OT, Sinai and volcanos - Can you help me on this?


#1

How do I respond to aggressive atheists with support from some secular scientists, which claim that Mount Sinai was little more than a volcano (and wasn’t in the Sinai Peninsula), and we all worship a Volcano god, which is utter nonsense I know. They use these passages:

Micah 1:4

The Lord is coming from his holy place; he will come down and walk on the tops of the mountains. 4 Then the mountains will melt under him like wax in a fire; they will pour down into the valleys like water pouring down a hill.

or

Judges 5:4-5

O Lord, when thou wentest out of Seir, and passedst by the regions of Edom, the earth trembled, and the heavens dropped water.

The mountains melted before the face of the Lord, and Sinai before the face of the Lord the God of Israel.

or Exodus

19:16 - On the morning of the third day there was thunder and lightning, with a thick cloud over the mountain, and a very loud trumpet blast. Everyone in the camp trembled. 17Then Moses led the people out of the camp to meet with God, and they stood at the foot of the mountain. 18Mount Sinai was covered with smoke, because the Lord descended on it in fire. The smoke billowed up from it like smoke from a furnace, and the whole mountain trembled violently. 19As the sound of the trumpet grew louder and louder, Moses spoke and the voice of God answered him…

Are there any people here who can speak to this? I know the sober reading of scripture puts Mount Sinai in the Sinai peninsula, and there are no volcanoes there, but I am not a man of deep knowledge of scripture, so i’m hoping someone here can help me understand?

Thank you and God Bless you in advance!


#2

Any help whatsoever is most appreciated by the way!


#3

I know this probably isn’t what you are looking for, but personally, my reaction is: so what? Let’s assume that they are right that Mt. Sinai was a volcano and that Scripture is describing an eruption. What does that prove? Just because something can be explained scientifically doesn’t mean that God is not behind it. Their logic is that Mt. Sinai was a volcano, therefore Moses didn’t speak to God or receive the law inscribed on stone tablets. That is a non sequitur, i.e. the conclusion does not logically follow from the premise. Science does not disprove God. In fact, I believe the opposite to be true. When I see how complex our world and universe is, from sub-atomic particles, to clusters of galaxies hundreds of thousands of light years wide, it just reinforces my belief that God exists. To think all of that happened by random happenstance, to me, requires a much bigger leap of faith than believing in God.

As Pope Benedict XVI said:

[quote=Benedict XVI]Faith and reason are meant to work together in opening the human mind to God’s truth. By its nature, faith seeks understanding, while the mind’s search for truth finds inspiration, guidance and fulfillment in the encounter with God’s revealed word.

Far from being in conflict, faith and science go hand in hand in the service of man’s moral advancement and his wise stewardship of creation. The Gospel message of our salvation in Jesus Christ, the Son of God, offers us a true humanism, a ‘grammar’ by which we come to understand the mystery of man and the universe. In this Year of Faith, may we open our minds more fully to the light of God’s truth, which reveals the grandeur of our human dignity and vocation.
[/quote]

Read more: ncregister.com/daily-news/teaching-science-and-faith-in-harmony#ixzz2l8SD1npP


#4

Bonjour, Fishy.

There are differing opinions on where the Mount Sinai is located. Some place it in the Sinai Peninsula and some place it in Saudi Arabia. I’m in favor of the Saudi Arabian location myself, but I’m no expert.

People claiming it was just a volcano is not surprising, but it doesn’t really work. For one, the biblical account involves the Hebrews camping at the base of the mountain and Moses going up to it, while it is supposedly erupting. Moses would never have been seen again and those Hebrews would have to have gone running. If a smoking volcano was confused with the appearance of God people would be in a world of hurt when the lava ran over their feet. The assumption the atheists are making in this case just don’t make sense. And if the atheists in question wanted to argue that it’s because the the stories were written way after the events took place because the Jews were trying to make up their history, then there is no point in assuming there was a volcano anyway because it would be just a “story.”

This is just another example of an atheist assumption on the biblical text that really is nothing more than an assumption used to dismiss the entire narrative.


#5

I agree with you about science proving the existence of God, not to mention math (from its most basic forms to its most elaborate) which screams God so loudly, I have no idea how anyone cannot hear it.

And I understand how God has used natural phenomena and people to do his work, and only keeping his Son here a short time, that people would believe by faith…

**But my point is, they claim we worship a volcano god, and that the ancients created God to explain things like earth quakes and volcanoes, which they had no knowledge of, in fact they claim that there is no ancient word for Volcano at all, and therefore they had to create God to satisfy their fear. **

I don’t share this view at all, Can anyone comment on this?


