Previous Index Next
Page 419
(previous) (Page 000419) (next)

for evidence is more exacting than it used to be, whenever
it is affirmed that such order has been disturbed.

Let us take as an illustration the miracle by which the
victory of Joshua over the Amorites Was rendered complete,
where the sun is reported to have stood still for “ a whole
day ” upon Gribeon, and' the moon in the valley of Ajalon.
An Englishman of average education at the present day
would naturally demand a greater amount of evidence to
prove that this occurrence took place than would have sat-
isfied an Israelite in the age succeeding that of Joshua.
For, to the one, the miracle probably consisted of the stop-
page of a ball of fire less than a yard in diameter, While to
the other it would be the stoppage of an orb fourteen hun-
dred thousand times the earth in size. And, even accept-
ing the interpretation which instructed divines now put
upon this text, that Joshua dealt with what was apparent
merely, but that what really occurred was the suspension
of the earth’s rotation, I think a greater reserve in accept-
ing the miracle, and a right to demand stronger evidence
in support of it, will be conceded to a modern man of sci-
ence than would have sufficed for an ancient Jew.

There is a scientific imagination as well as an historic
imagination, and when, by the exercise of the former, the
stoppage of the earth’s rotation is clearly realized, the
event assumes proportions so vast. in comparison with the
result to be obtained by it that belief reels under the reflec-
tion. The energy here involved is equal to that of six trill-
ions of horses working for the whole of the time employed
by Joshuain the destruction of his foes. The amount of
power thus expended would be sufficient to supply every
individual of an army a thousand times the strength of that
of oshua, with a thousand times the fighting-power of
each of Joshua’s soldiers, not for the few hours necessary to
the extinction of a handful of Amorites, but for millions
of years. All this wonder is silently passed over by the

Previous Index Next