It's a dark and stormy night, and the bacteria living in a small puddle outside the factory are struggling to survive. Nutrients are scarce, and the man-made substances found in the wastewater are unusable by the bacteria. Will they perish? The answer will surprise you! Unlike humans and many animals, bacteria typically do not have the same choices in dealing with their environment. If they live outside and it's raining, they can't put up an umbrella or go inside. If nutrients are low, they can't go to the grocery store and get food. Instead God designed bacteria to be "master adapters," with genetic resources that humans and animals don't have.
An Ocean of Options
Originally God designed bacteria to be invaluable servants to plants and animals in His "very good" world (Genesis 1:31); and the vast majority of bacteria still display beneficial characteristics. In the human gut, for instance, they break down nutrients and produce vitamins that we can't make on our own and we couldn't survive without. They also make many essential elements, such as sulfur, phosphorus, and carbon — from soil, water, and air — available to living things. In our fallen world, bacteria even break down deadly pollutants, such as waste products from factories.
[Read the rest of the article at Answers in Genesis.]