Robert Odell, Jr. likes to explore and examine the many mysteries of our world and universe.
According to the Merriam-Webster Dictionary, a germ is a microorganism that causes disease. Most children and even adults consider germs to be icky, nasty, teeny, tiny, creatures that no one should ever touch.
So how did germs get here? Did God create those horrendous things, and if so, why?
In Genesis 1:31 of the King James Bible, we read, "And God saw everything that he had made, and, behold, it was very good." Does this mean God considers something that causes disease and death "good?" Surprisingly, "good" germs exist, and humans would have a difficult time living without them.
About The Word
The word "germ" is an umbrella term that covers different types of microscopic creatures.
The types of germs include:
- fungi, and
Germs are so small that human eyes can only observe them with the aid of a microscope. They have invaded the bodies of animals and human beings for thousands of years, causing infections, plagues, sickness, and untold loss of life.
Since the time of early Hebrew cleansing rituals, our primary defense against germs has been the washing and cleansing of our hands and bodies. Those who habitually neglect to take preventive measures make themselves and others they come into contact with vulnerable to attack from germs.
Bacteria (bak-TEER-ee-uh) are tiny, single-celled organisms. These creatures get their nutrients from their environment. That environment is primarily a living entity such as an animal or you.
Bacteria can be good or bad for humans.
Bad bacteria cause:
- urinary tract infections
- ear infections, or
- strep throat.
Research shows that our bodies are full of bacteria. Human bodies harbor as much as three pounds of bacteria. The good news is the majority of the bacteria inside of us is there to keep us healthy. Believe it or not, good bacteria on our skin, in our airways, and our digestive system protect us from problems such as infections. Good bacteria, also referred to as probiotics, keep our digestive system in good working order and boost our immune system. Good bacteria is a crucial ingredient in some vaccines and medicines.
Much smaller than bacteria, viruses are not full cells. They are DNA or RNA (genetic material) encased inside of a protein coating. Because they reproduce by using cell structures from other living things, they will die unless they live inside a plant, animal, or you. If someone infected with a virus leaves body fluids on a toilet seat or doorknob, the virus will die quickly, unless you come along first.
Once inside your body, viruses spread quickly and easily, causing sickness.
Viruses have caused:
- the flu
- HIV/AIDS, and, allegedly,
Like protective bacteria (probiotics), we also have helpful viruses in our bodies. Good viruses are called "phages." Also referred to as Bacteriophages, they infect and destroy harmful bacteria. Phages reside in our mucus membrane linings or our digestive, respiratory, and reproductive tracts.
Mucus is a thick, jelly-like material that gets caught in our throats sometimes. You know, that stuff that cool little boys hawk and spit out. Mucus (phlegm) has a useful purpose. It provides a barrier against harmful bacteria and shields our underlying cells from infection. Phages in our mucus contribute to our natural immune system.
Phages, good viruses, have been used to treat:
- staph infections
- salmonella infections
- skin infections, and
- antibiotic-resistant infections.
Fungi (FUN-guy) are multicelled organisms similar to plants. Fungi thrive and grow in warm and damp environments. That warm and wet environment can be a plant, animal, or you.
Fungal infections include athlete's foot and yeast infections. A weak immune system can generate a severe fungal infection.
Studies have shown that our bodies also harbor helpful fungi. According to biologist Dr. Bret S. Stetka, our bodies contain a menagerie of microbes. A growing number of researchers feel that beneficial fungi also inhabit our bodies in addition to good bacteria and viruses. The human "mycobiome" (fungal community) also has benefits to our health and aids in preventing disease.
Protozoa (pro-toe-ZO-uh) are kind of like bacteria but only more substantial in size. They are one-celled organisms that contain a nucleus and other cell structures. Protozoa are similar to plant and animal cells.
Protozoa thrive in moisture. Contaminated water is the culprit that spreads diseases like dysentery and small intestinal infections brought on by protozoa.
Protozoa are also parasites. Parasites survive inside of another living thing such as a plant, animal, or you. The deadly disease of malaria occurs when protozoa grow inside and destroy red blood cells. Even more alarming is that some protozoa can live a very long time in harsh environments outside of the human body.
As harmful as some protozoa can be, others are helpful. The beneficial protozoa eat harmful bacteria and make excellent food for fish and other animals.
A Wild Theory
Based on the fact that good germs of various types exist and those germs are beneficial to man, I have come up with a wild theory. The first humans on earth lived in the healthiest and most incredibly beautiful environment imaginable. They had everything they needed, including a fulfilling and long life ahead. However, there was one thing they were instructed not to do. "But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die" Genesis 2:17 (KJV). As the story unfolds, we learn that the first couple, Adam and Eve, ate the forbidden tree's fruit. As a result, the pair caused a microscopic storm to invade their perfect world on that day.
I postulate that at the beginning of man's existence, all germs were good. Adam and Eve's environment was perfectly clean, sanitized, healthy, and free of harmful germs. I think that the millions of good bacteria, viruses, and fungi that surrounded and lived within the couple kept them so healthy, fit, and clean that they probably did not have to take baths. Wild idea, right? However, when Adam and Eve disobeyed (sinned) and ate the fruit of the forbidden tree, their environment immediately changed. As a result of sin, multitudes of the friendly bacteria, viruses, fungi, and protozoa that God made turned against man. Every since good germs turned bad, man has been experiencing sickness, suffering, and death.
Ben-Joseph, E. (Ed.). (2020, March). Germs: Bacteria, Viruses, Fungi, and Protozoa (for Parents) - Nemours KidsHealth. Retrieved from https://kidshealth.org/en/parents/germs.html
Britt, R. (2020, March 27). What the Coronavirus Image You've Seen a Million Times Really Shows. Retrieved from https://elemental.medium.com/what-the-coronavirus-image-youve-seen-a-million-times-really-shows-3d8de7e3eb1f
(n.d.). Retrieved from https://hobart.k12.in.us/ksms/germs/protozoa.htm
Stetka, B. (2016, April 16). The Human Body's Complicated Relationship With Fungi. Retrieved from https://www.npr.org/sections/health-shots/2016/04/16/474375734/the-human-body-s-complicated-relationship-with-fungus
Yttri, J. (2017, March 28). Bacteria: The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly. Retrieved from http://www.center4research.org/bacteria-good-bad-ugly/
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.
© 2020 Robert Odell Jr
Robert Odell Jr (author) from Memphis, Tennessee on June 22, 2020:
Thank you. I appreciate your comments.
Cheryl E Preston from Roanoke on June 22, 2020:
This is excellent information. Thank you . I learned a lot.
Robert Odell Jr (author) from Memphis, Tennessee on June 04, 2020:
Thank you for reading the article and for examining my "wild theory."
Dora Weithers from The Caribbean on June 04, 2020:
I follow your reasoning, and you give your readers the idea of coming up with their own, if they disagree. Good work.