Bible interpretation: Literal or Metaphorical?

Discussion in 'Christian Fellowship' started by Falon, Feb 11, 2005.

  1. Falon

    Falon New Member

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    *Please don't beat me up or throw me out because I am not a church goer. * I've decided to just go along with the flow for now and I have always been interested in religous study. I even took 9 credits worth of religion classes when I was in undergrad.

    So here I am.

    I want to know how different people interpret the Bible.

    Do you belive that everything in the Bible happened exactly as it is stated or do you believe that some of the events in the Bible may not have occured exactly as stated?

    I do believe in God but I have never been big on religion because of what I learned in school about the original Catholic church and the protestant reformation etc. But I do my fair share of praying and no, not only when I need something. I have read quite a bit of the Bible...not the entire Bible though...getting through certain books like Numbers for example is a bit of a chore and I tend to zone out and skip around when it comes time to read that one. Well, let me get to the point here. Ahem. For example.

    Genesis has two creation stories: Yes! There are two creation stories...ladies whip out your Bibles and see for yourselves. Genesis 1:27: God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them. Also, this is the version where God takes 6 days to create the Earth and Heavens and on the 7th day he rested.

    Seems like God created man and woman at the same time.


    Gensis: 2:20 So, the man gave names to all the livestock, the birds of the air and all the beasts of the field. But for Adam no suitable helper was found. So the Lord God caused the man to fall into a deep sleep; and while he was sleeping, he took one of the mans ribs and closed up the place with flesh. Then the Lord God made a woman from the rib he had taken out of the man, and he brought her to the man.

    Hold up! Wait a minute! So what really did happen. Did God create man and woman at the same time or did God create woman after man? And why repeat the story if it's the same one? I know it didn't take Adam a single day to name all of those animals and things so what gives?

    Also, why do men tend to always believe the second creation story and not the first? :cool: They always like to remind women that we came from one of their ribs. But I look at it as: Genesis 2:23 The man said, "This is now bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh; she shall be called woman for she was taken out of man"

    Now, the Bible never said that God said that....it clearly states that The man said (man refering to Adam) said that.

    So what is everyone's take on this?
     
  2. pebbles

    pebbles Putting out fires....

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    Good question.

    I believe the events in the Bible took place exactly as they were recorded.

    It has been a semi-popular belief among some OT scholars that Genesis 1:27 and Genesis 2:7 are two different stories of creation, but that is not the case. Genesis chapter 1 up to and including Genesis 2:3 is the general story of the beginning of creation. In other words, if you wanted to give someone some scripture to read on how the world and mankind came to be, you would have them read that.

    Notice that Genesis 2:4 says “This is the history of the heaven and the earth when they were created, …” etc. The end of verse Genesis 2:5 goes on to say that there was no man to till the ground, but a mist went up from the earth and watered the whole face of the ground. This confirms that Genesis 2:4 is a summation of what has been written thus far, and gives some insight into how the earth was before God created man.

    Then, Genesis 2:7 begins the more detailed explanation of man and his demise. This is where "our" story begins. God created man first. Eve came from Adam. Don’t let anyone suck you into that “well woman came from man” thing in order to prove their superiority. This plays on the inferiority many women feel. Don't buy into that. None of that matters. If any man knows and understands the story of creation and the Garden of Eden, he will understand that God spoke to Adam about what was allowed to be eaten and what was not. Eve wasn’t even created when God gave man that order, and never does God address Eve until after their fall from grace. So contrary to popular belief, man dropped the ball. He was there when the devil was tempting Eve, yet kept his mouth shut. And to this day, many are still dropping the ball. :p

    Also, I'll have to do some more study on this, but I'm not sure how long a day would have been then compared to today. It's something for me to look into. :bookworm:

    Hope I was able to answer your question. :)
     
    Last edited: Feb 12, 2005
  3. Falon

    Falon New Member

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    Interesting points made. I am going back to re-read. I will be back with a response on Genesis later.

    I'm just not sure if the events in the Bible are to be taken literally. Honestly, I don't think that looking at the Bible from a metaphorical point of view could or should weaken anyones faith. I come from the perspective that the universe is such an enormous and amazing place that it is impossible that it created itself...there is just to much order to everything for it to be a mistake.

