What’s Really Hiding in Those Deserted Caves?

by on

Scientists were shocked to discover bacteria hidden deep in caves—far from any contact with humans—that already had the ability to fight antibiotics. How could this be, since antibiotics are a very recent medical discovery?

Antibiotic-resistant bacteria—those troublesome “supergerms” that are found in hospitals and that scorn modern medicines—were recently discovered in a cave that was supposedly isolated from human contact. But this should be impossible. After all, how could bacteria in such isolated environments, supposedly millions of years old, have the genetic changes necessary to fight antibiotics before man discovered and first began using them less than a hundred years ago?

Evolutionists have suggested one possible explanation: the cave hasn’t really been isolated. They say modern bacteria must have contaminated the cave. However, this seems unlikely since these cave bacteria have some amazing resistance mechanisms that have never been observed in modern antibiotic-resistant bacteria.

Biblical creationists can agree on one thing: the cave bacteria are recent. From a biblical perspective, the cave was likely formed just a few thousand years ago, soon after the Flood. The more likely explanation is that bacteria entered the cave soon after it formed and became resistant to antibiotics in response to microorganisms living in the cave environment.

Most people think antibiotics are synthetic or manmade, but that is only partially true. Bacteria and fungi produce antibiotics to kill bacteria in their environment that compete for limited resources. All modern antibiotics are derived from natural antibiotics produced by bacteria and fungi. The very first antibiotic discovered, penicillin, is produced by the fungus Penicillium. Other modern antibiotics, such as ampicillin and methicillin, are derived from penicillin, part natural and part synthetic.

Bacteria are resistant to antibiotics as a result of their normal genetic makeup and adaptation. In the modern battle for survival among microorganisms, they appear to employ mechanisms that God originally placed into them for a good purpose: possibly to control the growth of bacterial populations in their environment.

Antibiotic-resistant bacteria are both “ancient” and modern. They point to the Creator’s marvelous designs since creation, around six thousand years ago. Studying cave bacteria may help researchers develop new techniques to fight harmful bacteria, whose once-good designs can now sometimes cause great harm in our cursed world.

Dr. Georgia Purdom is a speaker and researcher for Answers in Genesis. She earned her doctorate from Ohio State University in molecular genetics and spent six years as a professor of biology at Mr. Vernon Nazarene University.

Answers Magazine

October – December 2012

God’s Word clearly teaches that the earth is young, and the evidence powerfully confirms it. So don’t miss this issue of Answers, which brings you up to speed on the ten best evidences for a young earth. Also discover incredible new examples of the Creator’s undeniable designs, a biblical view on political activism, the latest findings on the Dead Sea scrolls, and much more!

Browse Issue Subscribe


Get the latest answers emailed to you.

I agree to the current Privacy Policy.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.

Answers in Genesis is an apologetics ministry, dedicated to helping Christians defend their faith and proclaim the gospel of Jesus Christ.

Learn more

  • Customer Service 800.778.3390