Ice is solid water, but there are so many holes in Doron Nof's theory (PDF, 644 kB, from Dr. Nof's personal site that Jesus walked on ice (as opposed to water) that it isn't funny. Dr. Nof is a professor at Florida State University, so the story has gotten quite a bit of press here (Tallahassee Democrat and WCTV follow-up: WCTV's original story is no longer on their web site).

Nof conjectures that higher salinity due to a salt spring caused the water in the area of Jesus' miraculous walk to freeze, creating a solid surface that Jesus could walk on. James Hayes, a religion professor at FSU, stated that "One student raised her hand and said if Jesus can turn water into wine, then he certainly can turn water into ice. It's still a miracle." during a class discussion. While this would still qualify as a miracle and the student is correct, let's discuss the holes in Dr. Nof's theory.

The story Nof refers to in the paper is found in Matthew 14 (I am quoting more of the passage than was quoted in the paper, and I am quoting from the New American Standard, whereas they quoted the King James Version):

[24] But the boat was already a long distance [a footnote says the literal translation is "many stadia" with a stadion, which is the singular of stadia, being about 600 feet] from the land, battered by the waves; for the wind was contrary. [25] And in the fourth watch of the night He [Jesus] came to them, walking on the sea. [26] When the disciples saw Him walking on the sea, they were terrified, and said, "It is a ghost!" And they cried out in fear. [27] But immediately Jesus spoke to them, saying, "Take courage, it is I; do not be afraid." [28] Peter said to Him, "Lord, if it is You, command me to come to You on the water." [29] And He said, "Come!" And Peter got out of the boat, and walked on the water and came toward Jesus. [30] But seeing the wind, he became frightened, and beginning to sink, he cried out, "Lord, save me!"

As we see from my quote of the passage, Dr. Nof completely disregards Peter's walk on water as well. Nof writes "Since the springs ice is relatively small, a person standing or walking on it may appear to an observer situated some distance away to be 'walking on water'.", but the Biblical account clearly places Peter and the other disciples much closer to Jesus. Also, how did Peter sink if they were walking on ice? This wasn't just Peter's imagination, as Jesus acknowledges it when He takes hold of Peter's hand and He says "You of little faith, why did you doubt?" (Matthew 14:31.

Finally, we aren't talking about a bunch of land-loving tourists on a boat. We see in Matthew 4:18-22 that Peter, Andrew, James, and John were all fisherman on the Sea of Galilee. In that profession, you would be familiar with the Sea of Galilee, or you would go out of business quickly. Therefore, Dr. Nof's ice theory just doesn't hold water.

According to WCTV, Dr. Nof is "a self proclaimed atheist". Dr. Nof, the Bible states that "the foolishness of God is wiser than men" (I Corinthians 1:25), and my question to you echoes Jesus' question to Peter: "You of little faith, why do you doubt?"

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