Bible: Expert on discovery of story that was ‘never included’
The Book of Joshua is the sixth book in the Old Testament, and tells the story of Israel from the conquest of Canaan to the Babylonian exile. It details the campaigns of the Israelites in central, southern and northern Canaan, the destruction of their enemies, and the division of the land among the Twelve Tribes. But Joshua 10 tells of a miracle performed by the man who would go on to succeed Moses as leader of the Israelite tribes.
Part of it reads: “The Sun stood still, and the Moon stayed until the people had avenged themselves upon their enemies.
“So the Sun stood still in the midst of heaven, and hasted not to go down about a whole day.”
And chemist Russell Grigg previously unravelled the passage for Creation magazine.
He wrote: “The author is telling us that the Sun did not proceed to set for a period of a completed day, which many commentators take to be approximately a 24-hour period, rather than just a daylight period.
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“Many cultures have legends that seem to be based on this event. For example, there is a Greek myth of Apollo’s son, Phaethon, who disrupted the sun’s course for a day.
“And since Joshua 10 is historical, cultures on the opposite side of the world should have legends of a long night.
“In fact, the New Zealand Maori people have a myth about how their hero Maui slowed the sun before it rose, while the Mexican Annals of Cuauhtitlan records a night that continued for an extended time.”
But as to what “actually happened,” Mr Grigg stated there were three logical explanations.
His first point involved “some form of refraction (bending) of the light from the Sun and the Moon”.
The Bible claims Joshua made the Sun stand still
He added: “According to this view, God miraculously caused the sunlight and moonlight to continue in Canaan for ‘about a whole day’.
“It was light that Joshua needed, not a slowing of the Earth.”
His second theory was centred around a “wobble in the direction of the Earth’s axis of rotation”.
He added: “This involves a precession of the axis of the Earth, wobbling slowly so as to trace an ‘s’-shaped or circular path in the sky.
“Such an event could have made it appear to an observer that the Sun and the Moon were standing still, but need not have involved any actual slowing of the rotation of the Earth.”
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There are said to be three explanations for the miracle
And the third was a “slowing of the Earth’s rotation”.
Mr Grigg noted: “According to this view, God caused the rotation of the Earth to slow down so that it made one full revolution in about 48 hours rather than 24.
“Simultaneously God stopped the cataclysmic effects that would have naturally occurred, such as monstrous tidal waves.
“Some people have objected to this on the erroneous assumption that, if the Earth slowed down, people and loose objects would fly off into space.
“If the Earth stopped rotating, this outward ‘force’ would cease and we would actually be held more firmly by gravity.”
Joshua would would go on to succeed Moses as leader of the Israelite tribes
But the evangelist concluded that miracles “rest on testimony, not on scientific analyses”.
He stated: “While it is interesting to speculate on how God might have performed any particular Biblical miracle, including Joshua’s long day.
“Ultimately those claiming to be disciples of Jesus Christ must accept them, by faith.
“There is not one logical, scientific reason to claim that, given a God powerful enough to create a universe in six days, Joshua’s long day could not have happened.”