Monday, April 10, 2006

Walking on Ice, part II

As many of you have noted, there has been lots in the news this last week about Jesus - from the newly translated gospel of Judas to the scientists who tried to explain the miracle of walking on water by showing how ice can form on the surface of the Sea of Galilee during certain times of the year. I received this review of that story from the editor of the Dallas Morning News Religion Section, and I couldn't say it better myself:

"The second report was by three researchers who I think have not enough real work to do. Fourteen years ago, they offered a weather- and geology-related explanation for how the Israelites might have walked dry-shod over the Reed Sea, as Exodus reports. Now they're offering a "paleolimnological explanation for 'walking on water' in the Sea of Galilee."

They're taking aim at the story in Matthew 14 where the disciples spot Jesus walking out on the sea and Peter tries to join him for a stroll.

Again the abstract is available for free viewing in the Journal of Paleolimnology.

And again, I read the whole thing as a sacrifice for you listenors. We're talking 23 blankety-blank pages of science. Page upon page of the kinds of formulas that scream "really complex." Maps, charts and footnotes.

What can the scientists say: Climate is such that, once in a great while, spring weather is cold enough to produce ice on the surface of the Sea of Galilee thick enough to bear a person's weight.

Assume all the turning of the scientific cranks is true. For the story in Matthew to be true, Jesus,– but not the disciples or others on shore,– would have known about the ice. He would have known exactly where the good ice was and not slipped or fallen through a thin patch. Nobody nearby could have seen the ice, including Peter, who was directly next to Jesus.

If all that were true, wouldn't that be,– sorry about this,– a miracle?"

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