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Did my soul exist before I was born?

The Bible tells us quite a bit about souls, but it does not say that our souls existed in any way before we were first conceived in our mother's womb. As my theology professor once said, “God does not have a storage closet of souls.” The idea that our souls existed before we were conceived is based on manmade fantasies—not God’s truth.

What the Bible Says About Souls

Our souls come into existence at the moment of conception (Psalm 139:13-16), and our souls will continue on for all eternity. God knew we would exist before we were in our mother’s womb (Jeremiah 1:5), but this does not mean that our souls were in existence at that time.

Remember, God exists outside of time, so He doesn't see things in the same linear way we do. He knows everything and has sovereignty over all. Nothing is impossible for God.

Deconstructing the Fantasy

To believe that our souls existed before we were conceived is to believe in fantasies that have no basis in truth. Our enemy, the father of lies, would love for us to be confused on the truth about souls. Some of the lies people have bought into are:

  1. Our souls already existed before we were born.
  2. Our souls were created at some earlier time and kept in “storage” until the time was ripe for our soul to become a living being.
  3. Our souls used to be in another body and now has now taken up residency in our present body. (Otherwise known as reincarnation.)

How does the Bible break down soul fantasies?

  1. Our souls have NOT always existed because that would mean that we were not created by God, created by a different god, or that we are self-sustaining. But the Bible explicitly says there is one God who created everything—including our souls (Genesis 5:1; 1 Timothy 2:5).
  2. Our souls were not kept in “storage” until it was time for us to be born. Genesis 2:7 tears down this idea: “Then the LORD God formed a man from the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living being.” So no soul storage closets exist in eternity. It wasn't until after God breathed the breath of life into Adam that he became alive.
  3. Our souls did not exist in another body before they were in our present body. We only have one body, and we only have one life. Hebrews 9:17 tells us plainly: “people are destined to die once, and after that to face judgment.” We will all, face judgment and we all will be held accountable for the choices we have made in our singular life (Romans 2:6).

Better Understanding the Soul

Death can help us understand the unique qualities of our souls and confirm that they did not exist before we were born. Throughout the Old Testament, the Bible refers to a time when a person is “gathered to his people” (Deuteronomy 32:50). That means that our souls leave our bodies at the point of death and go to the presence of God. Our souls do not transmigrate into another body.

Jesus can help us understand the soul better too. (Doesn't He always?) In the parable of the rich man and Lazarus, at the time of Lazarus’ death, Lazarus is taken to “Abraham’s side” (Luke 16:22). This proves that at death, we don’t occupy another body. We are given one soul, one body, one life. The same body you have today is the only body you will ever have. At the resurrection in the future, our bodies will be glorified, but it will still be the same body (1 Corinthians 15:42).

The One Who Existed Before All Souls

There is only one person who existed before He was conceived. Can you guess who? (Hint: It's the right answer to every Sunday school question!)

The only person who existed before He was conceived in His mother's womb was Jesus Christ. Of course!

When Jesus prayed in John 17:5, we hear Him say, "Father, glorify me in your own presence with the glory that I had with you before the world existed." (Also see: John 1:1; Colossians 1:17.) How can this be? Because Jesus is God (Colossians 2:9).

John the Baptist testified to the pre-existence of Jesus by saying that Jesus existed before he did, even though John was born 6 months earlier than Jesus (John 1:30). Jesus also testified to His pre-existence by saying that He existed before Abraham (John 8:57-58). But Jesus is a singular exception, and His specific situation has never been repeated.

God knew our names before we came into existence, because He is omniscient and outside of time (Ephesians 1:4; Revelation 13:8). He knew we would appear on humanity's timeline. We are each individual, special creations—with unique souls placed in unique bodies and each living our own unique lives on earth.

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TL;DR

Our souls did not exist before we were conceived in the womb. The Bible is clear that our souls begin to exist at the moment of conception (Psalm 139:13-16) and continue to exist forever. To claim that our souls existed before we were born is merely a fantasy. There's no such thing as a “soul storage,” nor have our souls lived in other bodies. We get one body, one soul, and one life. God is the only God, and He created everything—including our souls (Genesis 5:1; 1 Timothy 2:5).

By: Vivian Bricker

Vivian loves learning, studying the Word of God, and helping others in their walk with Christ. She is dedicated to helping people learn more about Jesus and is ready to help in any way she can. Her favorite things to do are spending time with her family and friends, cooking, drawing, and spending time outside. When she is not writing, you can find her soaking up the sunshine or going on an adventure.

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