July 12, 2005, on this blog: Creationism Snapshot No. 4: Sunrise in Samaria
The story of the Good Samaritan is a good story, a beautiful and well-crafted story. It is a story that conveys important truths. But it is not a true story. Jesus never claims to be retelling an actual event that actually happened.
It’s not the kind of story that anyone could tell as a “true story.” There was no journalist present to offer such a report. No one was present to witness all the elements in this story, which is told from the perspective of an omniscient, third-person narrator and not from the perspective of an eyewitness.
If your response to the tenth chapter of Luke is to set out on an archaeological expedition in search of the actual site of the actual Good Samaritan’s Inn, then you’ve completely misunderstood the story. Not only would you have utterly missed the point, but you’d be inflicting other, different meaning on the passage. This is a refined and elaborate form of illiteracy, but it is still illiteracy.
Many Christians insist on this same illiterate approach to the first chapter of Genesis. They insist on reading it “literally,” by which they mean taking a story that is not a journalistic eyewitness account and pretending that it is one.