    I just always wonder about Constantine's acceptance of the Christians and the Vactican counsel and creation of the Catechism and Nicene creed in the 4th century AD. Being that Constantine was a pagan himself until he was forced on his death bed to be Christened. I have never been certain that when these men decided what was going to be kept in the Bible and what was going to be thrown out that they didn't throw out things that they felt like throwing out...adding some other things that were to their benefit and twisting other things around compltely if you know what I mean.

    Then there was the Protestant reformation. Now, if we were told the wrongs things from the beginning how could Christianity have been reformed if no one reallys knows the truth to start with ?!

    Be back later.
     
  4. DelightfulFlame

    DelightfulFlame New Member

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    I don't believe it is to be fully taken literally. Some things are, some things aren't. One example that comes to mind is when Jesus speaks. Many people take what He said literally, when He said himself that we will only understand Him spiritually, and not with a carnal mind.
     
  5. DelightfulFlame

    DelightfulFlame New Member

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    About man dropping the ball...do you all believe that man wasn't supposed to eat the apple? I believe that God not only knew that they would, but He intended for them to eat that apple, according to His will.

    I do not believe that we would all be living happily ever after in the Garden of Eden, running around naked with lions if they hadn't ate that apple, as some people tend to think.
     
  6. BlkHoneyLuv2U

    BlkHoneyLuv2U Active Member

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    I believe event happened just the way the word say they did. I also believe that the events of that day can be taken in a metaphorical way by us today. Take for instance in teh New Testament when Jesus walks on the water. This is repeated in the Gospels of Matthew, Mark and John. From Matthew 14:22-31, I see that Jesus is with me in the midst of my troubles. The storm represented to me to be the trails and storms of life that I go through. But because I know God is with me I know I dont go through them alone. In verse 29 Jesus tells Peter to COME. Just as He is saying to me COME, well as long as Peter kept his focus on Jesus, he was able to walk on the water also. Same thing with me as long as my focus is on God I can do all things, but when I take my focus off the Lord and start looking at the storm around me I sink and fall, doubt and despair sneaks in and my faith is sorely tested.

    From Mark 6:48-52 I find that though Jesus is always with me, I have to be careful not to let Him pass me byas He almost did the deciples. I must cry out to Him let Him know that I hurt, that I need Him. He will answer me just as He did the deciples "Be of good courage: it is I be not afraid" and if I let him in, my troubles wont seem so back because I know that I am not alone.

    From John 6:16-21, I learned that though Jesus is with me in my storms of life, I must be willing to let Him in. Once I do this, the storm wont seem so bad and all things will work out for my good.
     
  7. Isis

    Isis New Member

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    I've read and studied the Bible from beginning to end, many times in life starting in childhood. I believe the Bible contains some of our literal history, but not all of it. I believe much of the Bible has been removed by man and the missing parts are the very important parts which I feel will be revealed in our near future.

    Then there are the numerous translations of the Bible with some Christian religions claiming to have the correct translation.
     
  8. Falon

    Falon New Member

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    Have you ever thought that the "fruit" that Eve ate of was knowledge? That men tend to be complacent and we women have always been the questioners. It is the reason why women don't play too many team sports. If you have ever tried to organize a bunch of women to do anything you will realize this. Men tend to go along and follow instructions w/o too many questions if they feel that the orders are coming from a higher authority. Sort of the Alpha dog principle.


    Not that we women are bad for questioning...look at Nazi Germany. After everything was over you had a lot of people....mostly men stating that they were just following orders.

    I tend to think that maybe we were like the animals before. Think about it...What is the worst part about being human? Knowing that you will die someday. Do animals have to ponder the after life? No, for the most part while they have instincts and may be able to sense that death is coming if say a predator is coming after them. They really don't have the problem of dwelling on death the way we do.

    If God is omnipotent, omniscient and omnipresent...then he knew that Eve would eat the Fruit and Adam would follow along with her. If he knew and didn't stop us then maybe knowledge is what he wanted for us. Even though the trade off is some pain....knowing that we will die...dealing with pain and suffering.

    I think that evolution and creationism can fit together. Eve's curse of having her pain increase during childbirth: Genesis 3:16 "I will greatly increase your pains in childbearing; with pain you will give birth to children. Your desire will be for your husband, and he will rule over you."

