Scene from the 1956 film The Ten Commandments
“And Moses stretched out his hand over the sea; and the LORD caused the sea to go back by a strong east wind all that night, and made the sea dry land, and the waters were divided.”
The parting of the Red Sea as the Israelites escaped Egypt is one of the most attacked miracles in the Bible. Much of scholarly opinion says that the Israelites didn’t really escape through the sea. They simply went through a nearby marsh, called the Reed Sea. In the first place, how could the Israelites, loaded down with their own possessions plus the spoils of Egypt, have traveled through a marsh? Second, how could an entire army drown in a swamp?
An article in the bulletin of the American Meteorological Society shows that the Red Sea could have parted just as the Bible describes. In making their case, meteorologists used sophisticated computer simulations and the Bible’s description of the event. Because the extension of the Gulf where the Israelites crossed is so long and shallow, the strong east wind described in Exodus 14, could have lowered the water level by ten feet. The Israelites could then cross on an underwater ridge, with water on both sides of them. The water backed up into the wider portion of the Red Sea could return within a matter of minutes after the wind stopped, drowning pharaoh and his army.
So many of the miraculous events described in the Bible have been explained away by science as natural events and this may just be another case. But all this means is that God can use natural events and that He is in control of when and where they occur.
Notes: Thomas H. Maugh II. 1992. “A Miracle Adds Up.” Star Tribune, Mar. 14, p. 16Ae.
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