Wednesday, September 22, 2010

And now . . . a computer model to explain the Red Sea Crossing

From time to time a story will appear in the news that purports to explain a miracle in the Bible from a scientific point of view. Someone decides to test an event described in the Bible by demonstrating how there is a completely logical explanation can be provided by science.

But I am not sure these 'experiments' are always helpful. Don't get me wrong. I am not against science. It helps us to understand the world. I also don't think that science is antithetical to the Bible. It is just that science serves one purpose while the Bible another.

Thus I wonder when I see that someone has spent a lot of time and money to recreate the Red Sea crossing as described in Exodus 14. Someone has gone to all the trouble of designing a computer model to observe the event.

Of course the results are inevitable. The kind of winds required to push back the waters would have been too strong for the Israelites to stand up in while they waited for the waters to clear. The geography is also wrong. The Red Sea doesn't work but the Nile Delta does. Some quotes from Bible scholars are added to help support the investigation, but I am always suspicious of quotes since I have been misquoted before.

Is this really a helpful exercise? Is the point of Exodus 14 really about whether or not God could dry up the waters? Is it really important that we have a computer model the "proves" it for us? I wonder if we are missing the more important point here and could better invest our time and money in other pursuits.

The Jewish people do a pretty good job of bringing out the significance of the exodus every year at Passover. And they don't need a computer model to help them.


  1. I'm not sure why you suggest that moving the event from the Red Sea is "wrong" - whatever the name "Sea of Reeds" referred to, we can be fairly certain it wasn't simply the same thing as the Red Sea, can't we?

    Be that as it may, I agree that this sort of endeavor is problematic. Thanks for posting on it!

  2. James,

    I am in agreement with you,. My only point is that when this sort of endeavor is undertaken it always leads to a variety of gymnastic moves in order to "prove" the point. That is when I think that there is no point and that we are missing the point of the story.

  3. I figured we probably agreed, on some level! :)