Have NASA computers really proven Joshua’s ‘long day’?

Author: Jonathan Sarfati

Unfortunately, the missing day ‘discovery’ is an old urban myth. The story that astronomical calculations proved that a day was ‘missing’ is over a century old. Old books by Bernard Ramm and Harry Rimmer mention such a calculation, but couldn’t document it. In the last few decades, the myth has been embellished with NASA computers performing those calculations. A recent version has the additional embellishment that the computer jammed. The fact that the conclusions are so similar although the alleged calculation methods are so different shows that there is a process of legendary accretion here. In fact, this has been conclusively documented on this article that we have reprinted with permission on our website.

No-one who repeats this story has ever provided details of these calculations — how exactly was this missing day discovered? Most articles about it are based on third-hand information. This should automatically make people cautious. That’s a big problem — this type of story sounds convincing, with high-sounding names etc. But when we try to trace such stories to their source as opposed merely to ‘someone who knows’ the person, they tend to vanish.

Another big problem is the mathematical impossibility: how could we detect a missing day unless you had a fixed reference point before this day? In fact we would need to cross-check between both astronomical and historical records to detect any missing day. And to detect a missing 40 minutes requires that these reference points are known to within an accuracy of a few minutes. It is certainly true that the timing of solar eclipses observable from a certain location can be known precisely. But the ancient records did not record time that precisely, so the required cross-check is simply not possible. Anyway, the earliest historically recorded eclipse occurred in 1217 BC, nearly two centuries after Joshua. So there is no way the missing day could be detected by any computer.

There is so much good evidence for the truth of creation and the Bible that we don’t need to resort to embellishments and urban myths.

Published: 24 February 2006