If we were ever able to clone humans, would they have souls?
This is a common and important question. The tough part is that we don't know for certain the origin of individual souls. One view in theology is a creationist view that supposes that God individually creates each new soul some time after fertilization or perhaps even just before fertilization (Jeremiah 1:5). Another view suggests that something in the union of sperm and egg contributes to the origin of the soul. However the Bible does not give us direct testimony one way or the other. We do know that identical twins form when the early embryo—in the 2–8 cell stage—somehow divides completely in two. If sperm and egg were necessary for each individual, then only one person from an identical twin pair would have a soul and the other would be soulless. I think we can all agree that that doesn't make sense. So I assume a clone would have a soul since it is a form of technological twinning.
I hope that helps. An interesting question to ask is, What if clones did not have souls and were biologically viable? You would face the possibility of having a homo sapiens standing in front of you with no soul. If so, how would you know they didn't have a soul? The question is not as easy to answer as you might expect.
Ray Bohlin, Ph.D.
© 2008 Probe Ministries
About the Author
Raymond G. Bohlin is Vice President of Vision Outreach at Probe Ministries. He is a graduate of the University of Illinois (B.S., zoology), North Texas State University (M.S., population genetics), and the University of Texas at Dallas (M.S., Ph.D., molecular biology). He is the co-author of the book The Natural Limits to Biological Change, served as general editor of Creation, Evolution and Modern Science, co-author of Basic Questions on Genetics, Stem Cell Research and Cloning (The BioBasics Series), and has published numerous journal articles. Dr. Bohlin was named a Research Fellow of the Discovery Institute's Center for the Renewal of Science and Culture in 1997, 2000 and 2012.
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