Unbelievable: Exodus 13-14, Romans 4

12622moses-parting-red-sea

I’ve heard many people try to explain away the possibility that God miraculously parted the Red Sea.

Those who believe the incident to be a myth might talk rightly about it being a symbol of God’s saving work in the gospel while denying the event actually happened.

Others affirm that the event occurred but seek to provide a purely natural explanation for why the Red Sea might part. They cite the way in which the tidal patterns of the Red Sea flow throughout the year, asserting that in the right season, with a strong enough wind, there may have been parts of the sea shallow enough for the Israelites to cross.

To me that sounds about as unbelievable as what Exodus 14 tells us.

And it is unbelievable.

The parting of the Red Sea is not something that rational people can easily stomach, even if Exodus 14:21-22 tells us exactly what happened:

Then Moses stretched out his hand over the sea, and the Lord drove the sea back by a strong east wind all night and made the sea dry land, and the waters were divided. And the people of Israel went into the midst of the sea on dry ground, the waters being a wall to them on their right hand and on their left.

This is not a natural occurrence. It is miraculous. God designed the natural world to work within a certain set of laws. These laws are the normal way in which things operate in the universe. But they are not the ONLY way. The natural world is not all that there is. There is absolutely a spiritual world in which physical laws do not apply.

In the recent creation debate between Ken Ham and Bill Nye (the science guy), Nye asserts that things work a certain way in the universe and they have always worked in this way. I generally agree with him, but his open denial of any kind of spiritual existence outside the physical means that he cannot accept miraculous anomalies like the parting of the Red Sea.

And I assume this also means that he would have a difficult time believing that a 100 year old man and a 99 year old woman could have a baby. This is what God promised would happen to Abraham and Sarah. It’s an unbelievable prospect, one that Paul says in Romans 4 must be received by faith:

He did not weaken in faith when he considered his own body, which was as good as dead (since he was about a hundred years old), or when he considered the barrenness of Sarah’s womb. No unbelief made him waver concerning the promise of God, but he grew strong in his faith as he gave glory to God, fully convinced that God was able to do what he had promised. That is why his faith was “counted to him as righteousness.”

In my last post about faith, I said that faith is God gifting us His power to live in light of spiritual reality. Faith is not blind belief in the unbelievable, it is power to see the unbelievable as fully within God’s power to perform.

But God does not give us faith simply so that we can believe unbelievable acts. He gives us faith to believe that through the death and resurrection of Jesus He forgives our sins and saves us into His glorious Kingdom. The other “unbelievables” of scripture, the Red Sea, the Flood, the birth of Isaac, healing the sick and lame, are easy to believe once the gospel has been made clear to us through faith. It is the one unbelievable thing in Scripture that everyone must believe if they desire eternal life.

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