Alan discusses whether humans are ensouled at conception and what happens when an embryo twins.
00:00 Does a soul split when an embryo twins? Well, it depends on your answer to
00:04 one key question.
00:09 There are generally two Christian views on ensoulment.
00:12 There's creationism, and there's traducianism. Now the creationist view
00:16 says that God creates a new soul ex nihilo, out of nothing, at conception or
00:22 at some point after conception but, of course, before birth.
00:25 Now, creationists agree that a new soul is directly made by God, but they differ
00:31 as to when ensoulment occurs. Now, the traducianist position holds that each
00:36 soul is generated by his or her parents as a function of their procreative act.
00:41 Now, in this view, ensoulment can only occur at the moment of conception. Question
00:47 then is, if the human embryo twins as in monozygotic or identical twins, what
00:52 happens? There's a single soul split or something else? Well, the answer will
00:57 probably depend on your view of when ensoulment occurs. If you're a creationist
01:01 and you believe that ensoulment occurs some time after conception, well, then you
01:06 potentially avoid the difficult question of how twins get their souls. You could
01:10 simply say, well, God gives each twin a soul after the embryo splits but
01:15 sometime before the twins are born. Very simple. But if you believe ensoulment
01:20 occurs at conception, which could be a creationist or a traducianist, by the
01:24 way, then it seems that there are two options. You can claim that God creates
01:29 the two souls for the one zygote, and then once it splits, each soul follows a
01:34 single embryo. Or you can say there is only one soul initially, and when the
01:38 embryo twins, that's when God creates another soul and gives to the other twin.
01:42 Now of course, I'm not here to, you know, argue the merits and the weaknesses of
01:47 each view. It's definitely an interesting debate, okay? I tend to lean towards the
01:52 traducianist view. I believe that God creates an additional soul when the
01:55 embryo twins and not before. But of course, I'll say I have several friends
01:59 who disagree with me. Either way, I don't believe this is an essential Christian
02:03 doctrine and so therefore not one that we should divide over.