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  1. #1
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    The line between literal and figurative genesis

    All bible references are NIV according to biblegateway.com. Pseudepigraphical references are from the complimation translation "The Other Bible"

    Now I've recently reread genesis and am now positive that there is no justification in a figurative reading of the passages other than the fact that they are patently flase literally interpeted. This leads me to the conclusion that YECs are right about there conclusion that any interpretation other than what it is plainly written in the bible is wrong. And here's why:

    Let's start from the very beginning shall we, Genesis 1. To begin with I'm going to deal with the word day meaning a period of time rather than an actual 24 hour period. While the hebrew word ("yom") leads this option open because it can translate as 12 hours, 24 hours or an indefinite period of time. However let's take a look at the context the word is used in to see what it means. It is used several times throughout the passage, but for the most part, simply like this:

    "And there was evening, and there was morning—the first day." (Genesis 1:5)

    This does heavily imply a 24 hour period and the Evolutionist Christian must overcome this problem in the first instance. It asserts that we have an evening and a morning and this formed the first day. What else could it possibly have meant but the fact that it was a single 24 hour period? Maybe this one is just a fluke, let's look at another use of it:

    Genesis 1:8
    "And there was evening, and there was morning—the second day."

    Identical once again, there isn't another reasonable explanation beyond the fact that a 24 hour period was directly meant.

    And all the rest of the references to each day are in that identical format:

    Genesis 1:
    13 And there was evening, and there was morning—the third day...
    19 And there was evening, and there was morning—the fourth day...
    23 And there was evening, and there was morning—the fifth day...
    31 And there was evening, and there was morning—the sixth day.

    In light of this choice of wording I think we can effectively rule out the fact that the context calls for either the 12 hour definition or the indefinite period definition. The describing of the evening and then the morning each time just doesn't make sense unless they categorically meant it was an individual 24 hour period when they said day.

    So let's move on, the next problem we have, when is it Genesis turns from figurative to literal? Genesis 2 follows directly on meaning that if Genesis 1 was figurative then Genesis 2 would have to be as well:

    Genesis 2:1 Thus the heavens and the earth were completed in all their vast array.

    We then immediately launch in to the story of Adam and Eve. But there creation doesn't match up with evolution generally speaking anyway. Especially the manner in which they were specifically created. Eve from the rib of Adam and Adam from the dust of the ground which he breathed life in to. Okay then so let's continue arguing entertaining the idea that Adam and Eve are another figurative story to explain why the snake was on all fours and is dangerous and to be avoided and why and how sin entered in to the world. It's all a figurative tale explaining these things. But then what do we have, well Genesis 3 goes on to Cain and Abel. So presumably this is another figurative story of how murder is evil, it makes no sense to have figurative parents and real children.

    But here's where it goes wrong. Cain built a city, that can't be on a figurative plain any more, that's something tangible he's left behind on the world that the Hebrews knew about when writing the book. Clearly Cain can't be figurative if he's making actions on the world, and he can't be borne from figurative parents. And yet there is no change in narrative style, and no abrupt mention that it is now a figurative tale as opposed to a metaphoric one. The two are very much the same in the way they are told and presented and the two stories heavily relate, how can one be metaphoric and the other not. And if neither is metaphoric then presumably Genesis 1 with it's use of the word "yom" as a 24 hour period is meant to be literal as well because Genesis 1 and 2 overlap untill the story of Adam and Eve. There is a slight change in narrative at the start of Genesis 2:4 where Adam and Eve are brought in but the fact it is within a chapter would imply that it is being consistent in whether or not it was literal or figurative.

    And to top it off we have another problem for interpreting it as a figurative tale or a metaphor rather than a literal one. We have genealogies in Genesis 5 straight from Adam to Noah, with exact ages of life and ages when children were born. If these are people who never lived, having children that were never borne, this is a very queer thing to do. Given the importance of peoples lineage in the era, out and out fabricating them for non-existent people wouldn't exactly be something we'd expect them to do. It would have been hard enough remembering real people’s ancestors never mind creating entirely fictional family trees for a few lines of metaphor.

    So we've got as far as Noah, is his story literal, well then the world could not have recovered. The ark would have been far too small to hold every species and it's food for 190 days at the very least, in addition all salt water fish would have been utterly annihilated by the surge of rainwater in to their normal grounds. As would all fish in anything like shallow water, the effects would have killed all marine life as well as not allowing those on the ark to survive etc.

