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A Land Crab in the Israeli Desert?

A land crab, crawling in the waters of the Nahal David at En-Gedi in the Israeli desert! If I had not captured the scene on video on February 11, 1993, who would have believed it? There are plenty of ibexes (“wild goats”) and coneys (hyraxes) seen at En-Gedi, but nobody talks about seeing land crabs. After several tries on the Internet, I finally found the creature in the En Gedi Nature Reserve brochure, listed as the river crab (Potamon potamios).

It reminds me of the time I saw a groundhog in a tree when I was a teenager, after I had been told that groundhogs don’t climb trees. Since I don’t have a picture proving that I saw it, I was beginning to doubt what I saw, but a quick check on the Internet confirms that I was not imagining in this case.

We can imagine how hard it was for the earliest European visitors to Australia to convince the people back home that the platypus was for real.

So we can imagine how hard it was for the witnesses to Jesus’ resurrection to believe their own eyes. Miracles and visions from God are not impossible, they are just rarer and more difficult to substantiate by witnesses. Cases of humans surviving after getting swallowed by a sea creature are not unbelievable, but yes, we can count them on one hand, so we understand why some are skeptical.

I recently explained to a morning Bible study group that I classify cases of paranormal events into Class B and Class A. Class B is where we locate healings and events that are rare or even astounding, but violate no laws of nature. Class A is where we locate events such as resurrection of those who are brain-dead, which break the laws of nature (meaning, we never see this happen), but do not break the laws of logic. By implication, the third category is events that break the laws of logic, such as, the possibility that a finite moon could be on both sides of the earth at the same time. God does not do logical impossibilities, yet that does not subtract from God’s omnipotence.

The Bible does not require me to believe logical impossibilities. It does call me to faith in Class A and Class B wonders. I do so, because I find the rest of the Bible’s testimony to be compelling. But I try to be charitable in assessing the supernatural claims of other religions. The Book of Mormon makes numerous claims that I would not want to have to defend, but I respect their willingness to suspend judgment on those claims, for reasons similar to why I am willing to trust the Bible at points where I find my faith stretched to the limit.

As the angel Gabriel says to the Virgin Mary, “For with God, nothing shall be impossible.” (Luke 1:37) Therefore, I try to be cautious not to rule out anything but logical impossibilities, just because nobody else has seen some paranormal claim. However, I may be difficult to convince that your paranormal claim really did happen. After all, I am named for a guy who refused to believe without compelling proof that Jesus had risen.