The Instigator
Con (against)
6 Points
The Contender
Pro (for)
0 Points

God always creates souls at conception

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 5/23/2012 Category: Philosophy
Updated: 5 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 2,735 times Debate No: 23785
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (5)
Votes (2)




In this Debate, both parties shall assume that God exists, that God creates souls, and that souls are "the thing" that distinguishes persons from mere animals.

The second assumption may need some clarification. Modern Science has discovered that anything that can begin to exist as the result of a purely physical process can be destroyed by some other purely physical process. But souls are postulated to be immortal, immune to destruction by merely physical processes. Therefore, say, after a purely physical event such as human conception occurs, for an immortal soul to begin to exist in association with that fertilized egg, logic requires some nonphysical soul-formation process, such as a direct Act of God.

Next, if unborn humans have souls, and having a soul equates with personhood, then it logically follows that unborn humans must be acknowledged to be persons. But if they don't have souls, then unborn humans are mere animal bodies, equivalent to many other ordinary animal bodies.

In a prior Debate, Lucky10279 declared, "God is who grants us our personhood status at conception." Per the preceding paragraphs, we can interpret that as saying, "God always creates souls at conception." I am challenging her in this Debate over that claim. I think it is more logical that God will do it later, and perhaps even wait until a live birth happens. Per the Title of this Debate, she will be "Pro", and I am "Con".


Why do you think it is more logical that God would create souls later on?
It makes a lot more sense that God would create each individual's soul at the moment He first create's us, at conception.
Since this debate assumes the existence of God and our souls, it makes sense to assume the accuracy of the bible as well.
"As soon as the sound of your greeting reached my ears, the baby in my womb leaped for joy" (Luke 1:44). If the baby (John the Baptist) did not have a soul then he could not have leaped for joy. So assuming the accuracy of the Bible that proves that we have souls, while still in the womb.
Debate Round No. 1


I'll start by pointing out that mere claims spouted by Religions tend to be unreliable, when those claims involve things about the physical universe. The classic case is the notion that the Earth is at the Center of Creation, which was first found to be flawed by Galileo, and all the evidence gathered since simply bolstered his case. But can Religions admit they are wrong without centuries going by? Hah! Can they learn from their mistakes? Hah, again! Because, if they had learned something from the Galileo debacle, they would never have made Official Pronouncements about when God creates souls for humans, before all the facts were in!

My first argument for why God won't always create souls at conception is is based on the phenomenon of "twinning". (NOTE: I modify web addresses to avoid being damaged by the software. Copy it to a blank browser page address bar and replace the initial dots with standard characters like "p://w".)

When conception occurs, only one human organism exists, the single-celled "zygote". After four or five days of cell-division it leaves the egg as a "blastocyst". It is possible for the blastocyst to break apart into separate human organisms, yielding identical twins or even identical triplets.

So, if God creates souls at conception, where did the "extra" souls come from, when a blastocyst breaks apart? Remember, an immortal soul can't be affected by a purely physical process such as blastocyst-breakage. Either only one of an identical set of twins or triplets has a soul, or God has to specially re-visit the situation, and create at least one more soul, independently of a conception-event.

Also, keep in mind that no human knew until last century the details of when twinning happens. But God will have known the truth all along, no matter what Religions had to say about it.

Meanwhile, God is supposed to be super-smart, as well as super-knowledgeable. God should therefore know whether or not some brand-new zygote will later become a broken blastocyst --or, if God doesn't bother to directly perceive the future about such things, God can still make a highly accurate statistical analysis, based on such things as the thickness of the ovum's shell, which directly affects the probability of blastocyst-breakage while escaping from that shell. So, wouldn't it simply be more smart/efficient for God to wait until that happens, before creating any of the souls for those twins/triplets?

But if God wisely/efficiently waits, even if only for cases in which God knows in advance that the blastocyst will break, then I have made my case. God does not always create souls at conception!

My next argument is based on a phenomenon known as "chimerism". This genuine and strange biological phenomenon was only discovered in recent decades to be more than mythological. As extremely relevant background information, you should watch a documentary, first aired on the Discovery Health Channel, titled "I Am My Own Twin". Here is a description:

Chimerism can only happen at the blastocyst stage (two blastocysts from two different egg-fertilizations combine to become one single organism). God has certainly known about chimerism for millions of years, at least (mammals have been giving birth to fraternal twins for much longer than that).

