Shadver t1_jbog0eo wrote

To sort of echo the other response in a different way, I find it easier to think of early life in a chemistry sense rather than a biology sense. Chemical reactions can "reproduce"(autocatalysis), and they can compete with other reactions over the starting ingredients for the reaction. We can get these sort of lifelike qualities from very simple structures that could be outcompeted by more complex and better replicating structures over time. If you're interested in more about origin of life research, I found that the YouTube channel "Professor Dave Explains" does a really good job of giving easy enough to understand explanations for stuff like this.