My text for the day will be the Gospel According to Lister, in which he recounts the revelation God gave to His beloved prophet, Pasteur:
And in those days there was a great sickness in the land, and the people were sore afflicted, and God came down and spoke to his prophet out of a puddle of brackish water, saying, “I am the Lord thy God and I tell thee straight, this disease and many others like it are caused by tiny animals, too small for the eye to see and having diverse and marvelous shapes–spherical and rod-like and tentacled like the beasts of the sea–which dwell in foul waters like this the one I am speaking to you from, and which can even spread through the air like dust in the wind, and grow on feces and the dead matter of animals and meat that has been left too long in the sun, and this is why salt preserves such meat, for it makes it difficult for such animals to grow.
Not all disease is so caused, but much of it, and any pestilence that spreads like this plague that currently afflicts you is certainly caused by such tiny creatures, for the plague spreads as the creatures do, from sick person to sick person, by air and water. Even a person who does not yet appear to be sick can be a carrier of disease, so in times of plague cover everyone’s face with a veil that they boil every few days in water, and let all my people wash their hands several times a day with strong soap.
Take care to preserve the cleanliness of your water supplies by keeping dead animals and feces out of it, and dispose of your night soil far from your dwellings and keep your preparers of food clean, and the places they work, and all of this will greatly reduce the effects of sickness amongst you.
Think long on this truth, O My Prophet, and see what other clever ideas you can come up with to turn this knowledge I have revealed to you to good purpose. And spread my truth far and wide amongst men, that no one may ever forget this simple fact: much disease is caused by tiny animals, too small for the eye to see, although there are many other such animals that cause no harm.”
There is no concept in there that could not have been understood by an educated, or even uneducated, man of the bronze age.
So why doesn’t this simple fact–that much disease is caused by tiny animals, too small for the eye to see, that dwell in water and wet matter and can even be blown through the air like dust on the wind–mentioned anywhere in any scripture ever?
If God so loved the world that he did all this crazy stuff to manage our fall and redemption you’d think He might have mentioned something that was easily understood but hard to discover, and would have saved untold millions of lives?
There is obviously nothing preventing Him from doing so, because Scripture tells us God is all-powerful, and nothing–not even logic–can prevent an all-powerful being from doing anything. That is, I take “all-powerful” to mean “capable of instantiating a contradiction”, which doesn’t make sense, but we are told quite clearly that God “passes all understanding”, so “not making sense” is hardly an objection any devout believer would raise, if they are honest and consistent. Since nothing–absolutely nothing–can prevent an all-powerful God from telling us about disease while at the same time experiencing everything we need to experience then there is no reason for Got not to tell us, unless either a) He can’t be bothered or b) He doesn’t exist.
Let me emphasize: sometimes believers say that “God has to let evil exist because of free will” or “God must permit human suffering so we can redeem ourselves” and similar nonsense. Such people do not believe in an all-powerful God. They believe in a technologically superior space-alien who has taken a sadistic interest in human affairs.
An all-powerful being is not subject to necessity. That is, as soon as you say God “must” or “has to” or “necessarily” does anything, you are saying God is subject to a higher power, because only a higher power is capable of placing limits and constraints on something that make it necessary to use certain means to bring about particular ends.
An all-powerful God could stand the sun still in the sky, or knock down the walls of a city, or have a child born of a virgin even though every one of those requires contradictions to basic fact as extreme as the existence of free will without evil. An all-powerful God can make contradictions real. Incomprehensibly, granted, but that is what all-powerful means.
So my question stands: why isn’t the Germ Theory of Disease mentioned in Scripture?
The answer cannot be any statement of the form, “God could not mention it because…” unless you deny that God is all-powerful. An all-powerful God could do anything, even if it involves making a contradiction real.