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Recently I learned that there are those who teach the pre-existence of human souls. What is the biblical understanding of the pre-existence of the human soul? Is there any biblical basis for this belief?

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What you have to understand in order to firmly grasp the iniquities of this question is that God Himself transcends time. Humans exist only for that most brief slew of temporal magic that He grants us; and as such our perception, language, and our very way of thinking is severely limited to the unidirectional and finite flow of time.

James 4:14

Yet you do not know what tomorrow will bring. What is your life? For you are a mist that appears for a little time and then vanishes.

Without claiming to understand His ways, I am almost certain this is not how our Lord perceives temporal flows.

Consider if you will an observer above viewing an ant traversing a straight line. The observer will doubtless see all paths available to the ant, forwards, backward, left, right, up, down. However, the ant, puny as it is (with the greatest respect to all of His Divine Creations) will only perceive forwards and some memory of where it has come from. Hence, it is not too outlandish an abstraction to extend this premise into the birth and lifecycle of the ant, and for the observer to see both the ancestry of the colony and the future siblings or offspring of the Queen. This, I put it to you, and to directly answer your question, is how our Lord will view the pre-existence, existence, and pro-existence of our lives and those of our forebearers and afterbearers.

Proverbs 16:9

The heart of man plans his way, but the Lord establishes his steps.

Quod erat demonstratum.

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  • This answer either ignores or denies the reality of God's eternal, final judgment upon man.
    – pygosceles
    Commented Apr 21 at 22:03
  • I prayed directly to God and received this answer from Him directly. Do you doubt His word?
    – budgie5434
    Commented Apr 23 at 13:43
  • I don't doubt His word which is why I bring it up.
    – pygosceles
    Commented Apr 24 at 3:59
  • @budgie5434 says: "I prayed directly to God and received this answer from Him directly." That happens to millions of people every day, most of them praying to a different God. ¶ "Do you doubt His word?" No, nor do I doubt your sincerity, but I strongly doubt the reality, as much as you doubt what a Hindu claims his god told him. Commented May 20 at 13:24
  • @RayButterworth if you doubt God speaks truth to me then what makes you so sure He speaks truth to you? By casting doubt on the very concept of holy communication I wager you don't fully believe in Him yourself.
    – budgie5434
    Commented May 26 at 21:07
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Jeremiah 1:5 is one evidence of what you are looking for:

Before I formed thee in the belly I knew thee; and before thou camest forth out of the womb I sanctified thee, and I ordained thee a prophet unto the nations.

We were known by God before we were born physically. We know the first father and mother of our flesh, and therefore our existence and identity must precede the existence of our physical bodies.

The spirit departs the body at death. Does it not make sense that the spirit also entered the body, giving it life?

The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God (Romans 8:16)

Furthermore we have had fathers of our flesh which corrected us, and we gave them reverence: shall we not much rather be in subjection unto the Father of spirits, and live? (Hebrews 12:9)

and the dust returns to the ground it came from, and the spirit returns to God who gave it. (Ecclesiastes 12:7)

Our spirits are literal children of God.

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints teaches as part of God's plan for our salvation that we existed before this Earth life as spirits in the presence of God. We made choices there, and all who came to this Earth having a mortal body chose to follow His plan in premortality, which permitted us to have the privilege of further testing in the flesh. This also explains how Lucifer was cast down from heaven, together with a third of the host of heaven. What host could there be if there had been no creation, or spirit birth?

The devil has no body, which is one reason why he tries to gain access to ours. He is jealous of all the power and enjoyment that comes from having a body. Since his aim is to make us all as miserable as he is, he tempts us to abuse our bodies. The Lord Jesus Christ teaches us how to have fullness of joy by keeping all of God's commandments, and by His mercy, we can be forgiven by repenting fully.

We will also continue to exist for eternity, and the spirit being reunited with the body is the condition of resurrection. It is good logic that what exists forever, namely, the human soul, is eternal, and therefore had no beginning because it has no end. We were clothed upon with bodies of spirit by God our Father before our mortal birth, and later given the further privilege of a body of flesh and bone, which will rise with us in the resurrection, never again to be separated.

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    Jeremiah refers, specifically, to the 'prophet to all nations'. But in any case, foreknowledge of whom shall exist in the future is not a proof of pre-existence.
    – Nigel J
    Commented Apr 19 at 9:47
  • @NigelJ This is plainly not referring to "foreknowledge". It is referring to contemporaneous knowledge of a human soul before his birth. Those foreordained to be prophets are not a different kind of being than the rest of us. Nor were those who were cast down.
    – pygosceles
    Commented Apr 19 at 13:22
  • @pygosceles Out of curiosity are you referring to pre-mortal existence as the Mormons believe according to the fallowing: churchofjesuschrist.org/study/manual/gospel-topics/… If so, please show where tis is proved in the Bible? Thank You!
    – Mr. Bond
    Commented Apr 20 at 16:43
  • @Mr.Bond If you wish to know, begin by sincerely reading the foregoing references.
    – pygosceles
    Commented Apr 21 at 2:31
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    @pygosceles What foregoing references are you referring to? If you mean the LDS site I referenced my question still stands. Where is this taught in the Bible? Btw, I read everything "sincerely." I was not aware that you know the operation of one's mind to know if a person is sincere or not. I don't play games around here because all of these discussions have life and death consequences.Something you should keep in mind.
    – Mr. Bond
    Commented Apr 21 at 4:07

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