Jesus walked on water, or did he?

"When it was evening, the boat was in the middle of the sea, and He was alone on the land. Seeing them straining at the oars, for the wind was against them, at about the fourth watch of the night [Jesus] *came to them, walking on the sea; and He intended to pass by them. But when they saw Him walking on the sea, they supposed that it was a ghost, and cried out; 6:50 for they all saw Him and were terrified. But immediately He spoke with them and *said to them, "Take courage; it is I, do not be afraid." Then He got into the boat with them, and the wind stopped; and they were utterly astonished . . . ." -- Mark 6:47-51

Yes, its Easter which means its time for the flowers to bloom, the trees to bud, the birds to return, and the Jesus detractors to get published with their wacky theories about Jesus, His life and resurrection. Here is a new one that I am sure will soon become one of my favorites: Jesus didn't walk on water, he walked on ice. From "Study claims ice, not water, kept Jesus afloat":

The New Testament says that Jesus walked on water, but a Florida university professor believes there could be a less miraculous explanation -- he walked on a floating piece of ice.

Professor Doron Nof also theorized in the early 1990s that Moses's parting of the Red Sea had solid science behind it.

Nof, a professor of oceanography at Florida State University, said on Tuesday that his study found an unusual combination of water and atmospheric conditions in what is now northern Israel could have led to ice formation on the Sea of Galilee.

Nof used records of the Mediterranean Sea's surface temperatures and statistical models to examine the dynamics of the Sea of Galilee, which Israelis know now as Lake Kinneret.

The study found that a period of cooler temperatures in the area between 1,500 and 2,600 years ago could have included the decades in which Jesus lived.

A drop in temperature below freezing could have caused ice -- thick enough to support a human -- to form on the surface of the freshwater lake near the western shore, Nof said. It might have been nearly impossible for distant observers to see a piece of floating ice surrounded by water.

Nof said he offered his study -- published in the April edition of the Journal of Paleolimnology -- as a "possible explanation" for Jesus' walk on water.

"If you ask me if I believe someone walked on water, no, I don't," Nof said. "Maybe somebody walked on the ice, I don't know. I believe that something natural was there that explains it."

"We leave to others the question of whether or not our research explains the biblical account."

That's a really nice bedtime story, professor. Where is the evidence that Jesus really did walk on ice rather than your awkward attempt to try to develop some naturalistic account for what you realize could not happen naturally? I can speculate to . . . um . . . I know, Jesus actually walked on the back of a large fish that was swimming that was just below the surface. You see, there are fish in that sea, and some can grow to be large. Perhaps a really big fish became big enough to hold Jesus' weight (who was probably really light being an poor preacher walking around Galilee) and carried him to the boat. Ridiculous? Of course.


Weekend Fisher said…
And Peter just didn't know how to balance on the ice, and the people who mentioned him sinking forgot to mention that ... right?
Jennifer said…
I read this story and got a big laugh out of it, too. Why were they out in the middle of the Sea in a boat if the water was frozen?
BK said…
D.P. -- Most people don't realize it, but the twelve disciples were the other members of the X-Men. I mean, Peter is very much like Wolverine, John is like Scott Summers, James is certainly like Angel, and Judas Iscariot is certainly Magneto (before the turn to the dark side).

WF and Jennifer -- excellent observations. But that's why my theory on Jesus walking on the back of a fish is much better. I think I'll write a book . . . .
Steven Carr said…
I'd like to see the Professor tackle the story of Jesus ascending into Heaven, witnessed by a crowd of people looking up into the sky.

Presumably he would say Jesus had a rocket or a very powerful jet-pack.
Tenax said…
This post has me thinking about two things: one, the limitations on naturalistic explanations for the gospel miracles, and two, how far the media goes to make sure we hear about every whacky Jesus story that comes down the pipe.

On the first point, even naturalistic explanations of OT phenomenon, while interesting, often fall short. Perhaps manna was some kind of natural substance which has been identified (I forget what that is now); the winds can blow pretty strong over the sea of reeds given the right conditions; flie and frogs and boils all actually occured in ancient Egypt. But what about the earth swallowing all those people?

With the NT, which is a much more recent account, it gets even tougher to say that any of the miracles have naturalistic explanations. Either they happened or they're exaggerations or some invented with good or poor intent. The walking on the water story could not be exaggeration (as in the explanation which has the multitude fed by sharing their own food).

Also, no one walked on water in the OT (unless you count the axe head). Elijah may have multiplied food and withheld rain (in direct defiance of the rain deity) but I can't think of anyone walking on water.

It's a bizarre and wonderful story.

I did see one skeptic site which said that the Peter coming out of the boat version (I believe that's Matthew?) was drawn from a Buddhist source. Maybe. It seems parabolic (have faith or you sink). But the rest of the story, Jesus showing up, thought a ghost, scaring the disciples, being frustrated at their lack of belief,'s impressive.

Whatever it is, there is no way it's ice.

This is so long now it should be on my own blog, but the second thing, the media...

If I wrote a book arguing that Jupiter's core was inhabited by giant gas-bats, it wouldn't get a week on the discovery channel or an article on msnbc, but every whacky Jesus story that gets published gets press. Why? Money, money and hostility to the Christian faith, often.

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