#6

You make great points!

I’m sure it was in Arabia (which includes the Peninsula), as per Paul’s words - as in those time Arabia included a large area. Modern maps don’t apply here.


#7

Good point. I always figured the Sinai Peninsula was counted as part of Egypt, but I really have no idea.


#8

Thanks, and thank you for your response - it is greatly appreciated.

Anyone else have any insight?


#9

I live near twin volcanoes, one active, one dormant.
However, we know all the volcanoes, active or otherwise, in this country, I think.

How many volcanoes exactly are there in that part of the world where they think Mt. Sinai could be located?


#10

They claim that Mount Sinai is outside of the peninsula (far away), which fly’s in the face of the scripture. They claim it is the volcanoes in Northwest Saudi Arabia I think. It makes no sense when you read the OT, but they proclaim it MUST BE A VOLCANO…


#11

I’m glad this topic was brought up, though. I knew almost nothing previously about Mt. Sinai or that theory. As I say, I’m grateful to the people on the forum. I feel like I honestly learn something new everyday! :slight_smile:


#12

No problem.

I hope someone more learned than me (and there are so many on this forum like that!) can offer more insight.


#13

The fact that ancient Hebrew doesn’t have a word for volcano should be proof enough that they didn’t worship a volcano god. Logic should dictate that if they worshipped a volcano god (like say the Romans) they would have word (like volcano) which is based off the name of their made up god (like Vulcan).


#14

I think that’s the athiests point though, that our God WAS the volcano god. And they called him by our gods name. I don’t’t agree with that obviously, but that’s what they counter me with. See what I mean??


#15

From the description found in the OT, it does sound volcanic. However, this is a far cry from saying we worship volcanoes or volcano gods. Like you said above, God uses nature to proclaim His work. If He wants to get the people’s attention by means of a volcano, He certainly can. But this does not explain the voice Moses heard when he ascended the mountain, and the bush that did not burn, and the other miracles like the plagues.

God nearly always uses His own creation to do His work. When He killed mankind, He used rain. When Elijah was in the desert, He had the ravens bring Elijah food. At Fatima, He made the sun proclaim His glory. I think He does this deliberately just to cast enough doubt to separate the sheep from the goats. IF He did His work in a boldly supernatural way, then everyone would be forced to believe. Where does that leave faith?

There’s an article here about a volcanic field in Saudi Arabia coming alive after being long dormant. It’s even parting the Red Sea! csmonitor.com/Science/2010/0926/Ancient-volcanic-field-reawakens-in-Saudi-Arabia The whole west side of Arabia is volcanic. If you look at the area on Google maps, there’s lots of black hills that are probably volcanic rock. So, Sinai could have been a volcano that God was using to proclaim His might. This is just how He works, it’s nothing to stress about.


#16

I agree, but still, the OT points to an area where there were no volcanos, and the athiests insist that there was no pillar of smoke leading the people and the fire by night was simply a volcano. This detracts greatly from what I believe was a purely supernatural phenomena.

What I’m saying is that how can I answer from an appologists point of view to prove using internal and external evidence that sinai was not a volcano?

I cannot accept that it was, simply because God protected his people with pillars of fire, and decended on the tent. It must be supernatural.

All bible study points to it not being a volcano.

How do I answer from an appologetics point of view? Can someonme help me here?


#17

The article says nothing about the red sea parting. Frankly its science like this that’s fuels ammunition for athiests. If our God is simply an angry natural volcano, which the acients were affraid of and had no explination for, then where does that leave us?

The bible tells us mount sinai was not in an area of volcanos.

How do I answer the athiest from a Catholic Appologetics point of view, or even basic thoughts are welcome.


#18

You don’t. Nothing you can say to such people will make any difference to them, and they will use anything you can say to prove (mainly to themselves) that you don’t know what you are talking about.
Bye the bye, modern geographers using satellite technology have located the biblical Mt. Sinai. It is located within the political borders of Jordan and is a military zone. As such, no foreigners, scientists or not, are not allowed there. There are no volcanos at all - dormant or not - in that region!
When the bug you about the issue…give them an “intellectuals” reply: tell them to go to… (the hot place)…
That should raise an eyebrow or two and put those wise guys in their proper place. It may not be nice, but it sure will feel good!


#19

Your answer is not in scripture but in geology.

No, it is not possible that Moses took the Hebrews to an active volcano. There were no volcanoes in the Sinai Penninsula or the surrounding area at the time of Moses. The youngest volcanic rocks in the Sinai Penninsula are about ten million years old.

-Tim-


#20

Thank you and Bless you!


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