Q&A: The Sun Stood Still

The Sun Stood Still

Question

Did the sun really stand still in Joshua 10:12-14?

Answer

Yes, the sun stood still, or rather the light of the sun stood still. Though scientific opinions exist to attempt to explain this miraculous event, we do not know with any certainty the mechanics employed by God in the execution of it. We simply take it by faith (Heb. 11). The secret things belong to the LORD our God (Deut. 29:29).

However, compared to the creation of the world (Gen. 1-2; Neh. 9:6) and the sustaining of it (Job 12:10; Col. 1:17; Heb. 1:3), we should have no problem believing God can pause the sun as the Lord has established his throne in heaven, and his kingdom rules over all (Ps. 103:19). He is God, the blessed and only Ruler, the King of kings and Lord of lords (1 Tim. 6:15). The government of the entire universe is his (Deut.10:14; Ps. 135:6; Dan. 4:35). He controls nature (Ps. 29:3-10), the elements (Ps. 68:9; Jon. 1:4), the processes of nature (Gen. 8:22; Ps. 107:33-34, 38; Jer. 31:35). He cares for the smallest of his creatures (Ps. 147:9; Matt. 10:29) and controls all creatures (Num. 22:30; Jon. 1:17; 2:10; 1 Kings 17:6). Surely God can stop the sun.

We often take God's creation and control of all things for granted. We awake in the morning and take for granted the simplicity of a beautiful flower or the awesome splendor of the entire universe. We can take many things for granted - our families, churches, the outcome of wars, and even our God. However, occasionally God points out that we should not take anything for granted. In such times, God may work a miracle to reveal his majesty so we may know it is he who is sovereign over all.

Though definitions overlap at times, the Bible uses three basic terms to describe a miracle:

1. Signs: (Ex. 4:1-7; 7:17; 9:29-30; 10:1-2; Num. 14:11; Deut. 6:22; 26:8; Josh. 24:17; Neh. 9:10; Ps. 105:27; Jer. 32:20-21)
2. Wonders: (Matt. 24:24; Mark 13:22; John 4:48; Acts 2:19, 22, 43; 5:12; 6:8; 7:36; 14:3; 15:12; Rom. 15:19; Heb 2:3-4)
3. Power: (Ex. 15:6-7; Num. 14:17; 1 Chron. 29:12; Ps. 111:6; Jer. 10:12; 27:5; 32:17; 51:15; Mic. 3:8).

As Geisler states:

From the human vantage point a miracle, then, is an unusual event ("wonder") that conveys and confirms an unusual message ("sign") by means of unusual power ("power"). From the divine vantage point a miracle is an act of God ("power") that attracts the attention of the people of God ("wonder") to the Word of God (by a "sign").

So, among other descriptions, a miracle may be described as being a sign, unusual, and a demonstration of power. Stopping the sun meets these criteria. C. S. Lewis, in his book Miracles said, "Each miracle writes for us in small letters something that God has already written, in letters almost too large to be noticed, across the whole canvas of Nature."

God stopped the sun. Indeed, a miracle!

Related Question:

Me and My Shadow

Reference

Geisler, N. L., & Geisler, N. L. (1992). Miracles and the Modern Mind: A Defense of Biblical Miracles, Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Book House

Answer by Dr. Joseph R. Nally, Jr.

Dr. Joseph R. Nally, Jr., D.D., M.Div. is the Theological Editor at Third Millennium Ministries (Thirdmill).