Meanwhile, Religions stupidly make Pronouncements before all the facts are in....

For humans, whenever fraternal twins are conceived, there is a chance that only one human body will be born. That body will contain two complete sets of human DNA; neither blastocyst dies when they merge.

So, either there are humans walking around that have two souls (! --which one is in charge, for Judgement purposes???), or God does not always create souls at conception, because of the chance that two separate egg-fertilizations will yield just one overall human body, at the blastocyst stage, four or five days after conception.

The preceding can also "make my case" in this Debate.

My next argument is based on the known fact that not every conception naturally leads to a live birth. One such "failure mode" is common for older women, who tend to produce eggs that have thicker shells than younger women. Sometimes the blastocyst fails to break out of the shell, so it dies.

God will know that, of course. Question: What does a soul gain from such a short-life experience? Also, keep in mind that if God chose to do so, God could create a soul without any conception whatever occurring. What exactly makes such a short "human life" so special that God would create a soul for that conception, instead of just creating a soul with no conception?

Now consider one of humanity's close relatives, the chimpanzee. Females of that species will also create eggs that have varying thicknesses, and sometimes those shells will be too thick for blastocysts to escape. Just suppose for a moment that God decided to create a soul for such a doomed chimpanzee conception....

What is the difference in "life experiences" between fertilization and death, of a doomed human conception and the equivalent chimpanzee conception? What about a doomed rat-conception?

My point is that if God really wants souls to experience even such short lives as would occur between conception and failure-to-escape from a thick-shelled egg, then God can take advantage of the existence of this essentially identical phenomenon in all mammals, not just humans. Which would make all those mammals persons, right? Except, of course, they all died long before birth. For them, God would only be creating souls for doomed conceptions(!), allowing all the rest to remain mere animals.

The preceding is a "reductio ad absurdum" argument; God is smarter than that. So, if God knows that some human conception is doomed, at least in the very early stages ... here are three more very-early failure modes:

1. Even before attempting to break out of the egg, the fertilized egg must successfully undergo cell division several times. If there is a flaw in the DNA responsible for this process, it will die. And God, of course, will know all about any flaws in the DNA.

2. The timing of the conception is a factor. A woman who frequently has sex can easily have sperm in the Fallopian Tubes at the time ovulation occurs, and conception will take place near the ovary. The time it takes the zygote to travel down the Fallopian Tube, toward the uterus, is the same first few days of cell-division. Thus the blastocyst emerges about the same time it reaches the uterus. However, a woman who rarely has sex can have an unfertilized egg almost reach the uterus before conception occurs. In this case the organism will pass out of the uterus before the blastocyst emerges, and it will die. God will know that, of course.

3. The womb has a coating of mucus, that protects it from bacteria. The blastocyst must penetrate the mucus coating to reach a place where it can implant, but sometimes the coating is too thick to penetrate. So it dies, instead. And God will know that, too.

Based on the preceding reductio-ad-absurdum argument, it is very logical that God won't bother to create souls for such doomed-early conceptions. Which again makes my case in this Debate.

I could perhaps now tie the preceding to the overall Abortion Debate, because if God can predict that some human conception will be doomed by abortion, why bother creating a soul for it? Well, it doesn't matter just yet; there is another factor involved that I'll mention later on.

I have more arguments. including rationales for waiting until birth, for soul-creation. But I'm out of space at the moment.


When it comes to the concept of twinning, we don't know exactly how God does it. But what seems most likely since God would know that twinning would occur ahead of time, is that He would create 2 souls at conception. It is also possible, that God creates one soul at conception, and another soul at the splitting of the ovum.

As for chimerism, again we don't know how God does it. But I would think that God would create two souls at conception, and when the one twin absorbed the other than the one absorbed would die.

With fraternal twins God creates two souls at conception. As for Why God would create someone at conception knowing they would die in the womb instead of creating them without conception, I don't know, but we have to simply trust God, that He knows best.
Debate Round No. 2


Thank you, Lucky10279, for participating in this Debate. I'll start this Round with some remarks about the Biblical verse Pro quoted in Round 1. Whatever John the Baptist's mother felt that is claimed to have been a "leap for joy" --the mere claim doesn't mean that is what actually happened. There are other types of belly-spasms, after all. Also, no soul is necessary for an unborn mammal to "kick".

