This article is from the archive of our partner .

We're accustomed to science disproving tales, including our most sacred ones. Galileo, for example, got tossed in prison for contradicting the Book of Joshua's account of astronomy, which suggests that the sun moves around the earth, not the other way around.

It's different this time. The parting of the Red Sea--crucial to the escape of Moses and the Israelites from Egypt--could have actually, physically happened. So says a team from the National Center for Atmospheric Research and the University of Colorado at Boulder. How? Here's the writeup from the University Corporation for Atmospheric Research:


The computer simulations show that a strong east wind, blowing overnight, could have pushed water back at a bend where an ancient river is believed to have merged with a coastal lagoon along the Mediterranean Sea. With the water pushed back into both waterways, a land bridge would have opened at the bend, enabling people to walk across exposed mud flats to safety. As soon as the wind died down, the waters would have rushed back in.

The simulation is shown below. The faithful might not be overjoyed at this explanation, though. Researchers have confirmed that the parting of the waters was possible, but they're also saying it would have been a natural, i.e. coincidental, phenomenon, rather than divine intervention. Of course, as National Review's Jonah Goldberg responds: "Yes, but who made the wind blow exactly when the Hebrews needed to catch a break?"


This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.

We want to hear what you think about this article. Submit a letter to the editor or write to letters@theatlantic.com.