No Adam, No Christ?

I was asked a question on Facebook, and thought I would share the answer I gave. Here’s the question: I was hoping for a little clarification on how one might reconcile a non literal first Adam with Paul’s gospel.  In Paul’s mind Christ is the “second Adam,” having succeeded where the “first Adam” failed. According [Read More...]

Genesis 2 is Not Literal (The Bible Tells Me So)

The quote comes from my recent post “Marriage is Sacred.” The point is one that I have made before, but since someone particularly liked this brief way of making the point, I thought I would turn it into a meme image. Of related interest, Andrew Perriman has a whole series on the idea of “one [Read More...]

Marriage is Sacred

I talked about this topic in my Sunday school class this past Sunday, as we reached the treatment of divorce in 1 Corinthians 7. Different phrases are used in our time – “Biblical marriage,” “traditional marriage,” “the sanctity of marriage.” All of them are used largely synonymously, and hypocritically. Tackling divorce would defend the New Testament’s [Read More...]

The Big Lie

In a blog comment, Brooke Lester made the comment that I’ve shared here: It’s never really about a “literal” interpretation, but about controlling interpretation. In every interview, every Facebook comment, every conversation, you have to take the word “literally” away from them. That their interpretation is “literal” is the Big Lie that makes all the little lies possible. This image [Read More...]

Please Take Genesis 1 Literally

I am really tired of those pseudo-literalists known as young-earth creationists. I really want people to take the entirety of Genesis 1 literally, and not just the parts they find acceptable. Saying that you believe in creation in six literal days, but without a literal dome over the earth, and without the greater and lesser [Read More...]

Is That a Metaphor?

I've shared both of these before, but thought they should be circulated again, since I still hear people talking about “Biblical literalists” as though there were such people. Please be more accurate and call them selective Biblical literalists. Otherwise you give them credit for being consistent where it isn't deserved.   [Read more...]

John Dominic Crossan on Literalism

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N. T. Wright on Literalism

From Biologos HT JK Doyle [Read more...]

God at Work

There are lots of problems with a literalistic approach to Genesis, and to the Bible in general. But the biggest is that it denies that God so transcends our human comprehension that God can only be pointed to through symbols. The final editor of Genesis presumably understood this. He placed side by side two depictions [Read More...]

Reading Genesis Literally

There’s a new blog, Scribalishess, written by a Hebrew Bible professor. Here is a quote from the end of the first substantive post, on reading Genesis literally: This is why biblical literalism (in the sense stated at the beginning) fails. It fails to read Genesis 1 literally. It fails to acknowledge the ancient writer’s worldview. It [Read More...]

Literal or Symbolic?

On Reddit I came across this wonderful bit of wisdom about interpreting the Bible, from an individual whose user name is SleetTheFox: “Whatever is supposed to be literal I interpret literal. Whatever is supposed to be symbolic I interpret symbolic. Whatever I have mischaracterized the intended meaning of, I interpret incorrectly.” That pretty much sums [Read More...]


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