Will a Clone of a Human have a Human Soul?


#1

Question of the day is:
WILL A CLONE OF A HUMAN HAVE A HUMAN SOUL?

A person over at Defenders of the Catholic Faith posted this question and we’ve been debating it this past week. The best answer we can come up with is, “We don’t know.”

I would like to know what you all think.

This question has brought up several offshoot questions such as:

  1. Is a clone of a human a totally different person, or is it a photocopy of someone who already exists? That is, is a clone merely a graft of someone who already exists?

  2. Each human body gets one soul, so if a being is created as an offshoot of someone who already exists, then what do we say animates such a being?

  3. Since elements of the body and blood are found flowing within and through every cell in our bodies, one can also say that our soul is also present within every cell of our body. If we extract one of our cell nuclei and then inject it into an empty enucleated cell, then if a clone has its own soul, then where does the little piece of our soul go after it is zapped by electricity and forced into cell division that eventually becomes a copy of its host? That is … the very first cell that exists prior to the application of electricity already has a soul—that of the host—right? Or wrong? Or would the soul of the host cell be lost or replaced?

  4. If a Clone didn’t possess a Human Soul, then what, if anything would animate him? Would such a “person” simply be a vegetable?

  5. If a Human Clone lacks a human soul, is it possible that God would allow, as an end-times deception, fallen angels to animate this body—or is it outside the nature of a fallen angel to do so?

  6. An offshoot of this above question—I read somewhere (don’t remember where) that demons can travel through electricty. Could a fallen angel travel through the little microcurrent and essentially take over?

  7. Is there another possiblity—that the thing animating the clone is not a soul or a demon, but something new?

  8. How does cloning differ from natural twinning? (they do differ … and I’ll get to that in a minute).

  9. Twins also form under the direction of God, miraculously, by duplication of the zygote. Does God create both souls at the moment of conception of the first, seeing in His Providence, that there will be two?

  10. Twins also involve two parents, while cloning is asexual reproduction not involving two parents, but the ennucleated ovum of one cell and the nucleus of one host—that is entirely born of woman. Does the lack of two proper parents have a bearing on the soul (of a human)?

  11. Normal human conception is a miracle of God, and God creates the soul of each person out of nothing at the moment of conception. The first cell division is the first visual evidence of this, and it is miraculous. Does the soul induce the body to make that first cell division, or is it the other way around?
    What, then, do we say about clones, whose first zygotic cell division is brought about by electricity?

  12. What is the purpose of cloning Humans?

  13. Are we tinkering with something that shouldn’t be altered?

To help, here is a good outline of cloning, which comprises several web pages. I’ve also posted an exerpt:

science.howstuffworks.com/cloning.htm

"… Another example of natural cloning is identical twins. Although they are genetically different from their parents, identical twins are naturally occurring clones of each other.

Scientists have experimented with animal cloning, but have never been able to stimulate a specialized (differentiated) cell to produce a new organism directly. Instead, they rely on transplanting the genetic information from a specialized cell into an unfertilized egg cell whose genetic information has been destroyed or physically removed …

In 1997, cloning was revolutionized when Ian Wilmut and his colleagues at the Roslin Institute in Edinburgh, Scotland, successfully cloned a sheep named Dolly. Dolly was the first cloned mammal.

Wilmut and his colleagues transplanted a nucleus from a mammary gland cell of a Finn Dorsett sheep into the enucleated egg of a Scottish blackface ewe. The nucleus-egg combination was stimulated with electricity to fuse the two and to stimulate cell division. The new cell divided and was placed in the uterus of a blackface ewe to develop. Dolly was born months later.

Dolly was shown to be genetically identical to the Finn Dorsett mammary cells and not to the blackface ewe, which clearly demonstrated that she was a successful clone (it took 276 attempts before the experiment was successful). Dolly has since grown and reproduced several offspring of her own through normal sexual means. Therefore, Dolly is a viable, healthy clone …"

I’ll post some definitions to help, too.


#2

I do not think there has been any theological decision on this and I do not think it will be taken up until the even happens. Cloning of a human is still years away.

