Thursday, September 13, 2007

Interpretations of the Bible – Part IV

This is the last in a series examining the various ways people view and interpret the Old Testament. See where you fall in your interpretation of the Bible, particularly the Old Testament.


The Bible is merely one culture’s attempt to explain the way things are (such as how we came into being). Strictly literature or folklore, strictly cultural in its expression. No divine involvement. Primitive attempts to explain life, record some history, set forth some wisdom, and to establish rules to govern that particular society.


Six days of creation and Fall of Adam and Eve strictly mythological, one of many descriptions of creation found in various cultures. Does not acknowledge God was involved in the creation process. The only rational explanation for how we got here is from science as currently understood.


There was no flood of catastrophic proportions as described in the Bible. This is one of many accounts of flood events described in various ancient cultures, but does not describe a worldwide flood that wiped out all life (that would be impossible and there is no scientific evidence). May have been inspired by similar flood stories from other cultures and a possible historical event, such as the Black Sea filling up or some localized flood.


It completely deconstructs the Bible, leaving no room for the divine. Views the Bible stories as similar to, and often derived from, comparable stories in other cultures. Scholars often view the Bible this way, which allows them to analyze the text without faith getting in the way. Scholarly works can and should be used as a resource when studying the Bible for spiritual purposes, but the student must be aware of the perspective the author is coming from.

This way of viewing the Old Testament is also used for the Gospels, making them into fanciful and exaggerated accounts of Jesus with little basis in fact. Such a way of viewing the Gospels can discount Jesus as God’s only begotten Son, jeopardize his message, and cheapen (or eliminate entirely) what he did on the cross.

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