M. Genitalium is a type of bacteria that exists in primates where its name suggests – and beside from making its living almost exclusively in this location it has some very interesting genetic qualities. Of all known species of bacteria it has the very smallest genome, meaning that it has the least amount of DNA of all living things. Geneticists have consequently used M. Genitalium as a model life form to study what genes are absolutely necessary for life to exist. Over countless generations of life M. Genitalium has dispensed of most genes that other life forms use in favor of relying on a ‘host’ organism. The result is an incredibly efficient organism that could also be thought of as the most co-dependent creature in existence. Outside of its very narrow habitat and the nutrients supplied by its host – M. Genitalium is incapable of surviving.
It seems fascinating to me how that an organism’s mode of living could so drastically affect its internal makeup. The more M. Genitalium relied on the life of another creature to survive, the more its own ability to survive independently was lost. Over time it became incredibly efficient at exploiting its host organism, but with this efficiency came a greater loss of self sufficiency. Although M. Genitalium is very good at its mode of living, its identity is wrapped up in the creature it exploits – and can’t live without it. The life it has is completely borrowed from another creature, and if there was any example in nature of a ‘living dead’ creature, M. Genitalium would be it.
Vampires in lore and legend are creatures like M. Genitalium that really have no life of their own, but continue only through the life force of other creatures. Typically in mythology vampires are incredibly seductive creatures whose immortal beauty is entirely the result of a continual supply of their victim’s blood. Of course without the blood of a victim coursing through their veins their bodies shrivel back into a native corpse form. It has long been an intriguing subject for authors to portray the emotional state of vampires – who although they possess great external beauty also have a keen awareness of the fact they are really dead on the inside. This emotional turmoil only makes them more seductive as their hapless victims are also drawn by a sense of compassion.
Although there may not be vampires in reality, creatures like M. Genitalium do exist through the exploitation of other life forms. We live in a society that praises external beauty and those who are most effective at manipulating others. It has been that way for a long time, as scripture says in Psalms 49:18, “..and men will praise you, when you do well to yourself.” But while we admire and aspire to be the James Bond’s and Marilyn Monroe’s of society, we fail to see what is happening on the inside of those people when they begin to feed on the ‘life force’ of others. Like M. Genitalium, they lose the ability to exist independent of others, and like vampires they begin to feel dead on the inside. Oftentimes it is the prettiest and most popular people that struggle with the most depression.
To a degree we are all vampires because we have all exploited others for our own benefit. The more we exploit others for our own benefit, the more we die on the inside. The world like a vampire can be incredibly seductive in its ways, but Jesus told us, “The thief comes not, bur for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy: I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly.” –John 10:10 When JESUS is our source of Life on the inside, we no longer need to exploit others for our own survival. When you have His Life coursing through your veins, you will realize why Jesus said, “But whosoever drinks of the water that I shall give him shall never thirst; but the water that I shall give him shall be in him a well of water springing up into everlasting life.” –John 4:14 We were all meant to be redeemed vampires, alive from the dead, living off the blood of JESUS.
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