PF


#3

Other sub questions (post got too long)

  1. A woman’s womb is a sacred place. If we were needing a human clone quickly (probably for organ harvesting) we would need to have him come to consciousness in adulthood. He would be too big to fit in a woman’s womb and would grow in a tank. Does this change the argument in any way? Does the implantation of a zygote within the wall of the uterus have any role in the formation of the soul?

  2. Are we tinkering with something that shouldn’t be altered?

  3. Does God Will all life into creation—even human clones—or is this an abomination? That is, is life forced into existence by Man an abomination?

My final answer to most of the above is—we’ll have to wait until we meet the first human clone and interact with him/her to know the final answer.


#4

I do not think there has been any theological decision on this and I do not think it will be taken up until the even happens. Cloning of a human is still years away

I realize this, and I appreciate your candor. This was basically my final answer, too.

However, I found the conversation at DCF on this topic to be very interesting. There were a very wide range of views. Very stimulating.

Anyhow, here’s some definitions from Father Hardon’s Modern Catholic Dictionary:

Soul-The spiritual immortal part in human beings that animates their body. Though a substance in itself, the soul is naturally ordained toward a body; separated, it is an “incomplete” substance. The soul has no parts, therefore it is simple, but it is not without accidents. The faculties are its proper accidents. Every experience adds to its accidental form. It is individually created by God at the time of human insemination. It is moreover created in respect to the body it will inform, so that the substance of bodily features and of mental characteristics insofar as they depend on organic functions is safeguarded. As a simple and spiritual substance, the soul cannot die. Yet it is not the total human nature, since a human person is composed of body animated by the soul. In philosophy, animals and plants are also said to have souls, which operate as sensitive and vegetative principles of life. Unlike the human spirit, these souls are perishable. The rational soul contains all the powers of the two other souls and is the origin of the sensitive and vegetative functions in the human being. pp. 513-514.

Spirit–That which is positively immaterial. It is pure spirit if it has no dependence on matter either for its existence or for any of its activities. God is uncreated pure Spirit; the angels are created pure spirits. The human soul is more properly called spiritual. Although it can exist independent of the body, it nevertheless in this life depends extrinsically on the body for its operations, and in the life to come retains a natural affinity for the body, with which after the resurrection it will be reunited for all eternity. p. 515.

Angel–A pure, created spirit, called angel because some angels are sent by God as messengers to humans. An angel is a pure spirit because he has no body and does not depend for his existence or activity on matter. The Bible tells us that angels constitute a vast multitude, beyond human reckoning. They differ in perfection of nature and grace. Each is an individual person. According to Christian tradition, they form three major categories in descending order. The word “angel” is commonly only applied to those who remained faithful to God, although devils are also angels by nature. Moreover, “angel” is the special name for the choir of angelic spirits, from whom guardian angels are sent to minister to human needs. The existence of angels has been twice defined by the church: at the Fourth Lateran Council (Denzinger 800) and at the First Vatican Council (Denzinger 3002). p. 25.

So have fun. This subject brings up a lot of deep issues. I’m interested to know what folks here think about this.


#5

Any embryo no matter how it is created is a human being with a soul. A clone is simply a delayed twin.

If clone do not have a souls, then therapeutic cloning and research on those clones would not be unethical.

As for the particulars of your other questions, I leave the logistics of ensoulment up to God :slight_smile:

R. Taylor
www.MaryMeetsDolly.com
A Catholic’s Guide to Biotechnology


#6

of course they will have a soul! No soul=no life!

Besides, cloning makes a perfect “replica” of someone genetically, they are not so different then monozygotic twins.


#7

A fundamental question that needs to be asked is “is the soul a result of the fertilization of the human egg by the sperm or is it the result of a creative act by God?”. I don’t think the soul results from nature therefore I would tend to think that a clone may very well not have a soul.


#8

[quote=brotherhrolf]A fundamental question that needs to be asked is “is the soul a result of the fertilization of the human egg by the sperm or is it the result of a creative act by God?”. I don’t think the soul results from nature therefore I would tend to think that a clone may very well not have a soul.
[/quote]

The soul created by God is assigned to a person at conception.

