Did God create virulent microbes?

First, I read this verse from the New Testament:
“All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made” (John 1:3).

Then, I read these verses in the Book of Mormon (please post a Bible equivalent - I looked for it and couldn’t find it):
"Wherefore, all things which are good cometh of God; and that which is evil cometh of the devil; for the devil is an enemy unto God, and fighteth against him continually, and inviteth and enticeth to sin, and to do that which is evil continually.

“But behold, that which is of God inviteth and enticeth to do good continually; wherefore, every thing which inviteth and enticeth to do good, and to love God, and to serve him, is inspired of God” (Moroni 7:12-13).

So … Did He create disease-causing microbes?

Since I affirm God is the creator of all that is, I’m going to go with yes.

The Bible says God’s creation is good. But I don’t think good means free of pain and death. I don’t think disease or predation or suffering is evil. Nature needs death to function in a healthy way.


To add to Christys point, with regards to the microbes flourishing, it can be said that the flourishing, albeit with negative consequences for us or other animals, is good for the microbe. Similarily when a lion eats a lamb, the latter is suffering for the former to flourish. So there is inherent goodness, even when a privation of another goodness (evil) occurs. This is the way the traditions dealt with the so called problem of evil and it is what I adopted from Fr. Brian Davies.

Also: Isaiah 45:7 KJV: I form the light, and create darkness: I make peace, and create evil: I the Lord do all these things.


And to make matters clear, this doesn´t entail that God creates our diseases or plants cancer cells in us, like some (sadly) tend to believe. I believe his role is equivalent in such a case as in the case with the lion and the lamb.

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I would go with yes, also. Even some microbes that are considered “good” in pro-biotics have been associated with serious infections. It does make for questions, but are microbes any different than lions, venomous snakes, box jellyfish, and maybe even drunk drivers? We also see God as creating leviathan. And what of cancer cells, our own body’s cells mutated to turn against us? Where is God’s hand in that? I have no easy answers, but to observe that things evidentlymust be as they are. While I hold there is something to a fallen creation, that does not totally satisfy my understanding of our present condition.


It takes the fallen nature of man to declare things evil that do not further his self interest :slight_smile:


Bless him for his sovereignty, cancer or otherwise. Quoting loosely,

Is he safe?
Of course he isn’t safe, but he’s good.

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Indeed, Dale. We do not understand these things, but the way the universe is made perhaps they are inevitable, and as fine tuning seems to say, the universe could not be made any other way. Interesting that in our physical life as well as spiritual, death is the price paid for life.

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Agreed, but I’m not excited about that phrasing, because it sounds fatalistic and coldly transactional, and not lovingly personal as it is for Christians.

I will just drop that here. The episodes can be easily downloaded. It helped me tremendously in understanding the nature of goodness and evil and Gods relation to our subjective experiences of them. It doesn´t answer every question (which appropriately reformulated is: Why isn´t there more goodness in the world?), but dissolves the Problem of Evil period.
Of course this is no help in a moment of grief and it is not intended to be. Nothing can replace pastoral care or a listening friend. But it can help when one struggles with Gods relationship to the world or the intellectual PoE.

Since I affirm God is NOT the creator of all that is, I’m going to go with no – that God did not personally create all of them.

God did not create this post you are reading.
God did not create this computer I am writing on.
God did not create the books I wrote or the software I have made.
God did not create the vast majority of storms, earthquakes, and natural disasters.
God did not create all the results of evolution.

What God did do is make all of these things possible.
God did create life – this self-organizing phenomenon that does things for its own reasons.
God did have a hand in how life developed – so I would say God created trees, animals, and man.
God did inspire content in most books we read, films we watch, and games we play.
God did create a universe which operates according to rules where storms, earthquakes and natural disasters happen.

As for virulent microbes and other predators, the thing is that these are part of a developmental process with mutual stimulation for growth and learning. I think it highly doubtful that intelligent life could have developed without them. But this does not mean that God directly created every nasty organism. No God did not make earthquakes to punish the people in Mexico city. No God did not create the AIDS virus to punish homosexuals and hemophiliacs.


God did not create selfishness but allowed it to happen so he could share the experience of love.
If God created life he could not be alive himself. It is the definition of self we struggle with here. Do you claim bacteria do things for their “own” reason? Were do you define the bacterial “self”?

The creation of life is indeed very different from the creation of a machine like a watch. The essence of life is self-organization. Therefore its creation requires setting up the right conditions where this can happen.

The selfishness of infants is perfectly good and natural. Their powers are so limited they need to focus everything they have on their own growth, learning, and survival. It is only as they grow and learn to do more things that their concerns can then extend beyond themselves to the realization that there are others like themselves in the world.

As a living organism, bacterial do things for there own reasons. Which means you cannot fully explain what they do by environmental causes. Some of the causes are within.

Life is all about growth and learning. Does God grow and learn? He is already all-powerful and all-knowing. He is already everything He can be, so the answer is no. What God has is everything we need in order for us to grow and learn. This is why God is described as life-giving rather than alive. God most definitely DID create life – including the very idea of life itself.

Some consider DNA to be a blueprint. I think that is overstating things a bit. DNA is an information storage medium recording what works in the environments its ancestors have lived. This does represent a standard for comparison to measure its currents state in order to maintain itself. Thus, it is there we can find much of what the bacteria has of a sense of self and those reasons for things it does apart from environmental causes.

Of course animals have developed a nervous system to store information quite differently, and that gives them a sense of self and reasons for action that go beyond what is found in their DNA. On top of that human beings also have a mind of linguistic information to give them a sense of self and reasons for their actions also.

So he can therefore not have eternal life. Try to be logically coherent.
Ever considered that you can give life to others if you have it?

if you credit them with the ability to reason than you would also have to declare them morally responsible for their actions. Do you do that with animals too?

