Being an atheist has never been this easy: more of the natural world has been brought under intellectual control than ever before. Less and less are we forced to posit a god to explain natural phenomenon. The situation has left defenders of God scurrying around for either things that science (for some reason) couldn’t explain, arguing that science and religion are consistent (sure, though one makes the other of dubious explanatory utility) or attempting to show that science actually entails that there is a God (by invoking dubious premises regarding causality and the supposed impossibility of infinite series.) Oh yeah, there is always the other technique that some American Education Boards use: simply ban or discredit the only going reasonable theories (i.e. evolution) from your high schools. There’s your rorsarch Rorschach ink blot, Ephraim. Now onto the point of the story.
One can get a little too carried away however. Researcher and Professor of Oceanology Doron Nof of Florida State University gave an explanation of the New Testament’s claim that Jesus walked on the water. According to the Mark’s gospel:
Immediately Jesus made his disciples get into the boat and go on ahead of him to Bethsaida, while he dismissed the crowd. After leaving them, he went up on a mountainside to pray. When evening came, the boat was in the middle of the lake, and he was alone on land. He saw the disciples straining at the oars, because the wind was against them. About the fourth watch of the night he went out to them, walking on the lake. He was about to pass by them, but when they saw him walking on the lake, they thought he was a ghost. They cried out, because they all saw him and were terrified. Immediately he spoke to them and said, “Take courage! It is I. Don’t be afraid.” Then he climbed into the boat with them, and the wind died down. [Mark, 6:45-51]
According to Nof, the Kinneret underwent a period of cooler temperatures in the area between 1,500 and 2,600 years ago. Now, if the temperature dropped low enough for a while, then ice could have formed. Since ice is a form of water, the NT may be merely misleading rather than straightforwardly false on the water-walkng story.
Does Nof believe the NT story now?
If you ask me if I believe someone walked on water, no, I don’t…Maybe somebody walked on the ice, I don’t know. I believe that something natural was there that explains it…We leave to others the question of whether or not our research explains the biblical account.
In short, no. But if the story is true, it’s because Jesus was really walking on a chunk of ice. It floated and deceived observers into thinking that Jesus was a water walker.
Unlikely? Yes. But if you accept the rough description of the NT, what is the theory’s competitor? That he literally walked on water? Is that supposed to be more plausible?!?
Some years back, Nof offered a theory to explain the parting of the Red Sea via complex wind and sea interactions. Now, as then, he receives hate mail from those that wish to leave things with no naturalistic basis.
Source: CNN. Doron’s results were printed a journal of Paleolimnology. Try saying that 5 times really fast.
OOPS! Muffti forgot to mention: this story came to him from Kenny, one of his bestest buds.