Andy


#9

3 facts we do know beforehand will have an impact on the final decision.

1/ the person was created out of wedlock, and was conceived under evil pretext.

2/ Those who had a hand in his creation would be in a state of mortal sin. I think the sin would be more serious than a unmarried couple who in normal sex had a child.

3/ his state at birth would be one of unbaptised babies.

Andy


#10

Yes! Yes, yes, yes! A clone has a human soul! I heard John Paul II say so in one of his papal addresses about a year and a half ago. I don’t know the exact quote, but he emphatically stated that a cloned human has a soul! And why wouldn’t it/he/she? Clones are people too! Do they not bleed when you stab them? Don’t blame the clones for their predicament. And don’t give these technocrats any ammunition.


#11
  1. Is a clone of a human a totally different person, or is it a photocopy of someone who already exists? That is, is a clone merely a graft of someone who already exists?

It’s as totally a different person as much as an identical twin is…so yes. Totally different person.

  1. Each human body gets one soul, so if a being is created as an offshoot of someone who already exists, then what do we say animates such a being?

A soul. Created by God at the clone’s conception. It still has a conception. An egg is still fertilized with DNA, it’s just that the DNA comes all from the same person. Even if a stemcell were taken from an embryo and caused to start splitting into a new embryo, with no new egg involved, it would still have its conception…either when it started splitting, or God knew ahead of time what we would do, and put two souls in the original body (like conjoined twins at first) Whatever he does with indentical twins.

  1. Since elements of the body and blood are found flowing within and through every cell in our bodies, one can also say that our soul is also present within every cell of our body. If we extract one of our cell nuclei and then inject it into an empty enucleated cell, then if a clone has its own soul, then where does the little piece of our soul go after it is zapped by electricity and forced into cell division that eventually becomes a copy of its host? That is … the very first cell that exists prior to the application of electricity already has a soul—that of the host—right? Or wrong? Or would the soul of the host cell be lost or replaced?

Once that cell is removed, it no longer has a soul. Like if a limb of you was chopped off…it no longer is animated by your soul, and can even be reapplied to another person’s body by way of donation. Or like a woman whose egg cell becomes another person with man’s sperm cell. There is no problem here any more than in normal conception.

  1. If a Clone didn’t possess a Human Soul, then what, if anything would animate him? Would such a “person” simply be a vegetable?

Nothing would animate them if they did not have a soul. If they only had a material soul because of their biological life, then they would be a vegatable or an animal, and would not possess a rational, spiritual soul. However, clones would possess spiritual souls, there is no question. If IVF babies have souls, and they do, than so do clones…which is basically a form of IVF just using 1 person’s DNA instead of 2.

  1. If a Human Clone lacks a human soul, is it possible that God would allow, as an end-times deception, fallen angels to animate this body—or is it outside the nature of a fallen angel to do so?

No. God wouldn’t allow it. Those babies would already have souls. And it is outside the nature of any angel to do so. They only “possess” and control bodies by manipulating the soul of the one possessed. Angels, being pure spirit, have limited control of matter. Mainly they use a human (which can control its own soul and body) as the “bridge” between the spiritual and material world, because angels have no “hands” with which to manipulate matter so to speak. But if the body had no soul, it could not animate it anymore than it could animate other matter…which I do not believe occurs outside a miracle from God.

  1. An offshoot of this above question—I read somewhere (don’t remember where) that demons can travel through electricty. Could a fallen angel travel through the little microcurrent and essentially take over?

Ridiculous. Demons don’t need electricity to travel. Being pure spirit, their “location” is only determined by where they apply their power, and they can will to apply their power different places without being in between. If a fallen angel could “take over” it would not need to use the microcurrent. But it cannot.


#12
  1. Is there another possiblity—that the thing animating the clone is not a soul or a demon, but something new?

It could have a purely material soul, like animals or plants…being purely an organic robot, completely physically deterministic, with no consciousness or free will…no matter how good it imitates a human.

