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Is There Proof of the Existence of a Soul?

Is There Proof of the Existence of a Soul?

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Dear Rabbi,

Ever since the death of my brother seven years ago, I have been grappling with the concept of the soul. I wish I could believe in it. I am the type that needs rational arguments to convince me, and it seems the soul is too abstract for my mind. I know these things can't be scientifically proven, but do I have to resort to blind faith to believe in the soul?

Answer:

The pain of losing a loved one is so deep because it is so final. You can never replace a person whom you have lost.

But what if you could?

Imagine it were possible to clone your late brother. A genetically identical replica could be created who talks, thinks, looks and smells precisely the same as the person you grew up with. Furthermore, what if scientists developed a way to preserve and replicate memory? They could take your late brother's memories and insert them into his clone. You could sit with your newly recreated brother and reminisce about childhood experiences and laugh at the good old days, sharing a bond that only brothers can.

Would you opt for this? Would you be satisfied with an exact copy of your brother? Would his death be reversed when you met his clone? Would it end your pain?

I can't imagine the answer could be yes. I can't imagine anyone would truly believe that a clone could replace a brother or sister, son or daughter, parent or spouse or best friend.

But why not? Why would a refurbished model be any different from the original?

Because something is missing. This is not your brother. He may have your brother's voice and your brother's expressions, your brother's manner and mind and memory, but he doesn't have your brother's soul. It just isn't him.

That's what soul is. It is what makes you, you. It is the fragment of G‑d that makes each one of us unique. Above your body, beyond your personality, transcending genetics and even deeper than memory is the core of your being, the ineffable essence that is you. We call this your soul. It is soul that makes each person irreplaceable. And it is your brother's soul that you miss.

You don't need scientific proof of the soul, neither do you need blind faith. You know it to exist just as you know your own existence. You can choose to ignore it, or to remember it constantly. Sometimes you can even feel it. And at those moments when you feel your soul, you will feel your brother's soul too.

See Sending Love Packages to Deceased Loved Ones from our Jewish Death & Mourning minisite.

Aron Moss is rabbi of the Nefesh Community in Sydney, Australia, and is a frequent contributor to Chabad.org.
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IdPnSD LOS ANGELES July 17, 2016

Cloning, Memory, and Soul This is my second comment on the subject. Assume that cloning is feasible. Therefore medical people will be able to clone myself while I am still living. Thus my clone cannot have my soul, because my soul is with me. Soul cannot be duplicated. The clone will have a different soul.

Memory is not in the brain, memory is in the nature. Our soul retrieves the memory from nature and instructs the brain accordingly. A jatiswar, who is a baby of age two, but remembers his past life details, cannot have such information in his brain. A jatiswar baby is born with bullet wound marks, on chest and back, and also has entire bullet path inside his body. Doctors have performed the operation to save the child, and found that bullet path. This shows that the soul has constructed the baby exactly the way his body was at the time of his death, in his past life. See the details at theoryofsouls dot wordpress dot com.

The clone cannot be like me. I have a different destiny; the clone will have a destiny different from my destiny. Every soul is unique in terms of his destiny and past life reincarnations. No two souls can have the same destiny. Reply

Pawan India Kanpur July 16, 2016

Not Satisfied What exists in morphologically and genetically similar organism which enabled it to talk, think, look and smell precisely the same as described? Reply

Anonymous Uae May 3, 2016

It just isn't him. That's what soul is. I would not be happy with exact replica of my very 1st Guitar either. It does not mean that my very 1st Guitar which was broken had a Soul. Reply

IdPnSD Los Angeles February 28, 2016

Proof of Soul "You don't need scientific proof of the soul, neither do you need blind faith." What did Galileo do? Was his method scientific? He only observed the nature and found earth is moving. You also observe the nature and you will find the proof of existence of soul.

Note that observing nature is very difficult and takes a life time effort. It was so for Galileo. But most modern scientists do not observe the nature. They do some math and declare them as laws of nature. Can you imagine a robot doing some experiments and telling this is how humans are? No, that will not work. To understand humans robots must observe humans. Same is true for humans also. We must observe nature to find soul.

