What is Life?

To put it as simply as I can, life is what distinguishes organic matter from nonorganic matter, and there are five kingdoms of life on Earth, and they are:

• Prokaryotae – (unicellular ie: Bacteria)

• Protoctista – (eukaryotic ie: Algae)

• Fungi – (Multicellular ie: mould)

• Plantae – (photosynthetic ie: flowers)

• Animalia -(Multicellular ie: vertebrates and invertebrates

A wider way of describing life is cell based matter that’s capable of adapting to its environment, thus evolving, the ability to reproduce, a metabolism, response to stimuli, and growth. Yet biochemist ‘Gerald Joyce‘ who works for NASA in their astrobiology department suggests that life can be defined as; ‘self-sustaining‘. All organisms are comprised of cells that carry DNA, which is genetic material that maps out functions and is passed on through reproduction to future generations.

There are two families of cells, humans and all other mammals, birds, plants, insects and reptiles are eukaryote, which contain an outer membrane with a nucleus within, and the other family is prokaryote, which is unicellular like bacteria. Everything that has what we determine as life, will do anything it can to preserve itself. Life is purely about survival, and being able to continue the species.

Earlier today I had a rather unpleasant encounter with a religious individual who claimed a foetus was alive. A foetus that’s younger than 21 weeks cannot survive if taken away from the womb, and even at 21 weeks, survival is extremely unlikely, yet not impossible. Even with the wonders of modern medical science, it’s a difficult task to replicate a mother and provide a foetus with the nutrients it needs. To put it bluntly, a foetus is essentially a parasite who lives of its host, and if taken away from its host, it’s survival isn’t guaranteed. A foetus cannot self sustain, is without true consciousness, and isn’t affected by stimuli until quite far into the pregnancy.

“And the LORD God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul.” – Genesis 2.7

Correct me if I’m wrong, but does Genesis 2.7 say that upon the first breath, man becomes a living soul? So does the Bible suggest that life begins after birth when the baby takes its first breath? It sure seems that way to me, but I’m sure a Christian would accuse me of taking it out of context for the purpose of confirmation bias.

So what would you say defined life?

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s