However, there is no reason to think a clone would not have a soul. They take their human nature from a Son or Daugther of Adam…so they should have souls with original sin like everyone else, regardless of how they were concieved.

  1. How does cloning differ from natural twinning? (they do differ … and I’ll get to that in a minute).

Different methods sometimes. But philosophically, they are analogous. But spontaneous twinning is not willed by humans and is something to accept and even rejoice in. But it should not be delibrately caused by humans.

  1. Twins also form under the direction of God, miraculously, by duplication of the zygote. Does God create both souls at the moment of conception of the first, seeing in His Providence, that there will be two?

I wouldnt call it “miraculous” any more than anything else natural that nevertheless occurs under the guidence of Providence. Yes, God probably creates both souls at the moment of conception knowing they will split.

  1. Twins also involve two parents, while cloning is asexual reproduction not involving two parents, but the ennucleated ovum of one cell and the nucleus of one host—that is entirely born of woman. Does the lack of two proper parents have a bearing on the soul (of a human)?

No. Jesus only had one human parent, remember. It is theorized by some on these boards that early humans mated with unensouled hominids, and their children would have still had souls. One parent is enough as long as that parent is human.

  1. Normal human conception is a miracle of God, and God creates the soul of each person out of nothing at the moment of conception. The first cell division is the first visual evidence of this, and it is miraculous. Does the soul induce the body to make that first cell division, or is it the other way around?
    What, then, do we say about clones, whose first zygotic cell division is brought about by electricity?

Again, I wouldn’t call it miraculous. The first cell division, evidence of biological life, is evidence of the vegetable, material aspects of the human soul…which would exist in organic cells whether or not that soul was also spiritual and rational.

  1. What is the purpose of cloning Humans?

Many reasons. To get organs. To replace a lost child. Fertility treatment. Egotistical fantasy. It is not morally right.

  1. Are we tinkering with something that shouldn’t be altered?

Yes.

  1. A woman’s womb is a sacred place. If we were needing a human clone quickly (probably for organ harvesting) we would need to have him come to consciousness in adulthood. He would be too big to fit in a woman’s womb and would grow in a tank. Does this change the argument in any way? Does the implantation of a zygote within the wall of the uterus have any role in the formation of the soul?

A baby grown totally in an artificial womb…whether concieved with a sperm and egg or not…would still have a soul. However, I don’t think your imagining of adult clones in tanks is even on the radar of science yet. Clones would still start and be born as babies, and if needed for adult organs…they would mainly use the stemcells of the embryos killed early to grow whole organs…

  1. Are we tinkering with something that shouldn’t be altered?

Yes. We need to be cautious with ethics and science, but not so cautious as to avoid all progess.

  1. Does God Will all life into creation—even human clones—or is this an abomination? That is, is life forced into existence by Man an abomination?

Everything that happens is permitted by God, in his wise Providence, for the greatest good. He is Sovereign over all history.

Many children are concieved in immoral ways: fornication, rape, IVF, adultery, cloning…it doesn’t mean that they as individuals aren’t precious or dont have a place in life.


#13

Give me a break. Scientists may play God, but only God can create Life and Life requires a soul. God put into place the Laws of Nature that man manipulates, sometimes for Good, sometimes for Evil, but either way, if we manipulate nature, God will assist by giving us what Nature dictates as an outcome.

If an evil man rapes a woman, does her child have a soul? It was conceived through an evil act. Well, we all know the answer to this question (or at least we should know the answer!) Yes, the Child is a blessing, even if the circumstances of his conception are not blessed, and the Child has the same benefits of a soul that has been given to all of humanity.

The same applies to a child conceived by artificial insemination, and I hope it never happens, but if scientists manage to manipulate the natural laws to allow it, so will the child conceived through cloning.

But I think we play with cloning at our own peril, and I pray that God has placed some really, seriously tricky laws of nature around this little trick, keeping us out of pandora’s box for as long as possible!

I say this with a degree in BioChem, and time spent in the BioTech industry doing Genetic Engineering and work on the Human Genome Project.

