Saint Thomas Aquinas set the thing rolling very clearly with the question: ‘How many sorts of created things are there?’
“The answer is four. There are those which just are as stones; those which are and live as plants; those which are and live and move as animals; and those which are and live and move and think as man.
“The changing order of complexity between the stone and virus is just one monstrous step. The other steps are not just changes in complexity, but are changes in the order of complexity.
“The gross initial step is the ability to use information at all. On the whole, the physical universe is without information.”
~ Gregory Bateson