    So maybe, just maybe the whole line is figurative up until Noah, but again Genesis 9-11 gives a direct route from Noah to Abraham. And there is really no way to see his story as figurative but even if we do we once again have a detailed list of his descendants as far as Moses and there is categorically no wiggle room there. Moses cannot have been figurative as he started forging the Jewish homeland and with Joshua succeeding him started to conquer the Middle East. So where in that line does it suddenly turn from Figurative to metaphoric? And what evidence is there of this?

    What's more, Jesus is traced back to Adam in the New Testament (Luke 3 to be precise, the Matthew genealogy only goes back as far as Abraham). Now you absolutely HAVE to believe Jesus isn't metaphoric in order to be Christian, but how exactly can you have him descended (legally or otherwise) from Adam if the man never existed. The concept is patently absurd. While this is a less tenable ground if left on its own, this comment:

    Romans 5:12 "Therefore, just as sin entered the world through one man"

    Makes more sense if it actually meant one man named Adam.

    And finally while this is less significant than my other points it does assist my case. There is no early evidence of a figurative interpretation; to the contrary, early Jewish Pseudepigrapha texts reinforce a literal interpretation. Let's take a couple examples of this.

    To start with the "Book of the Secrets of Enoch". In the second chapter we have a direct narration by God to Enoch of how exactly and in detail he made the world. One example heavily suggestive of a literal interpretation is found at the beginning when the text reads:

    "'Deep down I commanded the great Idoil to come forth, having a great stone in his belly.' And I spoke to him: 'Burst asunder Idoil, and let the visible be born from you'"

    This is along with the rest of the narration is God speaking, supposedly for the first time on how he created the world:
    "And I have not informed my angels of my secrets..."

    And it is so bizarrely detailed that it makes very little sense for it to be a mutually metaphoric account. Enoch's later affirmation that these are the works of the lord.
    "In these many books you will learn all the Lord's works"

    If they were a metaphor they would simply be a nice story about the works of the lord, but not the works of the lord themselves and they would of heavily limited use in learning about them. The book of Enoch's dating is unsure but it generally agreed to be at least earlier than the New Testament and the fall of the temple in Jerusalem

    But there are more than just the book of Enoch. Let's look at one other example, the Haggadah. This is as late as perhaps 300CE and there is still only heavy indication of literal interpretations. It gives exact years before the creation of the earth which would make no sense unless the near instant 6 day period of creation was read as literal.

    To conclude, the text of genesis does not give any indication of a metaphoric reading, nor a line between metaphoric and literal stories. The New Testament alludes to a literal interpretation of genesis at least as far back as Adam goes and peripheral and early Jewish and Christian texts also suggest literal interpretations of Genesis were the ones that were held. There is no dispute on this for many centuries after genesis was originally written. And as such, the only reasonable interpretation of genesis is a literal one, which concludes a Young Earth Creationist outlooks if the bible is correct in genesis.
    Last edited by eliotitus; August 9th, 2008 at 07:24 AM. Reason: correcting spelling and grammar
    -=]Eliotitus[=-
    "Every saint has a past and every sinner has a future"- Oscar Wilde

  2. #2
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    Re: The line between literal and figurative genesis

    Quote Originally Posted by eliotitus View Post
    Now I've recently reread genesis and am now positive that there is no justification in a figurative reading of the passages other than the fact that they are patently flase literally interpeted. This leads me to the conclusion that YECs are right about there conclusion that any interpretation other than what it is plainly written in the bible is wrong. And here's why:

    Let's start from the very beginning shall we, Genesis 1. To begin with I'm going to deal with the word day meaning a period of time rather than an actual 24 hour period. While the hebrew word ("yom") leads this option open because it can translate as 12 hours, 24 hours or an indefinite period of time. However let's take a look at the context the word is used in to see what it means. It is used several times throughout the passage, but for the most part, simply like this:

    "And there was evening, and there was morning—the first day." (Genesis 1:5)

    This does heavily imply a 24 hour period and the Evolutionist Christian must overcome this problem in the first instance. It asserts that we have an evening and a morning and this formed the first day. What else could it possibly have meant but the fact that it was a single 24 hour period? Maybe this one is just a fluke, let's look at another use of it:

    Genesis 1:8
    "And there was evening, and there was morning—the second day."

