Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Did Moses Really Part the Red Sea?

Photo Credit: Rob Sheridan
Being a Christian who believes that the Bible is the Word of God may cause some to think I'm a little bit crazy. Some would say that science and faith are incompatible and that one has nothing to do with the other. In fact, there are many that would argue that the miracles that are spoken of in the Bible are unbelievable and could have never happened.

But since I believe that God created nature and science and that he remains in control of the universe, he can do that which is seemingly impossible. A case in point is the parting of the Red Sea, as outlined in Exodus 13 & 14. The Bible indicates that while being chased by Pharoah's army, the Israelites, who were led by the prophet Moses, were able to cross the Red Sea while it was parted by God. After the Israelites had crossed, the water returned to its normal state and drowned Pharoah's army. Impossible, right?

Some scientists think otherwise. Here's the story from
"The parting of the waters described in the book of Exodus that enabled Moses and the Israelites to escape the pharaoh's army is possible, computer simulations run by researchers at the National Center for Atmospheric Research and the University of Colorado at Boulder show.

To test the theory that the biblical account may have depicted actual events, the researchers studied maps of the region, archaeological records and satellite measurements to find a topographical feature where such an event might have been possible. They settled on an area south of the Mediterranean Sea where some oceanographers say a branch of the Nile River drained into what was called the Lake of Tanis, a coastal lagoon 3,000 years ago.

The computer model shows a 63 mph east wind blowing across the area and its 6-feet-deep waters for 12 hours. In the scenario, the wind pushed back the waters into both the lake and the channel of the river, exposing a mud flat 2 to 2.5 miles long and 3 miles wide for four hours. As the winds died down, the waters quickly flowed back in and in theory would have drowned anyone on the mud flat.

"The simulations match fairly closely with the account in Exodus," said Carl Drews of NCAR, the lead author of the study published in the online journal PLoS ONE.

"The parting of the waters can be understood through fluid dynamics. The wind moves the water in a way that’s in accordance with physical laws, creating a safe passage with water on two sides and then abruptly allowing the water to rush back in."
You can read the full study here.

Some Christians might argue that this experiment is seeking to explain away God's existence by proving that the divine is not needed in order for the apparently miraculous to occur.  But I think it proves the opposite.  Since some will say that they only will believe what science can prove than maybe this little experiment demonstrates that we don't always know as much as we think we do.  Many have mocked the Bible's claims of miracles for years only to find that there might even be a natural explanation.  Just because we think something is impossible doesn't always mean it is.

Since I believe in God's sovereignty and his control of the universe, I think he can use the laws of nature (or not) in order to accomplish his purposes.  He can part a sea, he can send a flood that covers the earth or even cause a man to be swallowed by a large fish (and live to tell about!)  I do not believe in a god that created the universe but passively sits back while things take on a life of their own.  The God that I believe in takes an active interest in our lives and in our world and is always at work to accomplish his purposes for his own glory.

If you are interested in learning more about this God, please follow this link

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