Life comes from matter or matter comes from life?

The modern theory that life evolves from matter is to some extent supported in this verse because it is stated, bhutesu virudbhyah. That is, the living entities evolve from vegetables, grass, plants and trees, which are superior to dull matter. In other words, matter also has the potency to manifest living entities in the form of vegetables. In this sense, life comes out of matter, but matter also comes out of life. As Krishna says in Bhagavad-gita (10.8), aham sarvasya prabhavo mattah sarvam pravartate: “I am the source of all spiritual and material worlds. Everything emanates from Me.”

There are two energies–material and spiritual–and both originally come from Krishna. Krishna is the supreme living being. Although it may be said that in the material world a living force is generated from matter, it must be admitted that originally matter is generated from the supreme living being. Nityo nityanam cetanas cetananam. The conclusion is that everything, both material and spiritual, is generated from the Supreme Being. From the evolutionary point of view, perfection is reached when the living entity attains the platform of a brahmana. A brahmana is a worshiper of the Supreme Brahman, and the Supreme Brahman worships the brahmana. In other words, the devotee is subordinate to the Supreme Lord, and the Lord is inclined to see to the satisfaction of His devotee. A brahmana is called dvija-deva, and the Lord is called dvija-deva-deva. He is the Lord of Brahmanas.

Source: A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada (2014 edition), “Srimad Bhagavatam”, Fifth Canto, Chapter 05 – Text 21 & 22

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