The original question was:
If God made everything good, where did Typhus come from? Since it can only survive in man, it must have been in Adam.

Answer by Diane Eager

There are a few issues here. The question is based on misinformation since we know that man is not the only place the microbes that cause Typhus can live. Typhus is an infection caused by microorganisms named Rickettsia. Humans get this infection from louse bites. The microbes live in the alimentary tract of the louse and are shed in their droppings. When lice bite people, or people with lice scratch their skin, the microbes get into their blood and then damage the cells lining small blood vessels. Animals such as squirrels, mice and other rodents can also harbour these microbes, and they can be transmitted from these to humans via fleas and lice. So first point – typhus did not have to be created in Adam.

Another similar example of a disease once thought to be carried only by humans is leprosy, but has now been found to live in armadillos, and so people can get it from armadillos as well as from other people. (For more information, see article in ScienceDaily) Furthermore, microbes do not necessarily make all their varying hosts ill, e.g. cats carry a microbe named Bartonella with no ill effects, but an infected cat who scratches or bites you can give you “cat scratch disease” which is not pleasant. In fact, most microbes don’t cause any harm to people or animals. This means it is very difficult to know when a microbe that causes man problems is at the same time living on a non-human body quite happily and harmlessly without us knowing. Since they are not causing any trouble, we don’t go looking for them.

Nevertheless, this question does bring up some important issues about infectious diseases that at present have no other known living reservoir, e.g. smallpox, poliomyelitis and Guinea worm. Even if these can now only survive in humans this may not have always been the case. Other hosts may have died out, or the organisms may have changed from being free living and helpful to you or the environment, to being dependent on a human host, and hence now a parasite or disease agent. This is change, but it is not evolution.

Recently more evidence has come to light that confirms the point we have been making for many years about the origin of disease. Although the world was created good, (Genesis 1:31) it has not remained that way. The earth and all living things, including human beings have degenerated to a great degree down through the millennia since man rebelled against his Creator and God cursed the ground in judgement. This means that even if a microbe makes humans ill now, it didn’t always do that. Therefore, there is no need for Adam to have had all human diseases. So what is the evidence?

The following is from an article in the journal Nature Medicine about the emergence of new diseases (and re-emergences of old ones) in the last 50 years: “About 30 new diseases have been identified, including Legionnaires’ disease, human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)/acquired immune deficiency syndrome (AIDS), hepatitis C, bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE)/variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (vCJD), Nipah virus, several viral haemorrhagic fevers and, most recently, severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) and avian influenza.” , Social and environmental risk factors in the emergence of infectious diseases Robin A Weiss & Anthony J McMichael, Nature Medicine 10, S70 – S76 (2004) doi:10.1038/nm1150

The authors of this paper suggest the emergence of new diseases is caused by changes in human behaviour and “human ecology”, e.g. crowding in urban slums, increased human movement and encroachment into previously wild environments; and the use and misuse of medical, biological and other technology. For example, Legionnaires’ disease became a problem when humans provided the ideal culture and transmission medium in air conditioning systems.

Between the time of Adam and these modern day problems many changes have occurred in the environment, in microbes themselves, and in the human body and human behaviour. We have dealt with these is more detail in our other websites and DVDs, but here is a summary of the important changes.

1. Initially all creatures, including insects were vegetarian. Therefore, insects (and other animals) did not bite or attack people, so diseases that are now transmitted by bites and scratches would not have existed.

2. The human immune system has degenerated and microbes that were formerly kept out of the body, or under control, escaped control and were able to multiply and cause disease. We still see this happening in people with immune system diseases who get ill from ‘germs’ that are normally kept under control in healthy people.

3. Microbes have degenerated, and some have become parasites instead of living in symbiotic relationships or as harmless commensals. None of these changes are evolution. Humans, insects and microbes have not changed from one kind to another. All of these changes are degeneration. There is actually no advantage for microbes or carriers to be dependent on humans for survival. Once microbes have established themselves in the human population for any these reasons they are very hard to shift, and will continue to infect generation after generation. However, as we have seen from diseases that have only emerged in the last generation, there is no need to trace diseases all the way back to Adam, and then turn around and blame God for this.

For more information about bacteria see the Evidence Leaflet Hospital Superbugs: Evidence from Antibiotic Resistance. Download PDF

To understand how infectious disease fit in Biblical history see the Creation Research DVD Did a Good God Make Bad Bugs? and listen to the Audio CD From Good to Bad to Worse to Glory, also available as mp3 download. These resources available from the Creation Research webshop

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About The Contributor

Diane Eager