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Scientist claims parting of Red Sea possible

September 22, 2010 12:00:00 AM PDT
With the parting of the Red Sea, the epic film, "The Ten Commandments," won the Academy Award for best visual effects.According to the Bible, God sent down strong winds that parted the Red Sea, allowing Moses and his people to get away from the Egyptians.

For years, scientists have done the math and determined that it would take hurricane-force winds to do that, and the Israelites would have literally been blown away.

But now one scientist says he has figured out how the parting of the Red Sea happened, so long as biblical scholars got the location wrong.

A team of researchers at the National Center for Atmospheric Research at the University of Colorado at Boulder have created a computer model that shows a steady 63 mile-per-hour wind out of the east, which in theory could expose a strip of land and part of a sea -- just not the Red Sea.

"Such a place occurs in the Eastern Nile Delta, and so that is what I have modeled," said Carl Drews of the NCAR.

This is now raising the question, was it God or Mother Nature who helped the Israelites escape the Egyptians?

"You don't actually need God to be doing anything here," said Dr. Philip Clayton, a professor at Claremont School of Theology.

Clayton said the new theory is being used by people on both sides of the Moses debate.

Scientists are saying we now have a completely natural explanation for one of the biggest miracles in the Hebrew Bible," Clayton said. "Religious people are saying we now know how God could have done it. Using natural causes just at that one moment, God could have opened up the waters and let the people through. "

However, the new Moses hypothesis is just that: a hypothesis.

"Maybe the miracles won't survive, but that mystery of some encounter, some fortuitous events in the desert that led a people to find their God," Clayton said. "That part of the story, that stays. "

So, could biblical scholars have gotten the location wrong?

Some argue that the Hebrew translation is actually "Reed Sea" not Red Sea.

The location used in the computer simulation is actually Sea of Reeds.

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