This article was last updated on the 4th July, 2015 by Patrick Carpen.
The bible tells the story of Jonah, a prophet of God who refused to do God’s will, and ran instead in the opposite direction. God instructed Jonah to go preach to the people of Nineveh and warn them of their sins, so that they might repent and turn away from their sins and be saved from God’s anger.
The problem was that the city of Nineveh was once a bitter enemy of Israel, and Jonah wished in his heart that the city be destroyed than they repent be saved.
But such was God’s ever-abounding mercies, that He insisted that Jonah go and preach to the people, to warn them of impending destruction, that they might repent and be saved.
Jonah then boarded a ship going in the opposite direction of the city of Nineveh. What unfolds in this story illustrates to us the danger of running away from God’s will, or even the dangers of taking actions contrary to our own prayers.
As Jonah slept in the ship, a great storm ensued and the ship rocked violently. The sailors, seeing that their ship was in danger of sinking, then cast lots to determine if there were someone on board carrying bad luck, and causing this disaster to fall upon them. The lot fell on Jonah and they asked him “what have you done to anger God to this extent”?
Jonah then commanded the men to throw him out of the ship. The men were unwilling to but the storm grew worse and the ship rocked more violently. Finally, the men agreed and threw Jonah out of the ship. As Jonah sank under the waves, the storm subsided and the seas grew calm.
But what happened to Jonah? Did he drown? No. God sent a huge whale to swallow him. Jonah survived in the belly of the whale for three days and three nights. The whale finally vomited him up on the shore. Jonah then obeyed God’s command and went to preach to the people of Neniveh. But even at this stage, he did it with great reluctance, and after he did, he wished that he should die.
God then spoke to Jonah and explained to him how precious humans are in His sight and how ever-abounding His mercies are.
Jonah finally understood.
But how credible is the story of Jonah in the whale’s belly? How scientifically possible is it that a human being can survive three days and three nights in the belly of a whale, and then be vomited up alive on a distant shore?
I plan to interview a few scientists on this subject soon, and I’ll let you know their views on the subject by updating this article.
If the results of scientific studies conclude that it is possible for a human being to survive three days and three nights in the belly of a whale, imagine how credible it would make the bible and the God of the bible? Yes indeed. It would be amazing.
But what if modern day scientific studies should definitively conclude that it is impossible for a human being to survive three days and nights in the belly of a whale? Would that prove that the story of Jonah in the whale’s belly is fictitious? And would it therefore undermine the integrity and credibility of the Holy Bible, and therefore the God of the bible?
Absolutely not! It would only make our God more alive and amazing. The truth is, there is no mountain too high or valley too deep for God to deliver us from, when we put our trust in Him, or when it is His divine will. Just as God kept Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego alive in the raging furnace, so could He have also kept Jonah alive in the belly of the whale. God is God of the ocean depths just as much as He is God of the fiery furnace. He is the creator of all the natural and scientific laws and He alone is able to bend them, suspend them, and break them if it so pleases Him.
Related: The Fourth Man