Let's do an experiment. Get a plate with raised edges and put some water in it. Now set the plate down and blow on the water. Did it move away and expose part of the plate? It did? Good. You just proved that Moses could indeed have parted the Red Sea!
All right, I admit that's a bit of an oversimplification, but it's not too far removed from what some scientists have been doing recently in an effort to bridge the gap between science and religion.
The latest attempt to prove scientifically that events in the Bible could have occurred comes courtesy of researchers at the National Center for Atmospheric Research and the University of Colorado at Boulder.
Using computer models, the researchers showed that if the wind blew from the east at 63 miles per hour for 12 hours in a spot that oceanographers think might have existed 3,000 years ago, it's possible that the 6-foot-deep waters could have been pushed back enough to expose a mud flat 2 miles long and 3 miles wide for four hours, which would have been plenty of time for Moses and his followers to make their way to safety.
Did you get all that? It's a little complicated, I know, but it clearly shows that the events written about in the Book of Exodus might have happened.
Never mind that the only place where such an event could have occurred is not actually part of the Red Sea (or the Sea of Reeds, for that matter) and might never have existed to begin with, and never mind that to the best of anyone's knowledge a similar event has never been witnessed by humans. The point is that it's not outside the realm of physical possibility, and no doubt a bunch of overzealous religious types will take this as irrefutable proof that the Bible is true (not that they needed proof).
Why stop there, though? Now that we've stretched the boundaries of plausibility to make a case for the Red Sea parting, think of all the other things in the Bible we can prove are true.
The burning bush, of course, is an easy one. The bush could have been struck by lightning and caught on fire. That goes without saying. This wouldn't explain how the bush spoke to Moses, but if some prankster kid were hiding behind the bush -- or if Moses ate the wrong kind of mushrooms -- I'm sure he would have thought the bush was talking to him.
And if a freshly inked pen got caught in a tornado and blew up against a wall that the tornado didn't knock down, it's possible that the pen could have written something on the wall that might have resembled words in some ancient language. Sure, the people at Belshazzar's feast might have had trouble holding their ground in a tornado so that they could see the writing, but if they were hunkered down low enough, it could have happened.
It's also possible that Samson could have lost all his power when Delilah cut his hair. Something very similar happened a few years ago to Michael Bolton. And he (Samson, not Michael Bolton) could have slain an entire army with the jawbone of a donkey, provided the army was not very large and passed-out drunk.
Now, could Lot's wife really have been turned into a pillar of salt? Probably not, but let's think about what Lot was going through at the time. His home and the city of Sodom had just been destroyed by God, and there were all sorts of angels hovering around, dragging the poor guy every which way. It must have been a very stressful time, particularly if Lot's wife died, too. I imagine that in the throes of post-traumatic stress, Lot could have seen a woman-shaped pillar of salt and assumed it was his wife.
OK, enough of this tomfoolery before I manage to offend half the people on the planet, provided I haven't done that already.
If you believe what the Bible says, and you take strength and solace from that, I think that's wonderful. Like John Lennon said, "Whatever gets you through the night, 'salright, 'salright." But let's not delude ourselves and start thinking that those stories can be proven scientifically. The Red Sea parting aside, it's just not going to happen.
More importantly, would it really make any difference? If you believe it, it's true to you, and that's all that should matter.
Todd Hartley once parted his hair ... many, many years ago.