Pitiful Paleolimnological Mumbo—Jumbo

From Issue: R&R Volume 26 #5

Paleolimnology is “the study of past freshwater, saline, and brackish environments” (Sweets, 1997). According to a recent report in the Journal of Paleolimnology, a naturalistic explanation has been uncovered that may reveal why Jesus was able to walk on water. Researchers Doron Nof, Ian McKeague, and Nathan Paldor have proposed that “unique freezing processes probably happened in that region several times during the last 12,000 years” (2006, 35:418). Thus

the unusual local freezing process might have provided an origin to the story that Christ walked on water. 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” (35:417).

…With the idea that much of our cultural heritage is based on human observations of nature, we sought a natural process that could perhaps explain the origin of the account that Jesus Christ walked on water (35:436).

The same gentleman who proposed more than a decade ago that the parting of the Red Sea was the result of “a wind set-down which exposed a usually submerged ridge” (see Nof and Paldor, 1992), has now taken the lead in attempting to explain away another Bible miracle.

Countless man hours and untold thousands of dollars from various grants and universities have been spent by these three men in an attempt to explain that there may be a possible naturalistic explanation to the account of Jesus walking on water. Unbelievable! Why not just say that it is possible Jesus floated on some drift wood, hopped on rocks, walked on the backs of turtles, or wore inflatable wine skins around his feet? Anyone can concoct unusual, naturalistic explanations for various Bible miracles. But, that does not prove the miracle did not happen.

In truth, the only reason people even know that Jesus was at the Sea of Galilee 2,000 years ago is because the gospel writers said that He was. Why accept this detail as factual but not the miracle Jesus performed? And what about Peter? The Bible claims that he “walked on the water,” too (Matthew 14:29). Where is the researched “rationalization” for this miracle? For a trio of scientists living 2,000 years this side of Jesus to assert that they have a better understanding of this event than Jesus’ own disciples, who witnessed it (some of whom were experienced Galilean fisherman, including the apostle John who wrote about the miracle—John 6:14-21), is the height of “academic” arrogance (i.e., foolishness!—cf. 1 Corinthians 1:20-31). Moreover, the New Testament possesses attributes of supernatural inspiration, hence its reporting of the incident is factual.


Nof Doron, Ian McKeague, Nathan Paldor (2006), “Is There a Paleolimnological Explanation for ‘Walking on Water’ in the Sea of Galilee?” Journal of Paleolimnology, 35:417-439, April.

Nof, Doron and N. Paldor (1992), “Are There Oceanographic Explanations for the Israelites’ Crossing of the Red-Sea?,” Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society, 73[3]:305–314.

Sweets, P. Roger (1997), “The Paleolimnology Home Page,” [On-line], URL:


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