Since the physical world’s sun is nothing but fire and is therefore lifeless, the warmth that emanates from it is also lifeless, and so is the emanating light. By the same token, the atmospheres called ether and air that receive this sun’s warmth and light and bring them down into our embrace are lifeless as well. Since all these are lifeless, absolutely all the earthly things beneath them called soils are lifeless. However, they are all surrounded by the spiritual realities that emanate and flow out from the spiritual world’s sun. It they were not surrounded in this way, soils could not be activated to bring forth the forms of use called plants and the forms of life called animals, and they could not provide the substances that enable us to come into and to survive.
Now since nature begins from this sun, and since everything that arises from it and is sustained by it is called “natural,” it follows that nature and absolutely everything in it is dead. Nature seems to be alive in us and in animals because of the life that visits it and animates it.
from Divine Love and Wisdom, Sections 158-159