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Monday, January 09, 2017

The Drowning of Atlantis, the Plagues of Egypt & the Exodus Theme of the Hebrew Scriptures

Many have noted the theme of exodus from oppression throughout the Scripture, but still, seemingly contrary to history, affix a literal & supernatural interpretation to the Exodus Story, as passed down to us in the book of the same name! This is not to say that the events laid out for us in the book did not actually happen, nor is it to say that there was nothing supernatural about the event; this is simply to say that the events need not happened, either chronologically or exactly as they are so colorfully & poetically described, in order for them to have taken place. As we can ascertain in the New Testament, in particular, this Exodus Theme is significant of the Gospel of Jesus, who was the Christ; as He was typified by the leader of the original exodus, Moses; Jesus figuratively & really led His people out of the bondage of Sin & Death, which had been typified by Egypt & in His own time, by Israel according to the flesh!

The funny thing about myths is that they are usually ( however loosely ) based in historical fact & so, I imagine, is Plato's reference to the mythical island of Atlantis! If Atlantis ever actually existed ( some say 'yes, while others say 'no'; it should be clear that such a place, though probably not literally accurate according to legend, probably did, at some point in time exist. Though it was most likely not call 'Atlantis'; it is probably fairly safe to speculate that Plato's reference was not original, as he claimed. Most modern critics theorize that 'Atlantis' was merely an allegory for some sort of utopia, a vision of 'the perfect society', while others have striven to prove that such a place did, at one time, exist, though maybe called by another name. Whether it did once exist or whether it IS just an allegory, Atlantis stands forevermore as a legend & an ideal to be sought after by those who believe in the innate goodness of humanity!

The fact that the magicians of the Pharaoh's court, as reported in the book of Exodus, were able to duplicate the first two plagues that Moses pronounced on the Egyptians, as well as turning their staffs into serpents, has always interested me, but with no obvious explanation presenting itself, has remained a mystery to me, though I have been known to speculate on the matter in the past! Why were the Pharaoh's magicians able, like Moses, to bring frogs upon the land, as well as turn the water to blood, but were not able to duplicate the lice ( 'lice' may be a faulty translation here, as it is translated very differently in Isaiah 51:6 ). After this, the magicians seem to have given up, since the Story does not record them striving anymore, though it does record them acknowledging, 'This [ is ] the finger of God' ( Exodus 8:18 ). No matter why they were able to generate the frogs & turn the waters into blood, but were not able to duplicate the 'lice' & following plagues, one thing is clear, these plagues all had one thing in common; they were all natural occurrences!

By claiming that the Plagues of Egypt could all be explained naturally, I am by no means saying there was no supernatural causation; this IS our Father's ( the Creator's ) world after all & all things naturally occurring do so only through His almighty governance! According to my research, a certain  ( volcanic ) island in the Mediterranean Sea erupted quite massively around the time of the purported Exodus. As this eruption put the much more recent Mount St. Helens eruption to shame, it also could account for every single one of the Plagues of Egypt, even the famous 'Parting of the Sea' ( usually called the Red Sea, but more correctly, 'The Sea of Reeds ), though not necessarily in the same chronological order as the author of the book of Exodus recorded them. The resulting ash cloud, being much greater in scope than the fairly recent eruption in Washington state, could easily account for the darkness that the inhabitants of Egypt experienced, as well ( 'dare I say it?' ) the 'deaths of the firstborn'. 'Now that,' one might protest, 'is going too far; that was obviously supernatural!'

Truly, the plagues recorded in the book of Exodus were naturally occurring phenomena, though not necessarily everyday occurrences! The frogs & flies, for instance, could easily be explained by the dead fish resulting from the waters of the river turning to 'blood', which, in turn, might be explained by the fore-mentioned ash cloud, or even ocean currents from as far north & west as the northern Mediterranean Sea. 'If all the Plagues of Egypt may be explained away naturally', one might wonder, 'wouldn't that mean that the Exodus might not have actually taken place, that it's all just a big Story?' Well, it IS a big Story & that's precisely what we must keep in mind here; the Exodus account, as all of Scripture, was written in such a way, not necessarily chronologically, as to reveal a greater, spiritual truth!

Minoan civilization, of which the island of Thera, also known as Santorini, has been found to have been far advanced over any other ancient civilisation, so it would not be surprising to learn that it may have been the origin of the 'Atlantis' myth, or legend. When Mount St. Helens erupted in 1980, the effects were felt as far east as the Dakotas; when Thera erupted, 3,000+ years previously, it affected most of the known world! With the explosive force of hundreds of atomic bombs, Thera's ( underwater ) volcano, as the Finger of God, had more than the capability to rain down down devastation, not only on Egypt, but anything or anyone else unfortunate enough to be in its path!

It is quite likely that the Minoan civilization on Thera, or Santorini, was the genesis of the Atlantean myth! At the time & even looking back on such a society as must have resulted from such advancement, the Minoan civilization must have seemed almost 'utopian'; it certainly would have struck certain philosophers as an ideal society. In fact, there are those of our day who seem to think that all of our political contrivances & technological advances will usher in the vaunted 'Age of Aquarius', but so far, all we have seen is the lengths that humanity will go to maintain its power over others!

The Typology of Scripture is without doubt! As mentioned previously, The Exodus from Egypt typified the True Exodus, that from the bondage of Sin & Death, so in that sense at least, need not necessarily have happened in the exact way it is recorded in order to meet the necessary requirements. The Exodus, the True Exodus did occur; that is also without doubt: Israel met its Messiah, who led them in a Spiritual Exodus! The details, far from being unimportant, were obviously of great import to the original audience, the Hebrew people & those who followed them out of Egypt, but to us, living in the 21st century, the importance lies in the blessed fact that we are the benefactors of thatSpiritual Exodus, though we in turn, are saddled with the responsibility of leading others out of darkness into the everlasting light!

Charles Haddon Shank

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