There are three independent ways you can observe nature - (1) Examples of high level yogis and yogic powers (2) Examples of reincarnations and (3) Examples of destiny and predictions of destiny. Reply

Cindy Wangari Kenya February 26, 2016

This does not prove the fact that a soul present. Given a situation that one did not know that the clone was a replica of the brother one would still find it normal. To my perspective the soul is just based on belief. Reply

Harshit Singhal November 12, 2015

Is this true that when someone dies we are not able to see his/ her shadow Reply

TTL Malaysia May 13, 2015

Does it actually matter? There is a constant cycle where people need rationale proof of what is and what is not. There is somewhat a 'requirement' that everyone should 'abide' to some "fact" that can be proven... so what if I believed in souls and you do not? Would having the same conclusion of souls help in my pursuit of what I choose to achieve in my life and would that help in yours? So I will choose to believe in what I believe helps me, as long as it stems out of love. Reply

Pramod Abraham India May 10, 2015

I disagree with this answer there is nothing you told about soul,it is a psychological treatment for a person who keeps another person to n his mind who was his close,I mean here you didn't tell anything about what is soul? Does soul exist,? If soul exist and if it is immortal as we say then how it can die? Reply

Krystal Wyoming November 14, 2014

To mike I would love to hear about your experience. Please do tell details. I am a believe of God souls and eternal life. I would to to hear what u saw and went through Reply

Mike usa September 1, 2014

Here is why I disagree with you. The concious knows the diffrence between good and evil. The soul lives on after death and it now has a super concious feeling good and evil in a inhanced state of being. If you do not believe in the soul then this does not matter to you but I can tell you this ,I am fifty seven year old male who had a death experience. In Sept of 2007 I suffered a massive heart attack died and had to be ressusatated. I could go on for days about the topic but do your own research . Your eternity depends on it. Eternity is a long time !!!!! Reply

Anonymous August 31, 2014

Souls The reason we wouldn't be satisfied with a clone is because we would know it is a "clone." If someone replaced one of your family members with an exact replica, you wouldn't be able to tell the difference because they would react and look the same, and it would do the exact same thing that the "original" family member would do. If anything, the soul is merely your consciousness and it doesn't live on after death. Reply

Anonymous June 6, 2014

do souls exist? i want to know whether souls really exists?
how can we know that the loved one's souls is still existing ? Reply

B May 14, 2014

Argument for the soul The soul is an immaterial thing that contains consciousness and animates the body. It is not a “thing” or “object”, but has being. If you say you believe in the G-d of Abraham, then we can assume, based on what is written in the Torah/Tenakh that He, also, has consciousness. That is to say, He has emotions such as anger, love, etc., He experiences things and events, He has beliefs and desires, and He acts out of free will. All that said, He is not limited to a physical body.

If A = B, then we can assume both A and B are the same in all aspects. But, if there is a difference between A and B at any point, then we can no longer claim that A = B, but rather that they are, indeed different. Please allow the following explanation:

Consciousness has 5 states: 1) sensation, 2) thoughts, 3) beliefs, 4) desires, and 5) acts of free will. All of these are non-physical states. Within these states, there are things that cannot be measured as brain activity. That is to say, although our consciousness can feel the sensation of the brain being mechanically stimulated, it’s not the same thing as a brain state. For example, a sensation is not the same thing as a belief.

Further, we all know the brain state is physical, and the consciousness is not. Indeed, the brain state is either true or false, but states of consciousness can be both true and false. For example, I may think that the sky is orange in color, but it is actually blue. Or, I may believe that the Pittsburgh Steelers will win the superbowl, but they do not. I may will that I should climb the empire state building, but cannot. And so on… These are not measurable scientifically.

Thus, A does not equal B. And therefore, although our body carries a brain, the soul is separate and immaterial, but utilizes the brain, just as we would pick up a tool box and utilize the tools inside for specific purposes.

