What is life?
The definition of life is highly debatable probably due to the fact that it is looked at from many different angles including Religious, Philosophical and Biological. All these different fractions of study have their own definition of life which may or may not be similar to other definitions. Usually the purpose of the program or institution highly determines how they will define life. Generally though life can be defined as the state of living,the condition that distinguishes animals and plants from inorganic matter, including the capacity for growth, reproduction, functional activity, and continual change preceding death (according to the dictionary). Biologically, life an be defined as a self-sustaining chemical system capable of Darwinian evolution. This definition looks at life from a genetic point of view where it focuses mainly on the biological make up and reaction of the human body till the cells eventually die. Philosophically, life is defined as the aspect of existence that processes, acts, reacts, evaluates, and evolves through growth (reproduction and metabolism). Life is anything that grows and eventually dies.This definition, unlike the biological one focuses more on the physical aspect of life and less on the genetic make up of the human or living organism. Religiously however it is difficult to really define what life is, however in this institution life goes beyond the biological make up or physical make up of a person but rather it can also be referred to in terms of the soul of a human being which is a spiritual annotation, thus, religiously life is more than just how one develops, grows and eventually dies.
The purpose of life.
The answer to the purpose of life is not really an easy one because of the diversity of life itself as well as the diversity of what we as individual people consider life to be, our moral upbringing, religious views etc. However, i am going to try and look at the different institutions that exist and what i believe may be, according to them, the purpose of life.
According to biology, the purpose of life is to reproduce, passing on genetic information from us to our offspring so as to avoid extinction of the human race.Genetic evolution is the meaning of biologic life, in that it is the why and how of it, as well as the stock of future biological existence. The genes that survive — and in turn the organisms they make — are the winners in the existence game. Biology says that life began in the seas and moved onto the land and the continued existence of human beings from evolution up to this present generation is all because of reproduction therefore our existence here on earth is largely dependent on our ability to procreate and pass on our genes into the next generation. As humans develop we also learn a lot of survival tactics which may become imprinted in our DNA therefore ensuring that our offspring are also able to survive in the environment that we also survive in. To better understand this theory we can look at the example of plant seeds where some plants that are better able to survive in a certain environment are specially selected for that environment so that they ca grow and produce seeds with the same genetic information that the parent plant had and as such produce the desired result all due to the passing on of genetic information from parent to offspring. In human beings, a good example can be can be that of the African San people whose genetic makeup has not changed significantly over the past millennial years.Various Y chromosome studies show that the San carry some of the most divergent (oldest) human Y-chromosome haplogroups. Mitochondrial DNA studies also provide evidence that the San carry high frequencies of the earliest haplogroup branches in the human mitochondrial DNA tree. This DNA is inherited only from one’s mother. This then supports the Biologists’ view that genetic information is indeed passed from generation to generation and this could ultimately be the purpose of human life.
In as much as this biological purpose of life is true to some extent, it however limits the potential of a human being to exploit some of their characteristics or abilities such as perhaps their ability to love, to care for others etc even though these features cannot be biologically proven to exist within the human make up.
unto man he said, Behold, the fear of the Lord, that is wisdom; and to depart from evil is understanding. – Job 28:28 (KJV)So we have come to know and to believe the love that God has for us. God is love, and whoever abides in love abides in God, and God abides in him. By this is love perfected with us, so that we may have confidence for the day of judgment, because as he is so also are we in this world. – 1 John 4:16-17 (ESV)