    Identical once again, there isn't another reasonable explanation beyond the fact that a 24 hour period was directly meant.

    And all the rest of the references to each day are in that identical format:

    Genesis 1:
    13 And there was evening, and there was morning—the third day...
    19 And there was evening, and there was morning—the fourth day...
    23 And there was evening, and there was morning—the fifth day...
    31 And there was evening, and there was morning—the sixth day.

    In light of this choice of wording I think we can effectively rule out the fact that the context calls for either the 12 hour definition or the indefinite period definition. The describing of the evening and then the morning each time just doesn't make sense unless they categorically meant it was an individual 24 hour period when they said day.
    All this suggests is that whoever the author was, they knew what days were and that there were a specific number of days in the week. It must be taken figuratively because there is no way the author would have any knowledge of what transpired literally. Genesis doesn't say when God created language or writing, or thought...but surely it was after God created days and weeks. No people = no knowledge of things before people (unless you accept evolution and science).

    Quote Originally Posted by eliotitus View Post
    But here's where it goes wrong. Cain built a city, that can't be on a figurative plain any more, that's something tangible he's left behind on the world that the Hebrews knew about when writing the book. Clearly Cain can't be figurative if he's making actions on the world, and he can't be borne from figurative parents.
    Let me get this straight... Cain was one of the sons of the first people/couple EVER, Adam and Eve. So then Cain and his brother were the first ever to be born. Then Cain builds a city...for who? ...his parents? Maybe he just liked building stuff. This is probably just early Hebrews theorizing about how sedentary/urban populations came about.

    Quote Originally Posted by eliotitus View Post
    And to top it off we have another problem for interpreting it as a figurative tale or a metaphor rather than a literal one. We have genealogies in Genesis 5 straight from Adam to Noah, with exact ages of life and ages when children were born. If these are people who never lived, having children that were never borne, this is a very queer thing to do. Given the importance of peoples lineage in the era, out and out fabricating them for non-existent people wouldn't exactly be something we'd expect them to do. It would have been hard enough remembering real people’s ancestors never mind creating entirely fictional family trees for a few lines of metaphor.
    Lineages are tricky. I took a class in college one time that addressed this issue. It was a class on the history of Central Asia, the 'stans. Pulling out some of my papers and such from then I am reminded of two different kinds of lineage: biological and spiritual. Biological lineage was largely used to legitimize the foundations of states and culture, while spiritual lineage was used to strengthen the religious identity of clerics and other holy people. The thing is, they are both used very liberally especially the spiritual lineage. Do you ever here someone say, 'My family can trace its lineage back to Washington, or Sitting Bull', or something like that? This is the same kind of stuff the ancients pulled with respect to biological lineage. There may be a hint of truth in it, but it's rather inflated.

    Most likely, however, the lineages the Bible refers to are spiritual lineages. Spiritual lineage (at least in Central Asia during the time of its conversion to Islam) doesn't require any family relation, or any other physical connection. If you were inspired by a certain past holy person it was perfectly acceptable to claim you were part of their lineage, a spiritual descendant. This is probably how lineages work in the Bible. Bottom line is that lineage was a way of legitimizing belief systems and states, and they didn't necessarily have to be accurate whatsoever.

    Quote Originally Posted by eliotitus View Post
    What's more, Jesus is traced back to Adam in the New Testament (Luke 3 to be precise, the Matthew genealogy only goes back as far as Abraham). Now you absolutely HAVE to believe Jesus isn't metaphoric in order to be Christian, but how exactly can you have him descended (legally or otherwise) from Adam if the man never existed. The concept is patently absurd.
    Same as the above. Christians wanted to legitimize Jesus by somehow connecting him to long dead holy people, in the case of Adam either a fictional religious hero or an enormously over-exaggerated flesh and blood man. You're missing the point, the actual lineage is unimportant, its link and subsequent legitimacy that it brings is important.

    I don't know if you've ever read the religious histories of other cultures, but I strongly suggest you do. It might give you better insight into how constructionist history works. They are often strikingly similar in how they each seek legitimacy.

  3. #3
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    Re: The line between literal and figurative genesis

    Quote Originally Posted by scottyT View Post
    All this suggests is that whoever the author was, they knew what days were and that there were a specific number of days in the week. It must be taken figuratively because there is no way the author would have any knowledge of what transpired literally.
    Unless he believed it to be divine revelation, which is what christianty would be forced to hold to. Otherwise even as a figurative explanation it's still wrong because it's just shooting in the dark.

