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Parting of the Red Sea Explained


not a plastic bag
Moses' Red Sea Parting Explained by Computer Model : Discovery News

I had it in my head that the movie version was correct, that being that Moses placed his staff into the waters and the Sea parted. This is not the Biblical account. According to the Bible, Moses stretched out his arms and a strong wind blew all night from the East. This research team confirmed that such a wind would infact part the Red Sea allowing for the large Jewish convoy to pass. Cool stuff.
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Lion Rampant
Loads of problems here, MiT. It's Noah's Ark all over again and I wouldn't get too excited. The supposed site of Moses' fabled crossing is identified only vaguely in the Bible and there is much disagreement among religious archaeologists as to which body of water is referenced. Many spots have been suggested at different times by different hopeful believers. The consensus among well-read scholars of antiquity is that two or more traditions were combined in the account, including one in which Pharaoh's charioteers did get bogged down in some mud and militarily defeated at a Lake Timsah in Egypt.

If it's a natural phenomenon, as the computer model hints that it may have been, there's no basis for assuming that the event in the Exodus story was miraculous, as opposed to randomly fortuitous. "The Lord sent a wind" is like saying "The Lord made the sun rise in the morning so that Moses could see where he was going." The wind setdown model also can't explain the return of the water so suddenly as to wipe out the pursuing army.

Any migration on a scale of the Israelites' would necessarily leave behind a telltale wake of debris. Despite diligent scouring of the possible routes between the two lands, no such trail has ever been found.

This story is entirely lacking in external sources of verification. The Exodus, as notable as it would have been, does not appear in Egyptian writings from the era. Flavius Josephus, the man revered by Christians for his famed (albeit possibly forged) brief mention of Jesus as Messiah, had this skeptical comment on the Crossing: "[N]or let anyone wonder at the strangeness of the narration, if a way were discovered to those men of old time, who were free of the wickedness of the modern ages, whether it happened by the will of God or whether it happened of its own accord..."

Another quote not to be missed is in this excerpt from the Discovery News article in question:

"The value of studying the event described in the Old Testament certainly lends support to the thesis that physics is a natural phenomenon, a normal part of our universe," said Stephen Baig, a researcher who has studied storm surges for the National Hurricane Center.

Can the Bible be taken literally in the face of modern knowledge? It becomes a strikingly convoluted endeavor, but I can see no practical reason to stop anyone from trying. Did Exodus happen at all? Hell if I know. But it occurs to me that if the usual evidence isn't there, we should at least be as wary as we would in every secular context and not let our hearts overrun our heads.
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A Darker Knight
Also I'd imagine the ground to be pretty soggy, much like a marshland, even after the seas was parted, making it practically impossible to walk through, much less carry all that stuff too. The quote in the article says God dried the land too, but really? I'm sure the writers thought of that problem and included God drying up the land to even out the ends.

In real life, if winds were strong enough to part the waters of any body of water, there'd be no way the ground would dry in time to walk on.

On a side note, that picture is pretty awesome though. :cool:
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Registered Member
First let me be clear. I do not believe in the theory or concept of man or a God parted any waters anywhere in a magical way such as the Bible depicts.

But I will comment my thoughts to this.

There are some problems I see first as mentioned in the article, there is to this day debate over the translation of where this occurred was the Red Sea or the Reed Sea (aka Sea of Reed) scholars are quite certain it is in fact Reed Sea where as most holy translators still claim it to be the Red Sea, regardless of this what the article does not distinguish is that the Sea of Reed and the Red Sea are not the same. The Sea of Reed is much further north than the Red Sea and is, or was a very large lake or swamp that has since dried up since the time of Moses.

The biggest reason I believe Holy translators hold on to the translation being that of the Red Sea vs the Sea or Reed is, the Sea of Reed while a large lake like swamp, had in Moses' time an average water depth of approx. 50 cm, or 20 inches in its deepest portions. This presents a problem with the story as told by the Bible.

First why would it be necessary to "part the Sea" of 50 cm of water when it can easily be walked through?

Next, if in fact the waters did recede or were parted, how would 50 cm of water rushing back possibly kill all those Egyptians? Though plausible I guess, but likely?

If this instance occurred, I would tend to believe the tsunami theory over the wind theory weather it was at the Red Sea or the Sea of Reed for 1 simple reason. It is more practical or logical to assume a tsunami would recede the waters causing a massive rush (even if it were the Sea of Reed though not near the power the Red Sea would provide) on its return, which is a natural and has happened frequently in nature than to assume enough wind to push the water back all the while not having any effect on Moses or the Israelis crossing where the water once was... Just my opinion, not that it means anything.
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not a plastic bag
This is something I'm really not up on. I didn't even realize there was controversy about whether the Jewish people where in Egypt. Of course, I thought Moses parted the Sea with his staff. haha..

I just thought the study to be really cool connecting something in the historical Biblical account with a natural explanation of how it could have happened.

This site also has a video of the computer model:
Video: How the Red Sea Could Have Parted | Wired Science | Wired.com