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The Exodus Debate Essay

1976 words - 8 pages

The Exodus of the Hebrew people out of Egypt as depicted in the Holy Bible is controversial. A literal, Biblical reading depicts inexplicable supernatural events suggesting the influence of the God of the Hebrews. There are three main theories about the Exodus Event. The first is that the event occurred exactly as accounted in the Bible, miraculous events included. Secondly, that the Exodus did occur, just not as the Bible describes. The last is that the event never occurred. The explanation of these theories will be presented in this paper.
There are many people who believe that the Bible is the infallible word of God, therefore believing that the Exodus did in fact happen, exactly as described in the Bible. The biblical account states that God sent plagues upon the people of Egypt, causing strife. Once the ten plagues had been set upon Egypt, Pharaoh set the Israelites free from bondage. Then, God told Moses to change their path, placing them against the Red Sea. So, when Pharaoh changed his mind, and went after them, the Israelites were cornered between the Egyptians and the water. Moses then, by the command of God, stretched out his staff and the waters parted. The Hebrews crossed on the dry ground. After they reached the other side, God cause the water to fall onto the Egyptians chasing after them, killing them all.
For someone to believe in the exact Biblical account of the Exodus, they must first believe in the God of the Hebrews, and then believe in His ability to cause such events. They must also believe in miracles. According to a recent survey, nearly 80% of Americans believe in miracles. (Conan) Still, because the event as it occurred in the bible requires the existence of a God, for some, this makes the story irrelevant, other than as a piece of fiction.
The hypothesis that the Exodus occurred but not as scripture records, is believed for a few reasons. Events, like the plagues, are attributed to natural causes, instead of a supernatural interference from God. The ten plagues of Egypt, as described in the Bible, were devastating to Egypt, as well as the Hebrews, with some plagues only affecting the Egyptians. The naturalist theory of the plagues states that the first plague of blood took place because of storms in the mountains of Ethiopia washing red clay into the Nile, causing it to look like blood. According to this theory, this sets a series of natural but catastrophic events in order, explaining the next five plagues. The clay choked the fish, making them sick, and the infected frogs fled the water, dying in the Egyptian homes, where lice and flies then bred. This gave rise to the pestilence of the livestock, who had eaten the infected grass, consequently infecting the humans. (Zevit) The next three plagues operate separately: a rare occurrence of natural hail, a more common occurrence of locusts, and the darkness explained as a “Libyan dust storm”. (Zivit) The tenth plague is explained in this theory by the high infant...

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