A chemical reaction is a process that leads to the interconversion of chemical substances. The substances initially involved in a chemical reaction are called the reactants, and the substances produced by the reaction are called the products. Given that chemical reactions are usually characterized by a chemical change, they yield one or more products that are, in general, different from the reactants. A series of different chemical reactions may be performed to synthesize a desired product. In biochemistry, sets of chemical reactions catalyzed by enzymes make up metabolic pathways, in which syntheses and decompositions ordinarily impossible under conditions within a cell are performed.
Chemical reactions take place within each living organism, allowing the organism to survive, grow, and reproduce. In addition, researchers and chemical engineers utilize chemical reactions to produce a vast array of materials, including petrochemicals, agrochemicals, ceramics, polymers and rubber (elastomers), oleochemicals (oils, fats, and waxes), explosives, fragrances, and flavors. Modern society is highly dependent on these products.
From a Unification perspective, several points can be made:
- Chemical reactions involve various interactions between substances. Unification thought calls such interactions "give and take action" (or giving and receiving action). In this case, these interactions generate new products.
- Scientific studies of chemical reactions and the development of various applications are manifestations of our intelligence and creativity—attributes that are linked to our spiritual dimension. These attributes are reflective of God's intelligence and creativity.
- These investigations also indicate our desire to understand and harmonize with God's creation. By taking responsibility and exerting our efforts, we become channels for God's love to flow through us to the creation. In other words, we can exert a stewardship of true love over the creation. The Unification principle refers to these types of efforts as contributing toward the fulfillment of God's "Third Great Blessing" to humanity.
- Even as chemical reactions serve humanity, they provide us with an internal guiding principle: to live for the sake of others. By so doing, we transcend the level of mere survival and travel the path toward inheriting God's nature. Eventually, we can vibrate with God's spirit and become channels for God's love to flow through us to others and to the rest of creation. In this manner, we can fulfill what the Unification principle calls the "Three Great Blessings" and establish a world of peace and harmony.