    If you believe in evolution then you know that as humans evolved their brains became larger...as well as their heads. Bigger heads more difficulty and pain in child birth. So knowledge brings pain. And what is that last sentence about? "Your desire will be for your husband, and he will rule over you." Sounds like a little addition to me. Doens't even go along with the rest of the phrase.
     
  9. pebbles

    pebbles Putting out fires....

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    Truthfully, I've never given much thought to what the fruit was the devil tempted Eve with. Why? Because it doesn't matter. God's instructions were not followed, and disobedience brought sin into the world. That's the part we have to focus on.

    If you believe in evolution, that's fine. I don't believe in it myself, but that's me. I would urge you to keep searching and looking for answers that you can live with and be confident in.

    God truly is omnipotent, omnipresent, and omniscient. There is no question in my mind. There are things that will not be revealed to us until the end. For man, who is finite, to try to understand everything about a God who is infinite is impossible. So I don't even try. This is where my faith takes over.

    As to the last part of your post, your question about the passage: Genesis 3:16 "I will greatly increase your pains in childbearing; with pain you will give birth to children. Your desire will be for your husband, and he will rule over you." Consider this: despite the excruciating pain that is associated with childbirth, we don't lose desire for our husband. Sex is still appealing. Also, this also is a word for single women. Sex is a covenant between a man and a woman. Ever wonder how men can run around and sleep with a bunch of women, yet never give it a moments thought? In fact, he could see you the next day and act as if nothing happened. That's not generally the case with women. We tend to form attachments with the men we sleep with. This also is part of our curse, and goes hand in hand with God's admonition that we are to flee youthful lust. :)
     
  10. Falon

    Falon New Member

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    Gods, admonition or Paul's?
     
  11. Blossssom

    Blossssom New Member

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    Umm hmmm... I've often wondered if God is allegedly so "all-knowing", how could he not have known Adam/Eve would disobey?

    And I've even asked the question of close clergy members "Who created sin?" My step-brother says God created sin.

    I have to wonder, if that is true, why would God create sin? He created a beautiful universe but purposely and intentionally destroyed it?

    That's like baking a cake but intentionally leaving out the sugar.

    Doesn't make sense. I used to be a Christian, but I still do read the New Testament because it's good for Christians and non-Christians alike.

    I do however respect all religious views as long as they aren't hurtful physically to anyone else.

    Not saying that some religions HAVEN'T been physically hurtful in the past, but everyone seems to have "calmed" down :)
     
  12. Blossssom

    Blossssom New Member

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    I really like the way you explained that last part, Pebs! Because GOD KNOWS women who have sex without benefit of marriage are some of the most miserable human beings on the face of the EARTH! They are truly cursed!

    Women are far too emotional to engage in frivolous, casual sex and once a man "hits it" one too many times with a woman, whether she didn't want a relationship or not, she will develop feelings and want this man to marry her. That's when he splits. That's why I encourage ladies to get the ring first and give up the goodies later. Women need to learn how to get what they want FIRST!

    I also believe in evolution. I also believe that God as you said is omnipotent, omnipresent, and omniscient. Whoever created this vast universe knows exactly what is going on with it, how it came to be and why. I know I didn't create myself and nothing I see :)

    This is a great topic, Falon! :)
     
  13. DelightfulFlame

    DelightfulFlame New Member

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    The apple had to be eaten in order for God's will to be done. Otherwise, if God didn't intend for them to eat that apple, and they did it anyway...then that would make them smarter/stronger than God...essentially making them God and not Him.

    Same thing with the devil...that good angel turned bad stuff is a crock of bull...the bible said he was the father of lies from the BEGINNING.

    Also, why would you need Jesus from the BEGINNING unless you already know and plan for man to fall?

    And the people who are written in the book of Life...guess what...there from the BEGINNING as well.

    What does that mean? Everything that happened is part of God's perfect will. Good, bad, or ugly...it's the way He intended for it to be.
     
  14. pebbles

    pebbles Putting out fires....

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    Falon, you and I are in two different places. The only thing I can say to you is that you should continue to believe in the things you have an unwaivering faith in, and I will continue to do the same. We could go around and around on this subject and normally I would because I love these types of discussions. But I won't because I honestly sense in my spirit that at this time, there really isn't much I would ever be able to say that would make sense to you.

