perfection). This is NOT Catholic belief. The Church teaches that each soul is created at conception (at the meeting of the sperm and the egg), and at death it separates from the body to go to heaven (sometimes going to purgatory first) or hell. Then, at the end of time (2nd coming) our souls will be reunited w/ our bodies and either be in heaven or hell (no more purgatory) for ever.

Hope that helped. :slight_smile:

In Christ,


You might find this thread interesting.

Its only three pages.

It does not really relate to your question but it does get into the whole abstract reasoning your question promotes.


For a short, direct answer. The soul did not exist prior to the moment of conception. The couple, hopefully, husband and wife, partner with God in the creation of new life. This is why marriage is sacred and the marriage act is just that, established for husband and wife only. It is sacred. Conception does take place out of marriage, this is because of man rejecting Gods plan of creation. Illicit sex, is sinful because man is using it not as an intimate marriage bond of the two becoming one flesh, but is using it for lustful gratification only.
Deacon Ed B

No, the Catholic Church does not teach this.


perhaps the priest in question was refering to the quote,
“before you existed in your mothers womb, I knew you.”

we are all in God,s mind eternally.

yet,our souls are created at conception.

God bless,


There are women who have had dreams of their children immediately before their conception (1-2 months, for example). When I say “dream”, I mean a detailed vision of the child at a much older age that later proved to be completely accurate.

Obviously, that is not a theological argument, and anecdotal private experiences cannot define Church teaching, but it is very interesting.

I had dreams about the child I was carrying that later proved to be accurate when I was pregnant, but not before I was pregnant.

I believe that some dreams and even dejavu is just our seeing what God already has seen and has known since before time began.

I do not know what exactly the Catholic teachings on that topic are but I can defenitely refer you to the scriptures. Read Job 38:1-21.

To further clarify, since GOD is Omnipotent He does not exist in the same space time continuum as we mere mortals. God existed in the past when the world as we know it was created, He exists in the present, and exists in the future. All at the same time!

**This is why prayer is so important. ** Through the gift of prayer we are able to pray for the forgiveness of sins of the past, in particular, those poor souls in purgatory, we can pray for the forgiveness of the enormous sins of the present , and through our prayers we may influence the future actions of our loved ones and/or others.

We must strive to learn how to pray. The life of St. Teresa of Avila would be a good starting point.


This is helpful. I am an ex-Mormon, struggling with theology and finding the REAL truth that CHRIST taught…and not just what humans have dreamed up. I am really struggling with it all.


This is completely untrue. Believing our souls existed prior to conception is not a “Mormon belief”, and there is no definite Catholic teaching that addresses the question.

It is simply unknown! There is not a thing wrong with believing that our immortal souls were created at the beginning of time with God, and not at the time of our conception. There is also not a thing wrong with believing God creates our soul at the time of conception. We simply don’t know!

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5 The unity of soul and body is so profound that one has to consider the soul to be the “form” of the body: i.e., it is because of its spiritual soul that the body
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6 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

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2 “Man, though made of body and soul, is a unity” (GS 14 § 1). The doctrine of the faith affirms that the spiritual and immortal soul is created immediately by God

Please read this

My only suggestion is, Always Always Always, ask for documentation when people give you their opinions.

I have always wondered about this concept of the second coming and does anybody know when that will be and if we are reunited with our bodies what state will our body be in? will it be my fit 22 year old body or my 63 year old body which is very unfit but which I prefer much more???

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