When did we first exist?

I am confused about this. Some people say that we were with God in Heaven before we were born on this Earth, and when we die we “return” to Him. But when I became Catholic last year I learned that souls are only created at the moment of conception. Ok… but then my MIL, who is a very devout Catholic (borderline Saint, she is!) has told me that my children “chose” me to be their mother and how special that is, etc etc.

So I wonder… which is it? How could my children “choose” me when their little souls didn’t exist until their conception?

Devout and knowledgeable are not always synonymous.

The Catholic teaching is exactly as you have expressed it-- God specially creates our soul at conception. We are not pre-existing in heaven “waiting” for a body. We do not “choose” our parents.

Your mother in law is wrong, perhaps influenced by myriad TV shows and movies that show angels “working” to get their wings, people “becoming” angels, and such. These things are fictional, not accurate theology.

Maybe she meant something else or expressed her idea poorly.

Ask her to explain what she meant by that statement and where she came by this belief.

My methodist ministers told me this! But our only beginning existance was as humans, we did not exist before we got our bodies but only as we got it; conception.

We have no “heretofores”–either as reincarnation or preincarnation.

While that’s a lovely sentiment, Jesus is the only Person who chose His mother. He got to do that because He’s God. God chose you to be your children’s mother, which I think makes it even more special than if your children chose you themselves. :slight_smile:

Aquinas talks about this in the Summa Theologica. You can find it online at newadvent.org It’s in the first book, Question 90.

He attempts to tackle the question of when the human soul was created.

I actually posted a similar question in the philosophy forums. I’ll give you the link and you can see the quotes I ended up finding from the summa.

forums.catholic.com/showthread.php?t=370759

It is important to consider the fact that Roman Catholic theology was conceptualized and argued and written exclusively by men who never conceived and gave birth to children at all and so they had absolutely no clue of what they were talking about when it comes to the matter of a child’s soul entering one’s body and leaving one’s body via either birth or death in miscarriage. For those of us observant women who have observed souls literally go walking through us to be born onto this earth as our children, what Christ said about God knowing you very well and long before you were ever in your mother’s womb and the analogy of camels passing through the eyes of needles is all easily observable fact, not mystery, and not fiction.

It is important to consider the fact that Roman Catholic theology was conceptualized and argued and written exclusively by men who never conceived and gave birth to children at all and so they had absolutely no clue of what they were talking about when it comes to the matter of a child’s soul entering one’s body and leaving one’s body via either birth or death in miscarriage. For those of us observant women who have observed souls literally go walking through us to be born onto this earth as our children, what Christ said about God knowing you very well and long before you were ever in your mother’s womb and the analogy of camels passing through the eyes of needles is all easily observable fact, not mystery, and not fiction.

No. It is not important to consider this. It is not relevant. Our sex is not relevant to the Truths of God. God has no sex. He is pure spirit.

God is not in time. He is in eternity. Of course he can speak of knowing us before we were in our mother’s womb, because he knows all of history in one single act of being.

The camel passing through the eye of the needle is in reference to salvation, not childbirth.

This is a bit of a confusing point, since God exists outside of time. Although we are conceived at a particular moment in time, and our soul is created then, God exists eternally, and has been in that moment eternally. So I think it would be fair to say it is at the moment of conception, but that that moment exists eternally.

Remember that properly, we human beings are not just rational spirits, we are material beings, animals. So we are both soul and body. Any soul that existed before the body, before conception, couldn’t be us. Even after we die, being a disembodied soul is a temporary state - we are waiting to be whole again, as God promises we will be, with a perfect and incorruptible body. From this point of view, it is clear that we don’t exist as souls in heaven without a body.

And we certainly don’t become angels, or get to choose our moms. If we did, we could say kids with bad moms deserve what they get, which would be very improper.

