Robert Odell, Jr. likes to explore and examine the many mysteries of our world and universe.
Joshua, the successor to Moses, Israel's leader, did something no other human being had done before. He prayed and was able to get God to stop the sun and halt the moon. That prayer allowed Joshua and his men to have a day that went beyond the regular twenty-four hours. How does Joshua's extra-long day stack up to 20th Century scientific logic? Are there any scientific theories that can explain how a day longer than twenty-four hours could have occurred?
Joshua's story unfolds in the tenth chapter of the Book of Joshua in the Bible. As the battle rages against five kings, Joshua needs more time to see and stamp out the enemy. Joshua's name in Hebrew means, "YAHWEH is salvation." God showed His power and salvation by delivering Israel. According to Joshua 10:12-13, God made the sun stand still and the moon halt in its place until His people, Israel, fully avenged themselves against their foes. Can the situation surrounding Joshua's extra-long day stand up against 20th Century scientific logic, and if so, just how did it happen?
20th Century Scientific Teachings
According to 20th Century scientific teachings, the earth rotates on its axis and revolves around the sun. Scientists say that the sun does not rise and set but stays positioned at the center of our solar system. Earth's rotation on its axis, which appears counterclockwise when viewed from above the North Pole, makes the sun appear to rise and set. Every twenty-four hours, the earth makes one complete spin. Different locations pass through the light of the sun as the earth rotates. As one area on earth turns toward the sun and enters its light, the sun seems to rise in the east. When a location on earth leaves the sun's light and enters darkness, the sun appears to set in the west.
Did God Stop the World?
Joshua needed an extended day to defeat his enemy. As mentioned earlier, 20th Century scientists say that it takes twenty-four hours for the earth to make one complete spin on its axis. As the planet rotates, daylight appears when your area of land turns toward the sun. In that case, some may conclude that the planet's rotation would need to be slowed down or entirely stopped if you want your space to stay in the sun's light longer. Can we, therefore, scientifically deduce that God slowed down or even stopped the world for Joshua? Some scientists surmise that the event in the Biblical book of Joshua was simply an apparition or an eclipse. However, Joshua did not ask for an image or an eclipse's shade; he asked for more daylight.
A Problem for 20th Century Science
Joshua's long day, which consisted of the sun standing still and the moon halting in its place, poses a big problem for 20th Century scientific deductions. According to 20th Century scientific calculations, the earth travels through space at about 68,000 miles an hour. It spins on its axis at approximately 1,068 miles per hour. Those figures imply that the whole solar system would have to stand still for the sun to stay in one spot. Our planet, which moves in an elliptical orbit around the sun, would have to stop. The moon, moving around the earth, would also have to stop. Now let's imagine what would happen if the world suddenly stopped.
Just imagine if you were traveling in an open-top car at one thousand miles an hour and the car suddenly stopped. Such a sudden stop would propel you out of the vehicle at one thousand miles an hour. The results would not be pretty. Now imagine Joshua and his soldiers fighting on the battlefield, and the earth suddenly stopped. Such a sudden stop would jerk him and his soldiers into the air at one thousand miles an hour. Such a sudden stop would cause worldwide catastrophes.
A Sudden Stop Equals Worldwide Catastrophes
If the earth suddenly stopped, not only would you find yourself hurled through the air, you would also be in a massive wind storm. The windstorm would be worldwide and unlike anything, the earth has ever seen. The sea, which rests on the earth's surface, would come flying out of the ocean floor, causing massive international tsunamis. Earth's molten center, called the magma, would continue to spin at a colossal speed. The results would be earthquakes, volcanoes, and unfathomable amounts of lava engulfing the world. These circumstances would result in Joshua and his men fighting against the elements rather than their enemies.
God Performed a Miracle
The Bible states in Joshua 10:12 -13 that God most certainly did do a miracle for Joshua and Israel. It isn't easy to understand how it happened. Still, the Bible says that God performed a miracle and stopped time completely for Israel. While causing the sun to stand still and the moon to halt in its place, God gave Israel a day stretching longer than the regular twenty-four hours. Let's examine two theories that may offer scientifically plausible explanations for the circumstances surrounding Joshua's long day.
Theory #1: An Event Horizon
According to astrophysics, an "event horizon" is a boundary beyond which events cannot affect an observer. It is the boundary defining the region of space around a black hole. Nothing (not even light) can escape it. In scientific terms, the escape velocity for an object within the event horizon exceeds the speed of light. The name comes about because it is impossible to see any event taking place inside it. The horizon is beyond what we can see. God could have just placed an event horizon around Joshua, his soldiers, and the battlefield. If He used an event horizon, then God trapped everything inside of it. He trapped time and even the light of day for as long as He wanted. After Joshua defeated his enemies, God could have removed the event horizon, allowing things to return to normal. The event horizon theory seems to be scientifically plausible; however, it still does not explain everything.
What About the Sun and Moon Staying Still?
According to Joshua 10:13, the sun stood still, and the moon stayed in its place. An event horizon is capable of trapping light. Placing Israel and the entire battlefield inside an event horizon would have given Joshua the light he needed, but what about the sun and moon staying still? If the sun and moon were outside of the event horizon, they would not have been still. They would have continued their regular rotations and orbits. If the sun and moon stood still inside of the event horizon, then the rotating earth would have left the sun's light as usual. As already stated, stopping the planet would have lead to a worldwide catastrophe. However, another theory may explain how God could have stayed the sun and moon and allowed Joshua to have his long day without causing a disaster.
Theory #2: A Stationary World
The belief that our earth is stationary and flat took on incredible momentum beginning in 2009. On average, flat earth societies gained 200 people per year. Some celebrities passionately grabbed hold of the idea.
Contemporary flat earth theorists believe that the earth is a flat area surrounded by an ice wall. They postulate that the sun and moon, on opposite ends, rotate around the static world.
Suppose the Theory Is Correct?
Suppose the stationary earth theory is correct and the sun and moon rotate and revolve around the earth. If that were the case, God could have easily stopped the sun and moon for Joshua and his men. The Almighty could have easily stilled nature's time indicators without any disastrous effects. Compared to 20th Century science, the flat earth idea seems far-fetched. However, it does give an uncomplicated explanation of how God may have easily stilled the sun and caused the moon to halt while giving Joshua an extra-long day.
Whatever the Case
Whatever the case may be, Joshua's long day is cited and recorded in the Holiest book known to modern society, The Holy Bible. How God did it may be a mystery, but believers understand and recognize that nothing is impossible for God.
Kent, R., Dr. (2016, July 19). Richard's Fun Facts - How did the sun stop still for nearly 24 hours during Joshua's Long day. Retrieved from https://youtu.be/wsXP4WvhRaA
Redd, N. (2017, November 14). Does the Moon Rotate? Retrieved from https://www.space.com/24871-does-the-moon-rotate.html
Swinburne University of Technology, S. S. (n.d.). COSMOS - The SAO Encyclopedia of Astronomy. Retrieved from https://astronomy.swin.edu.au/cosmos/e/Event+Horizon
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.
© 2020 Robert Odell Jr
Robert Odell Jr (author) from Memphis, Tennessee on November 28, 2020:
The story of Joshua's long day is fascinating. Thank you for reading.
Cheryl E Preston from Roanoke on November 28, 2020:
Thank you for this explanation. This is one of my favorite stories in the Bible.