In the past two centuries it was widely believed by scientists and the intelligentsia that the majority of Biblical stories were either a poetic legend at best or simply pure fabrication. Gradually, however, a new attitude toward the Biblical testament began to prevail among scientific circles, both religious and secular.
The prevalence of this new viewpoint was to a considerable degree promoted by archaeological excavations in Mesopotamia, which confirmed without a doubt the historical veracity of many Biblical narratives.
Nevertheless, until quite recently it was believed that such Biblical narratives as, for example, the well-known story of Joshua, who kept the sun standing still, were either pure fabrication or symbolic imagery. But now, the well-known scientist Immanuel Velikovsky published an opus, in which he very convincingly proves that several thousand years ago there occurred a cosmic event during which there actually was a double day.
First of all, the scientist refers to the existence of testimonials similar to the Biblical story in the literature and legends of many ancient peoples, in particular the Chinese, Hindus, Aztecs, Mayans, Arabs, Tibetans, and others. All these testimonials assert that there was a day on Earth when the sun did not set for 24 hours or more. One of the Chinese chronicles of the Yahu era (contemporary with Joshua) says: “The sun did not set for several days, and the forests burned.” This is also confirmed by Mexican chronicles, while Finnish, Japanese, Peruvian, and other legends speak of the catastrophes that were caused by the prolonged day. Judging from the period of time described above, there was a double day in the northern hemisphere and a double night in the southern.
Velikovsky provides an explanation for this phenomenon that historically is absolutely accurate. A huge comet passed near the Earth, which at first reduced the speed of the Earth’s rotation, then stopped it, then forced the Earth to rotate in a reverse direction, and only after passing by did it give the Earth the opportunity to return to its normal rotation. It was precisely due to such slowing down and reverse rotation that the day in the northern hemisphere and the night in the southern were doubled.
Velikovsky further asserts that the comet which passed by the Earth became the planet Venus. He points out that ancient Hindu documents, as well as Egyptian writings, which knew of the existence of planets and which dated back to the fourth millennium B.C., do not mention Venus. On the other hand, the Babylonian records which date to the first millennium B.C. mention the appearance of a new planet, “a shining celestial body that has joined the other celestial bodies.” From that time onward, the planet Venus began to be mentioned in astronomical works.
Thus science unexpectedly confirms the testimony of the Bible, which in contemporary scientific circles is rightly considered to be a first-class historical source.
(Reprinted from the newspaper “Standing up for Truth,” Buenos Aires, 1956)