An especially remarkable ability of cells is the ability to reproduce. If the first cell somehow morphed into existence without the ability to reproduce, it would also have been the last cell.
Denton calls the cell a “third infinity”: “Where the cosmos feels infinitely large and the atomic realm infinitely small, the cell feels infinitely complex.” (p. 16).
About the significance of the ability to reproduce, perhaps we should give the last word to Queen Christina of Sweden:
In the seventeenth century Christina, Queen of Sweden, upon hearing René Descartes insist that organisms are analogous to machines, is said to have retorted by saying of a mechanical clock, “See to it that it produces offspring.” Christina’s challenge has yet to be met. Michael Denton, Miracle of the Cell, P. 21News, “New book: Our bodies’ cells are a “third infinity” of information” at Mind Matters News
See also: Elon Musk tweet shows why many doubt origin of life studies. Musk was talking about the origin of machines, not life, but the principle is, perhaps surprisingly, the same. Creating a machine that manufactures or a cell that reproduces is much harder than creating a prototype of either. It’s a search for a search. (Jonathan Bartlett)