Have scientists verified Joshua's long or missing day?
Have scientists verified Joshua's 'long day'? Or is the story a hoax?
People have been circulating a rumor since the late 1800s that scientists have confirmed the “long day” recorded in the Bible's Book of Joshua. (Joshua 10:13)
Bible-believing Christians, of course, believe the miracle of the long day because God's Word says it. They don't need anyone to tell them it is true.
But for some reason, a story infiltrated Christian circles that scientists at NASA had been calculating back in time and found that a day in history was missing. Then one of the scientists allegedly remembered the Bible's account in Joshua that “the sun stood still in the midst of heaven, and hasted not to go down about a whole day.”
Impossible to find missing day
Had science confirmed Scripture? No, the story is a hoax. We will explain why it is impossible to find a missing day 3500 years ago.
First, as Christians, we want to make it clear that we believe the Bible's account of the long day. It is a wonderful miracle, and is no more difficult for God than any other miracle (such as creating the universe in the first place).
Second, whether the story about scientists' confirming it is true or not has no bearing on the truth of the Bible's historical account. There are legends from the other side of the world about a “long night” that are more reliable than the story that scientists have found a missing day.
Third, we must point out that no day was “missing” in the Joshua account. The Book of Joshua describes a long day, not a missing day. The daylight lasted about twice as long as usual so that Joshua's army would have victory over the Amorites, and so God's promise to Israel about entering the Promised Land would be fulfilled.
God, therefore, had ample reason to intervene so that Joshua's army would have victory over the Amorites. The reason He chose to use the sun in such a unique way was probably because the Amorites were sun-worshippers. To see the object of their worship used to defeat them would show the Amorites and others they had tormented that the God of Israel was the one true God — a God mightier than what the Amorites worshiped.
Reasons to disbelieve
Why do we think the story that NASA scientists have found a missing day is a hoax?
One reason is that the story was around long before NASA and the modern space program. Creationist Harry Rimmer, in a 1936 book titled The Harmony of Science and Scripture, mentions that Professor Totten from Yale wrote a book in 1890 about scientists corroborating the “lost day”. Although Rimmer believed it, the story is untrue.
It seems that as the years have passed, this story entered the space age. NASA found itself labelled as the group that discovered the lost day. NASA has repeatedly denied the story.
Proof the story is wrong
How could anyone know that a day was missing in the past?
Let's say Wednesday last week was missing. For some reason we just went from Tuesday to Thursday. Astronomers know Wednesday was missing because they can check the relative positions of the moon, sun, and planets for the whole week and for years before and after.
The major heavenly bodies are always in predictable places. God is the Master of large-scale organization. He gave us the seven-day week to follow His pattern of six days' work and a day of rest. The phases of the moon are highly predictable. Computer charts based on planetary orbits and rotation speed show us where the heavenly bodies were last Monday and Tuesday, and where they should have been last Wednesday and Thursday.
If we check Tuesday's chart with Thursday's chart and find that the planets, sun and moon on Thursday were only 24 hours further advanced than they were on Tuesday, we could say Wednesday was missing. (But it's more likely that Thursday was Wednesday anyway, because notice that nothing was missing.)
Missing day is a hoax
The main thing you'll notice from this is that to show a day is missing you need to know where the planets, sun, and moon were before the missing day and after the missing day. If you don't know where they were before and after you won't know whether anything unusual took place.
And that is the big problem with finding a missing day during Joshua's time around 1500 BC. We don't have daily planetary records from then. Sure, we can use a computer to show where they should have been, but we have nothing to check them against to show if anything is out of place.
The account in the Bible is genuine. But the story that scientists have found a missing day is a hoax.