Joshua's Long Day
by Wayne Blank
"Joshua's long day" at Gibeon has stirred much controversy for centuries. Many have been concerned that it somehow affected The Bible Calendar [see also Bible Months] that was instituted at The Seven Days Of Creation, or that suddenly stopping the earth's rotation to make the sun appear to stand still in the sky would have caused great tidal waves in the seas, or some other great natural disasters. And how did God do it anyway?
There were no great natural disasters. How can we be sure? The Israelites and Amorites continued their warfare without interruption. Nothing would stop a battle more quickly than a huge tidal wave or massive earthquake - but those things obviously did not happen.
Did the long day mess up the days of the week? No. Biblical days were reckoned from sunset to sunset, not by hours as determined by mechanical or electronic devices such as we use today. Although it lasted a longer time period than usual, until the sun set, which it still did only once that day, it was still the same day (a sporting event that goes into overtime to get a clear winner may last much longer than usual, but it's still counted as only one game).
But just how did God do it, anyway?
Well, how did God create the universe from nothing, when we aren't able to do something like that? How does God raise the dead, if we can't? How is it that God has infinite power, while we don't? Because God is God. The Almighty is capable of doing anything that He wants to do - things that we are not able to do or understand - yet. (see If You Could Create A World)
The Bible does not explain how "Joshua's long day" was done. There have been a number of theories, the most likely possibility being that God simply stopped time for everything, except the people and events on that battlefield. Even human scientists are well aware the time is relative (e.g. according to Einstein, time seems to stop for things traveling at the speed of light), so the idea may have some merit. See Your Very Own Time Machine and Your Guardian Angel.
Fact Finder: Does God experience time the same as we do?