Saturday, October 14, 2006

Literal Bible Question

I did the church survey the other day and one of the questions caught my eye. It was the one about the Bible. I looked at two answers, 1) that it is the actual Word of God and should be taken literally, and 2) it is the inspired Word of God and may have some humanly introduced "errors." (or something like that.)

I struggled with this question because my personal point of view as of now is that it is the actual Word of God, but that not everything is meant to be taken literally. If Jesus, God as man, was prone to teach in parables, why not expect the rest of God's Word to have some allegories as well? E.g., creation. One has to interpret the first day as not a literal day, since before the earth and sun were created it would be hard to define a day. Compare that to having faith like a mustard seed...if we take that as literally as many take the creation story, we'd have to either alter our definition of faith, so a vegetable could have it, or we'd have to raise our estimate of plant intelligence. :-)

Paul's point about thinking like children comes to mind. Mary pointed out to me that we tell children stories to help them understand things, like Santa Claus is a giving spirit and joyful. Then when they are more ready to understand the abstract concepts, the stories keep their relevance, but are not taken as "fact" anymore.