Abstract. Life is a state of matter characterized by a stable pattern of non-equilibrium behavior. Replication, central to maintenance of pattern, is thought to play an important role in driving the transition from non-living to living matter. Using a kinetic Monte-Carlo simulation of an artificial chemistry, we demonstrate the existence of a phase transition from non-life to life (defined as non-replicating and replicating systems respectively). The transition is first order and occurs spontaneously in the absence of external tuning and has features which differ from those described previously.