An old story goes something like this: A young preacher, fresh from divinity school and steeped in the latest academic biblical studies, began to explain how Israel’s crossing of the Red Sea was no miracle. From the back of the church he heard an elderly man shout, “Amen!” A little startled but undeterred, the preacher persisted in describing how the Red Sea often dries out in certain climates. He detailed historical records of periods when the Red Sea had withered to little more than a trickle, and how, at these times, one could cross the sea on foot with ease. Satisfied with his explanation and sure he had educated the congregation, the preacher was started when the same elderly man shouted again, “Amen!” Confused, the preacher asked, “Why are you still so excited by this account of Exodus?” The gentleman replied, “It’s just such a wonderful miracle that God was able to drown the entire Egyptian army in the trickle of water you just described!”
In my younger years, I tried to find more rational and scientific answers to the indulgent stories of the Bible. I wanted it all to better square with the realities and natural laws of our experience. But, like the preacher of this story, every way we try to rationalize the miracles of the Bible creates more problems than they answer. The truth is that either the Bible is complete myth, or it is an accurate account of a powerful Creator God who remains sovereign over his creation and shows this in miracle. This was the very reason for bringing Israel through the Red Sea. It was the final proof of his might and his ability to bring them safe out of Egypt. This is why the Passover and the escape at the Red Sea are still to his day defining events for Israel, part of the Jewish identity, and examples of their relationship with God.