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A materialist holds to the concept, theory, that there is only one energy that exists, and that is matter. And so when he comes to questions such as "What is consciousness? What is awareness? What is life?", he concludes that it also must have some chemical basis. It's either chemical in substance or somehow it's an offspring of the complex chemical arrangements that are there in the brain and the rest of the body. So basically, in materialistic civilization, we've come to the conclusion that life itself is really nothing more than this offspring of matter.
We are taught from the very first science classes that we have, that life began so many millions and millions, hundreds and millions of years ago, in some cosmic soup where these different material elements existed in a very simple form. That gradually these simple material elements, these simple chemicals, gradually for some reason unknown, although it denies the law of thermodynamics that the matter by itself tends to become less complex, somehow matter went against this second law of thermodynamics and became increasingly more complicated in structure. And gradually as it became more complicated in structure, it finally came to the point where it started to wiggle. The one cell organism was ally created out of this combination of non-living elements. Somehow, life started by from the combination of chemicals. Somehow or other, they're saying, that somehow or other, life sprung from this cosmic soup where there was no life before. That material elements were present and somehow these material elements combined and created life. And from this first living organism, all living organisms have come, increasing gradually in complexity of our bodily structures.
So this is the foundation of our modern civilization. This is the so-called scientific foundation of our modern civilization. But we have a couple of questions that we want to put forward here. As we're saying, we can't go into this in as much depth as we would like to. But we would like to pose a couple of questions here that you might want to consider and it is this: The first thing that nobody asks, unfortunately, when we're told that life began by this complex combination of molecules, one thing that we never ask is the question, "My dear professor, my dear teacher, what exactly do you mean by the word 'life'?" The fact is, the materialist has never defined 'life'. He has no definition for the word 'life', and he actually has no definition therefore for the word 'death'. He doesn't know what life is. If you ask the materialist, "What is life?" You can tell me what water is. There's an example here, that if you look in a dictionary, like Webster's dictionary or something, you'll find the definition of water. And you'll find that it reads as follows:
Water is the colorless, transparent liquid occurring on earth as rivers, lakes, oceans, etc. and falling from the clouds as rain. It is chemically a compound of hydrogen and oxygen (H2O), and under laboratory conditions it freezes hard, forming ice at 32 degrees Fahrenheit, and boils forming steam at 212 degrees Fahrenheit, etc.
And here's how they define life:
That property of plants and animals which makes it possible for them to take in food, get energy from the food, grow, adapt themselves to their surroundings, and reproduce their own kind. It is the quality that distinguishes the living animal or plant from inorganic matter or organism.
They never defined it. Supposedly life is chemical in essence. Now if life is either chemical in essence or if it is a creation of chemicals, which means it must be of some chemical essence. If they're saying that only chemicals, only matter exists, then life should have some material composition. If it doesn't, then it doesn't exist by their definitions and it's only matter that exists. Yet you will not find in any dictionary a chemical definition. You'll not find the definition of life. You'll only find them describing that 'life is that property of plants and animals which makes it different'. This is not a definition. It's like saying, 'life is that property of living things, plants and animals'. So you're saying that 'life is that property of life. Life is that property which living things have'. What is it? All they can do is beat around the bush. They cannot answer the question, "What is life?" Of course some of them admit this. There's an interesting statement here. This is found in a textbook which is used in universities:
How then can we define life? To attempt an easy definition is to enter a quagmire from which many a writer has emerged considerably more muddy than when he began. Some try to define it in terms of function, pointing to such supposedly unique characteristics as growth, reproduction or irritability, but they inevitably find themselves apologizing for the many exceptions that appear to cross the fuzzy boundary between the worlds of the living and the non-living. Perhaps it might be better to simply admit the complex concepts like life and love do not lend themselves to neat and orderly textbook definitions.
But they don't. They say, still, (since we got to write this text book and make believe we know what life is)
"Still, in keeping with our automobile analogy, and the mechanistic view of life, we can regard a living organism in terms of complex chemical reactions, taking place at a specific level of organization of matter."
In other words, "We don't know what life is. But let's make believe, let's make believe we know what it is so that we can continue with our discussion about it being analogous to an automobile, a machine." The mechanists really see us as nothing more than machines. That there's really nothing different between an automobile and a human being, except that a human being is a more complex machine than an automobile. That's the only difference a materialist sees. He does not see life as even an element, an existing thing, a reality in itself. All he sees life is, is that it's something that he doesn't understand but which he promises and hopes that someday in the future he'll be able to give some chemical explanation for.
Siddhaswarupananda - founder of Science of Identity Foundation