Joshua’s Prayer Stopped the World

Joshua’s Longest Day is one of the toughest miracles in the Bible to explain, but science may have recently provided the answer, and it has really made an impression on me since I read about it yesterday. Of course, the parting of the Red Sea, Jonah and the “whale”, and the resurrection cannot be reproduced or scientifically proven either. Joshua’s Longest Day, however, happened on a global or cosmic scale that seems to defy all laws of physics. The sun could not stand still in the sky without either the sun or the earth ripping apart, could it?

Actually, the prestigious scientific magazine Nature came out with an article on June 12, less than a month ago, that seems to provide an answer. It’s not that we need a natural explanation to explain the working of God, but a good understanding of geophysics provides a clearer picture of how God uses his creation to accomplish his will. It also dispels some of the crazier theories that have made a laughingstock of Christians, such as the old NASA missing day tale that was widely circulated for years.

Dr. John Vidale’s article in Nature describes the most recent data on the movement of the Earth’s solid inner core within the molten liquid outer core. The authors wrote,

“The pattern of matches, together with previous studies, demonstrates that the inner core gradually super-rotated from 2003 to 2008, and then from 2008 to 2023 sub-rotated two to three times more slowly back through the same path.”

Our latest scientific understanding is that the inner core changes speed and even changes direction over as short a time span as years. The core also interacts with the mantle and the magnetic field. It shows how little we really know about the Earth and how erratic the core can be.

[Nature (Nature) ISSN 1476-4687 (online) ISSN 0028-0836 (print)]

So, let’s suppose that God used something deep within the Earth to slow the rotation of the Earth and then speed it back up to normal. The erratic movement of the inner core suggests that something catastrophic could have occurred through forces yet unknow. Would that not have destroyed life on Earth? I decided to dust off my old math skills to investigate the problem. How much effect would be felt if the Earth slowed down enough to give us an extra day of sunlight?

It involves some math, but here are the details: The equator is spinning at 1,040 mph; Joshua was at 32 deg. latitude, so using trig I find he was traveling at 880 mpg. For the Earth to come to a complete stop in 12 hours, the armies would need to decelerate at a rate of 73 miles per hour every hour. So, how abrupt would that be? I looked up the acceleration of 1G and it is 9.8 m/s2, which converts to 78,936 miles per hour squared. I had to double check my work because that seems incredible, but I confirmed it with another article. That means that Joshua would have slowed down at a rate that was one thousandth the force of G. That would be like a car that is driving 73 mph taking a full hour to come to a stop. (0 to 60 in 2,959 seconds.) There would be no physical problem with the Earth slowing down and speeding up. That’s amazing, because we find it hard to imagine the Earth slowing down that quickly, but it would be possible.

The real question is how do you stop a rock that weighs 6,500 quintillion tons, is rotating at 1000 miles per hour at the equator, and is flying through space at 66,627 mph? From Joshua’s viewpoint, he prayed, “Sun, stand still at Gibeon” (Joshua 10:12). How about that for a prayer of faith! The moment was critical to Israel’s survival. From God’s viewpoint, He may have reached down and touched the inner core of the Earth to speed it up and then reverse it. Many verses in the Bible tell of God’s causing mountains to rise and fall and the Earth to be reshaped. If the poetic praise of the Psalms is not backed up by physical events, then it’s just pompous words. If God moved real mountains, and even the entire Earth, then the words have meaning. Listen to the song by Dustin Smith, God Who Moves the Mountains.

Joshua had seen real physical miracles, so he prayed believing in a real physical miracle.

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