    Quote Originally Posted by scottyT View Post
    Genesis doesn't say when God created language or writing, or thought...but surely it was after God created days and weeks.
    Babel was the birth of the worlds languages supposedly. But given Adam is able to talk from the beginning in Genesis 2 (verse 23 is the first time he speaks I believe). But the ommissions of what was created is really quite irrelevant to what whether what was recorded as being made was meant to be interpreted literally or not.

    Quote Originally Posted by scottyT View Post
    No people = no knowledge of things before people (unless you accept evolution and science).
    Quite, but the bible's interpretation is based on divine revelation however, if GOD says it then that could be a source of information. But if it's wrong, then either God is a liar, or God didn't say it (my prefered line of thought because I am of the opinion he does not exist and would be rather incapable of saying anything.).

    Quote Originally Posted by scottyT View Post
    Let me get this straight... Cain was one of the sons of the first people/couple EVER, Adam and Eve. So then Cain and his brother were the first ever to be born. Then Cain builds a city...for who? ...his parents? Maybe he just liked building stuff. This is probably just early Hebrews theorizing about how sedentary/urban populations came about.
    Yes, but that still means it should be interpreted literally. I'm arguing the text is meant to be read literally, not that it's correct in what is being read.

    Quote Originally Posted by scottyT View Post
    Lineages are tricky. I took a class in college one time that addressed this issue. It was a class on the history of Central Asia, the 'stans. Pulling out some of my papers and such from then I am reminded of two different kinds of lineage: biological and spiritual. Biological lineage was largely used to legitimize the foundations of states and culture, while spiritual lineage was used to strengthen the religious identity of clerics and other holy people. The thing is, they are both used very liberally especially the spiritual lineage. Do you ever here someone say, 'My family can trace its lineage back to Washington, or Sitting Bull', or something like that? This is the same kind of stuff the ancients pulled with respect to biological lineage. There may be a hint of truth in it, but it's rather inflated.
    Again, not arguing that it's right I'm arguing that it's meant to be thought of as literal. It may be entirely fabricated, but that doesn't mean that they wern't trying to pass it off as the literal truth.

    Quote Originally Posted by scottyT View Post
    Most likely, however, the lineages the Bible refers to are spiritual lineages. Spiritual lineage (at least in Central Asia during the time of its conversion to Islam) doesn't require any family relation, or any other physical connection. If you were inspired by a certain past holy person it was perfectly acceptable to claim you were part of their lineage, a spiritual descendant. This is probably how lineages work in the Bible.
    Assuming for one moment the Hebrews had an idea of spiritual lineage (given we're talking a good thousand years prior and a different part of the world to the one you studied), the text doesn't lend itself to that either:

    Genesis 5:
    3 When Adam had lived 130 years, he had a son in his own likeness, in his own image; and he named him Seth. 4 After Seth was born, Adam lived 800 years and had other sons and daughters. 5 Altogether, Adam lived 930 years, and then he died.

    6 When Seth had lived 105 years, he became the father [b] of Enosh. 7 And after he became the father of Enosh, Seth lived 807 years and had other sons and daughters. 8 Altogether, Seth lived 912 years, and then he died.

    9 When Enosh had lived 90 years, he became the father of Kenan. 10 And after he became the father of Kenan, Enosh lived 815 years and had other sons and daughters. 11 Altogether, Enosh lived 905 years, and then he died.

    and so on and so forth. Becomming the father of, is quite different and having a son in your likeness is quite different to being spiritually inspired by. In addition the main reason for the lineage in the NT was to validate the prophecy that Jesus was from the house of David, which would imply at the very least a legal descendancy (given he was not actually the son of Joseph by Christian thinking). And once again, spiritual inspiration must still generally come from a person who actually existed at some point or another.

    Quote Originally Posted by scottyT View Post
    Bottom line is that lineage was a way of legitimizing belief systems and states, and they didn't necessarily have to be accurate whatsoever.
    But they had to be CONSIDERED accurate for Jesus' descendancy to be valid, thus we're back to literal interpretations being neccesary


    Quote Originally Posted by scottyT View Post
    Same as the above. Christians wanted to legitimize Jesus by somehow connecting him to long dead holy people, in the case of Adam either a fictional religious hero or an enormously over-exaggerated flesh and blood man. You're missing the point, the actual lineage is unimportant, its link and subsequent legitimacy that it brings is important.
    My point is not that the lineage is right, it's that the lineage shows they thought of Adam as a real person.

