Genesis 1:31
“And God saw every thing that he had made, and, behold, it was very good. And the evening and the morning were the sixth day.”

We want to avoid getting bacteria in our food, don’t we? Bacteria cause illness. Bacteria are bad.

Yet, some of the world’s healthiest foods contain deliberately introduced bacteria. One such strain of bacteria is the Lactic Acid Bacterium (LAB). This is used in foods such as kimchi or sauerkraut. Brassicas, such as cabbage, often have low quantities of this bacterium. When sealed in a suitable fermentation jar with salt, the LAB can thrive. LAB is able to withstand high acidity and salinity, so it grows, even in a salty environment. One of the products of LAB’s metabolism is lactic acid. Most other bacteria cannot survive in either acid or salt, so the LAB begins to dominate, while the vast majority of other bacteria die. LAB itself is not harmful to humans, so, paradoxically, the good bacteria have effectively killed off all the bad bacteria, providing a healthy, long-lasting food.

When God finished making the world at the end of day six of creation, He looked at all that He had made and declared it to be very good. This must have included bacteria. Since Adam’s sin, many bacteria have mutated (though not evolved, as they have not gained new genetic information) into harmful organisms. Perhaps originally, all bacteria were created to be as useful as LAB in that original perfect world that God gave us and that we so sinfully polluted.

Prayer: We thank You for the world that You made, Lord God, with all its complexities. Thank You that You gave us dominion over this world and have provided us with all that we need for life. Amen.

Author: Paul F. Taylor

Ref: Wong, S. (2020), Make kimchi at home by cultivating a friendly microbial ecosystem, < >, accessed 2/29/2020. Image: Shutterstock, licensed to author.

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