Friday, January 21, 2011

The Day the Earth Stood Still

This sounds like a title for a good science fiction movie, but it might actually be scientific proof that the Bible is accurate.

In Joshua 10:1-15, the Bible records that Joshua and the army of Israel had come under attack by the combined armies of five nations. It was late in the day, and with the sun about to go down, Joshua found himself completely surrounded by the armies of his enemies. If night fell on his army, they would surely be destroyed during the night.

To give the army the sunlight that they needed the Bible says that the Lord caused the sun to stand still for about a day—23 hours and 20 minutes. The Lord (who Joshua’s predecessor Moses called a “man of war” in Exodus 15:3) also caused a great hail to fall on the enemy armies as He supernaturally protected Israel.

Since the 1960’s a story has circulated about how NASA computers discovered that there had to be a missing day in the universe, and this passage from Joshua was used to account for that missing day. However, the man who popularized this NASA tale, Harold Hill, was a proven fraud who never worked for NASA as he had alleged. There were several details of his story that were inaccurate, and NASA even issued a press release debunking his story; NASA admitted that they had no such computers that could project thousands of years in the past or future.

And so a simple internet search would make this whole idea of a missing day sound ridiculous; almost as ridiculous as the Christians who would believe it. And this comes as no surprise. When they can do nothing to prove evolution, their best defense becomes to continually debunk Mr. Hill’s NASA story.

But long before Harold Hill was wowing audiences with his fanciful stories about new fangled “computers,” a Yale professor had come to a similar conclusion. In 1980 Professor C.A. Totten wrote a book in which he laid out his case that the earth was only 4,000 years old at the time that Jesus was born. Using commonly accepted biblical chronologies he stated his case, but the only problem was that he encountered a missing day. He concluded that it must have come from the account of Joshua 10. In the 1930’s Dr. Harry Rimmer wrote a book called The Harmony of Science and Scripture in which he cited Totten’s earlier findings.

What is more likely is that Harold Hill caught wind of Rimmer’s book and read about Totten’s missing day, and he decided to further the story with a little science fiction. Hill’s engine company had a contract to service NASA’s diesel engines, so he embellished his ties to NASA, and he added details about computers that no laymen would understand for decades. As Hill wrote in his own book, he dismissed his critics and said that no need for proof was needed (he claimed to have “misplaced” his NASA documentation about the missing day); in his mind, it seems, that if people’s eyes were opened to God through his concoction than the end result justified his means. Unfortunately, his means have been used against Christianity and biblical creation for several decades now.

In Hill’s account, he found an additional 40 minutes from II Kings 20 where the Lord caused the sun to move backwards 10 degrees—which is 40 minutes. The 23 hours and 20 minutes from Joshua and the 40 minutes from II Kings make a 24 hour day.

Can NASA’s computers actually indicate there is a missing day? Can a professor use genealogies to pinpoint a missing day? I don’t know. But is there a missing day? I absolutely believe it. I believe every word of the Bible, and if God said He held the sun still and made it move backwards, then there is a missing day.

Sometimes we are fortunate enough to have scientific, historical, or archeological proof, as I have written here before (see the archives). But even if we don’t have proof, we still need to believe.

We don’t need Totten’s or Hill’s facts, we just need faith.

1 comment:

Tommy Mann said...

For the record, there is nothing too difinitive in this post, but perhaps, like many, you have heard Hill's story disproved and you have written off the whole concept of the missing day. I wanted to point out that, while Hill may have been dishonest, Totten had theorized the missing day before Hill was ever born, and so there is still credibility to the claim. But ever if there were no Totten, we should stil believe it beacuse the Bible says it.

Some people say, "God said it, I believe it, and that settles it for me." I prefer instead to say, "God said it; that settles it."