A liberal friend, who professes to be a Christian, often chides me for believing “Bible stories” that simply aren’t true–Adam and Eve, Noah and the Flood, Moses and the Exodus, and more. The stories aren’t true, he says, because Science says they can’t be and Science is always true.
It doesn’t seem to him that he recognizes Science as an authority superior to the word of God. I’m sure he would deny the charge. I know he would say the Bible is “essential truth”–just minus those embarrassing details involving miracles, etc. Like, we all know the witch of Endor didn’t call up Samuel’s ghost for Saul! We all know the walls of Jericho didn’t fall the way it says so in the Bible. Don’t we?
If the Bible is not God’s word, then we don’t have God’s word. Period.
Does the Bible ever use poetic language, or figures of speech, or verbal formulae that are not meant to be taken literally (such as the formula “forty days,” repeated so often in both Testaments)? Yes, it does. The Bible uses every literary device known. When God says “The cattle on a thousand hills are mine,” He doesn’t mean that the rest of the hills, starting with Hill No. 1,001, are none of His concern.
As for Noah’s Flood, I think we are at liberty to interpret that in more than one way. Mockers and scoffers like to demand, “Well, if the Ark landed on Mt. Ararat, how did the kangaroos and the koalas and the emus make it all the way back to Australia? Huh? Huh?”
God’s word does not lie. Neither is it ridiculous. The people living at Noah’s time, somewhere in the Near East, didn’t know from Australia. As far as they were concerned, the Flood truly did cover every land and wipe out all the life upon the earth.
It is not incumbent upon me, or you, to “prove” that the Great Flood actually drowned Australia, Antarctica, or the Americas.
If the choice is only to believe everything the Bible says, taking every word of it with a robotic literal-mindedness, or else to believe everything I’m told by scientists in the name of the great idol, Science–well, that would be an easy choice to make. It would be the Bible, every time.
But God does not demand that we make such a choice.
Only liberals do.