The camel passing through the eye of the needle is an accurate analogy and description of the physical process of the incarnation of the human soul. The incarnation of the human soul is clearly part of God’s plan for salvation. The incarnation of the human soul is an observable phenomenon to those of us who have directly experienced a soul walking through us and incarnating, attaching to the body within our own. The de-incarnation, the detachment of the soul from the body is likewise an observable phenomenon to those of us who have experienced a soul taking leave of its unborn body, long before the miscarriage of the unoccupied and dead body. Souls are a phenomena of light with recognizable and observable thoughts and traits before incarnation.
Argument between men does not establish truth. Direct and repeated observation of the workings of God establishes truth. Believe what you will about the phenomenon, but if you have never directly experienced the phenomenon, you know only human argument, not truth. I am not talking at all about childbirth; I am talking about the process of the incarnation of the human soul. Childbirth cannot even in your wildest dreams be even remotely compared to the analogy of a camel passing through the eye of a needle! What a good joke that one is!

FYI unapproved vissions, personal “mystical” experiences and such are not up for discussion on this board. Catholics certainly recognize the reality of the spiritual world, but we also recognize that not every experience with the spiritual world comes from God. The Devil is also a spirit and he can decieve. Also, some experiences that one might honestly believe to be caused by the spiritual world might be explainable by other things.

Conception and childbirth do not constitute a “mystical” experience any more than eating and breathing and having a menstrual period constitute a “mystical” experience.
Christ clearly and obviously understood and spoke of the process of conception and the incarnation of a soul. If you do not understand His words and have not directly observed the process yourself, making His words abundantly clear to you, not only must you not be a mother, but you apparently have such little respect for mothers as to consider these things somehow personal 'mystical" experiences from possibly the devil.
Of course, if you happen to be* male,* you’d probably regard having a menstrual period as a “mystical” experience, ha!

Oh my, you* really* don’t know anything about me. I am currently pregnant with my eighth child, thank you very much. Beyond this pregnancy and seven other living children, I have also had miscarriages. Your earlier posts did not seem to simply describe pregnancy and miscarriges–as I understood your posts, you claimed to have experiences with souls separated from their bodies.

Congratulations! I’ve had 5 and one miscarriage. I’m sure you have made plenty of direct observations of these phenomena!
What exactly is conception? A soul coming into a body inside of your own, literally passing through the eqivalent of “the eye of the needle” and if the mother is conscious, she can witness that phenomenon. We certainly all have around here.
What is a miscarriage? A soul leaving a body inside of your own, and if the mother is conscious, she can equally witness that phenomenon. We’ve seen that one around here too.
Direct observation of these phenomena demonstrates that clearly a soul is not “created at the moment of conception” any more than a soul is ever created by its human parents. A body, and only a body, is created by the parents. It is directly observable. God is infinite and beyond human time altogether. It makes absolutely no sense whatsoever to describe and limit God and God’s creation activities to fit within a stupid narrow little human concept of a timeframe at all,* as though God has got to wait to create a soul for the moment the parents conceive a body for it, ha! What sort of obscene human arrogance and ignorance is that one?! That has got to be the theology joke of the week!*

If a woman says to her daughter-in-law that her children existed as souls before they were conceived by the parents, *she is describing an observable truth. *
If she furthermore says that the children “chose” to live with this particular mother, it is likewise an observable phenomenon that many infants do not survive and doctors cannot find anything physically wrong with them, other than they apparently “chose” to abandon an otherwise healthy body. Many doctors likewise commonly refer to the phenomenon of “choosing to live” when it comes to describing their patients. The concept of choosing to live a life with this woman as their mother makes some kind of sense to anyone who has seen infants apparently “choose” not to live at all for no apparent reason.
I see no reason whatsoever to consider consider this mother-in-law’s observations as theologically unacceptable at all; they certainly fit with the words of Christ on the matter.

Aquinas was not a woman and not a mother and so had absolutely no idea because he obviously didn’t observe anything about these phenomena at all. He never had a soul come into a body inside of his own. He never had a soul vacate a body inside of his own. Aquinas attempted to derive “truth” from logical argument with the rest of the guys who equally had absolutely no experience in having directly observed these phenomena.

One of the most important aspects of God, yet easily the most complicated and hard to understand, is that he is outside of time and space.

