Is each soul willed by God? If so, what about

I have thought about this question many times before and have never managed to get a clear answer in my own mind, so I ask it here now.

We have all heard as Catholics (and I assume it is Catholic teaching, although I would need to look into it), that each soul is willed and created by God. However my question is this: If it is the case that God foresees, wills and causes the creation of each individual human being, body and soul, what about those circumstances whereby a child is born by evil means? I mean rape, IVF, etc.? If God didn’t want the act to occur, for e.g, the rape, then how could the child that is conceived be willed by God?

I assume one of the arguments is that God willed the child and not the act, in other words God foresaw that the rape would occur, and, while not desiring that act, allowed some good to come from that evil, i.e a child. I don’t know how well that arguments sits with me, though.

All thoughts and answers appreciated. Thanks.

The problem is, there are also plenty if not more cases where rapes, abuse, etc happen and the victim does not become pregnant, so do we assume God does not desire any good to come from their suffering, but for others, he does…??

I used to believe each and every person born had some kind of special intervention by God, but Im not so sure anymore, it almost looks like a mass production assembly line.

God specially creates a soul for each person. A person comes into being by an act of the two parents. It is human free will (including its abuse) that creates other humans. God infuses a soul in each human, he does not withhold souls from those conceived in morally offensive ways.

You started out correct, God specially created each soul but then veered off course by presuming that means he “foresees, wills and causes the creation of each individual human being, body and soul” which is not Catholic teaching.

Doesn’t this boil down to: Why does God allow evil?

And I think you’ve answered your own question. He does not will the sin, but permits it for a greater good. In the case of rape, I wouldn’t say that the child alone is the greater good: as mikekle points out, a child is not always conceived. The fact is, we do not necessarily see the greater good in this life. It comes down to a matter of faith and trust. Not blind faith, but informed faith, based on God’s goodness and almighty power. Sure, we can see what would be better in this or that scenario, but we are not equipped to judge what would be better in the universal scheme of things.

If every rape resulted in a child, but every loving sex act was up to chance and body cycles, wouldn’t that create a horrible temptation for the infertile?

God set up natural law to take care of most of Creation’s events, and we humans often abuse it. And then we complain about the existence of free will. Meanwhile, God does some things specially and miraculously, and then we complain about that, too. We are hard to please. :slight_smile:

:thumbsup: May God bless you all! :slight_smile:


The problem with the OP’s argument is that it’s a reverse slippery slope.

Suppose we concede that conception from a rape is evil:

Then what about a marital rape (where the parents are legitimately married, though the husband is committing a crime?)

What about a statutory rape, where the issue is the legal age of consent?

What about a “heat of the moment” act between intoxicated teenagers?

What about an “unplanned pregnancy” by legally married, but beleaguered parents who did not want a child at that point?

What about a planned pregnancy by parents who have psychological issues?

What about a planned pregnancy by loving parents who (remember, God foreknows this!) are going to lose their fortune and be forced to bring up their child in poverty?

Extending this argument, how many conceptions would stand up to the strictest of scrutiny? Should only those children whose parents can give them the best possible care, protect them from all evils, and live long enough to see them through to maturity, be created in the first place?

God knows best, as hard as it is for us to grasp this at times.

Well. I look at it like this.

God’s more like a gardener. He plants the bushes that make the flowers.

He doesn’t go along and graft a flower on every bush.

Or something?



Thanks for your response, and I get what you’re saying. But what I don’t understand is this: A child is conceived by rape. Had that rape not taken place, would that human being have never existed? That seems like the creation of a human being that God didn’t will to me.

Sorry I’m just trying to get my head around this one. :slight_smile:

Thanks for your response, and I get what you’re saying. But what I don’t understand is this: A child is conceived by rape. Had that rape not taken place, would that human being have never existed? That seems like the creation of a human being that God didn’t will to me.

Sorry I’m just trying to get my head around this one.

But then, couldn’t we say that of ANY time a child is conceived? Even a married couple who become pregnant as a result of deciding to have sex one night: there was nothing to stop them from deciding to simply not to have sex that night, in which case their child would also not be conceived.

It seems that it just comes down in the end to God’s decision to have human beings procreate in this way. It means that every new human being is really a result of the decisions made by that previous generation, whether those decisions were good or bad. It would seem that only Jesus’s conception was as a direct result of God’s intervention.

Even the conception of Mary, which was so integral to God’s plan for salvation, would not have happened if Anne and Joachim had had different plans that night. It would seem that God (who of course foresaw every person who would ever be created) takes every human being and weaves them into His plan to bring about good, regardless of how that person was conceived.

It really does stagger the mind to think about how much power God has put into the hands of humanity, really.


And why is that a problem?

So the creation of a human being is something entirely up to the decisions of human beings? Can I therefore say to someone that God willed them into being? Can I say that God created them? Is the creation of a soul entirely connected with the creation of a human embryo at conception? Does the soul exist before the child is conceived, or is it created at that same moment?

I guess what is difficult for me is the whole thing about God wanting every child to exist, that each unique human being is a result of his willing us into being. But then there are children that he DIDN’T will? Confused.

Of course it is. Their decisions and biology.

It depends on what you mean when you assert this.


No, souls do not pre-exist. Humans are the union of body and soul.

The Church doesn’t teach that.

Perhaps you should look at the difference between God’s divine will and his permissive will.

Yeah I’m still not quite getting this, sorry. Thanks for your help. I guess I’m having trouble with the idea that God didn’t purposefully will and create each person and that the creation of human beings is more or less random and down to biological chance.
I kind of had it in my head that each human being was in God’s mind from the beginning of time, and each human being that is conceived is according to His will. Although I suppose where does that leave things like contraception etc. Wow God does give us a lot of responsibility. It’s just hard for me to accept that there are children who would have existed, would have lived and might have existed eternally in heaven, that do not now exist at all, and that there are other children who exist that God didn’t will to exist…

Every human being that will ever exist was in God’s mind from the beginning, and their existence is willed by Him. (Strictly speaking, He continuously wills us to exist at every moment or we would just cease to be.) But He has also willed that human conception generally take place according to natural processes and laws, and He provides a soul whenever a child is so conceived. That results in some conceptions happening under circumstances He forbids morally (but still allows to happen, physically) – but that doesn’t mean that God ends up creating souls that are a “surprise” He has not foreseen, nor that He foresees some souls that end up not coming into existence by circumstance.

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