Epiphany Truth Examiner


Questions Page


Scriptures are cited from the King James (Authorized) Version, unless stated otherwise.

Question: According to the Scriptures, are human embryos and fetuses in the wombs of mothers considered souls?

Answer: The Scriptures inform us that the first human soul that came into existence was Father Adam: “The LORD God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul” (Genesis 2: 7). Note that God first made a perfect body, or organism, from the elements of the earth. Second, God breathed into the nostrils of the lifeless body, and when breathing began, man became a living soul (Hebrew, nephesh). Breathing must begin before the soul exists.

Thus, we see that although human fetuses in the wombs of mothers do have and manifest life in a limited sense, they are not independent lives, and are therefore not souls until they have left the mother’s wombs and have begun to breathe.

Jesus, referring to Judas, said, “It had been good for that man if he had not been born” (Matthew 26: 24) (Mark 14: 21). He was here obviously indicating that Judas has no hope for a future life. Jesus did not say, “It had been good for that man if he had not been conceived.” Judas as a soul, a human being, did not exist until he was born.

Another Scripture that sheds light upon the subject is Exodus 21: 22, 23: “If men strive, and hurt a woman with child, so that her fruit [her unborn fetus] depart from her [by miscarriage], and yet no mischief [harm] follow [if the mother survives]: he shall be surely punished, according as the woman’s husband will lay upon him; and he shall pay as the judges determine. And if any mischief [harm] follow [if the mother dies], then thou shalt give life for life [Hebrew, nephesh; it is translated soul in Genesis 2: 7].”

In other words, if the expectant mother was harmed by someone to the extent of causing the death of the fetus, the penalty was not the penalty for murder, that is, life for life (soul for soul), the death penalty, but a lesser one. However, if the mother was harmed to the extent that she died, the penalty was for murder, that is life for life (soul for soul), the death penalty. From this it is evident that God does not regard unborn fetuses as having life independent from the mothers; as living souls, until born (or separated from the mothers by Caesarean section) and drawing breath.

Although God’s people in general do not approve of, nor consider abortion a wise choice; they should realize that an abortion does not destroy a soul, for the soul, as previously shown from the Scriptures, does not exist until the fetus draws breath after being born or otherwise separated from the mother. However, there are some cases in which abortion may be the wise choice, for example, to terminate pregnancies caused by rape or incest, or that are considered by a competent physician as seriously endangering the life of the mother, etc.