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Life

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Reflected light via satellite provides a measurement of successful growth through the use of ambient carbon for photosynthesis.

Life is a biological concept regarding the characteristic, state, or mode that separates living organisms from dead matter. The word may itself refer to a living being or the ongoing processes of which living things are a part of. It may also refer to the period during which something is functional (as between birth and death), the condition of an entity that has been born but has yet to die or that which makes a living thing alive.

Contents

Biblical Life

The Scripture classifies life into three primary categories, delineated below in Hebrew. The secular community only recognizes one of these three, dismissing the other two.

Chay

Described as general biological life, in the verse "bring forth the living creatures that hath life" this word "chay" appears alongside "nephesh" (Genesis 1:20). The secular community has defined "life" as the equivalent of chay life and recognizes no other distinction of life. However, the chay life is so basic it relates only to plants. The cessation of chay processes, such as those experienced by plant life, is not what Scripture calls Death. For example, grass withers and flowers fade (Isaiah 40:7-8) such that separate terms are reserved for things that have basic chay life. The secular community defines "death" as any loss of life, including simple chay life. The Bible however, delineates between chay life and that which is imbued by God to living creatures. Biblical death does not apply to chay life.

Nephesh

Described as "living creatures" (Genesis 1:20), these are the organisms that began to appear on "Day Five through Day Six" of creation week. This of course includes mankind. This word is used to describe the "spirit" of life in an organism that directly exhibits the characteristics of life, namely that they move upon the earth. This word is used elsewhere in Scripture to describe God's Spirit, the blowing wind and the souls of both animals and people. In this regard it is the superficial concept of soul, such as to bless someone's soul, or when Saul's soul was troubled.

Also generally described as a creature's "personality", which could be loosely identified as a mind, will and emotions, which are exhibited by many living creatures. It is not however, inclusive of a conscience or capacity to reason.

The nephesh life is associated with Biblical Death. Only a creature with nephesh can die, in Scriptural terms.

The Fall of Man introduced death into the world (1 Corinthians 15:21) and death is the last enemy that shall be destroyed (1 Corinthians 15:26) (Romans 6:9) (Revelation 21:4). It is highly critical for the believer to understand the relationship between sin and death (1 Corinthians 15:21-22)(Romans 5:12). The Bible claims that Life preceded Sin, and Sin preceded Death. Jesus Christ would pay for the sin of mankind with his own life, through physical death (Hebrews 9:22). If Sin and Death are not connected (e.g. death was on the earth per evolutionary claims) then sin and death have no relationship and the Crucifixion has no meaning.

Some would argue that Adam did not die "physically" but only "spiritually". Yet God had already provided for Adam in the form of substitutionary death as payment for sin. How do we know this? Animal sacrifices were to foreshadow the Crucifixion. Jesus is called the "Lamb slain from the foundation of the world" (Rev 13:8). This clearly tells us that God had a substitutionary system already in place as part of the creation's core architecture. Adam did not die that day because God provided a substitutionary death in his place. This was an act of mercy for Adam, but fulfillment for God. If Jesus is truly slain from the foundation of the world, then God cannot slay Adam without dooming him to hell with no recourse. To slay Adam means that the Redeemer cannot come forth from humanity, so that Adam's sin will never be redeemed, and Adam will be forever separated from God's fellowship. This series of events speaks volumes to God's mercy and long-term provision for mankind. Each believer should regard God's acts as both in-the-moment to address a real-time situation, and in God's eternal perspective and how the acts will ripple-forward in history to support immutable outcomes.


Ruwach

Described as "the breath of life" (Genesis 6:17) is a special designation for the "nephesh" animals that God would destroy in the Flood, but also those that he would preserve in the Ark. The "breath of life" is associated with blood. It is presumed that only the land-dwelling animals with blood, requiring oxygen to survive, would be preserved in the Ark.

Neshamah

Described as the "living soul" (Genesis 2:7). God gave Adam a rational soul that is set apart from the animals. Mankind would have a conscience to make quantitative and qualitative decisions in ethics, logic and reason. Mankind would be aware of the passing of time, the concepts of hope and despair, grace, mercy, faith, justice, culture, the laws of logic and mathematics and the many other aspects of humanity that set mankind apart from animals. Moreover, the neshamah is an eternal life that transcends the nephesh death of the human body. The Scripture says that all humans who have experienced the death of the nephesh body will also experience resurrection (John 5:29), where one group is resurrected to eternal life and one resurrected to eternal damnation. This is one of the reasons secularists deny that any sort of special "life" is given to mankind. To recognize this would also require the acknowledgement of an accountability to God's judgment in the afterlife.

Kingdoms of Life

Main Article: Kingdoms of Life

There is difference on the continents regarding how many kingdoms of life there should be. The United States textbooks highlight six groups of life; Animalia, Plantae, Fungi, Protista, Archaea and Bacteria. The rest of the world, Europe and South America, support five kingdoms or groups of life; Animalia, Plantae, Fungi, Protista, and Prokaryota or Monera.[1]

Created Kinds of life

Main Article: Created kinds

Created kinds are organisms that are defined by creation biology as sharing a common ancestry. The phrase refers to the Genesis account of the creation week during which God created many kinds of plants and animals. They are also referred to as "original kinds," "Genesis kinds," and more formally by creation scientists as baramin. The term barmin was coined in 1941 by Frank Marsh from the Hebrew words bara (create) and min (kind). The study of baramin (known as Baraminology) is a rapidly growing field of creation science involved with the identification of the created kinds.[2]

Processes

There is no universally accepted biological definition of life, but it is generally defined in terms of the following biological processes.

