The Evangelical Universalist Forum

How literal and historical is the Bible to be taken?

I want to know how literal and historical I have to take the Bible.
Especially the OT: The creation of the world in 6 days (vs Evolution), Adam and Eve,
Noah and the flut (what happened with the dinosaurs?), the death penatly for breaking the Sabbath,
killing othe people in the name of God, etc…
And somehow doesn’t it seem like that there is a different between the way God is discribed in the OT and NT.
Greetings and blessings

I don’t view books within the Biblical Canon as being more inspired than books outside the Canon.

In the linked post, I compared C.S. Lewis with the apostle Paul to illustrate my point.

The events you mention might very well be based on true stories having a supernatural aspect, but I strongly doubt that they occur as they are written in the Bible.

The problem of the conquest of Canaan is a case study, and I tried there to depict the different views as fairly as I could.

I think that the Bible (considered as a whole) is hopelessly contradictory and several culturally-conditioned passages depict God as being morally evil.

I don’t pretend to be inerrant myself but do hope this will help you in your spiritual journey.

Be blessed.

Bible…is hopelessly contradictory

Have you read the discussions here the past number of months? People have almost come to blows - surely you can read those posts and not try to just stir the whole thing up again? I’m not a moderator in the least, so there’s no need to listen to me, it’s just a suggestion. Maybe you could add your question to an already existing link or something.

If others want to get involved, of course they will and I’m fine with that, but as for this subject, it’s been worked to death IMO, though others may very well want to jump on in>

Hi Dani

As Dave has said, there are actually quite a few current threads that explore the whole concept of Biblical inerrancy. I know you’re new here, so you might not have seen them all, but it is worth having a look around.

It’s not an answer to your question, but this little gem (quoted from memory) from my hero, Bob Dylan, kind of sums up where I stand:

Interviewer: What do you think is the most overrated book in the world?
Dylan: The Bible.
Interviewer: And the most underrated?
Dylan: The Bible.




Well I certainly don’t want people to yell at each other (or at me for that matter) but I tend to be very frank (since I am a Frank from Lorraine/Lothringen :slight_smile: )

I realize that with respect to the Bible I am much more liberal than most folks here but it was my hope we could discuss about such topics in a loving way.

Hi Dani,

You ask all the tough questions, which is good. They are not simple answers though. I will try to answer a few…

I want to know how literal and historical I have to take the Bible.

The bible is a very cryptic book which contains a mixture of literal historical facts along with many grades of hyperbole which make the meaning somewhat cryptic. If you are to take an extreme literal view on some things, then the bible will appear to contradict itself. The internal contradictions are often the key to knowing whether something was intended to be taken literal or as an expression (not so literal). There are many of both of these categories found in scripture.

Especially the OT: The creation of the world in 7 days (vs Evolution), Adam and Eve, Noah and the flood (what happened with the dinosaurs?), the death penatly for breaking the Sabbath, killing othe people in the name of God, etc…

These are example of where christians are divided on opinion on how literal these views are to be taken. I personally believe in the literal Adam and Eve - there are many who do not. I personally believe that the 7 days of creation are not literal; because the literal view is contradicted in scripture (“in the day God created the heavens and the earth”). Many believe that the 7 days are literal, though, and many others believe the deep-time of evolution based on the radiometric dating of rocks. I like to ask… If I am wrong about this opinion, will God consider me as an unbeliever? If the opinion does not interfere with the faith message of Jesus, then I think we are allowed a certain latitude of disagreement without us thinking that the other person is not a christian.

You will gravitate to certain people’s teachings over the years. I did. I read most books by the exegete Spiros Zodhiates. He was like a spiritual father to me; in fact I spoke to him personally on the phone several times (I worked for his mission). It is good to look for spiritual fathers who you can trust and grow from. There may come a time, though, that you are introduced to other spiritual fathers as well. Now I get many of my teachings from the early church fathers.

I would recommend that you look for a peace with certain spiritual authors, and come under their teaching until you have outgrown them.


Dear Steve, are you open to the possibility that some Biblical writers literally meant things which are objectively wrong?


Sorry to horn in here - but do you mean ‘wrong in historical fact’ or ‘wrong ethically’ - and could you give an example (s) of what is bothering you?

Hi lotharson,

I personally believe that the original autographs are inspired, and that they do not contain statements “which are objectively wrong”. However, we have many autographs which have interpolations and injected errors which are “objectively wrong”. This becomes a very difficult subject due to the muddied waters of scribal interference and sabotage. If someone really wants to know whether or not a particular scripture has been modified, we have an abundance of manuscripts to compare, and to make a spiritual judgment on the correct words or sentence. There are thousands of such scribal interferences, so it is very likely we will find in any number of bibles a passage which reflects something which is “objectively wrong”. The most obvious (and damning) example of this is found in comparing the manuscripts (LXX and MT) of the book of Jeremiah. Something seriously went wrong with one of these manuscript families; and the thousands of errors appear to be deliberate. They also appear to have objectively wrong prophetic references which were intended to confuse many prophecies.

This is a [size=150]BIG[/size] subject!


I agree with Dave, here. Some clarification, Lotharson, about what you mean by “objectively wrong” would be helpful. The conversation sort of depends on what you mean by that. Do you mean facts that are historically or scientifically ‘incorrect’ or ideas, ‘laws’, descriptions of God’s actions/thoughts that are unethical/immoral?

thank you for your answers.
@DaveB: I did not intend to bring up the same subject again. I hope it did not bother you. If it did please forgive me.
I’ll try the next time to look for answers in older posts.
All the best and God bless you all

Oh dear :frowning: -

Your questions were fine Dani :slight_smile:

I think we have a very wise and respected teacher at EU in Dr Bob Wilson who has pondered deeply the meaning of the OT and Jesus’ use of the Hebrew scriptures. Two of his documents deal with a lot of the questions you have raised here and would be a good start for your journey -

Take a look Dani - Bob’ stuff is always measured and balanced and not at all sensationalist, and he has a wonderful sense of scripture as a whole rather than scripture as shedloads of isolated little bits and bobs. And he encourages questioning.

Happy New Year

Dick :slight_smile:

Ah Dani, the questions were fine and please continue to ask. Diligent Dick was industrious enough to find the threads I was referring to.
No problem friend!! :smiley:

Oh I see - you thought my response was to you - it was actually to the statement AFTER your post, about complete inconsistency of the bible. So take no offense, ok?