I left the church as a teenager, with an overwhelming feeling of not belonging. But I have always thought certain biblical quotes to be beautiful, inspiring, and true.
However (and I don’t claim any kind of expertise), knowing that the Bible was written in archaic Aramaic and Hebrew languages, which later were translated into Greek, and that these archaic languages have been extinct for a long time, I am puzzled whenever I hear people arguing that they know with certainty the meaning of everything in the Bible and there is no way any of it was meant as a metaphor.
Let’s imagine that we stopped using the English language. And then, by some random act of fate, all the reference books were wiped off the face of the planet. And we were just left with a few brilliant literary pieces. And some new humans found them two thousand years in the future, not in original but translated into another language. And some of it would make sense, I am sure, because it would be recognized as some universal wisdom. But then they would read things like “it was raining cats and dogs” or “he paid an arm and a leg for this deal” or “when pigs fly.” Would they believe that this literally happened and things were really bizarre back in the day?
All I am sayin’ is, it is hard to understand things when you have no context.
I think that the Christians who argue that, for example, the Book of Genesis is to be taken literally, are in fact diminishing God’s greatness. When I think about it, imagining a God who is just some “bearded guy upstairs,” who sat down and thought up a planet with x number of species and who gets mad when we misbehave and won’t let the naughty ones in heaven when it’s all said and done… that does not necessarily scream love and omnipotence.
But if you think of God as this loving force permeating all living things from the beginning of time, perpetually creating increasingly-complex organisms in a self-organizing and self-correcting manner (let’s hear it for evolution!), now this is… well… awesome.
And I don’t mean awesome like your new Apple watch or those biking socks you got last Christmas.
I mean actual AWE-inducing AWESOME.