In science, living force, aka vis viva, is a 17th century theory that perfectly elastic colliding spheres possess a conserved property, quantified by the value of the mass of the object times its velocity squared, mv², which into the 19th century was extrapolated or molded into the theory that what distinguishes “life”, animates “living beings”, and initiated the origin of life is special physical or in some variations metaphysical “force”, distinct or in some way from the standard forces of nature or unified force of the universe.
The etymology of the concept of “living force”, in its original sense of the definition, seems to have originated in 1686 coining of the term “vis viva”, which is Latin for living force, German mathematician Gottfried Leibniz, in regard to Dutch physicist Christiaan Huygens’ mathematical quantity mv², and the postulate or rather experimental finding that this quantity is conserved during inelastic collisions of hard spherical balls.
In 1847, English physicist James Joule, in his lecture “On Matter, Living Force, and Heat”, was employing the term ‘living force’ explicitly to mean ‘the force of bodies in motion’. Historically, says Joule, ‘the force possessed by moving bodies is termed by mechanical philosophers vis viva, or living force.’ Curiously, in this historical lecture, which is given in the reading room of a local library, Joule uses the term living force to argue from a quantitative physics point of view, having done a numerous experiments on this topic, that the premise of a “conserved” un-destroyable living force can be used to explain or give support to the Biblical genesis creation myth to the effect that following the great deluge, which Joule says occurred 4000 to 6000 years ago, the friction occurring between the water and the wind over this interval of time does not annihilate the living force, but rather: 
“Wherever living force is apparently destroyed, an equivalent is produced which in process of time may be reconverted into living force. This equivalent is heat. Experiment has shown that wherever living force is apparently destroyed or absorbed, heat is produced.”
“According to Darwin's view, logically and consistently carried out (not illogically as he describes the process of evolution), god, in breathing into one protozoan such living force and mental power, absolutely transferred a sufficient fraction of his own intelligence and vitality to stock the whole realm of living organisms which should afterwards arise is the lineal descendants of that first imperfectly developed animal.”
“The force is what gives a Jedi his power. It's an energy field created by all living things. It surrounds us, penetrates us, and binds the galaxy together.”— Obi-Wan Kenobi (1977), Star Wars 
“You must feel the force around you.”— Yoda (1977), Star Wars
“We pledge to put in power this truth: no other forces than the common physical chemical ones are active within the organism. In those cases which cannot at the time be explained by these forces one has either to find a specific way or form of their action by means of physical mathematical method, or to assume new forces equal in dignity to the chemical-physical forces inherent in matter, reducible to the force of attraction and repulsion.”— Emil Reymond (1842), written in collaboration with Ernst Brucke; soon after, Helmholtz and Karl Ludwig joined in (see: Reymond-Brucke oath), and as legend has it they each signed it with their own blood
“The ‘energy’ of mechanics must not be confused with the ‘energy’ of ordinary parlance, nor is it excusable to imagine that a mechanical ‘live force’ is a force that is alive. If one would know the meaning of ‘entropy’ one had better glance at a treatise on thermodynamics.”— Vilfredo Pareto (1912), Treatise on General Sociology