    Quote Originally Posted by scottyT View Post
    I don't know if you've ever read the religious histories of other cultures, but I strongly suggest you do. It might give you better insight into how constructionist history works. They are often strikingly similar in how they each seek legitimacy.
    Religious history is fascinating, I must admit I focus rather more than I should in Abrahamics but I'm looking to study Hinduism, Buddism and various other Eastern cultures more. Have you got any good books to recommend?
    -=]Eliotitus[=-
    "Every saint has a past and every sinner has a future"- Oscar Wilde

  4. #4
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    Re: The line between literal and figurative genesis

    Could you let me know how to use the multiquote tool? I click on the icon and I'm not sure what's supposed to happen after... It's a pain to copy and past the quote stuff if I'm trying to quote several different lines. Maybe that's how it's supposed to be...

    Anyway, I think we probably agree and I did misunderstand your motivation for the argument. I think what you mean is that Bible was meant to be taken literally rather than figuratively by it's authors and supporters. Yeah, I suppose that would be true given the extreme lengths the authors go through especially with respect to lineage. Not only did they do this to lend legitimacy to the content, but also to themselves. Who's going to believe someone that doesn't provide proof or historical data for their story?

    Looking at your argument now in it's proper context I definitely agree.

    It's interesting how the Church has made concessions over time to accommodate the evolution of science and reason. Of course that doesn't include christian sects that still view the Bible literally. I think that's why the Catholic Church has been so successful and adaptive.

    The class I took on Central Asian history probably convinced me the most that the Bible was simply another conversion narrative/story of cultural identity rather than a holy text. This was reinforced when I read Thomas Paine's "Age of Reason." Its very entertaining and it relentlessly bashes the church and specifically the Bible but with many sound arguments. There are two parts, the first part was written when he was imprisoned by the French during their revolution, and he wrote the second part several years later when he could solidify his arguments using specific references in the Bible. It's a classic.

    As far as what I read on Islam in Central Asia, I don't have my syllabus from then but I found an exam paper that references Khojagani sufi lineage (Yasavi and Naqshbandi orders) also maybe look at Uzbek lineage and conversion. I'll try to dig up more on this. I have a book "A history of Inner Asia" by Svat Soucek but it makes you dizzy with lineage and unfamiliar names/events.

    Eastern Religion books... As far as primary sources are concerned the I Ching (Yi Jing, depending on which romanization you find) is a must read, but requires a better understanding of Chinese culture and popular religion before getting into it. Also see the Dao de jing and philosophers/scholars Chuang Tzu (Zhuang zi), Lao Zi, etc. David Jordan also has a really good anthropological paper called "gods, ghosts, and ancestors" which is great if you're into religions (you can find it online). The thing is chinese religion is so apart of the culture, philosophy, and popular belief system that almost anything is a mix. I'd recommend a simple book on Chinese religion before getting into the texts so they can be fully appreciated. This stuff is fascinating. There's even a book about the Taiping rebellion that is awesome called "God's Chinese son" by Jonathan Spence which is about the Christian religious movement in southern China in the mid-1800s. I think you'd appreciate it considering the topic of your thread (alot of figurative v literal conflicts).

    Phew! You have my fingers hurting... I could go on for hours about this stuff. Looking forward to ganging up on bible thumpers with ya in the future. Any good books on Hinduism you've read?

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    Re: The line between literal and figurative genesis

    Quote Originally Posted by scottyT View Post
    Phew! You have my fingers hurting... I could go on for hours about this stuff. Looking forward to ganging up on bible thumpers with ya in the future. Any good books on Hinduism you've read?
    I got handed a book in town for free by some Hindu preachers the other day called "First Canto Part One" the little reading I've done on it has been quite interesting
    -=]Eliotitus[=-
    "Every saint has a past and every sinner has a future"- Oscar Wilde

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    Re: The line between literal and figurative genesis