Actually, if you ever get very close to dying and afterwards ask the witnesses how long you were “gone” the outside-of-time-and-space phenomenon also becomes easily observable. Your mind and body will tell you that you have been gone for quite a long time, but the official records, recorded and documented by all the witnesses, will surprisingly read that you have only been gone for just a few minutes. It’s really quite an interesting phenomenon, quite real and easily corroborated by both the individual and the witnesses, and it is certainly no sort of personal “mystical” experience nor ridiculous “deception on the part of the devil” either.

Your writings in this thread are incoherent! God creates each soul precisely at the moment of conception. Our souls did not exist prior to our conception. Stating this is not "*as though God has got to wait to create a soul for the moment the parents conceive a body for it, ha! " *In fact, God does wait. It is He who decided to do this. He doesn’t have souls waiting around for bodies!

Thank you. We’re quite excited, but this baby didn’t choose us as his/her parents. God chose us, and it is quite humbling to be chosen by God to do this… My husband and I co-operated with Him; that did not limit His power but allowing His power to work through us. I’m quite certain His plans for who He gave me for my mother and whose mother I am to be far exceed whatever plans I could make.

Your theory of that human souls choosing their mother leaves one to question why any soul would choose a mother who would choose to abort her child. Your theory also place the abortion (in part) on the child’s soul, “If you hadn’t choosen this womb, you wouldn’t have been aborted.” Those who support abortion would absolutely love your theory, as the human body aborted either does not yet have a human soul or a human soul that wanted its body aborted.

You repeately use the phrase “eye of the needle” but you take it out of it’s Biblical context. Jesus spoke about that in reference to the rich entering the kingdom of God. In Mark 10:24-25 he said, “Children how hard it is to enter the kingdom of God! It is easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle than for one who is rich to enter the kingdom of God.

You asked rhetorically “what exactly is conception?”, but I don’t think your answer was completely correct. Here’s the defination according to Webster’s on-line Dictionary. (I will mention the definition was changed in recent years to sometimes include “implantation” due to certain medical practices that create and/or destroy human embryos before implantation.)

Main Entry: con·cep·tion
[LIST]
*]Pronunciation: \kən-ˈsep-shən
*]Function: noun
*]Etymology: Middle English concepcioun, from Anglo-French concepcion, from Latin conception-, conceptio, from concipere
*]Date: 14th century
[/LIST]*1 a *(1) : the process of becoming pregnant involving fertilization or implantation or both (2) : embryo, fetus b : beginning <joy had the like conception in our eyes — Shakespeare>
2 a : the capacity, function, or process of forming or understanding ideas or abstractions or their symbols b : a general idea : concept c : a complex product of abstract or reflective thinking d : the sum of a person’s ideas and beliefs concerning something
3 : the originating of something in the mind

I didn’t say that human souls choose their mother.
I said I did not believe that this woman’s mother-in-law’s comment should be blasted as theologically inappropriate for the reason that we have observed apparently healthy infants sometimes appear to choose not to live, (while others fight so hard to live against all odds), and so it is not inappropriate to bless the mother by considering the baby’s free will involved in living life here with this mother. I think it is cruel and entirely inappropriate to dismiss this mother-in-law’s blessing of her daughter-in-law’s motherhood by implying that the mother-in-law’s viewpoint consists of some sort of deception on the part of the devil and some great breach of theology here.

I also said that since God exists beyond all time, it makes absolutely no sense whatsoever to arrogantly and ignorantly limit God’s creation of the soul to some precise moment on a human concept of time. God is infinite and souls are immortal and God doesn’t need people’s bodies nor cooperation whatsoever in order to create souls (or anything else in the universe) whenever and however God pleases. It is human arrogance and ignorance to think otherwise.

As for abortion, it is against God’s laws to deprive a soul of its body.

As for Christ’s discussions on camels and eyes of needles, Christ says that for God all things are possible, including passing camels through the eyes of needles because such is the manner of God, the way God can and does do things when it comes to human beings and human souls. Yes. Exactly. Such is the manner of God, the way God can and does do things when it comes to human beings and human souls. Time and space do not exist in the realm of God. It is observable. If you ever get close enough to death and survive the experience, you will observe it yourself. It’s no big deal. It’s no big mystical experience. It’s just life and death. The beginning of life isn’t really any different from its ending, it’s just the process in reverse.

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