What is the meaning of "vital force theory" in organic chemistry?

According to vital force theory, organic compounds must have their origin in living organisms and could never be synthesized from inorganic material. This theory is known as the vital force theory.

Vital force theory

Berzelius gave this theory in 1809. According to this theory, the organic living compounds are not formed from inorganic compounds but a vital force. This vital force or spiritual force is called God. Vital Force Theory was rejected in 1823 when Friedrich Wöhler synthesized the first organic compound urea from an inorganic compound, Ammonium cyanate.

Berzelius defined this theory in 1815, setting down three principles with it:

  1. Organic compounds cannot be made in the laboratory from inorganic compounds.
  2. The synthesis of organic compounds requires a vital force.
  3. Only living organisms (God-given) contain this vital force.

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