Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Interpretations of the Bible – Part III

This is a continuation of various ways people view and interpret the Old Testament. See where you fall in the way you view the Bible, particularly the Old Testament.


Many accounts are not to be taken literally, but are stories (or “sacred myths”) inspired by God to explain divine truths. These are cultural in their expression, but represent God’s message to us. Being myths in no way diminishes their importance as God’s Word (God used parables to describe concepts as Jesus did). Bible divinely inspired and accurately communicates God’s message to us using various literary forms and imagery.


Six days of creation and Fall of Adam and Eve are mythological, but are God’s way of explaining his creative power, showing that God is a God of order, and explaining the reason for sin and evil in the world. This particular oral tradition was inspired by God for his purposes. May be possible to reconcile evolution and “Big Bang” with God’s creative acts by acknowledging that God was in control of the processes as a kind of Intelligent Designer (if you are willing to accept “evolution” was not a Godless random process).


Divinely inspired story (which in various forms can be found in ancient cultures) used by God to communicate certain truths. May have some basis in fact from an ancient flood event, such as the Black Sea filling suddenly, as recent evidence suggests, but there may not have been a literal Ark filled with animals.


This interpretation leaves the door open for deconstructing the Bible, and not taking it seriously as God’s Word. One must believe the stories are divinely inspired and communicate a message from God in order for this interpretation to work from a spiritual perspective. Must also be able to separate historical fact from sacred myth, understanding that much of the Old Testament is factual and historically accurate. Advantage is that it is generally not at odds with scientific evidence and you aren’t as apt to get hung up on trivial detail.

A word of warning with this way of interpreting the Old Testament. In my opinion, Christians shouldn’t apply it to the Gospels. If we mythologize the life and teachings of Jesus, we have discounted Jesus as God’s only begotten Son, jeopardized his message, and cheapened (or even eliminated) what he did on the cross. The heart of Christian belief is in the Gospels and they shouldn’t be minimized in any way.

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