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Jesus Walked on Ice? Another Effort to Deny the Miraculous

The Washington Post reported Thursday that “Israeli and U.S. scientists have come up with a scientific explanation of how Jesus could have walked on water.” Ready for this?

Their answer: It was actually floating ice. The scientists acknowledge that the Sea of Galilee, in what is now northern Israel, has never frozen in modern times. But they say geological core samples suggest that average temperatures were lower in Jesus’s day, and that there were at least two protracted cold spells in the region 1,500 to 2,500 years ago.

In addition to chilly weather, their explanation depends on a rare physical property of the Sea of Galilee, known to modern-day Israelis as Lake Kinneret. It is fed by salty springs along its western shore that produce plumes of dense water, thermally isolating areas that could freeze even if the entire lake did not, they assert.

The scientists’ proposals are published in the Journal of Paleolimnology, described as “a peer-reviewed publication on the history of lakes.”

Reporter Alan Cooperman also informs readers that Doron Nof, who teaches at Florida State University, has been at this before:

This is not the first time that Nof, 61, has attempted to debunk a biblical miracle. In 1992, he and Nathan Paldor, an atmospheric scientist at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem, wrote a scientific article proposing that strong winds across the narrow, shallow Gulf of Suez could have lowered the Red Sea by 10 feet, allowing the Israelites to cross to safety and then swallowing up an Egyptian army within a few minutes when the wind stopped, just as the book of Exodus says.

Nof, who described himself as a nonreligious Jew, said he hopes that critics will realize that he is an “equal opportunity miracle buster” who has taken on both Moses and Jesus.

Why would The Washington Post see an article in an obscure academic journal about the history of lakes to be worthy of national coverage? The answer can only be that the effort to deny the supernatural nature of the biblical miracle is itself deemed newsworthy. That fact has significance in itself.