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Was Paul the apostle blinded by a meteor ?


Posted on Sunday, 3 May, 2015 | Comment icon 22 comments

A 16th century depiction of the conversion of Paul. Image Credit: CC BY-SA 3.0 Fondazione Cariplo
The evangelist's divine experience may have coincided with an ancient Chelyabinsk-like meteor explosion.
According to the fifth book of the biblical New Testament, Paul had been traveling on the road to Damascus when a bright light suddenly appeared in the sky, blinding him. As he struggled to regain his sight he heard the voice of Jesus, an experience that would go on to change his life and shape the future of Christianity.

But what exactly was it that Paul saw in the sky that day ? William Hartmann, co-founder of the Planetary Science Institute in Arizona, believes that he may have found the answer.

Just like the huge flash of light that occurred over Chelyabinsk in Russia in 2013, Paul's experience on the road to Damascus may have been triggered by a meteor exploding in the sky above him.
"Everything they are describing in those three accounts in the book of Acts are exactly the sequence you see with a fireball," he said. "If that first-century document had been anything other than part of the Bible, that would have been a straightforward story."

That's not to say however that Paul's experience had not been a genuine one.

"It's well recorded that extraterrestrial impacts have helped to shape the evolution of life on this planet," said NASA's Bill Cooke. "If it was a Chelyabinsk fireball that was responsible for Paul's conversion, then obviously that had a great impact on the growth of Christianity."

Source: New Scientist | Comments (22)

Tags: Paul, Meteor, Christianity, Apostle

Recent comments on this story
Comment icon #13 Posted by robinrenee on 4 May, 2015, 2:00
A lot of the stuff in the bible is either made up or exaggerated. When the Council of Nicea met in 325 A.D., the Emperor Constantine told them to put together a Bible. He told them to use lots of Paul's letters because... after all (drum roll) he was a Roman citizen.
Comment icon #14 Posted by Foil Hat Ninja on 4 May, 2015, 2:54
You have no idea how much restraint it's taking for me to refrain from making a robinrenee to pay Paul joke here.
Comment icon #15 Posted by back to earth on 4 May, 2015, 4:38
and here I was thinking that his metal helmet acted as a lightning conductor (and he should never have tried to get under those trees ! )
Comment icon #16 Posted by Magnanimus on 4 May, 2015, 5:49
When the Council of Nicea met in 325 A.D., the Emperor Constantine told them to put together a Bible. He told them to use lots of Paul's letters because... after all (drum roll) he was a Roman citizen. Sorry, Dan Brown, Nicaea had nothin to do with the canon, the canon texts were already largely selected and in use by the time of the council. Otherwise, you're suggesting that Christianity went for three centuries with no text. The Council of Nicaea was important because of its setting in stone of the nature of Christ and nigh unanimous agreement that the Gnostics were full of ****. Also for th... [More]
Comment icon #17 Posted by ambelamba on 4 May, 2015, 6:15
I think what happened was way worse than Dan Brown depicted. A lot of blackmailing, lynching, assassinations, intimidation, bribing and all the nasty political stuff. I am in the school of people who see Christianity as we know it as primarily a political (of theocracy) product and construct. Well, if you throw away all the supernatural and metaphysical rubbish this makes more sense.
Comment icon #18 Posted by Magnanimus on 4 May, 2015, 7:13
I think what happened was way worse than Dan Brown depicted. A lot of blackmailing, lynching, assassinations, intimidation, bribing and all the nasty political stuff. I am in the school of people who see Christianity as we know it as primarily a political (of theocracy) product and construct. Well, if you throw away all the supernatural and metaphysical rubbish this makes more sense. Based upon?
Comment icon #19 Posted by White Crane Feather on 4 May, 2015, 16:57
Mehhh. I have experienced altered states of conciousness before. Most revelations come in such form. No need for a meteor.
Comment icon #20 Posted by promKing on 13 May, 2015, 13:24
No it was not a meteorite! Because that doesn't explain Paul's magic abilities to overpower Samaritan magician Simon who was believed to have many magical powers, among hem invisibility, being able to pass through fire, the ability to cure the sick and to raise the dead, and the ability to fly. Saint Peter followed him around, outmiracling him at every opportunity and finally encountering him in Rome. In desperation, Simon Magus announced that he would fly to heaven from a specially erected tower in the Campus Martius. Despite his claims to flight, he fell from the tower when Saint Peter praye... [More]
Comment icon #21 Posted by White Crane Feather on 14 May, 2015, 14:53
No it was not a meteorite! Because that doesn't explain Paul's magic abilities to overpower Samaritan magician Simon who was believed to have many magical powers, among hem invisibility, being able to pass through fire, the ability to cure the sick and to raise the dead, and the ability to fly. Saint Peter followed him around, outmiracling him at every opportunity and finally encountering him in Rome. In desperation, Simon Magus announced that he would fly to heaven from a specially erected tower in the Campus Martius. Despite his claims to flight, he fell from the tower when Saint Peter praye... [More]
Comment icon #22 Posted by Magnanimus on 15 May, 2015, 4:44
No it was not a meteorite! Because that doesn't explain Paul's magic abilities to overpower Samaritan magician Simon who was believed to have many magical powers, among hem invisibility, being able to pass through fire, the ability to cure the sick and to raise the dead, and the ability to fly. Saint Peter followed him around, outmiracling him at every opportunity and finally encountering him in Rome. In desperation, Simon Magus announced that he would fly to heaven from a specially erected tower in the Campus Martius. Despite his claims to flight, he fell from the tower when Saint Peter praye... [More]


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