Creation Insights

Revealing the empirical case for
intelligent design and Bible science.

When is an entity considered alive?

The following criteria for determining when an entity can be considered a free-living organism, as we observe it today, is quoted from The Origin-of-Life Foundation, Inc. publication. They hope to entice researchers into demonstrating the theoretical plausibility of spontaneous generation. I have selected to use these criteria because of the obvious thought and careful consideration given to distinguishing between living and non-living entities. After all, there is a one million dollar reward involved.

  1. Delineate itself from its environment through the production and maintenance of a membrane equivalent, most probably a rudimentary or quasi-active-transport membrane necessary for selective absorption of nutrients, excretion of wastes, and overcoming osmotic and toxic gradients,
  2. Write, store, and pass along into progeny prescriptive information (instruction) needed for organization; provide instructions for energy derivation and for needed metabolite production and function; symbolically encode and communicate functional message through a transmission channel to a receiver/decoder/destination/effector mechanism; integrate past, present and future time into its biological prescriptive information (instruction) content,
  3. Bring to pass the above recipe instructions into the production or acquisition of actual catalysts, coenzymes, cofactors, etc.; physically orchestrate the biochemical processes/pathways of metabolic reality; manufacture and maintain physical cellular architecture; establish and operate a semiotic system using "signal molecules"
  4. Capture, transduce, store, and call up energy for utilization (work),
  5. Actively self-replicate and eventually reproduce, not just passively polymerize or crystallize; pass along the apparatus and "know-how" for homeostatic metabolism and reproduction into progeny,
  6. Self-monitor and repair its constantly deteriorating physical matrix of bioinstruction retention/transmission, and of architecture,
  7. Develop and grow from immaturity to reproductive maturity,
  8. Productively react to environmental stimuli. Respond in an efficacious manner that is supportive of survival, development, growth, and reproduction, and
  9. Possess relative genetic stability, yet sufficient diversity to allow for adaptation and potential evolution.


"'Tis very certain the desire of life prolongs it." ~Lord Byron

"Death never takes the wise man by surprise; He is always ready to go." ~Jean de La Fontaine