Does the soul grow?

The Church’s view is that the soul comes into existence around the moment of conception. From that moment we grow until adulthood. My question is, does the soul grow? I mean in a dimensional manner, with the body. :wink:

The soul is immaterial. It does not have physical dimensions per se, though as it is the form of a material body, it would be correct to say that the soul is in every part of the body and does not have physical location outside of the body.

So, no, the soul does not “grow”.


But surely the soul must develop as time goes on, as you develop more awareness, knowledge and so on? Or do you not consider those things to be part of the soul?

For that matter, what happens when a foetus divides into identical twins, or two foetusses combine into one chimeric individual? Those would imply souls that are divisible and combinable.

So, while not ‘growth’ in a simplistic sense of increase in physical volume, I would think that the soul must ‘grow’ in terms of complexity and change.

A soul must also be able to change from unsaved to saved, otherwise baptism, confession and the rest could have no effect on it. Likewise sin could have no effect on an unchanging soul. A soul must be able to change to allow the possibility of salvation.


I agree, I believe the soul matures and learns and grows not in a physical sense but in a developmental sense. I think our souls will continue to grow after we get to heaven. You never stop learning, maturing and growing. :thumbsup:

mmhhh. Where does the soul come from? The soul comes from the A!mighty, right? So if the soul is a part of the A!mighty, and if the A!mighty is eternal, how could the soul change? Isn’t, consequently, the soul eternal also? Hence, I conclude that the soul does not change. It must be everything else of our being that changes, but it can’t be the soul.

I don’t want to get off topic, but that was a fascinating puzzler for me. I have no idea what the answer would be, but googled it and found members on this forum asking the same questions years ago. Maybe it will help answer your questions.

A discussion on chimeric individuals, from 2006:

A discussion on twins, from 2008:

What do you mean by “comes from the Almighty”? Consider “In the beginning god created the heavens and the earth.” Does that make the earth “from the Almighty”? Does that mean that the earth does not change? Obviously the earth changes, as do the heavens. Hence things that are made by God can change.

The Bible tells us that God changes. If the Bible described an unchanging God then Genesis would read rather differently: “On the first day God said, “Let there be light,” and on the second day God said, “Let there be light,” and on the third day God said, “Let there be light,” and on the fourth day …”

As I said, an unchanging soul renders baptism useless. If the unchanging soul is damned, then baptism cannot save it. If the unchanging soul is saved, then baptism is not necessary. An unchanging soul in effect leads to extreme Calvinism: nothing you do can affect your salvation or damnation.


“The measure that you measure with will be measured back to you”…Jesus

Souls can expand with suffering…and…souls can shrink into hardness too.

Souls can get dull with indulgence.

Souls can soar to heights of gratitude and glorious love…and…souls can sink into darkness and mire and be trapped by addictions.

Great Souls can seek the lowest place…like St Theresa (the lil flower)…and be lifted high

Nothing-horror souls can seek the highest place (like Leviathan–the ancient dragon–the Devil)…and be cast down forever.

Souls…therefore…have the ability to change “posture”…to be humble or not.

Souls can indeed…“expand” with suffering…“and through your own soul a sword will pass…so that the thoughts of many hearts shall be revealed”.

But…do souls “grow” according to our body shape? I don’t think loosing a limb in Boston makes one a smaller soul…but rather the experience will EXPAND the soul.

The earth is a creation, G0d created it, and he sustains it.
G0d is not a creation, hence cannot change. In order to change you need to for exampel have substance, of which G0d is not, just like the soul is not. In order to change you must be within time, but G0d is outside of time, as is the soul.

Why should a soul be damned? :confused:

   "Time" is a measure of change......can God change posture?....the Bible says yes.

God was at rest…then God moved to create…hence…a change took place. If we can be so bold as to measure it…we could say that God’s actions create time itself. And God was capable and did indeed change postures BEFORE this universe came to be. Therefore, God may indeed be changeless in His Essence…but operates in a kind of time that is all His own…and the Bible verifies this idea…“A thousand years are as a single day to the Lord”

If God sustains a changing creation, then God must also change. God sustained George Washington for a time. He did not sustain him before he was born and He did not sustain him after he died. God must have changed at least twice, first from not-sustaining to sustaining and second from sustaining to not-sustaining.

Why should a soul be damned?

Where are the souls of the damned to be found?


Yes, the soul can mature and “grow” in wisdom and knowledge. That is something of an analogous use of the term grow.

When a zygote divides, a new soul would be created by God. If two fetuses merge, one is killed. Souls are absolutely not divisible nor combinable. That would be contrary to the very definition of what a soul is, i.e. the form of the body and principle of life.

