# Calculating the odds of an individual's existence - a question.

#### squirrelyguy

##### Well-known member
This question is mainly intended for Christians, or at least those who believe in God; but it has relevance for an atheist too I suppose.

It seems to me that the odds of my existence must have been insurmountably high, yet here I am. And the same goes for you. Just as you or I have an infinite possibility of numbers we could choose to write on a piece of paper*, so God had an infinite number of souls He could have chosen to exist in our place. But here I am, and here you are.

I'm asking this question because it might be helpful for someone who is better at math than I am to weigh in on this. Is it necessarily true that an infinite possibility of other souls could have existed in my place?

* Limited of course by the dimensions of the paper, the tip of the writing utensil, as well as one's ability to write tiny characters. But in the abstract, there would be no limit on the possible numbers one could name at random.

#### CrowCross

##### Super Member
This question is mainly intended for Christians, or at least those who believe in God; but it has relevance for an atheist too I suppose.

It seems to me that the odds of my existence must have been insurmountably high, yet here I am. And the same goes for you. Just as you or I have an infinite possibility of numbers we could choose to write on a piece of paper*, so God had an infinite number of souls He could have chosen to exist in our place. But here I am, and here you are.

I'm asking this question because it might be helpful for someone who is better at math than I am to weigh in on this. Is it necessarily true that an infinite possibility of other souls could have existed in my place?

* Limited of course by the dimensions of the paper, the tip of the writing utensil, as well as one's ability to write tiny characters. But in the abstract, there would be no limit on the possible numbers one could name at random.
I don't think the bible teaches there are an infinite number of souls. Personally, I think there is a finite number of souls. A whole bunch of them, yes....but an infinite number of them, no.

Christianity teaches a soul is given to a body....somehow....is it via Traducianism or Creationism. That is, is it passed down through our parents or a new creation by God at our conception. Me? I tend to favor Creationism.

As to math, I don't think there is math involved. You kinda suggest there is a whole pool of souls just waiting for a body...and when a women gets pregnant God reaches over to the pool of souls, scoops one out at random and joins it with a random embryo....but rather God has a reason for assigning a soul to a particular person. This is one of many reasons why abortion is an abomination....but I digress.

You may think you are nothing or meaningless...but God has a purpose for you.
You said "But here I am, and here you are".....and the answer isn't chance.

#### Torin

##### Well-known member
This question is mainly intended for Christians, or at least those who believe in God; but it has relevance for an atheist too I suppose.

It seems to me that the odds of my existence must have been insurmountably high, yet here I am. And the same goes for you. Just as you or I have an infinite possibility of numbers we could choose to write on a piece of paper*, so God had an infinite number of souls He could have chosen to exist in our place. But here I am, and here you are.

I'm asking this question because it might be helpful for someone who is better at math than I am to weigh in on this. Is it necessarily true that an infinite possibility of other souls could have existed in my place?

* Limited of course by the dimensions of the paper, the tip of the writing utensil, as well as one's ability to write tiny characters. But in the abstract, there would be no limit on the possible numbers one could name at random.
For clarity, I'm not religious at all.

How are we individuating souls? Like, what makes one soul a different soul from another soul?

The question requires an answer to this because you're basically asking for the solution to:

X = 1 / [total number of possible souls]

Hence my question.

#### squirrelyguy

##### Well-known member
How are we individuating souls? Like, what makes one soul a different soul from another soul?
I suppose the same thing that differentiates between you and me. Why are you experiencing a conscious existence in your body rather than in mine, and vice versa? Or why couldn't we each experience consciousness in two bodies at the same time? Whatever it is that makes up the non-corporeal part of "you" is what would be your soul.

#### Torin

##### Well-known member
I suppose the same thing that differentiates between you and me. Why are you experiencing a conscious existence in your body rather than in mine, and vice versa? Or why couldn't we each experience consciousness in two bodies at the same time? Whatever it is that makes up the non-corporeal part of "you" is what would be your soul.
Okay. This isn't really a question about souls then, because the same argument would apply to souls as you're applying to bodies.

If we were a pair of disembodied souls floating around in Heaven or whatever, you could ask me, "but why is this my soul?"

Agreed so far?

#### squirrelyguy

##### Well-known member
Okay. This isn't really a question about souls then, because the same argument would apply to souls as you're applying to bodies.

If we were a pair of disembodied souls floating around in Heaven or whatever, you could ask me, "but why is this my soul?"

Agreed so far?
Maybe. But I think what you're trying to do is collapse the distinction between the body and the soul so as to diminish the relevance of the OP. If you happen to be a materialist, then that desire makes sense. If all we are is matter in motion, then the OP isn't much of a question. But if we are something that exists independently of our bodies, then regardless of what you call it (soul, spirit, consciousness, etc.) then this question remains relevant.

#### Torin

##### Well-known member
Maybe. But I think what you're trying to do is collapse the distinction between the body and the soul so as to diminish the relevance of the OP. If you happen to be a materialist, then that desire makes sense. If all we are is matter in motion, then the OP isn't much of a question. But if we are something that exists independently of our bodies, then regardless of what you call it (soul, spirit, consciousness, etc.) then this question remains relevant.
So there are a few moving parts here.

First, I am not a materialist. I lean toward property dualism. But regardless, I don't believe in a soul or in an afterlife.

Second, I'm not trying to collapse the distinction you perceive between the soul and the body. I am just trying to figure out what the core of your question is. I find this useful in addressing certain questions, because if I know what the core is then I can ignore the extraneous parts, which makes finding a good answer easier.

I'm confused by your answer of "maybe" to my question in my previous post. Do you agree with my previous post from your Christian perspective, or not? It's fine if you want to think it over, obviously.