Jesus walked on ice, not water?
According to an Associated Press story, Florida State University professor Doron Nof claims he may have found a scientific explanation for Jesus' miraculous walking on the water of the Sea of Galilee. According to Nof, an oceanography professor, a rare combination of water and atmospheric conditions in the Sea of Galillee two millennia ago may have caused a patch of ice to form.
To observers, in this case, the disciples in the boat, the ice would have been hard to distinguish from the unfrozen water surrounding it. "I'm not trying to provide any information that has to do with theology," Professor Nof is quoted as saying. "All we've thought is about the natural process."
Against this theory are two strong arguments.
- The walk on the water took place at the wrong season of the year for ice. According to John 6:10, "there was plenty of grass" at the place where Jesus fed the 5,000, a miracle that He performed earlier that same day (see also Matthew 14:19). Mark's account (6:39) describes it as "green grass." This historical detail indicates the event did not take place in the winter but some time during the season when grass is green. In fact, the context of John 6 and 7 suggests that it happened before the Feast of Tabernacles (Sukkot), which occurs in October. Sukkot involves sleeping outside in shelters made of tree branches, not an activity for sub-freezing temperatures, and the miracle apparently took place before Sukkot, closer to summer.
According to the temperatures posted by the Israel Meteorological Service, mean temperatures there from July through September range from a low of 70º F. (about 20º C.) at night to a high of 84º F. (about 30º C.) during the day. Even in October, the range is much too warm for ice 66º F. (19º C.) to 81º F. (27º C.).
- The observers of the event were well qualified to distinguish between water and ice. They were not visitors to an unfamiliar setting; they were professional fisherman who had spent their entire lives on that very lake, night and day, in all seasons and every kind of weather. Furthermore, at the end of the walking on water incident, they received Jesus into the boat, which means they were not just viewing Him from a distance, but close upclose enough to discern ice if it had been there. The larger the piece of iceand it would have had to be substantial to sustain a grown man's weightthe more easily it could be seen. When we add the detail that Peter climbed out of the boat and also walked on the water, the possibility of a patch of ice melts away.
The world has suffered a long history of such naturalistic explanations for the miracles of Jesus. People who read Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John with an anti-supernatural bias feel compelled to deny His power however they can, no matter how implausible or bizarre their proposed solution becomes. The gospel accounts, however, do not focus attention on the miracles, but describe them as signs. They point, not to themselves, but to Him, and they force us to look at His inner nature, inside the skin of the Miracle Worker. They compel us to see Him as something more than just a man.
When we accept this as a legitimate miracle, we then analyze where it is pointing. One who can suspend the laws of nature like this must live outside those laws, or rather above them. Colossians 1:16-17 explains it this way:
- For by Him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones of powers or rulers or authorities; all things were created by Him and for Him. He is before all things, and in Him all things hold together.
Follow the signs to this One who has set the universe in order and can straighten out your life as well. Please, don't linger looking at the sign, or looking for reasons why the sign can't exist.
Steve Singleton, DeeperStudy.com