Brain activity, or measurements made by scientists of brain activity is just that. The soul is infinitely more, and transcendent. Reply

Mark April 29, 2014

I would agree, that when you die, the micro-tubules in your brain release the quantum information in your brain to the universe as a whole. This hardly is proof of God, quite a big jump in logic there wouldn't you say? There is absolutely no reason to assume this, and leads one down a path of inconsistency and fallacy. I mean, the truth of the matter is the Eastern religions have been saying that for thousands of years, not really a new discovery of science at all, science has merely confirmed what the Hindus and Buddhists have known all along! Reply

Dan K. Far Rockaway April 28, 2014

Sounds like denial of the most fundamental principle in Judaism to me. "Shema Yisroel, Hashem E--lokani, Hashem ECHAD". How can you call something a fragment of God, God is indivisible!!! He is not composed of parts and therefore cannot be fragmented. Please don't reference late authorities to argue your view. Only primary sources and reason will suffice. Thank you. Reply

Craig Hamilton Sandwich, MA April 4, 2014

Mark: We Are More than Rocks as Our Souls Give Us Animation Though the universe is soulful; for example Aaron drew water from rock, what makes the human soul special is that it can operate at higher levels than rocks, and even still at higher levels than other species. The soul is the part that animates.
For instance; there is the animal soul that makes it such that some of us experience hunger. A rock will probably never feel hungry, and because of that, what we believe hunger is an inclination to evil. That makes the souls of beasts higher than that of inanimate objects.
Another level of the soul that I believe even monkeys, and especially mother’s of other higher level species can do is empathy. Although I can’t say every human is capable of empathy. It is usually very apparent when a human lacks it. Though it is difficult for family members, and close people to deal with a human lacks the level of the soul that is a conscience: I feel pity for someone who never experiences empathy. That is the appropriate response for such a person. Reply

Mike Amherst April 4, 2014

LOL love the people who haven't looked into recent science.. they've actually somewhat proven that when you die, the micro-tubules in your brain release the quantum information in your brain to the universe as a whole.. when resuscitated, they have the fabled 'near death experience' of seeing white light in a tunnel or seeing lost family members.. how can you still base your belief of no god on science that was founded while knowing almost nothing about the universe and proving and proving until they feel like they know everything.. but oh wait there's more! oh Quantum mechanics? wow an entire area of science that we still hardly understand.. nevermind what causes it all, or where all the matter in the universe came from. YOUR ANSWER is God. You have a soul that uses the microtubules in your brain to perceive our universe with your senses, and control your body with your motor skills, and learn new things with neuro-plasticity, and yet we call this Biology, not Soulology. Perspective Reply

Mike Hagan USA April 4, 2014

The soul can not be measured . The after life is a totally new dimension. Measurements are man made just like time and space. Let me know when science can find or figure out where the conscious is located in the brain or in body.When you die your soul lives on . It could be very simple, the conscious is the soul and the connection between the brain and heart. Like in the times of Moses or Jesus . Some look but do not see. Some listen but do not hear. I am a big beter on eternity. Why because I seen it. Reply

Mark April 3, 2014

incorrect again! energy has mass huh? Ok what is the mass of the energy of the effort it takes to type this sentence? ha ha ha, your funny. Uhh, because as humans we want to explain things, understand things. That doesn't mean the explanations are true--talk about a straw man!! ha ha. wow. You are way off base in your analysis. I don't really care about your beliefs at all, so I could care less about convincing anyone of anything. I only point the way to rationale. This is not a 'soul' site sir, so what are you talking about? And I am not Hindu. Ahh, so if it makes you happy it must be true! what a well though out argument! ha ha! And even with your reply (which is cool, I am enjoying the discussion actually), in which I specifically asked a question, you completely avoided the question and didn't even attempt to answer it! Wait, are you saying the soul is nothing more than energy? Ok, I tend to agree, the only thing that survives death is the energy of a being. Why is this a soul though? Reply

BurtB April 1, 2014

Soul dimensions Mark,
Your argument is a "straw man".
Energy has mass, but no dimensions.
also:
The Consciousness could have G-d as the cause.

Ever wonder why every human culture has a concept of "life after death"? Not every human culture has "invented" the wheel (Aztec's had some circular toys, but no wheel vehicles).

I am coming to the conclusion that This is more than an interesting argument to you. Why is it so important to "prove" there is no soul?

You have spent a lot of time here trying to "prove" the Soul does not exist because you don't know how to measure it. If, as you contend, there is no soul, why is it so important to you that others are convinced souls exist?
I don't go to Hindu websites and tell them their beliefs are false, because their beliefs have no effect on my life.

If There is no Proof that G-d exists, there is also, no proof that G-d does not exist.
You assume that G-d(who created the soul), does not exist. Does this belief make you happier? Reply

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