Although believers have faith and trust the valid truths presented in the Bible, faith alone is not always enough for some people to reconcile what is today known through science with seemingly miraculous Biblical stories.
The fact is, however, science and archaeological evidence do in fact verify many of the stories either directly or, to the extent possible with such ancient tales, explain the validity of how the events may have happened.
The Plagues of Egypt in the time of Moses are a great example of this philosophy. It is known the events of the story did happen in ancient times, and it makes sense as how the first three plagues would have led to the next three.
The 7th through 9th plagues are a bit different in that on the surface they may not seem to logically follow the previous events, however, that is explained as the miracle in their timing, or perhaps because the results of these plagues were worsened by the blight already upon the land.
Chapter 7: Storms and Hail
The seventh plague involved a rare hailstorm with ferocious thunder and lightning. The hail was large enough to cause devastation to animals left out in it and destroy much of the crops which remained after the first six plagues. Such storms may not be common in Egypt, but can and do happen occasionally. If it was in fact a natural storm, the miracle and proof of God’s hand in the matter would have been its timing.
An alternate explanation is that it is known through archaeology that a volcano erupted about 3,500 years ago on the island of Santorini in the Aegean Sea. It has been theorized the volcanic ash mixed with or perhaps drew in a thunderstorm, and the mix of the two caused the utter destruction of the fields.
Chapter 8: Locusts
The plague of locusts has a very simple explanation, as it is a fairly common occurrence in the region. The timing of the plague, along with the ability of Moses to predict it, is the true miracle and proves the involvement of God in the plague.
It makes even more sense in conjunction with the theory of the volcanic eruption, as that could lead to more storms and the higher levels of humidity which are conducive to a swarm of locusts. Moreover, the previous plagues would have resulted in fewer crops and livestock, along with ill health among people and beasts, making each more devastating to lose and the consequences of a locust swarm far more crippling.
Chapter 9: Darkness
Again, the same storms which caused the hail and locusts easily explains the ninth plague of darkness over the land — especially if the explanation of a volcanic eruption is accepted as part of the problem.
It has in the past been theorized that perhaps an eclipse was a cause of the darkness, but such an explanation doesn’t explain the details of the story. An eclipse doesn’t last for days, and wouldn’t be viewable throughout Egypt except where the Hebrew people lived. The volcanic ash, however, would last for weeks but could have breaks in the effect to allow sunlight through to Goshen where the Jewish people lived.
Additionally, The weather fluctuations along with the lack of crops and vegetation could result in increased sand storms. Much like what was seen in more recent times in the American Midwest with the Dust Bowl Effect, such events are proven to inherently create the very conditions which exacerbate the severity of the event. The sandstorms in tandem with volcanic ash blocking the sunlight would indeed seem like a terrifying act of God to the superstitious Egyptians.
The Truth About The Plagues of Egypt
When discussing the plausible scientific explanations for Biblical miracles, it is important to remember that scientific proof does not mean the hand of God wasn’t involved. These events can be viewed as being caused by God within the physical parameters of the world He created.
In fact, the inclusion of the laws of physics in the world is proof of God’s grace as he gave humans the means by which to define the world and its workings, leading to a greater understanding of God’s intentions while determining a path to salvation. Such a concept could in fact be seen as part of the definition of God’s Grace known through faith.
~ 1776 Christian