Keep in mind that humans wrote the Bible, not God, and humans are known to lie to achieve a reward. The many claims that preachers made, thousands of years ago, have rewarded preachers ever since. Of course preachers object to having their lies exposed:

Therefore, even if some things in the Bible are Absolute Truth, they can't be trusted without other supporting evidence. Which doesn't exist regarding the "leap for joy".

Pro also wrote: "... He first creates us, at conception." --That is a mere unsupported claim. There is no evidence whatsoever that God is required for a sperm and an egg to merge. It is even a ludicrous claim, because if God is perfect, why does God make so many mistakes during those God-controlled conception events, that "up to 50 percent of human conceptions fail to survive"?

Then there is this evidence, that the ovum doesn't need God's help at all:
At the more general level, molecular biology and organic chemistry reactions have been observed to work just fine without external assistance; laboratories have been studying such phenomena for decades.

So, since both logic and evidence indicates that God need not be involved in the process of conception, then that means conception is not an inherently superior moment, over any other time during pregnancy, for God to come along and create an associated soul.

My Round 2 post explored some particular reasons why God might not create souls at conception. One of those reasons involved predictable inevitable very-early death. IF God ignores those conceptions, then where does God draw the line, and begin to create souls for conceptions that will die later on? Consider this situation:

It is Dogma that the soul is associated with the Free Will of a person. A human that lacks a brain is totally unable to exercise Free Will, so what does it need a soul for? And God will know that.

Note that, logically, waiting for an ordinary birth to occur means that God need not be concerned about any fatality mode that might doom a brand-new conception.

My next argument starts by recognizing the simple fact that the entire process of growth in a womb is totally automatic, controlled by DNA, and Free Will is utterly useless in that situation. And God knows it, so again it would be logical to wait for birth, before creating a soul.

My next argument is a variant of the preceding. Consider a factory that makes automobiles. Sometimes a human body is called "a vehicle for the soul", and of course during pregnancy that vehicle is under construction, albeit in a different manner than found in an automobile factory. Well, we humans are smart enough to not install a driver before a vehicle is ready to be driven --and God is supposed to be even smarter.

My final argument involves a research topic known as "sensory deprivation experiments."
Imagine a just-created soul stuffed into just-conceived zygote. It has no sense of hearing or sight or taste or smell. It is exactly a sensory deprivation environment. And it is utterly alone, unable to interact with any other soul. Note that loneliness is a nonphysical thing; it might very well be able to negatively affect a soul (perhaps even to destruction?).

A just-created soul certainly qualifies as "innocent". Is God going inflict months of sensory deprivation upon it, by putting it into a brand-new zygote, when God most certainly knows how a mere week of sensory deprivation can cause an adult human to start going insane?

Since God is supposed to be a Loving God, the most logical answer that the preceding Question is a resounding NO!

And now I can return to what I wrote near the end of my Round 2 post. An unborn human won't have a soul until God creates one for it, and there are reasons why God might wait until birth to do so. Meanwhile, what of a pregnant woman's soul, and the Love of God? God is going to know exactly what the probability is, that that woman might seek an abortion. Is a Loving God going to create a soul for the unborn human she carries just so the woman can be condemned for actually getting an abortion?

In Pro's Round 2 post, she wrote:
"... twinning ... He would create 2 souls at conception." I won't say it is silly to stuff 2 souls into 1 living cell, but I will point out that, afterward, there is nothing to ensure that the souls go separate ways when the cell starts dividing (or, days later, when the blastocyst splits). What if they like each other?

"...chimerism ... God would create two souls at conception, and when the one twin absorbed the other than the one absorbed would die." Pro must have missed what I previously wrote: "... neither blastocyst dies when they merge." (I'm stressing it now.)

What happens during chimerism is that each blastocyst yields different parts of the overall single human body. One might yield the brain; the other might yield the spinal column. One might yield the blood system; the other might yield the ovaries --this is what happened in that "I Am My Own Twin" case, and that's why the woman's blood-DNA didn't match the DNA of her children.

A chimera is a "cooperative multi-organism". Actually, every human walking around is exactly such an organism, with bacterial cells outnumbering human cells 10-to-1.
A chimera merely goes a step farther, with 2 cooperative multi-organisms cooperating as a larger multi-organism.

