For many couples, making a baby isn't just a physical act; it's a spiritual one as well. What is God's role in the creation of human life? Well that depends on which faith tradition you follow.

Here's what some of the world's major religions teach about the start of life.


Buddhist scholar Robert Kritzer writes that the cycle of death and rebirth is a central concept in some branches of the faith, and the moment of conception is key.

“A number of Buddhist sūtras, meditation manuals and doctrinal texts... describe in various degrees of completeness the stages between one lifetime and the next," Kritzer says. “The process of rebirth begins at the moment of death in one life, continues through the intermediate existence or antarābhava, the moment of conception, and the period of gestation, and culminates in the moment of birth in the next life."


In Jewish law, although the human soul exists before birth, human life begins at birth, that is, at the time when the child is more than halfway emerged from the mother's body. Rabbi Goldie Milgram explains:

“The soul a baby will receive is traditionally understood to be pre-destined. The combining of the particular soul with the particular body it enters results in a human. An often-cited commentary relates that all the souls that will ever exist were 'created during the six days of Creation, and were in the Garden of Eden, and all were present at the giving of the Torah [at Sinai].' This perspective is reflected in Jeremiah 1:5: 'I knew you, before I formed you in the belly, before you left the womb.' Or as sometimes friends or family are known to say to small children, 'We knew you before you were even a twinkle in your parents' eyes."




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The Qur'an describes the development of a fetus as a process with stages:

“God created you in stages." —71:14

“(God) creates you inside the bodies of your mothers, in stages, one after another." —39:6

Asma Uddin, founder of altMuslimah and director of strategy for the Center for Islam and Religious Freedom, explains, “Islamic teachings say that a child is assembled in the mother's womb during a 40-day period, after which it becomes a 'clot of thick blood' for a similar length of time. It is after that that God sends an angel who writes four things pre-determined by God: the child's deeds, his/her livelihood, the day he or she will die and whether or not he/she will be religiously blessed. At 120 days after conception, God breathes the soul into the child."

“Once the child is born, God tells us that it is our job as Muslim parents to raise and care for our children by bringing them up as moral, righteous Muslims," Uddin adds. “'Each of you is a shepherd and each of you is responsible for his flock,' the Qur'an states."