    Quote Originally Posted by scottyT View Post
    All this suggests is that whoever the author was, they knew what days were and that there were a specific number of days in the week. It must be taken figuratively because there is no way the author would have any knowledge of what transpired literally. Genesis doesn't say when God created language or writing, or thought...but surely it was after God created days and weeks. No people = no knowledge of things before people (unless you accept evolution and science).
    I am perfectly fine with the notion that the Creation lasted exactly one real week. It is really a throw-away creation story whose details don't necessarily serve to further your ideology or values, and as such you should not strive so hard to find reasons to believe those details actually happened. I believe that the days are literal solely because it makes the story more internally valid in my opinion. In addition, if one is tohave enough faith to believe that God exists, there is no reason to disbelieve that he could create the entire universe in 7 seconds, let alone 7 days. However, I don't really care if you believe that "day" is an allegory for "billion years."


    Let me get this straight... Cain was one of the sons of the first people/couple EVER, Adam and Eve. So then Cain and his brother were the first ever to be born. Then Cain builds a city...for who? ...his parents? Maybe he just liked building stuff. This is probably just early Hebrews theorizing about how sedentary/urban populations came about.
    It is strongly implied that both God created other people after the first family and there was a LOT of incest going on.


    Most likely, however, the lineages the Bible refers to are spiritual lineages. Spiritual lineage (at least in Central Asia during the time of its conversion to Islam) doesn't require any family relation, or any other physical connection. If you were inspired by a certain past holy person it was perfectly acceptable to claim you were part of their lineage, a spiritual descendant. This is probably how lineages work in the Bible. Bottom line is that lineage was a way of legitimizing belief systems and states, and they didn't necessarily have to be accurate whatsoever.
    I think you are supposed to believe that the lineages from Adam to Noah are literal, actual people.
    Don't get me started on the rutabaga!

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    Re: The line between literal and figurative genesis

    No takers?
    -=]Eliotitus[=-
    "Every saint has a past and every sinner has a future"- Oscar Wilde

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    Re: The line between literal and figurative genesis

    Quote Originally Posted by eliotitus View Post
    No takers?
    Of course not.

    No Christian actually wants to delve into the litmus (or glaring lack there of) that's used to discern figurative from literal. There isn't one beyond "whatever we arbitrarily want to be figurative to not look like stone age buffoons is figurative" and "whatever we need to keep our faith from being debunked is literal". That's the only litmus. It's right there in everyone's face, but they don't have the intellectual honesty to deal with it. Instead, they'll either ignore it or spin some absurdist yarn about writing styles that makes no sense and can't be applied to any other work without being proven laughable.

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    Re: The line between literal and figurative genesis

    Quote Originally Posted by ChuckThePotato View Post
    I am perfectly fine with the notion that the Creation lasted exactly one real week. It is really a throw-away creation story whose details don't necessarily serve to further your ideology or values, and as such you should not strive so hard to find reasons to believe those details actually happened. I believe that the days are literal solely because it makes the story more internally valid in my opinion. In addition, if one is tohave enough faith to believe that God exists, there is no reason to disbelieve that he could create the entire universe in 7 seconds, let alone 7 days. However, I don't really care if you believe that "day" is an allegory for "billion years."




    It is strongly implied that both God created other people after the first family and there was a LOT of incest going on.




    I think you are supposed to believe that the lineages from Adam to Noah are literal, actual people.
    Yeah, I actually agreed with eliotitus when I realized that he wasn't arguing it should be taken literally, but that it was the authors intent. I thought he was originally speaking about believing everything in the Bible being true. I don't see any other conclusion you could come to other than the Bible was meant to be taken literally.

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    Re: The line between literal and figurative genesis

    No takers for what?

    If you're asking whether we agree the Bible is mostly written as a literal account, including Genesis, then yes, I agree.

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    Re: The line between literal and figurative genesis

    I'd challenge, but I admit this has been a problem of me lately considering that people are born sinners, and that Jesus died to save us from it. Well if we go back to the "original sin" issue and call it metaphor, then Jesus literally died for nothing. If we want consistency, then Jesus is a metaphor, which renders Christianity itself pretty redundant. So the story has to be treated literally. Course that doesn't really mesh well with evolution and general observation now does it? So I'm afraid I can't be of much help on "challenging" this issue.
    But in your hearts revere Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect, keeping a clear conscience, so that those who speak maliciously against your good behavior in Christ may be ashamed of their slander.
    1 Peter 3:15-16

 

 

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