How do molecules create life? Understanding the molecular mechanisms of life is the greatest challenge in the molecular sciences. The construction of a synthetic cell is the best approach to really uncover life's secrets. In recent decades, syntehtic biology has made tremendous progress in engineering living systems and creating minimal cells. However, only the bottom up construction of life requires us to address the fundamental challenge of understanding life. There is no blueprint to construct a living entity that can extract energy and nutrients from its environment to sustain itself, grow, and divide. Constructing a cell from its building blocks would be a monumental achievement and the fundamental breakthroughs in chemistry, physics and biology that will undoubtedly result from this effort will change the fields of physical and biological sciences forever. The magnitude of the challenge is tremendous, but European researchers are ready to take a global lead in the concerted, multinational effort across the physical and biological sciences that is required to build a synthetic cell.