By Jonathan Smith, Editor in Chief
The miracles of Jesus came under attack earlier this month when a scientist theorized that Jesus did not walk on water across the Sea of Galilee.
The scientist’s conclusion: Jesus walked on a thin, near invisible sheet of ice.
The headlines of this story that started appearing online two weeks ago made me chuckle by themselves because I wondered who was making such a claim and how they came about this assertion.
But the details of this story went beyond being funny into the realm of being downright sad.
Doron Nof, a Florida State University professor of oceanography, said conditions could have converged to create a patch of ice on the water that Jesus used to walk on 2,000 years ago.
But this is no ordinary patch of ice Nof suggested here. This was a near invisible patch of ice in freshwater near a particularly salty section of the sea.
Nof said his studies have shown that during two cold periods between 2,500 and 1,500 years ago, temperatures dropped to 25 degrees Fahrenheit for a few days during the decades in which Jesus lived creating the conditions for ice to develop in small sections of the water.
Nof admits that this ice probably forms only once every 1,000 years, but when Jesus was alive he said it may have occurred once every 30 to 60 years.
Even so, for Nof’s theory to be true, Jesus would have to have been walking by freshwater near a particularly salty section of the sea on just the right day in just the right year in just the right decade when the Middle East temperatures just happen to drop below freezing right after a rain shower so that the ice would have been particularly hard to see.
Not exactly a sure thing.
For all their skepticism about the phenomena occurring in the world, I’ve come to realize that scientists actually might be the most optimistic people out there.
Who else would be satisfied and confident with explaining a miracle using a natural phenomenon that occurs once every 1,000 years?
I’d be laughed out of almost any community if I tried to hypothesize or theorize about something based on 1-in-1,000 odds, but with odds like that, apparently I could get VIP-treatment in the scientific community.
Numbers, probabilities and ratios all help make up the data scientists use to make their educated decisions. They use them every day. That’s why it perplexes me that scientists like Nof seemingly ignore the numbers behind his own data.
No probability is too small for some if it discounts the divine work of a creator.
But at what point does it become more probable to believe that Jesus simply defied the laws of nature when he walked across the Sea of Galilee than basing your disbelief on a near invisible sheet of ice that could have developed only a few times in the past 12,000 years?
I would say the odds are not too good that we will see a great reversal among scientists who will now endorse the miraculous works of God and Jesus. Maybe 1 in 1 million.
But who knows: In today’s scientific community, those odds just might be good enough.