    That's ok. I have a mind and can question anything I choose to. The point that I'm making is that, at this time, I will not know everything about what God's master plan was when He created us. I'm ok with that! I thank God for putting me in a place at this point in my life that no matter what anyone may say, I will stand on what I believe, come hell or high water, whether people think I'm a fool or not. Science or "theories" don't speak to me at all, just as the bible doesn't make sense or speak to you.

    I'm out. :Rose:

    ETA: Paul was a man of God, and he was used by God to convey God's messages to us. :)
     
  15. Falon

    Falon New Member

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    I never said that the Bible doesn't speak or make sense to me. My whole point was that certain parts of the Bible don't make sense to me. Also, my intention in creating this thread was not to ARGUE but to incite a thoughtful discussion on differing perspectives. I am not trying to change anyone's mind...I just want to know what is going on in everyone's mind. I'm not attacking anyone. I also don't believe that anyone has the "lock" on God. We can't own God or Christianity....it's for all of us if we want it.

    I don't believe that there is only one way to interpret anything. No black and white for me. I don't know if my views are right and I don't know if yours are either. I don't and would never presume to know the mind of God. I also would never judge or criticize you for believing as you do.

    I just like to think big thoughts at times. I think this world and universe are amazing...there is so much to know and find out why confine myself to one rigid point of view? When you think on just how big and mysterious it all is.....don't you feel small? Yet at the same time amazing? I know I do....who am I but a speck of light in a great vastness? But at the same time...God whoever God is let me be here! It's a wonderful thing when you think on it. Precede on ladies I am loving your responses. :)
     
  16. pebbles

    pebbles Putting out fires....

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    My apologies if I came across as thinking you were being argumentative, that wasn't my intention. I honestly do not feel that evolution and creation go hand in hand. So whenever I run into people who feel evolution and creation are complimentary in any way, I exit the discussion. I can't change anyone's mind and they can't change my mind. That's all. And giiirrrrlllll, thank GOD no one can own GOD or Christianity. I'd be lost for sure! LOL! :lol:
     
  17. pebbles

    pebbles Putting out fires....

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    Being emotionally tied to the men we sleep with was part of the curse over all women. God uses the word husband because His perfect intent was that sex be enjoyed within the confines of marriage. The Word of God would never read "your desire shall be for your man or boyfriend," but if we interpret the word husband, it means "any man you sleep with." Are there women who can have casual sex and not feel tied to that particular man, so they think? Yes. But notice the emotional wreck they are. These women usually have more issues than you can shake a stick at. Look at their temperaments and/or attitudes. And that's because they have entered into a covenent with that man in the spirit realm, and that stuff is real and cannot be shaken. They take on things from him they never intended or imagined. And all that goes back to the very beginning of time, because of that punishment God spoke to Eve. It really is deeper than most people understand. :)
     
  18. Nyambura

    Nyambura surfer girl

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    It's funny you asked whether a man has every been put to death for whoring b/c I just read several passages of Leviticus this past week and it specifies death. For example, in Leviticus 20:10, the penalty for adultery is death: 10 ¶ And the man that committeth adultery with [another] man's wife, [even he] that committeth adultery with his neighbour's wife, the adulterer and the adulteress shall surely be put to death.Leviticus 20 further provides that if you are a man, laying with your dad's wife, your mother-in-law, your wife and mother-in-law, daughter-in-law, another man, or a beast, are all punishable by death (death by fire specifically, in some cases). Same for a woman.
     
  19. pebbles

    pebbles Putting out fires....

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    Mmm-hmm. :)
     
  20. Falon

    Falon New Member

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    Adultery...is whorish...but it's not the same as being a whore (doing it for money). It's for being with someone else's wife...nothing pertaining to the single man who has sex outside of wedlock with, say, a prostitute or a single woman.

    Leviticus18 Unlawful Sexual Relations: Nothing pertaining to single men whoring around.
    Leviticus 20 Punishment for Sin: Same thing.
    Only a man who rapes a virgin who is pledged to be married in the countryside is punished because she could not cry out. If she was not pledged then he has to marry her for life.

    Deuteronomy 22:25-29
     
  21. SVT

    SVT Moderator

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    Do men carry a curse for Adam eating the apple?
     
  22. pebbles

    pebbles Putting out fires....

