I like hearing about people’s different interpretations of Exodus during the 10 plagues of Egypt. You often find people who are opposed to any correlation between the Bible and science, as well as people who think it all goes hand-in-hand. I, for one, think that God uses science to do a lot of things. After all, He is the one who created it, right?
A few years ago, I saw a movie (that I must admit, wasn’t the best thing ever), called “The Reaping”, about a small town in Louisiana that seemed to be cursed by each of the plagues of the Bible. It is a horror film about a former Christian missionary who had lost her faith after losing her family during an international missions trip. She now works as someone who tries to disprove religious occurrences with science.
She is brought to Louisiana after a boy has died and the town’s river has turned to blood. I won’t ruin it for you, and I must admit that the ending is pretty bad, but it was a movie that I remember even 4 years later because of the . The reason it stuck with me was because of its ability to given scientific insight into the Bible. All of the plagues in the movie were explained by some sort of science, but none of it overthrew the validity of the Bible.
A quick recap: Exodus talks about how the Israelites were multiplying quickly in Egypt, and a new king grew worrisome that they would rise up against the Egyptians and join with their enemies. The king enslaved the Israelites and commanded that each new boy that was born in Egypt was to be thrown in the Nile River. Moses asked that the king let the Israelites leave Egypt, but was denied. That is when God cursed Egypt with the ten plagues until the king agreed to let the people go.
I can’t remember every detail given by “The Reaping”, but I found a site that gives similar examples. I will try to summarize those the best I can…
- Turning water to blood- There are things called algal blooms, a sort of algae, that are toxic to fish and that release a red pigment called “red tides”. This can make water look like blood.
- An abundance (an understatement) of frogs- Because of the fish dying out and not preying on frog eggs, frogs would have multiplied quickly and left the toxic river.
- Dust turning to gnats- Classifying bugs had not happened yet, so these insects could have possibly been a kind that bit people and fed on animals, called Culicoides.
- Swarms of flies- Although it isn’t clear what these flies did besides swarm the people of Egypt, there are flies, called Stable Flies, that multiply quickly and bite people. These could be the culprits in this plague.
- Diseased livestock- The insects in plague three (Culicoides) just so happen to be a great explanation for carriers of two diseases that livestock would become infected by, without harming people.
- Boils on the skin of men and animals- There is a disease called Glanders that makes animals and people sick and causes boils to form. It can even be carried by the Stable Fly.
- Bad storm and hail
- Locusts covering the land- Large swarms of locusts aren’t common, but they do happen.
- Three days of darkness- Desert sand storms can bury homes and cause long periods of darkness.
- Death of the firstborn- First born/dominant people/animals were the ones to eat first. With poor storage options and crops and animals being destroyed by bugs, hail, and disease, unfit food could have been the culprit for this. Once the surface level of food had been eaten by the firstborns, the rest of the food might have been a little less toxic. Therefore, the firstborns were at the greatest risk for death by a foodborne illness.
Obviously, all of these explanations are open to interpretation, but I thought it would be neat to show some of the options for how God MIGHT have done it.
What are your thoughts?