The definition of life has long been a challenge for scientists and philosophers, with many varied definitions put forward. This is partially because life is a process, not a substance.
Living organisms are composed of lifeless molecules. When these molecules are isolated and examined individually, they conform to all the physical and chemical laws that describe the behavior of inanimate matter. Yet living organisms possess extraordinary attributes not shown by any random collection of molecules….
What distinguishes all living organisms from all inanimate objects?
First, they are structurally complicated and highly organized. They possess intricate internal structures and contain many kinds of complex molecules.
This requires work, or force, to organize in the first place, and next to oppose the force of entropy / decay, and then to duplicate, transform and construct larger structures.
By contrast, the inanimate matter in our environment-clay, sand, rocks, seawater-usually consists of mixtures of relatively simple chemical compounds.
Second, living organisms extract, transform, and use energy from their environment…This energy enables living organisms to build and maintain their own intricate structures and to do mechanical, chemical, osmotic, and other types of work.
By contrast, inanimate matter does not use energy in a systematic way to maintain structure or to do work. Inanimate matter tends to decay toward a more disordered state, to come to equilibrium with its surroundings.
Throughout the ages magicians and scientists practicing traditions like alchemy have been trying to create, maintain, and restart life. So far, success has been claimed by using stem cells to create an organism or transferring DNA into a living cell to create a designer cell.
However, these methods don’t create life. The starter cell was already alive. Despite amazing advances in understanding and manipulating cellular composition and processes, science has been unable to spark life into a cell, let alone an organ or an entire organism, or to maintain life beyond a certain point.
So without “The vital principle or animating force within living beings” there can be no purely materialistic evolution.
The theory of evolution…neither provides, nor requires, an explanation for the origin of life…Evolution…studies the pathways and mechanisms…following the origin of life.
However, there can be no mechanisms of organic change without life. That only leaves the option of an infinite Energy converting part of E into m and transferring more E to make a living being. It’s just that, as detailed in the post Scientific Proof Is A Myth, the forces we experience everyday, including life, are not studied by the physical sciences because infinity / c2 cannot be accounted for in their measurements of substance.
According to NASA:
Living things…have the ability to take in energy from the environment and transform it for growth and reproduction.
NASA’s definition clearly draws from E=mc2.
And NASA’s definition of life matches the biblical definition as interaction of the:
- hyper dimensional spirit life energy
- to the unending Singularity source of energy that creates mass.
- physical body
- to necessary resources of oxygen, water, food, etc.
- soul, i.e. personality and character stored as memories in the brain,
- to social relationships.
“And the LORD God formed man / ha adam of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man / ha adam became a living soul / person / nephesh….And the LORD God said, It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him an help meet for him.”(Genesis 2:7)
This validates the religious revelation, not found in any religious revelation except the Bible, that the life force, AKA spirit, comes from the Singularity / YHVH / Creator.
And the LORD God
- formed [past tense] man of the dust of the ground – material body
- and breathed [past tense] into his nostrils the breath of life – energized the body
- and man became [future action] a living soul (Genesis 2:7)
The material body is the least important aspect of a human being, tearing itself down and reconstructing itself daily throughout life, and being absorbed back into the elements of the earth at death.
- “Then shall the dust return to the earth as it was:
- and the spirit shall return unto God who gave it.” (Ecclesiastes12:7)
Hmmm. Anyone else notice that the Bible documents the return of the body to the earth from which it was made, and the spirit to to God who gave it, but doesn’t mention what happens to the soul?
We have to understand how did the soul “become” in order to understand what “becomes” of the soul.
The simplest understanding from the first reference to the soul is that it “became” from the combination of body and spirit, i.e. mass and energy.
The following biblical passage on fetal development
- confirms the Creation reference to the soul’s origination with the body,
- expands on the soul’s connection to the spirit / energy / nervous system
- with its combined use of the elements of the earth and bio-electrical energy.
“thou hast possessed my reins: thou hast covered me in my mother’s womb. I will praise thee; for I am fearfully and wonderfully made: marvellous are thy works; and that my soul knoweth right well…when I was made in secret, and curiously wrought in the lowest parts of the earth.” (Psalm 139:13-15)
Reins, literal fibers, like a horse’s reins, are the nerves originating in the brain penetrating throughout the entire body in order to control the members of the body,
Almost all nerve cells, or neurons, are generated during prenatal life, and in most cases they are not replaced by new neurons thereafter. Morphologically, the nervous system first appears about 18 days after conception…
In order to produce the estimated 1 trillion neurons present in the mature brain, an average of 2.5 million neurons must be generated per minute during the entire prenatal life. This includes the formation of neuronal circuits comprising 100 trillion synapses, as each potential neuron is ultimately connected with either a selected set of other neurons or specific targets such as sensory endings. Moreover, synaptic connections with other neurons are made at precise locations on the cell membranes of target neurons.