So, there is nothing to cause one soul to "leave the scene" when two human blastocysts merge. And, therefore, either a human chimera has two souls, or God only made one soul when the two conceptions occurred.

"... we have to simply trust God, that He knows best." I agree. However, what God knows and does is not necessarily what preachers claim God knows and does. Especially when preachers have been proved to be liars multiple times in History:
1. The Galileo incident.
2. The lightning rod incident.
3. The "primary purpose of human sex is reproduction" incident. The actual primary purpose is pair-bonding.
It is not so widely known as the other incidents, but, nevertheless, the preachers were proved to be liars.
4. Lots of occasions when preachers disagree with each other, such that a schism occurs. They can't all be telling the truth!

I've offered good reasons why this thing the preachers claim, regarding soul-creation at conception, is sheer irrational stupidity at best, and just another lie at worst. Meanwhile, God is extremely far from being either stupid or irrational!


God does not make mistakes. The babies that die in the womb had souls. That was not a mistake. God let that happen on purpose. Why? I don't know. Again we just have to trust Him.

God does not ignore any conceptions. If the baby is born without a brain and dies that doesn't mean that he/she didn't have a soul.

It is automatic because God made it that way. Simply because it is automatic does not make it logical to wait for birth to create a soul. And things that may seem perfectly logical for us, may not really be logical at all. God knows best. We don't.

A vehicle is an inanimate object. a baby isn't.

as for the sensory deprivation thing, realize that at conception, that child does not yet have a brain so he/she will probably not suffer from that. And God is all powerful. He could easily make it that the child would not suffer while in the womb at all.

Why would God create a soul for someone He knew would be aborted? Because God loves that person. He loves us even before we exist. He wants us to exist. We can't blame God for letting someone get an abortion. And the women is not necessarily going to be condemned, if she repents and asks forgiveness she will be forgiven. And you could ask that same question about anyone who was murdered, whether they were born or not.

Like I said, God is all powerful. He would not have t let them stay like that. And as you said, the growth process is automatic, the babies don't have any control over it.

God could still create two souls and have the one person die and come to heaven and still have his/her body become a part of the other person's body. Or God might just create one soul, since He knew ahead of time what would happen.

The primary purpose of sex IS reproduction. The Galileo incident was a bad thing, but it does not mean the church is bad. I have never heard of the lightning rod incident so I can't comment on it. You're right that when 2 preachers disagree they can't both be right. Just because someone is a preacher doesn't mean they are always right. I never said it did. And the bible was written by God and man.
Debate Round No. 3
5 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 5 records.
Posted by Lucky10279 5 years ago
For once I agree with you. The sperm cannot be the soul.
Posted by elvroin_vonn_trazem 5 years ago
ScottyDouglas, you obviously didn't read this Debate very well. Souls are supposed to be immortal, and sperm are hardly that. There is NO physical process that can create something immune to physical destruction. Period. So, if you can't come up with better ideas than that, I will probably decline your challenge. But, perhaps, after you have studied and --and studied them very carefully ....
Posted by ScottyDouglas 5 years ago
After this debate. I challenge you to a debate over abortion. If you wish. BTW the sperm can be the soul provided by man. But please look me up for a debate on abortion.
Posted by elvroin_vonn_trazem 5 years ago
Thank you. Please tell your friends. And your enemies. Everyone needs to know why the worthless Religious blather opposing abortion is exactly that, and nothing else: worthless blather.
Posted by socialpinko 5 years ago
Enjoyed reading Pro's straw-grasping response after Con thoroughly destroyed the concept of soul creation at conception.
2 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 2 records.
Vote Placed by ceruleanpolymer 5 years ago
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Total points awarded:30 
Reasons for voting decision: The twinning argument won it for me...Pro could barely respond
Vote Placed by socialpinko 5 years ago
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Total points awarded:30 
Reasons for voting decision: On the arguments from twinning and chimerism, Pro's only response mustered was that we don't know exactly why God does what he does. Obviously this is not a sufficient explanation, simply an admittance of epistemic ignorance. Pro also attempted to argue that God could create another soul after the spitting of the ovum which actually helps Con's case that God does not ALWAYS create souls at conception.