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The Bible is literal (EvoWiki)

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Response Article

This article (The Bible is literal (EvoWiki)) is a response to an evolutionary or anticreation assertion that was published on the EvoWiki website.


If any creationist, by making this claim, thinks that all the Bible is to be taken literally they would not be representing the mainstream creationist view that CreationWiki promotes. Creationist's should suggest an exegesis containing a critical historical-grammatical objective method of interpretation regarding biblical passages. One common thing that people forget is that the Bible is made up of 66 books which are at times written in different literary styles. For example, the Psalms are written in a poetic and musical type of fashion. People also tend to disregard, when taking the Bible literally, that in our modern day, just as it was in ancient times biblical authors use what they consider modern idioms and metaphors. The meaning of those idioms or metaphors can be defined by immediate textual context.

The claim itself, "The Bible is literal", is simply misleading because the issue is more complex than that simple statement allows for. Leading creationists do not make this claim.

1. There are many times when the bible doesn't say things that should be taken at face value. For instance, there are many instances when parables and proverbs are used to give a explanation. Also, at the start of Revelations[sic], it is stated explicitly that the book is metaphorical. If you take the words literally, you could miss the whole point of the parable or words spoken in proverbs.

2. The Bible is not to be taken literally, just like every other book shouldn't. It is to be taken in context. There are several different genres of writing in the Bible, and they are to be taken in the context of the genre: poetry, prophecy, history, parable, teaching, etc. Genesis is written in a narrative form; the question is: is that narrative meant to be historical?

EvoWiki is essentially correct on this, although the book of Revelation says that it is explicitly a vision John is having.

Leading creationists make these very points themselves [1], something that EvoWiki fails to mention. Despite not providing a source, EvoWiki's article on Jonathan Sarfati [2] claims that this is one of his claims. However in direct contradiction, Sarfati is an informed creation scientist who explicitly states that the only parts that are to be taken literally are those that the writers intended to be taken literally.

3. Some Christian traditions don't believe the Bible should be read literally. Why are your religious beliefs any better than theirs?

As said above, literal or non-literal reading of the Bible is an over generalization of the issue. It is more complex than that.

Most of those Christians make it rather obvious that they wish to put their ideas into Scripture. We should interpret the Scripture as it was meant to be read. The mainstream creationist community adopts what is known as the Historical-grammatical method which avoids false doctrines and when followed will not allow you to read what you want into the scriptures. As a Christian it isn't a matter of whether or not someone's beliefs are true but rather for what purpose a specific part of scripture can glorify what Jesus Christ taught, died and rose again for. It is in that important light as well as that of interpreting scripture by scripture that a Christian should interpret the Bible.

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