Yes, the soul comes from God, but it is created by God. It is not some sort of extension of His Essence. If it were, you and I would be God, and that is nonsense.

The soul is the seat of our faculties of intellect and will, and if those can change, so can the soul. Everytime you learn something, your soul undergoes change. Everytime you exercise your will, your soul undergoes change. (Not substantial change, mind you, but change nonetheless.)

Immutability (unchanging) is a proper attribute of God. In fact, being unchanging is the very definition of God.

It is incorrect to say that the Bible describes a changing God. The Bible uses language which makes God seem more human so that we can understand Him better. This is called anthropomorphic language, but it is understood that when this occurs, it is something of “poetic license” of a kind. Think for instance, when the Bible talks about God’s “arm” or His “back” or His “head”. God is immaterial, strictly speaking, He doesn’t have arms, or a back, or a head. He has no body whatsoever. (The Incarnation doesn’t really negate this statement either.) In the same way, the Scripture talks about God changing His mind, but this is also anthropomorphic language. God does not change His mind.

How do we know that the Scripture does not intend for these espressions to be taken literally? I am sure I do not need to quote the many times God is referred to as being eternal (which means outside of time and hence not subject to change), but there are also direct referrences to God being unchanging.

James 1:17: Every best gift, and every perfect gift, is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no change, nor shadow of alteration.

Heb 6:17-18: Wherein God, meaning more abundantly to shew to the heirs of the promise the immutability of his counsel, interposed an oath: That by two immutable things, in which it is impossible for God to lie, we may have the strongest comfort, who have fled for refuge to hold fast the hope set before us.

Malachi 3:6: For I am the Lord, and I change not: and you the sons of Jacob are not consumed.

We agree, however, that the soul, and any created thing, can change.

I understand the soul is not material. But, your answer suggests the soul has a boundary. Since you say the soul is “in every part of the body”; but, has no “physical location outside the body.” That boundary is our a exterior. Then it could be said the soul has volume, without mass (since its immaterial). Since the volume of the body changes from childhood to adult, the soul must also be changing in volume as well. So that I can again ask; is the soul growing?:banghead:

We perceive God acting in time, because we are subject to time. God cannot change in anything (see my post above to rossum on immutability and anthropomorphic language in the Scriptures). From God’s “perspective” all of His actions are eternal, there is no before and after. God has been willing you into existence since before Adam was created, but it was part of that eternal act that you come into being within temperal context (i.e. that you were conceived when you were in time).

God does not have different acts of the will nor does He change in anyway. In truth, His act of the Will is so comprehensive as to include everything, that in realiity, He only has one single act of the Will and everything is included in that–your creation, my creation, the Redemption, the End of the world, etc.

For a more thurough treatment of this topic, I suggest reading St. Thomas’s Summa Theologica, the Prima Pars, Questions 9, 10, and 19 on the immutability of God, the eternity of God, and the Divine Will respectively.

I understand your frustration. It is not the easiest topic in the world. Firstly, let me point you toward the most authoritative source on this topic, St. Thomas in the Summa. He has a whole article on whether the soul is in every part of the body and addresses this question (but he uses very technical language which might not help make thing much clearer for for).

I’ll try to distill it. St. Thomas is basically saying that when we say the soul is in “every part of the body” we can mean this in a few different ways. One way is in terms of quantity, so if there are 120lbs worth of body, there must be 120lbs worth of soul. As you pointed out, however, the soul is immaterial and does not have mass, so this is not what we mean.

Another way we might mean it is in terms of logical and essential parts. This is the correct meaning. The soul is the form of the body and its principle of life. The soul is united with the parts of the body, not in terms of their chemical make up, per se, but in the way that they function as part of a whole thing. Using an example, the soul is not necessarily united to carbon atoms or the electrons and protons of those atoms, that make up the body, but the soul is united to the living cells of the body. The soul is what makes those cells be part of a body. As soon as some organ is not longer part of the body, the soul is no longer in it. So in the case of an organ transplant, as soon as the organ is removed from one person, that person’s soul ceases to be united with it, and as soon as it becomes part of another person’s body, that person’s soul is united with it.

All of this means that the soul is united with the body in terms of logical and essential parts, and not in terms of quantity, so even if the body grows and dimensionally increases, the soul does not.

Not that I agreed with you, but just to go with what you said (in bold)… Why would the soul have to change in volume as well, what makes you draw this conclusion? The body could grow, and the soul could still remain the same size, no? It could still “fit” into the body of a baby when we’re adults, no? :slight_smile:

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