Jonah 1: That Can’t Happen
Jonah is a popular story wrapped in controversy. Right away in chapter 1, we have our friend Jonah running away from God and eventually being thrown off of the boat.
Jon 1:15 So they took up Jonah, and cast him forth into the sea: and the sea ceased from her raging.
Jon 1:16 Then the men feared the LORD exceedingly, and offered a sacrifice unto the LORD, and made vows.
Jon 1:17 Now the LORD had prepared a great fish to swallow up Jonah. And Jonah was in the belly of the fish three days and three nights.
“There is no way that could’ve happened,” is a refrain that you often hear. This is not what normally happens. When there is a shark attack in the ocean, the person does not live inside of that shark. Even if you could survive the experience of being eaten, there is no oxygen inside of a giant fish. The objections go on and on.
I think about these objections, and I agree that this type of thing does not normally happen. In fact, I don’t know if this type of thing has ever even been proposed at other times in history. I don’t know of any other culture that has this type of story in its history. Even if there is another one, the main point is that this type of thing does not happen every day.
However, I’m hesitant to automatically say it did not happen like many people would want me to. I am hesitant because of who God is. I think that the better question to ask in that situation is whether or not God is capable of bringing about this type of situation, and the answer is clearly yes. God has the power to bring the dead to life, so I certainly don’t think that it is justifiable to say that God could not supernaturally influence this situation with Jonah. If God wanted to create a giant fish and have a person live inside of it for three days, God has the power to do that.
This statement applies to a lot more than just the story of Jonah. I think of Thomas Jefferson who decided to rewrite the Bible and remove the supernatural because it didn’t fit his sensibilities. That is clearly the wrong approach to take.
If God is everything that we believe He is, then I don’t think that there really is any way to sustain the argument that the miraculous is impossible. With God, this miracle would be just one of the billions that He has already done.