I recently viewed a DVD
from the History Channel entitled Proving God. It looked at
the possibilities of reconciling science with faith, and whether or not
science might one day be able to prove (or disprove) the existence of
God. It talks about the possible discovery of the Theory of
Everything (TOE), where some hope to find "the God Particle" to explain
gravity, nuclear forces, chemical interactions, electro-magnetism, quantum mechanics, and life itself.
It explained the science behind the proton collision of the Large
Hedron Collider (LHC), and the possibility of being able to explain the
Big Bang Theory, and what was before the Big Bang. Some hope
to be able to either replace God with science or produce evidence of
God. To many, evolution offers the best scientific
explanation of life. Still there's much debate about whether
or not everything happened by chance, or by necessity.
Stephen Hawking as said, "... the universe can and will create
itself." We don't need God. Others favor the Theory
of the Fine-Tuned Universe, with God is the architect.
Of course, science cannot prove God, but He is certainly
suggested. So how does one go about trying to find
quantifiable proof of a Creator? Is there tangible evidence
of God on earth? Can we use science to prove that God exists
and that the Bible is the literal Word of God? One suggestion
was to find the lost Ark of the Covenant. It was a central
treasure to the Jewish religion, and therefore to Judeo-Christian
truth. Some believe that it's locked away in an obscure part
of Ethiopia, and they are even trying to do DNA testing on people there
to try to trace them back to the nation of Israel. Of course,
even discovering the Ark of the Covenant would not constitute enough
evidence for some people to see the physical proof of God.
Well, this video sets out to use scientific investigation to prove
whether or not certain miracles of the Bible could have
occurred. Although we will examine this further below, we
first need to discuss the concept of a miracle. What is a
miracle? The dictionary defines a miracle as being an effect
or extraordinary event in the physical world that surpasses all known
human or natural powers and is ascribed to a supernatural cause.
There are two Hebrew words in the Old Testament that are translated as
"miracle." The first one is "pala," and we believe that the
meaning of this word is: miracle, surpassing, extraordinary,
difficult, special, wonderful, marvelous, monstrous, or "show your
power." The second word is "mopheth," meaning:
miracle, wonder, sign, portent, marvel, symbol, or token. The
Greek word for "miracle" in the New Testament is "dunamis,"
meaning: miracle, power, might, or strength.
So, most theologians believe that a miracle is something that defies
the normal physical laws of the universe. It is supernatural
because its purpose is that God can show his power and strength, beyond
the laws of nature and science. Perhaps the best example of
this is 2 Kings 6:5-7. A man was cutting down a tree when his
iron axhead fell into the water. Elisha cut a stick and threw
it in the water, and the iron axhead floated to the top of the water so
that the man was able to retrieve it. This was a miracle that
defied the very nature of gravity. The purpose of the miracle
was to show God's power so that everyone would know that Elisha was indeed a prophet of the true God.
Of course, there is much debate as to whether or not miracles still
occur today. Some attest to medical miracles, such as the
complete remission of cancer, unexplained by oncologists.
Others just write these things off as the "placebo
effect"--physiological and psychological effect upon the immune system.
So, I'm not so sure that we will ever be able to explain
miracles. If they are above the natural laws of the universe,
then science will probably never be able to understand them.
If, on the other hand, God acted upon and within the natural laws of
the universe, then science might be able to learn more about
them. This is the approach taken in the Proving God DVD in
order to explore one particular biblical miracle in depth--the parting
of the Red Sea in the book of Exodus.
How could the Red Sea have been parted to allow the Israelites to cross
it, and then have it smash down upon the Egyptian army? This
seems impossible based upon scientific understanding of physics and
fluid dynamics. The Red Sea is up to 200 miles wide and 1600
feet deep. Well, we have discovered that there is one
particular spot that makes this event seem much more likely--the Strait
of Tiran at the Gulf of Aqaba. At that spot, the Red Sea is
reduced to an 8-mile channel which is only 30 feet deep.
On certain occasions, scientists have observed a phenomenon called wind
setdown, where vast amounts of water have indeed been displaced, and
then the water has violently returned to its original place in what
scientists called bore waves. The conclusion in the DVD is
that it would indeed be possible for this to cause a parting of the Red
Sea the Strait of Tiran. If a northeast wind were to blow all
night long, it could force the water there to back up as far as one
mile, allowing for the crossing of a large group of people, although
they say that such a perfect storm as this would only occur once every
2,400 years. Incidentally, such a wind could have also dried
the sea bottom so that the people could pass "on dry ground" as noted in Exodus 14:22.
However, they cite a problem with the number of Israelites that crossed
the Red Sea in a limited amount of time. Exodus 12:37 says,
"There were about six hundred thousand men on foot, besides women and
children." This means that there would have been about 2
million people crossing. In this perfect storm, scientists
believe that the waters could have stayed parted for only about four
hours which would not be enough time for 2 million Israelites to cross
through the mile-wide parting. This, they surmise, could be a
matter of translation and interpretation. The Hebrew word for
"thousand" could be translated as "group" or "troop," which sometimes
consist of only ten men. So, instead of 600,000 men (over the
age of 20), perhaps there were only 5,000 men, with the total group
including women and children numbering only about 15,000.
This, they say, would have been possible--that 15,000 people could have
crossed the 8-mile long and one-mile wide parting in four
hours. Then, after these people had safely crossed, the winds
could have stopped, and the returning water in the resulting bore wave
could have destroyed the Egyptian army.
So it seems that one of four possibilities exists:
Owen Weber 2012
1) This is just a myth. It never really happened.
While some people are claiming to find evidence of ancient chariot
wheels and other chariot parts on the floor of the Red Sea, others are
just writing it off as natural coral. Many scientists
wouldn't even bother studying this event because they don't believe that it every occurred.
2) Moses was extremely lucky in happening to time this
crossing. He hit the one night in 2,400 years when a scientifically explained weather phenomenon occurred.
3) God had a direct hand in this (though not a "miracle") by planning
this timing so that the Israelites would indeed make their escape on
this certain night which science can explain. The DVD
suggests that, in this way, science provided the "how," while faith provided the "why."
4) This was a miracle. When Moses stretched out his hand, God
defied gravity and science by supernaturally parting the Red Sea, whether at the Strait of Tiran or a different location.
As a believer, I think that the latter offers the best
explanation. The Bible is absolutely and literally true, this
crossing occurred, and it was made possible by a miracle so that God could show His power.