Your pretense to logical coherence does not interest me. I prefer the real thing. Neither life nor eternal life is some magical stuff that you can have in some collection of property. So in that sense nobody has eternal life. Certainly the sense of entitlement that so many so called Xtians call by the name of “eternal life” is a bunch of bogus nonsense.

Eternal life is a relationship with an infinite God for there is no end to what He has to give and thus in a relationship with Him we can continue to learn and grow eternally.

No your dishonest editing of my post (changing “reasons” to “reason”) was rejected. And you ignored my clarification about what it meant for bacteria to have reasons. One does not have to have an ability to reason in order to have reasons. Just because clouds have no ability to reason doesn’t mean there are no reasons for it to produce rain, snow, or hail. Going back to my explicit explanation given in my post, are you denying that you have to look inside the bacteria in order to explain everything it does?

Since you lie and equivocate with what I said do you also lie and play mental with yourself in order to pretend to logical coherence which you don’t really understand it in the first place.

This is simply by way of demonstration. I can play ad-hominem games too. These dives into nonsensical personal judgments don’t prove anything with respect to the topic but only reflect upon your own logical weakness.

Sorry for having p***** you of. I thought that the comment that some life is a rare thing whilst some only exist was a joke on humans by Oscar Wilde, not on God :slight_smile:

I did not know that you have such an adverse reaction to the concept of eternal life and that you think of life not to be some collection of properties, but then declare it to be about the collection of the properties to be able to grow and to learn, whilst my definition is simply “the ability to move energy at will”.

The ad homs are on you to call my comments magic nonsense and to call me a liar for editing your text. If someone beliefs in magic here it is clearly you by thinking I could edit your text. Such powers are way beyond my non existent hacker capabilities :slight_smile: I do however have a linguistic problem with the singular and plural - and my translation chip so I can misunderstand your text- in fact I am quite good at that :slight_smile:

This is indeed the thing where I got stuck as I wondered why you give the bacteria ownership for their reasons in

  • thus my question on where you put their “self”, but then how could you see that if you decided me to be one of those so called Xtians. .

You are welcome to point out anything that is logically incoherent in my statements as that is what I hope for in order to improve my worldview. So please do call them out. I won’t accuse you of personal judgement but welcome your help.

From your statements I figure that you despise Christians that consider the concept of eternal life for being into bogus nonsense. Now I find the idea of a physical eternal life problematic as I wonder in which form people consider this to happen, particularly what they want to look like in that eternal life, e.g. like when they were in their youth or as an old and frail person… However I do not accuse them of thinking of nonsense or magic but ask them to try to think logically coherent about it to come to a more realistic conclusion, knowing that it is hard to adhere to coherent thinking as we are error prone, at least us mere mortals.

Coming back to the original problem, the question “Did God create the virulent microbes” seems to be as much of a source of misunderstanding. The first cause is automatically the ultimate cause for everything that follows from it. Without A, B would not have happened. So did you create your program by yourself or did you create it by the grace of God. However, unlike the bacterium, because you have been given free will you bare responsibility for your program as it is an expression of your will. As a free agent you would have to make a case if what you do is the will of God, but as the first cause he bares ultimate responsibility for that - and I don’t think he’s got a problem with that :slight_smile: as he already knows the total outcome. It is only us fallen humans that have a beef with God for something that is not in our interest. It’s that apple thing

In modern Western culture we tend to interpret “all” as 100%, excluding nothing. But that does not appear to be the way it is used in the Bible.

For example:
Mark 1:5

And people from the whole Judean countryside and all the people of Jerusalem were going out to him, and were baptized by him in the river Jordan, confessing their sins.


Luke 2:1

[ The Birth of Jesus ] In those days a decree went out from Emperor Augustus that all the world should be registered.

The chief priest in Jerusalem did not go out to be baptized by John, and the Chinese were not registered in the census.

Perhaps it is better to say that God created the situation/mechanisms/opportunities for these things (like microbes) to happen.

Very good point, Vance. Thanks for that perspective.

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Thanks for that refreshing sense of realism. Surely the bean counters would insist that the world ended at its 4 corners anyhow :slight_smile:
Usually it is that parasite that blinds children that is cited as example for an evil creation, so I really wonder why we worry about those simple virulent microbes. We should really worry more about examples that are bad in the context of harming children, as that makes them far worse than thinking that those things are bad for grown ups as well.
Perhaps God created death by microbe as an act of mercy so we we would not suffer death by dementia.

This may be relevant, and it is one of my favorite miracles.

John 9 New Revised Standard Version (NRSV)

A Man Born Blind Receives Sight

9 As he walked along, he saw a man blind from birth. 2 His disciples asked him, “Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?” 3 Jesus answered, “Neither this man nor his parents sinned; he was born blind so that God’s works might be revealed in him. 4 We[a] must work the works of him who sent me[b] while it is day; night is coming when no one can work. 5 As long as I am in the world, I am the light of the world.” 6 When he had said this, he spat on the ground and made mud with the saliva and spread the mud on the man’s eyes, 7 saying to him, “Go, wash in the pool of Siloam” (which means Sent). Then he went and washed and came back able to see. 8 The neighbors and those who had seen him before as a beggar began to ask, “Is this not the man who used to sit and beg?” 9 Some were saying, “It is he.” Others were saying, “No, but it is someone like him.” He kept saying, “I am the man.” 10 But they kept asking him, “Then how were your eyes opened?” 11 He answered, “The man called Jesus made mud, spread it on my eyes, and said to me, ‘Go to Siloam and wash.’ Then I went and washed and received my sight.” 12 They said to him, “Where is he?” He said, “I do not know.”

God works were revealed in this man through his imperfections.

So often it is hard times or disaster or problems that bring a revelation of God’s work.