Have you ever seen life?
I have seen embodied life which reveals the ability to nourish itself, grow, move, react and reproduce but I have never seen the underlying entity by which it lives. Long ago the Greek philosopher Aristotle, who also wrote much of zoology, taught that organic structures and their development was due to an inner intelligible pattern or form which science now attributes to DNA.
DNA is God's way of coding information chemically which specifies the design and biological process of a creature. The information itself comes from God's intelligence and wisdom and is invisible but becomes visible because it is coded in matter. For example, if I write the word "sky" on paper, my thought is invisible but becomes visible on paper in the form of letters. In itself the letters (S-K-Y) have no meaning but the meaning given by the language structure the writer uses. The DNA code has only 4 chemical bases (A,G,C,T) which stand for their chemical names, arranged in groups of 3's (e.g. GCA=alanine). It is the order, arrangement and length of these chemical bases which constitute the coded information. At fertilization or conception this information becomes specified so that each entity is unique, and these specified chemical sequences can be made visible to the human eye.
What keeps us alive is an intricate process of information. "Our bodies are formed from between 50 and 100 trillion cells .... These cells are organized into tissues, such as skin, muscle, and bone. Each cell contains all of the organism's genetic instructions stored as DNA. However, each cell uses only the instructions from part of the DNA. For example, a muscle cell uses the DNA that specifies the muscle apparatus, whereas a nerve cell uses DNA that specifies the nervous system. It is as if each cell reads only that part of a book of instructions that it needs." (Webpage: Marian koshland, Science Museum/introduction) All of these processes are integrated and unified by the principle of life which we call the soul. Information makes God appear as intelligence only but creatures are also expressions of his goodness, love and purpose. Each and every being is contingent on this love of God who keeps everything in existence.
The DNA souls of plants and animals which allowed them be born, grow and fulfilled their purposes in life cease at death. Their bodies and psychic awareness does not transcend time and space, therefore, at death their souls or organic information come to an end. Only in, with and through man will all creatures find their fulfillment in God.
In the long run plants and animals were created for the advent of man who came into being through the animal kingdom. Even now the remains of plant and animal life sustains us as oil deposits which we utilize in many ways. The animals now living serve man as food, companionship and their unique chemical properties serve for medical purposes. Their manifold forms reveal the manifold greatness and wisdom of God.