When a deadly strain of E. coli bacteria struck Germany in the spring, a fearful media buzz began. “Their weapon is evolution,” cried the Philadelphia Inquirer. The paper called for a better understanding of the bacteria’s “overnight” evolution, which seemed much faster than Charles Darwin had postulated.1
What really happened with the E. coli? Bacteria can exchange genetic material with other bacteria, quickly acquiring new traits to help them adapt to complex, changing ecological roles.2 After Adam’s Fall in Genesis 3, some of these microorganisms have transformed into dangerous pathogens, whether by mutations, gene swaps, host changes, or other factors. But they never acquire information that would change them into something besides bacteria.
In fact, their amazing ability to adapt and their host’s ability to resist their new strains are both excellent evidences of design—even in our fallen world.
Understanding these changes does not require acceptance of evolution but rather a willingness to explore how these incredible complexities have gone wrong in a cursed world.