The Parable of the Green Beans

There was a certain woman, and she sowed green beans. And the beans brought forth bean vines in abundance, so that there were more than the woman and her family could eat. So she got herself canning jars, to can the surplus beans withal, and to provide for the days when the vines would cease to produce, that they might have green beans to eat when there were no bean vines.

She made a great fire in her stove, and boiled the jars, and filled them with green beans, and made several batches of jars of canned green beans.

But the final batch of canned beans was hastily processed, and did not reach the heat that should have destroyed every possible spore of infection. And it came to pass in the fullness of time, that a spore of Clostridium botulinum did grow, and multiply, and form a great culture in one of these jars.

And there arose a theological sub-culture within that culture, and they argued in this wise: It is written that oxygen is a deadly poison to all of Clostridium- kind, and the world within this jar is sealed from the oxygen outside. Our scientists have shown that the temperatures that prevailed during the Big Sealing were so high that no competing organism's spores could live, yet our own ancestral Spore could survive. Can these things have been caused by any agency other than a Divine Providence? Could any mere accident have created conditions so perfect for Clostridium-kind, when a slight deviation would have made life in this Jar impossible?

But in the fullness of time, the Woman opened the Jar, and oxygen pervaded the culture, and every Clostridium perished, even unto the last microbe. And the Woman did eat of the beans, not knowing that it contained a toxin deadly to humans, and the effects thereof are called botulism. And thus it is shown that the existence of the bacteria in the Jar, perfect though the Jar was for them,(for a time,) was no part of the intentions of the Woman, but was an Accident.

Copyright 1997, Albert J.Rogers (Albert the Skeptic)
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