reported in LiveScience and detailed in the April issue of the Journal
of Paleolimnology, suggests that Jesus could have walked on this
isolated patch of floating ice as opposed to walking on water. Some
religion experts however, are writing off the theory as an attempt to
force a scientific explanation on the miraculous.
In the study,
scientists considered a small section of the cold freshwater surface of
Lake Kinneret in northern Israel, where salty springs empty into it
nearby. They also studied temperature records of the Mediterranean Sea
surface and used analytical ice and statistical models.
suggest temperatures dropped to -4 degrees Celsius (25 degrees
Fahrenheit) for up to two days during one of two cold spells, between
2,500 and 1,500 years ago.
conditions, says the study, a floating patch of ice could develop above
the plumes resulting from the salty springs along the lake's western
shore in Tabgha, where many archeological findings related to Jesus
have been found.
explain that unique freezing processes probably happened in that region
only a handful of times during the last 12,000 years," said Doron Nof,
a Florida State University professor of oceanography. "We leave to
others the question of whether or not our research explains the
during the time period when Jesus lived, such “spring ice” may have
formed once every 30 to 60 years. Such floating ice in the unfrozen
waters of the lake would be hard to spot, especially if rain had
smoothed its surface, he said.
Mollie Ziegler criticizes the study on GerReligion.org. Referring to
the biblical story where Jesus walks on water, she notes that the
walking on water incident occurs immediately after Jesus feeds
thousands with the few loaves and fishes and tells them to recline on
the “green grass,” a detail which suggests warm weather.
In addition, she
writes, it is “amazing that a boat could be battling rough seas at the
same time Jesus was walking on ice nearby.”
interesting to see so much media coverage of scientific attempts to
explain either supernatural occurrences or issues of spirituality. It’s
also interesting to contrast with the media treatment of religious
explanations of scientific phenomena,” Ziegler notes.
“When any group
questions or raises concerns with the current scientific explanation
for a given issue, it rarely if ever gets to just tell its side of the
story without rebuttal. And that’s only fair and right,” she said.
“But when some
scientist comes up with an outlandish explanation debunking Christ’s
power, it would be nice if reporters would seek a response from other
scientists or followers of Jesus who could explain the significance of
the story,” she concluded.
weather conditions, creating a cold period some 2,500 to 1,500 years
ago, could have created a hard-to-see floating ice surface on the Sea
of Galilee, a scientist said yesterday in an attempt to scientifically
explain the Gospel miracle which recounts Jesus’ walk on water.