The latest epidemic of hemorrhagic fever caused by the Ebola virus has captured the international news headlines. The Ebola outbreak is currently wreaking havoc in Africa and scares many in this country as two missionaries return back to the United States for treatment. The suspected cases approach 2000 and the confirmed deaths by August 8 have reached 921. The numbers of cases reported in West Africa this year are more than triple of any epidemic since the disease was first described in 1976. Ebola infection starts like many other tropical diseases like malaria, with fever, fatigue, muscle aches, and weakness; but then in about 10 days massive bleeding, hemorrhaging and destruction occur.
The spread of scary diseases like Ebola is a cause for concern and leads to questions such as:
- Where did all these germs come from, and how do they fit into a biblical worldview?
- How can something so small have such a huge deadly impart on the world around us?
Although I cannot give a specific “genesis” or origin for Ebola – there is still a lot of mystery surrounding the disease. Bats are a suspect reservoir for Ebola in the rainforest; but no one knows what the virus may be doing in these animals. I do provide a basic perspective for Ebola in my book, The Genesis of Germs. Disease was not intended in the original very, good design of creation. Infectious diseases are a secondary state in creation and a result of the fall, subsequent curse, corruption, and decay of many microbes, genes, and infectious agents. Many do not realize that some viruses, bacteriophages are ‘good’ and play a positive role in controlling bacteria in oceans. They recycle many elements in ecosystems.
In my book, The Genesis of Germs, I do suggest several major factors that probably led to the origin of disease. These include the modification of original microbe ‘kinds’, mutation, displacement and decay of genetic material. Ebola is a terrifying disease, like many other biblical diseases and plagues.
Those medical missionary workers like Dr. Kent Brantly and Nancy Writebol who contacted have Ebola are getting stronger with experimental serum involving monoclonal antibodies from those previously survived the disease. The missionaries are very courageous and demonstrate Christian compassion to those in need. I believe Christians should provide treatment to those in need and should also be thinking through and studying the genesis of germs.
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