"Most people understand that the Bible is full of allegories, metaphors and symbolism."

This criticism was once directed toward me for ridiculing the first chapter of Genesis. I responded by saying...

Not really. For every person who believes that a certain story is allegorical, metaphorical, or symbolic, I guarantee that I could find another person who believes it is entirely literal. I further guarantee that each person could use hermeneutics to find textual justification for their respective positions. What does this say? How can one definitively determine literal from figurative? Is the resurrection of a dead man allegorical, metaphorical, and symbolic? If not, why not? “Most people understand that the resurrection is full of allegories, metaphors, and symbolism.” How is that statement less valid than the one above?

The fact of the matter is that those who argue that the Bible is an allegorical, metaphorical, or symbolic book belong to a generation that has merely retreated from the position of their predecessors. Apologists for religion have changed over the years, just as apologists for other pseudoscientific disciplines have incorporated new interpretations for more recent evidence that debunks their disciplines. The first ghost photographer was found to be a fraud when living people started showing up in his pictures, but this doesn’t discourage the field from forming new explanations for subsequent ghost photographs. The first spirit-rapper confessed that the otherworldly sounds in her sessions were the popping of a joint in her big toe and not communications from the dead, but this doesn’t discourage the field from continuously pressing the validity of subsequent ghost whisperers. The first footage of Bigfoot was admitted to be a hoax by the man who made the suit and the man who wore the suit, but this doesn’t discourage the field from forming new explanations for subsequent films. The first verifiable crop circles were made by two men who confessed to having invented the whole idea in a pub, but this doesn’t discourage the field from forming new explanations for subsequent crop circles. Abductees alleged that the first space aliens told them that they came from Mars and Venus, but once scientists determined those worlds to be inhospitable to life, abductees talked of subsequent abductors hailing from far away solar systems. In this same manner, once science destroyed a literal reading of the Bible, the book retreated into the realm of symbolism and other such explanations.


smalltalk said...

Regarding genesis, its the beginning of the bible. Including the fall of Adam and Eve, which is the original need for Jesus's death and resurrection. If its just a allegory, or metaphor or symbol, then there would be no need for Jesus to be born or die or resurected in a real sense.