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« Tuesday, August 8, 2006 Bible Reading | Main | U.S. Jews on 'heightened alert' as crisis escalates »

August 08, 2006


Some answers to the difficult question I posed earlier,from the "Defender's Study Bible"

Joshua 10:12

One objection to the long day account is that the writer made a scientific mistake when he said that the sun stood still. The sun does not move, it is argued, so Joshua should have told the earth to stand still. The sun does move, however, and so does every star, planet and satellite in the universe, so far as known. Scientifically, every motion must therefore actually be expressed as relative motion, using some arbitrarily assumed reference point of zero motion. The latter is normally chosen for maximum convenience and simplicity of calculations. As far as relative motion of sun and earth is concerned, the optimum method normally used is to define the point of the observer as the point of zero motion. Thus the most scientific approach (as in the Bible) is to assume that the sun moves relative to the earth.

Another note from the online version:

"stand thou still"

An amazing miracle: the stopping of the sun “in the midst of heaven” (presumably at mid-day) along with the simultaneous stopping of the moon in its own orbit about the earth. Since the earth rotates on its axis, the sun could only be made to “stand still” relative to earth by stopping the earth’s rotation.

This amazing event could hardly have been a miraculous change in atmospheric refraction of the sun’s rays (as some have suggested) nor supernatural strength imparted to the Israelites, so that it only seemed like a longer day (as others have supposed). Neither would account for either the concurrent hailstones or the halting of the moon. A gradual deceleration of the earth to a stop, then later a gradual acceleration again to its normal speed would not produce any necessary tectonic disturbances in the earth’s crust or any displacement of objects on its surface. It would, however, generate profound atmospheric disturbances, since the normal circulation of the atmosphere is tied in closely with the earth’s rotation. It might even generate volcanic activity, since the earth’s interior magma circulation may also be influenced to some degree by its rotation. Thus a stopping of the planetary rotation and simultaneous stopping of the lunar revolution is the sole explanation satisfying all the descriptors of the event. The entire phenomenon (deceleration, stones from heaven, hailstones, acceleration, etc.) occupied “about a whole day,” so this long day was about twice the length of a normal day. This was surely a unique miracle, but not beyond the capabilities of the Creator of the sun and moon and planets. He started their motions, has maintained them through the ages, and is able to change them at will.

Also, on 10:14 "no day like that"

This day was unique in history. The main evidence that it really happened is the historical record - not only as recorded in the Bible and (probably) the lost book of Jasher - but in the legends and traditions of all parts of the world. Such legends of a long day are found in Greece, Egypt and other ancient nations; legends of a long night are found among the American Indians, South Sea Islanders and others in the Western hemisphere. Reports that a "missing day" turned up in a space program computer analyses of ancient chronology, however, are false. This report seems to have been a modern interpretation of a late nineteenth century astronomical calculation by followers of the British-Israel belief. This calculation had been based on an arbitrary premise concerning the specific date of creation, a necessary starting point for any such attempted calculation.

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