God Bless,

CARose


#14

Once that cell is removed, it no longer has a soul. Like if a limb of you was chopped off…it no longer is animated by your soul, and can even be reapplied to another person’s body by way of donation.

Ohh. Excellent point.

A fundamental question that needs to be asked is “is the soul a result of the fertilization of the human egg by the sperm or is it the result of a creative act by God?”. I don’t think the soul results from nature therefore I would tend to think that a clone may very well not have a soul

This is also an excellent point.

But I think we play with cloning at our own peril, and I pray that God has placed some really, seriously tricky laws of nature around this little trick, keeping us out of pandora’s box for as long as possible!

This is also an excellent point.

I wonder if God will make Human Cloning impossible, as it took 256 attempts to make Dolly.

This is a very good discussion. I’ll have to chew on this for awhile. Would be helpful if you could find that Pope John Paul II quote???


#15

He may have. Imprinting (which I am sure CARose already knows about) is a process in genetics where some genes are turned on or off depending on which parent they come from. Some of our genes are turned on by virtue that we inherited them from our father and the same with our mother. With cloning there is no “mother” and “father” which maybe why researchers are having trouble cloning human and primates. Imprinting maybe God’s way of insuring that we always reproduce sexually.

R. Taylor
www.MaryMeetsDolly.com
A Catholic’s Guide to Biotechnology


#16

Imprinting (which I am sure CARose already knows about) is a process in genetics where some genes are turned on or off depending on which parent they come from.

Whoa! I have degree, or rather, two degrees in Science related fields and I’ve never heard of this. So, is this relating to Introns and Exons (sp?), that is intervening DNA sequences and Expressive DNA sequences. That’s controlled by parents? Or is this in reference to gene groups, and not specifically to the DNA strand? Very interesting.


#17

[quote=GoldenArrow]Whoa! I have degree, or rather, two degrees in Science related fields and I’ve never heard of this. So, is this relating to Introns and Exons (sp?), that is intervening DNA sequences and Expressive DNA sequences. That’s controlled by parents? Or is this in reference to gene groups, and not specifically to the DNA strand? Very interesting.
[/quote]

Here is a good resource on imprinting:

genetics.com.au/factsheet/14.htm

R. Taylor
www.MaryMeetsDolly.com
A Catholic’s Guide to Biotechnology


#18

Ridiculous. Demons don’t need electricity to travel. Being pure spirit, their “location” is only determined by where they apply their power

Yes, in retrospect, this was a ridiculous question. LOL! But if you get to know me, you’ll find out I’ll jump at the chance to publically humiliate myself by asking the most stupid questions imaginable.
Let me rephrase the original question, sans the comment about demons dancing on electric wires. HA!

My rephrased question is:

In order to create a clone, a cell from it’s “parent” must be zapped by electricity to induce the first cell division. That is, it doesn’t divide on its own accord, naturally. Does this constitute unnatural* conception? Does this change anything in the discussion?*

(**I’d define Natural conception as the involvement of egg and sperm to form a zygote. Intra-utero conception and embryos conceived in a test tube would fall under this category. In the case of twinning, natural conception would take place when the zygotic division happens spontaneously, independent of medically induced zytgotic division (i.e. the electric current).


#19

Crazy scientists are responsible of the immoral act of cloning, not the clone. so God will not punish the clone by refusing soul for him.
soul enter human at conception but it’s not limited in just that case. see how the Adam obviously got the soul out of the womb.


#20

This is an interesting quote from the link provided by rhtaylor from genetics.com:

“Usually a baby receives one copy of each chromosome from its mother and the other copy from its father. In those babies who had received two copies of each chromosome from the father, and one from the mother, the placenta was large and the baby was small. On the other hand, where the extra copy of the chromosomes came from the mother, the baby was larger and the placenta small.
**
These findings gave rise to the theory that the father’s genes control the supply of nutrients to the developing baby through the placenta while the genes passed through the egg from the mother are important for fetal development**.”

Hey, a question—

Do natural twins share one placenta, or do they each have their own?


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