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The "Missing Day" Urban Myth

Have NASA computers really proven Joshua's 'long day'? Has the "Missing Day" in Joshua been proven scientifically? There is a story that has been circulating for the past forty years. It usually begins by, "Did you know that the space program is busy proving that what has been called 'myth' in the Bible is true? Mr. Harold Hill, President of the Curtis Engine Company in Baltimore Maryland, and a consultant in the space program . . ."

NASA denies that this ever occurred, and Mr. Hill, the former president of the Curtis Engine Company of Baltimore, was involved in diesel engine operations at Goddard and was not involved with any computer operations.

Unfortunately, that story is an untrue pseudo-Christian myth. As far as I can discover it is a hoax. It never happened. The story that astronomical calculations proved that a day was "missing" is over a century old. The story predates Mr. Hill’s NASA version, and goes back to Charles A. L. Totten’s "Joshua’s Long Day and the Dial of Ahaz: A Scientific Vindication" (1890).

In the last few decades, the myth has been embellished with NASA scientists, computers performing those calculations instead of a sundial and false scientific credibility. Unfortunately, many Christians do not first check out a story before they begin to use it in their apologetics. There isn't an ounce of truth in the story. It is fake. That does more damage to our credibility than it does to establishing truth.

We don't need to resort to embellishments and urban myths to establish the credibility of God's Word. The "missing day found" story is simply a Christian hoax. It is an urban myth. While astronomers do indeed calculate the future orbits of space objects, it is not technologically possible to somehow "locate" Joshua’s missing day. We don't have to resort to the Gibeonites deception to establish God's Word.

What is certain is that God did intervene and gave Joshua more daylight to finish mopping up operations. Joshua described what he saw from his perspective. As far as he was concerned "the sun stopped in the middle of the sky, and did not hasten to go down for about a whole day" (v. 13). We use similar language in our day. We hear the weather scientists give us the time for the "sun set" and "sun rise" for the day. The sun does not rise and it doesn't set, but we understand what the scientists are saying. They use our language.

Remember that there are two miracles that took place in Joshua chapter ten. The miracle of the hailstones must have been dramatic. Heavenly artillery, "smart" bombs identified their targets and hit only Amorite soldiers, not Israelites. The text tells us "there were more who died from the hailstones than those whom the sons of Israel killed with the sword" (v. 11). Amazing, Joshua said, "I saw God do it!"

All of creation is at God's service. It is a servant to the Creator. It is not the other way around. The issue is can God perform miracles. Yes, He did and He still does. If your god is too small, and can not perform miracles of this magnitude, then he is manageable and you can control him. He is then a prisoner of his own creation. However, if He really is as awesome and powerful as portrayed in this passage of Scripture then we need to bow in submission to Him. That is really the crux of the problem. Since Yahweh is the Creator, He can suspend the very laws that He built into His creation. I personally would have more problems believing in a God who is held captive by His creation than by one who is unlimited in His sovereign visitations.

How big is your God? Does He still suspend the laws that He put in place in nature? I am convinced He still does.

God answered Joshua's prayer for help. "There was no day like that before it or after it, when the Lord listened to the voice of a man; for the Lord fought for Israel. Then Joshua and all Israel with him returned to the camp to Gilgal" (vv. 14-15).

In His name,

G.M. Eades

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Last modified: 08-05-2007
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