The Zohar, Chapter “Bo (Come Unto Pharaoh),” Item 66: And God said: ‘Let the earth put forth grass.’ The earth is Malchut. (In Hebrew Earth is “Eretz,” originating from the word “Ratzon,” desire.) And the “herb yielding seeds” are the Light that grows out of the sowing of the hidden Light.
How can something grow out of a desire? Growth is possible when the force of bestowal is present in it. If an inanimate desire receives the intention of bestowal and aspires to the Light, then it transforms into a vegetative desire.
Initially, there was only an inanimate desire. But if you take the part of the inanimate desire that can become like the Light, it can transform into a plant. In other words, the plant is the same inanimate desire with an additional Light operating inside it and developing it.
In order for a plant to transform into an animal, an additional portion of Light is needed to influence the desire and transform it to the higher level. The same applies to the “human” level.
Everything grows from a still desire (“earthly dust”) due to the Light’s influence on it. The Light that influenced the desire to receive, “Yesh Mi Ain” (existence from absence) created the desire’s degrees from above downwards. These degrees are: inanimate, vegetative, animate, and human.
The same happens during the ascent from below upwards. The Light acts and builds a plant from the inanimate desire by bringing in its own quality. Then it takes the plant, adds a bit more of the Light’s quality – the quality of bestowal, and thus creates an animal. Then it takes the animal, adds some more quality of bestowal, and thus makes a human being. But everything comes from the inanimate level of matter.
It says in Beresheet that the Creator took some earth and water and made a man, which means that He influenced the inanimate matter by His force of bestowal. Then He took some of the inanimate desire and transformed it into a plant, and then He took some from the plant, added His desire of bestowal to it, and thus derived an animal.
In any case, only the Light’s influence develops a desire and builds the inanimate, vegetative, animate, and human levels. This is the primary act of creation (Beresheet).