Joshua 10:12–14—How is it possible for the sun to stand still for a whole day?
Problem: During the battle with the kings of the land, God gave Israel the power to overcome their enemies. As the armies of the people of the land fled from before Israel, Joshua sought the Lord to cause the sun to stand still so that they might have sufficient daylight to complete the destruction of their enemies. But how could the sun stand still in the midst of the heaven for a whole day?
Solution: First, it is not necessary to conclude that the earth’s rotation was totally halted. Verse 13 states that the sun “did not hasten to go down for about a whole day.” This could indicate that the earth’s rotation was not completely halted, but that it was retarded to such a degree that the sun did not set for about a whole day. Or, it is possible that God caused the light of the sun to refract through some cosmic “mirror” so that it could be seen a day longer.
Even if the earth’s rotation was completely stopped, we must remember that God is not only capable of halting the rotation of the earth for a whole day, but He is also able to prevent any possible catastrophic effects that might result from the cessation of the earth’s rotation. Although we do not necessarily know how God brought about this miraculous event, we know that He did it.
Finally, the Bible speaks in everyday observational language. So the sun did not actually stop; it only appeared to do so (see Introduction “Mistake 12”).
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This excerpt is from When Critics Ask: A Popular Handbook on Bible Difficulties (Wheaton, Ill.: Victor Books, 1992). © 2014 Norman Geisler and Thomas Howe. All rights reserved. Used by permission. Click here to purchase this book.