Do all embryos have souls?

I was reading a case in property law about a divorced couple fighting over who had the right to their frozen embryos in their previous attempts at IVF. The women wanted to at first use them for herself and still be a parent but later wanted them given off as a donation for others to use. The man wanted to destroy them not wanting to be the parent even if it is just for a donation. There were several frozen embryos in question. Do all of them have souls? They all can potentially be humans which was part of the discussion. The trial court ruled them to be human and therefore could not be destroyed. I knew that was being overturned in appeal. The Tennessee Supreme Court of course cited Roe v. Wade in claiming them not to be human and they stated that the person wanting them to be destroyed should have priority unless there is not another reasonable way of parenthood for the other. The woman remarried so she no longer would fit that category.

Besides the fact that this case shows why the Catholic Church is and should be against IVF, do all of these embryos have souls? My first guess would be yes which would make this procedure very problematic and immoral but I’m not sure.

The Church does not teach **definitively **at what point a soul is infused by God.

What the Church does teach is the following (from the CCC):

2270 Human life must be respected and protected absolutely from the moment of conception. From the first moment of his existence, a human being must be recognized as having the rights of a person - among which is the inviolable right of every innocent being to life.

Wouldn’t the Church then implicitly teach that the human soul is infused at conception since elsewhere in the CCC it defines a human as a body /soul unity? Yes, all embryos have a soul and to say otherwise would be to extinguish all of the Church’s teachings regarding the definition of a human being and at what point this human life begins…teachccd

**365 **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 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.

This was just answered in the Ask an Apologist section.

Yes, God specially creates each soul. This does not state when God creates the soul.

Yes, we can speculate. But, the Church does not definitively teach *when *God creates and infuses the soul.

Yes, I personally believe it is at the moment of creation, but the Church hasn’t defined it explicitly. Sort of like the Assumption-- the Church does not teach explicitly whether or not Mary died, so we really can’t say either way.

The human body shares in the dignity of “the image of God”: it is a human body precisely because it is animated by a spiritual soul, and it is the whole human person that is intended to become, in the body of Christ, a temple of the Spirit:232

      **[Man, though made of body and soul, is a unity.]("")** Through his very bodily condition he sums up in himself the elements of the material world. Through him they are thus brought to their highest perfection and can raise their voice in praise freely given to the Creator. For this reason man may not despise his bodily life. Rather he is obliged to regard his body as good and to hold it in honor since God has created it and will raise it up on the last day.233

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.

The Church teaches that when the body is created the soul exist because they are a unity. When does the body exist? Scientist call it a Zygote a cell that is the result of fertilization. The Church does teach when a human soul exist.

If the soul is the form of the body, it is the animating principle by which the body develops into the mature example of whatever it is (human, dog, chimp, etc.). The soul which specifies humanity is a rational intellectual soul. Since the human develops toward his or her mature expression beginning with conception, the soul is infused at the time of conception. If not, what would cause the body to begin developing?

Does not every living thing have a soul? No soul equals no life. Only human souls are immortal.

Sorry to be nit-picky, but I’d say only intellectual souls are immortal. (They don’t have to be human—angels, for instance.)

Yes, all living things have a soul. Only people have a spiritual soul.

So all living things have a soul.

Therefore, if an embryo is a living embryo, it has a soul.

And if a zygote is living at the instant of conception, it has a soul.

Whether or not the Church has explicitly declared, defined, and decreed this exact particular point in an official papal document delivered at the stroke of midnight from the chair of Peter is completely irrelevant and unnecessarily complicates the original, simple straightforward question…

We have our answer. YES.

And furthermore, even if a person were not sure, the person who did not know for sure would, if he was honest and cared about that life, he would have to assume that there was a soul there, and refrain from killing it.

**This was just answered in the Ask an Apologist section.**

You might be interested in the link above which gives the church’s explicit teachings on the matter.

What is it called when a person believes a soul exists before they are born?

There is a verse in the bible that states before we were born God knew us. Does that mean our souls existed before conception? If a baby is aborted does the soul of that baby go to another baby of another women?

Everyone reading this began life as an embryo. No need to make it anymore complicated than this.

God bless,

Does a person’s soul exist prior to conception?
What happens to children who are never conceived?

**Aborted babies’ souls do not reincarnate into another baby. The same thing happens to them as happens to any other infant whose life ends before he or she is baptized.

God know us before we are born because it is He who creates us. Just as a writer might know his story before he ever puts pen to paper and sees it come into being. The difference is that God is ineffable, inconceivable, invisible, incomprehensible, ever-existing and eternally the same. A writer is some guy with a story. If the writer can know his creation before it exists and can bring it into being, how much more so is that true for God?

Yes**, the embryos do have human souls. Contrary to some replies that I have read, the Church does teach that the human soul is infused at the moment of conception. Once conception takes place it can be nothing other than a complete human being. It is simply starting its growth into a fully developed body. Even a child just born, is not fully developed. This does not mean that they are not fully human. This is why the morning after pill is forbidden. Even some birth control pills cause abortion in that they do not prevent conception but do prevent implantation of the fertilized human egg into the uterus.
Deacon Ed B

YES…All embryos have souls…case closed…:slight_smile: God Bless…teachccd:heaven:

Thank you Woodstock. I am sorry I did not read the AAA link you provided earlier.

Here is the exact sub-link which contains the answer to this thread’s OP’s question:

Do non-viable embryos have souls?

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