When humans and primates are first developing, their brains are built from what are known as neural progenitor cells. These are stalk-like cells that multiply over and over again, and they eventually form neurons. The equation is simple since more progenitor cells mean more neurons down the road, and it turns out that human progenitor cells behave differently than the progenitor cells of apes and chimps.
When observing the multiplying behavior of progenitor cells in the primates, the researchers found that the cells continued multiplying at a high rate for roughly five days before maturing and slowing down. That’s a lot longer than in mice, where the cells have been shown to mature within hours. This extended timeframe means that primates have increased brain power and larger brain organs, but human progenitor cells take it to the next level.
The research revealed that humans progenitor cells continue multiplying for up to a full week before transitioning. Because the multiplication of cells is an exponential affair, the extra two days of multiplication means a great deal more cells and eventually neurons in humans.
Sidebar here – how can anyone accept both this kind of complexity and rapidity of development from a single cell organism to a complete human being and Evolution’s fundamental requirement of “billions of years”
In contrast to Evolution’s word play on the inferences, interpretation, support, possibility of evolutionary processes, we have the facts uncovered by the scientific study of anatomy and physiology.
The evidence of the amazingly controlled physiological generation of 2.5 million neurons per minute for nine months including 100 trillion synapses to create an informatics transportation system throughout the entire body with each neuron precisely connected to a selected set of other neurons on specific end points at precise locations on the cell membranes of target neurons should put any thinking person in a state of awe at the understated biblical statement “I am fearfully and wonderfully made: marvellous are thy works; and that my soul knoweth right well.” (Psalm 139:14)
Further confounding evolution’s reliance on material genetics, the pre-existing social environment in which a fetus is formed has a great impact on the development of personality and behavior – i.e. the soul.
for there are simply not enough genes to account for such complexity….External environmental factors include nutrition, sensory experience, social interaction, and even learning. All of these are essential for the proper differentiation of individual neurons and for fine-tuning the details of synaptic connections…
So we don’t have a nature vs nurture debate, we have physiology plus social interaction forms the person. Or to put it another way, the chicken and the egg came into being at the same time.
The soul is the aggregate memories, emotions and cognition developed into a personality in response to environmental and social experiences. These are created by active neurochemical processes in the neurons throughout the entire body, and stored in neuronal pathways and parts of the brain to be potentially activated in response to environmental triggers.
The soul is chemical energy that converts to mechanical energy when stimulating the muscles in the body to respond as the soul determines.
The soul – personality, thoughts, memories and emotions – comes into existence and can be modified through the chemo-electrical activity of the nervous system.
the nervous system requires continuous stimulation over an entire lifetime in order to sustain functional activity.
The electrical ACTIVITY of the brain is what composes and allows expression of memories, emotions, intentions, directive of behavior and personality.
Interestingly, the Bible describes in picturesque terms appropriate to a non-scientific reader the same images now being provided by highly advanced scientific technology.
“Remember now thy Creator in the days of thy youth…because man goeth to his long home [the grave], and the mourners go about the streets:
- Or ever the silver cord be loosed [chemo-electrical activity of the peripheral nervous system]
- or the golden bowl be broken [chemo-electrical activity of the brain]
- or the pitcher be broken at the fountain [clay body]
- or the wheel broken at the cistern [autonomic repetitive breathing delivering life].
Then shall the dust [of the clay casing for the electrical battery] return to the earth as it was: and the spirit shall return unto God who gave it.” (Ecclesiastes 12:1-7)
And where does the soul go? There is a lot of speculation, because this is beyond scientific study.
Does it stop existing when the nerve fibers crumble back into the elements of the earth from which it is composed? In a completely material model, yes.
Yet we know that the nervous system is not just physical fibers. The fibers by themselves do nothing. They are simply the means of generating neurological electrical activity, which is not material but energy.
We know from experience that a human’s soul remains intact during a coma or other physically altered state of consciousness to resurface with the awakening of the body’s functional neurological system. So the commonly held belief that human souls simply dissipate into the universal energy field when the body dissipates into dust demands scrutiny in advance of death. This is a state of being that can’t be altered by the time it happens.
BBC News April 2019: Munira Abdulla wakes up after 27 years in a coma…seriously injured in a traffic accident in 1991 has made a seemingly miraculous recovery…she was declared to be in a vegetative state…
She became more responsive, and can now feel pain and have some conversations…
“my name is the first word she said…”
Science is becoming more aware that the larger part of the human personality – the soul – is always below the level of awareness provided by the body’s senses.
The understanding of life permanently existing in the soul also leads to the logical conclusion that animals’ expression of self – as pet owners can assure you – is a manifestation of their souls, which after death must also continue to exist.