Thursday, April 06, 2006


Oh well, this will cause all sorts of hilarity.
Jesus may have walked on ice

THE New Testament says that Jesus walked on water, but a Florida university professor believes there could be a less miraculous explanation - he walked on a floating piece of ice.

Professor Doron Nof also theorised in the early 1990s that Moses's parting of the Red Sea had solid science behind it.
Mr Nof, a professor of oceanography at Florida State University, said today his study found an unusual combination of water and atmospheric conditions in what is now northern Israel could have led to ice formation on the Sea of Galilee.

It makes sense that there could be a non-trivial answer to some of the so called 'miracles' in the bible, and going by data collected by this professor, this theory seems to fit quite well.

My take on the 'miracles' in the bible is that someone did something a little extraordinary, and through story telling and chinese whispers, the 'miracles' eventually got written down as an amazing act.

My explanations of a couple of miracles:
  • Parting of the Red Sea - Probably started out that Moses found a shallow sandbar across the Red Sea that hardly anyone knew about. Through years of the stories circulating by word of mouth, he ended up parting the Red Sea.
  • Resurrection - Probably attributed to thieves who stole the body thinking it might give them some special power or some great treasure. Story has morphed into a miraculous disappearance and supposed resuurection. You never know, someone may have been a bit of a forward thinker and put the body away for sale on eBay...

When he (Prof. Nof) offered his theory 14 years ago that wind and sea conditions could explain the parting of the Red Sea, Mr Nof said he received some hate mail, even though he noted that the idea could support the biblical description of the event.

And as his theory of Jesus' walk on ice began to circulate, he had more hate mail in his email inbox.

"They asked me if I'm going to try next to explain the resurrection," he said.

Nevermind asking the professor, just ask me :)


Tom said...

I don't mind that there are plausible scientific explanations for some or all of the miracles of the Bible.

Belief in God is not based on miracles anyway, because we obviously don't see any obvious ones taking place today. The apostle Paul even wrote in one of his letters that such things would be "done away with". There is much more to belief in God than merely a written record of them having taken place.

However, scientific explanations actually help those that have difficulty believing in miracles realise that such things are in fact possible.

Now, care to explain the one where the sun "stood still" for a full day or two (can't remember the exact period) while Israel's armies routed an enemy?

James said...

Unbelievably I agree with Tom :) So hell has clearly frozen over... The miracles and the parables in the bible are widely understood by the intelligent Christians (and that excludes all of the fundamentalists, most of the US Christians and anyone else that thinks the bible is a literal description of history) to be explanations for the people of the time in a language they can understand. So maybe the Red Sea didn't part when Moses held his staff out over it... but perhaps he knew something about tides that we don't know (or at least the Egyptians didn't).