First off, you need to know that I believe that every word of the Bible, in its original language, is literally, figuratively, symbolically, and scientifically true.
If you don’t accept that premise, you’re going to have a hard time reading what I write, and will probably be inclined to mock it. You should probably find something else to read about now.
I have personally seen too much evidence of the mind of our Creator at work in the Hebrew scriptures to believe anything else, and one of my favorite pastimes is looking for evidence of His hand in the world around me. I find it everywhere, but most particularly at work in the land, people and language of Israel.
OK – so here comes my first crazy thought.
(You do realize that if you have a crazy thought and you google it and come up with NOTHING, that you are pretty much obligated to blog, in order to add it to the vast universe of crazy thoughts on the internet, right? Just so we’re clear!)
I woke up this past Sunday morning with the thought, “What if the plagues G-d poured out on Egypt in the book of Exodus were the cause of the Sahara Desert?” I wasn’t even quite awake when the thought occurred, and it jolted me out of my drowsiness to ask, “Wait – WHAT?!?”
(Our family has been celebrating Passover and the Feast of Unleavened Bread this past week. We hosted a Seder for 58 people, and I wrote our own Haggadah to go with it the week before – in between cleaning spurts to get all the crumbs of out of my castle. So the plagues have been rolling through my brain.)
So, I of course grabbed my laptop to do a little research: Sahara Desert, Northern Africa = the size of the entire US!
Apparently, scientists agree (now, there’s a head-scratcher!) that the Sahara Desert began about 4,000 years ago. There is an abundance of evidence that says it wasn’t always a wasteland – that there are dry riverbeds and fossils of lush vegetation, as well as human art work and the remains of cities beneath the sand.
What historians can’t agree on is the exact time frame of the Exodus of the nation of Israel from Egypt – but 4,000 years ago is definitely “in the zone,” for my purposes at 6am on a Sunday.
I dug further.
It turns out that the two factors required for the process of desertification (previously useful land becoming desert) are:
1.) death of plant life, and
2.) strong winds, which loosen topsoil unanchored by plant roots.
That got me REALLY thinking.
Hail and locusts killed the plants.
Strong winds occurred – for a night and a day – to bring the locusts into Egypt (from the east), and also to take them out of Egypt (from the west, driving them into the sea).
Then an incredibly strong east wind blew all night – strong enough to part the Red Sea!
I’m thinking it sounds like a viable theory.
So there’s my first crazy thought. Do with it what you will . . .