Is the Bible Just Stories?

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.

15 comments on “Is the Bible Just Stories?

  1. Chistianity has moved with the times.
    We have big-bang Christians just take a look at the site Reasons to Believe. Many denominations accept gay people and women pastors are widespread. There is even a site for Christian atheists check it out dont shrink into a shell.
    Like all religions and ideologies Christianity has its dangers.
    When a person puts God or the Bible on an untouchable pedistal they can become radicalised and do alsorts of evil deeds. This extreme has occured in ISIS all is sacrificed for Allah.
    So your friend is not such a fool as you think.

    1. So we go from believing that Adam and Eve existed, to blowing up buildings? Sorry, I don’t accept that cliche.

      As for “gay rights,” it has been a disaster. And according to George Barna, in a study he did some years ago, about 85% of ordained women (pastors and elders) do not have a Biblical worldview: so the experiment with women pastors has been a failure.

      God is at the very top of the pedestal, which is where He belongs.

    2. Thankyou for your repy and for drawing my attention to George Barna. I knew nothing of him and quickly found a huge amount of material. It will take me sometime to look at it. Some of his conclusions seem quite startling.
      We diffet greatly in our veiw of the world but I hope that does not prevent mutual respect.
      Are you a pasifist ? I’m not although I do not pick a fight.
      Best wishes.

    3. No, I’m not a pacifist, and please feel welcome on this site. I only block guests who engage in foul language or personal abuse, or try to use my space for advertising, or simply waste time and space by sheer inane babbling–guests who, as it were, come into my living room and pee on the floor.

      Our differences need not make us forget our manners.

    4. Lee, as I read the comment above, I was – and still am – bewildered. What in the world is a Christian atheist?

    5. Well, they say they’re “cultural Christians” who buy the ethics–one might say parasitize the ethics–but refuse to believe in God. This, of course, cuts off the ethics from their source and transforms them into just another set of opinions.
      I think we can accurately say that “Christian atheism” is a form of silliness.

  2. Lee, as a Sunday School teacher, I’m always looking for ways to present the Bible to my students as our final authority and as unquestioned truth. I try to avoid saying the word, “story”, when referencing a biblical episode for a lesson or a passage of Scripture for memorization. “Story”, to me, sets the stage in my mind for something that is on the level of fairy tale and the Lord’s precious words are anything but. My students are 3rd, 4th, and 5th graders.

    1. I understand your point of view. I grew up on “Bible stories” and never once considered them as anything but true stories about things that actually happened to real people. Maybe I’m just showing my age by my choice of words.

    2. No, you’re not showing your age. I’ve used “Bible stories” countless number of times in the past. What’s happened to me is that I’ve just become more aware of how many people I meet don’t truly believe that the Bible is God’s Word to us in its entirety. I encounter nominal Christians who feel that not all of the Bible is to be taken literally. My brother doesn’t believe that Noah’s Flood was worldwide. He’s a believer who thinks that this passage isn’t actually meaning “worldwide” but is hyperbole at best. When I say I avoid using “story” in reference to a passage of Scripture, I mean I want to distance our Lord’s Words from the form of a fictional tale in the minds and hearts of my students. I suppose the rise of Islam in the world today is making me jittery and more aware of how unique the Word of God is and how it is so high above all that man can produce and peddle as “truth”. I enjoy your posts and am glad I signed up to receive them.

    3. Marge, I always encounter self-identified Christians who believe hardly anything that’s in the Bible and believe absolutely everything they hear from “scientists.”

      I believe that Bible is true from cover to cover, and that the events described therein were real events that really happened.

      I don’t believe I’m obliged to say the earth is 6,000 years old–because the Bible doesn’t say that.

      As for the Flood–here we are dealing with very ancient texts with very deep roots in the remote past: and if the Bible says the Flood covered the earth and destroyed all life on it, that would certainly have been literally true as far as the Bible’s original audience was concerned.

      But of course my liberal “Christian” friends insist there was no Flood at all and the whole thing is just “a moral lesson,” blah-blah.

      Again, if my only choice is to take the Bible 100% literally, or to believe everything that “Science” says, it’s no contest–I’ll take the Bible every time.

  3. When I was an atheist, I did think the Bible was a collection of preposterous stories. Later on, I began finding corroborative evidence for most of those supposedly preposterous stories, i.e., historical evidence that the people did exist, the events did happen (although the details were sometimes fuzzy), and, above all, the reporters of the stories, who may not even have understood the ramifications of what they were reporting at the time, always turned out to have been uncannily prescient about what they were foretelling or presenting. They even (gasp) got the science right in many cases without realizing how right they were, long before Science (bow down to the modern idol) pronounced on the subject. I finally decided that this couldn’t have happened over and over without some kind of non-human prompting in the background, and not just on a one-time basis. Something (I later came to see it wasn’t something but Someone) was guiding this whole thing, in different ways for different periods and peoples, but always with the same point and toward the same purpose. And it hasn’t stopped even after Scripture has closed. There’s still the same Someone giving the same Message, guiding us toward the same goal. Thanks be to God.

  4. I enjoy debating skeptics, even those who claim they are Christians. Evidence of a worldwide is everywhere – like shell indentations on Mt. Everest. The Flood explains the fossil record and the making of the Grand Canyon. When the Bible is rejected mankind comes up with hallucinations like macro-evolution, and transgenderism. I am not a professional scientist but I can read, research, and think – plus I have revelation, the written & living word of God. I will stand in defense of every word of sacred Scripture unapologetically. And I strive to be at peace with all men and women.

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