Please, don’t use the minimalizing argument!
We are talking about MORAL judgement. Having a soul is not about intelligence. It is about the moral and ethical aspects of life. Elohim God chooses at what point each person reaches the “age of accountability” which is the tipping point. And it is not an all at once proposition. A child learns and accepts responsibility for self over a sliding scale of years from true innocence to adulthood. I see in myself the steps I took (and failed) in my own growth.
I am making the assumption from that that the pre-accountable population of the earth were intelligent, active human beings, who did everything we do, but were not held as accountable for those moral actions of sin until Elohim YHWH chose. The Breath of Life is the instillation of what we would call “soul” in and of itself. All the others outside of that in Adam’s day were living an breathing animals, intelligent to the point of what we may consider Blue Whales, Dolphins, of my beloved pet dogs (only more so). Sentient to the very cusp of humanity, but lacking the one “spark” necessary to complete Elohim’s Image.
How he propagated that through the pre-adamic line as they came into contact with Adam’s line will remain unknowable for now, but it certainly is a probability.
The test of accountability were TWO trees in the garden to eat from. Hence having the choice Adam & Eve failed the test and were judged accountable for their actions.
– Oh, and this brings up the aspect of eternal Hell. I think people who do NOT accept Yeshua Christ as savior are not truly human (yet), The spark is there, but we must choose how to use it in making the choice between Elohim God or Self. Choosing self means rejecting humanity at it fullest intent, and will burn up in the hellfire and be gone (no eternal damnation). I am a annihilationist and believe the Church has been mislead by poor scholarship on the doctrine of hell.