  • Organization -- living organisms exhibit an incredible degree of organization and complexity, even in its simplest single-cellular forms.
  • Metabolism - Life has the ability to supply itself with energy by converting nonliving material into cellular components (synthesis) and decomposing organic matter (catalysis). Life also has the ability to use this energy to supply its needs and the needs of others, such as children.
  • Growth - Many forms of life have the ability to grow in size. A growing organism increases in size in all of its parts, rather than simply accumulating matter.
  • Adaptation - Adaptation is the accommodation of a living organism to its environment. Individuals have the ability to adapt to their environment during their lifetime (as in the case of increased muscle strength or acquiring skills), and species have the ability to adapt to their environment through heredity, variation, and natural selection.
  • Response to stimuli - Life can respond to stimuli in the environment, through sensing the environment, determining appropriate reaction to the environment, and taking such action. Examples include feeding, movement, and communication.
  • Reproduction - Life has the ability to reproduce, either sexually or asexually.

Exceptions

The above characteristics are not a comprehensive definition of all life. For instance, viruses are often considered "replicators," rather than "life," because they cannot live without a living host, yet they perform all of the above functions. Similarly, a sterile mule, while alive, cannot reproduce.

Philosophies

  • Teleology is the belief that the organization, complexity, and beauty of life were designed for a purpose, and irreducible complexity and specified complexity are two of the most striking forms of organization in life;
  • Naturalism is the belief that the organization and complexity of life arose as a necessary consequence of natural law, and therefore bear no innate purpose or design;
  • Vitalism is the belief that life is "more than the sum of its parts," or not completely explicable or bound by scientific law, including something non-physical such as a spirit or a soul;
  • Mechanism is the belief that life is nothing more than the sum of its parts, without spirit, soul, or anything beyond the physical.

Origin of Life

Naturalism

Main Articles: Abiogenesis, Naturalism

The origin of life from non-life or what has been termed abiogenesis by evolutionary scientists has never been observed in any condition from any aspect of the natural world. Because strict naturalists are committed to rejecting any and all explanations for the origin of life which involve a supernatural force such as creationism or the more obscure Intelligent Designer.

Naturalists have a number of speculative explanations for an origin of life by purely naturalistic means that goes into a bit more detail. The most widespread today are:

Evolutionary biologists appeal to a rescue device in the form of a first replicating organism or an imperfect replicator. This organism is the starting-point of evolution. When cornered on the description of this organism, naturalists will be elusive. They want to maintain the freedom to describe this organism in any manner they choose. As such, the "imperfect replicator" is just a thought-experiment. It does not exist in reality, has never been observed, but it's origin and original presence are accepted on faith as being the foundation for evolutionary processes.

Thus when questioned about abiogenesis, evolutionary biologist will appeal to this thought experiment and say that they know nothing about what came before it, and that what came before it is irrelevant to their evolutionary musings. They simply accept-on-faith that an imperfect replicator existed, and do not feel further investigation is necessary or warranted.

On the other hand, thought leaders like Richard Dawkins have openly said that an "intriguing theory" is the origin of life elsewhere in the universe that arrived (or was brought) to Earth. This is another rescue device that presumes the laws of physics and chemistry, while utterly precluding the ability of life to form on Earth, must have allowed life to form elsewhere, using different physical and chemical laws. In short, the extra-terrestrial physical and chemical laws are different than they are on Earth.

In the movie "Expelled: Intelligence Not Allowed", Dawkins offers this explanation[3]:

"It could be that at some earlier time, somewhere in the universe, a civilization evolved by, probably by some Darwinian means, to a very, very high level of technology, and designed a form of life that they seeded onto perhaps this plane. That is a possibility and an intriguing possibility. And I suppose its possible that you might find evidence for that if you look at the details of our chemistry and molecular biology you might find a signature of some sort of designer - and that designer could well be a higher intelligence from elsewhere in the universe, but that higher intelligence would have had to come about by some explicable or ultimately Darwinian process. It couldn't have just jumped into existence spontaneously."

Creationism

Creationists believe that life originated by deliberate, intelligent design. Genesis records that Elohim spoke all life on Earth into existence. Genesis implies that creation was done through the spoken word of God. As far as humanity there is more detail in the cases of Adam and Eve.

Adam was, "created from the dust of the ground, and Jehovah Elohim breathed into his nostrils the breath of life." Many believe this, "breath of life," was indeed not only life itself but a soul as humanity was created in the image of God, which is a spirit. Eve was then created from man, from his rib which Jehovah Elohim removed from Adam after putting him into a deep sleep. These life forms were created separately, and endowed with the ability to reproduce and adapt to their environment both as individuals through the course of their lives, and as a created kind, through heredity, variation, and adaptation.

References

  • Life by Answers.com


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