The second law of thermodynamics states that the total entropy of any thermodynamically isolated system not at thermodynamic equilibrium will tend to increase over time, approaching a maximum value. Here I picture the universe as a fantastic fireworks display that lights up the night’s sky with incredible brilliance, but only to eventually disperse itself into dying embers as it spreads out further and further across the darkening sky, leaving only darkness behind.
However, there are some places in the universe where this process isn’t necessarily being hurried along so much. If you accept the premise that under conditions such as found here on earth matter appears to have the capacity to evolve into higher levels of organization when conditions allow for it – atoms will gather into into molecules, molecules into compounds, compounds in to cells, cells into organism – it is at once a level of defense against entropy as well as an opportunity to reach even higher levels of organization .
This leaves alone the question of how or why this capacity exists, but I would assume the answer to it is gradually being expressed in life’s evolutionary tract and will be clear only after it has reached its destination. I presume we’re just a stop along the way.