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    Absolutely. Women would bear children in pain and yet still desire their husbands, and man would encounter obstacles and hardships to survive. He would have to sweat to get a harvest, or in our modern time, the ability to support himself and his family. He is also cursed with continually having to strive to be the man in a relationship, the head if you will, as God intended it to be. But because of Adam's sin, too many men continue to relinquish the role as the head, and in so doing bring chaos into their lives and into society. Not only that, he also has to deal with the rebellion of the woman, who would continue to question his authority to lead. And this is going to take us until Jesus returns. These are incredibly potent curses, when you stop to think about it. And you can see it to this day. :)
     
  23. Nyambura

    Nyambura surfer girl

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    You're right, my mistake.:) I was thinking of punishment for whorish behavior but your earlier post does indeed talk about prostitution. I am very much at the early stages of my education about the Bible (so I haven't gotten to Deuteronomy yet; right now, I'm in Numbers).

    But I don't see why Leviticus 18 doesn't apply to single men whoring around (if whoring = sexually indiscriminate, not prostitution). I'll have to go back and read it more closely but I thought that it applied to all men, regardless of marital status: Ye shall therefore keep my statutes, and my judgments: which if a man do, he shall live in them: I [am] the LORD. Leviticus 18:5. Leviticus 20 speaks directly of whoring but not in context of prostitution (I think?) but in terms of pagan sacrifice to the sun god Molech? Otherwise, the Lord's statutes, as far as sexually errant behavior, seems to apply to men, regardless of marital status. I'll have to go back and re-read.

    If you or anyone else can give me more context, I'd be grateful b/c I'm definitely open to discussion and learning more.:)

     
  24. Falon

    Falon New Member

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    Excellent point. It does seem that Adam was rather lackadasical as are many men. It is a struggle for a lot of them to be the men they need to be.
     
  25. SVT

    SVT Moderator

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    Something to think about. Thanks, Pebbs. :yep:
     
  26. pebbles

    pebbles Putting out fires....

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    You were on the right track, Nyambura. That passage does apply to both men and women. Whoring occurs if either man or woman indulge in sex outside of marriage.

    "If a man happens to meet in a town a virgin pledged to be married and he sleeps with her, you shall take both of them to the gate of that town and stone them to death - the girl because she was in a town and did not scream for help, and the man because he violated another man's wife. You must purge the evil from among you." [Deuteronomy 22:13-24]

    Both the man and the woman are single, but she is promised in marriage to someone. In those days, the purity of a woman was important in Israel in maintaining the integrity of the family's tribe. So she was considered married. See that God says to have her stoned because she did not scream. She could have, but she chose not to. Women are to conduct themselves with honor, behaving as the chosen bride for the husband God has for her, even if she hasn't met him yet. Sexual immorality carries a death penalty for both men and women.

    If you read: [I Corinthians 6:9-10] "Do you not know that the wicked will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: Neither the sexually immoral nor idolaters nor adulterers nor male prostitutes nor homosexual offenders nor thieves nor the greedy nor drunkards nor slanderers nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God." You'll see that this applies to us all, men and women.

    :)
     
  27. Nyambura

    Nyambura surfer girl

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    Thanks, Pebbles! :up: This is a very informative thread!
     
  28. Isis

    Isis New Member

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    I believe in evolution and creationism only in the sense that we as humans have been and continue to evolve, as a whole, intellectually and spiritually. I don't believe we ever came from another species like monkeys, for example, but were actually created as humans, big heads and all. I haven't learned anywhere that our heads have increased in size.
     
  29. angelk316

    angelk316 Active Member

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    Falon, I agree with everything you have seen. When I read the bible the first thing I do Is pray. I dont take the bible literally. I do my research and I dont take the text out of its context. I was wacthing this show on the history channel called Who wrote the Bible. It was very interesting and taught me alot, this is why I dont take the bible litereary. God tells me what I am suppose to be doing and what Im not suppose to be doing and I listen to what HE says.
     
  30. pebbles

    pebbles Putting out fires....

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    Whenever one watches a documentary on the bible, please consider the source. The secular world has a skewed view of the authenticity of the bible and constantly seeks to discredit it as the word of God, so it's doubtful that there will ever be a resounding, irrefutable conclusion from scientists and "experts" that the bible is what we as Christians know it to be, which is The Word of our Lord. :)
     

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