History, Religiosity + Way of Expressing Faith, Scriptures

Literalist and non-literalist views

In the previous postings we a.o. looked at “Wilfred Lambert stated the human race is more than 7,000 years old” from which we can see that the debate about the literacy or non-literal reading of the Bible is still current or topical.

Lots of inexperienced bible readers do think the bible is or must be read like their denomination tells them and has to interpreted literally. They forget to see that one of the greatest rebbe (rabbi Jeshua) opposed such teachers and readers who readily read the Word of God and could not read between the lines.

Lots of people do not seem to see that the Bible is a book of books where the events of mankind are told in such a way that it is easy to remember and to understand the lessons of it. They often do not see that often Hebrew idioms are used and symbolic speech is used to have a less dry reading or to have even some poetic reading.

Much too often people also take descriptions and titles as names, instead of understanding that it are words to describe a situation or a being. That way we can see that the Book of books opens with presenting periods in the timespan of the universe. The storyteller represents the “coming of age”, like we talk about the days of our generations or our “age”. In some denominations of Christendom there is the teaching that everything happened exactly in 7 days, them understanding that those days are periods of 24 hours. They forget that a Yom or day in the eyes of God does not count 24 hours or 1440 minutes, but goes far over the 86 400 seconds.

The Bereshith brings a simple descriptive overview of what has happened to fulfil God’s creation. For the facility the taking of red earth is given in one word a’dham, which describes that the man is taken from the aphar ha’aretz or dust of red earth. It does not matter at all to take that description to become a name. But when one does such a thing for the occurrence or what befalls that ish or man, then it gives a problem. Because lots of people have made the temptation which befell Chavah to be a devilish person with the name “Satan“, though the Bible speaks of a satan or hasatan, which means the adversary and can be any adversary, opponent or oyev or enemy, somebody that that opposes or attacks an other one. In this instance at the beginning of times, the opposition against the Will of God. By not doing what God required from them, not eating from the Etz HaDa’as Tov v’Rah (Tree of moral) the first human beings opposed God’s Will and became opposers, by their will to be rivals, competitors of their Maker or antagonists, contestants and even an enemy of the Elohim.

In the first chapter of the first book of Moshe it is explained how there came a break in the connection between God and man. We are told why there is a damaged relationship between God’s own creation and Him who made man.

File:Satan Exulting over Eve.jpg
Satan Exulting over Eve, watercolor by William Blake. – 1795

The creature that has “the power of death”is not a literal snake or serpent, but the ones who are like a serpent or have the poison like a snake, which can be killing. It is not exactly the snake bit which shall bring death over us but our own choice to follow bad thoughts. It is our own giving in to temptation, like Chavah gave in to it. Also are sick mind, represented as ‘demons’ is not a mind full of bad creatures but a brain where there is something wrong, physically or mentally. As such when people are healed from demons one has to understand that their head was cleared from damaging or troubling thoughts, and not as if evil spirit beings or devils where driven out of that person.

Centuries later in the Messianic Scriptures we still find the basic Jewish or Hebrew way of explaining certain things. This seems to confuse many contemporary people, having them to look literally at Jesus his sayings, though his parables have to be taken as a way of describing a situation or event. The rebbe used the ordinary modes of thought of his own times as the medium and in that way we have to look at them too. Also later in history we can find great parable story tellers, though there contemporary readers seem to have less problems with looking at fables, parables and allegories as a didactic story, in prose or verse that illustrates one or more instructive lessons or principles. When Jeshua told his stories he hoped his listeners would be encouraged to think about them and look for meanings hidden beneath the literal surface of the fiction he recounted to them.

Be it Jeshua, Jeremiah, Daniel or any other writer of the set apart Scriptures we have to listen to them or read their messages with taking on a Hebrew mind or putting ourselves in the way of speaking of that time.

We must be very careful by taking all the words literally and should always put everything in context.



An openingschapter explaining why things are like they are and why we may have hope for better things

Bereshith 1-2 The Creation of the World – The Seven Days

How did the original readers understand Gen 1:1?

We haven’t always insisted that Gen 1 is literal 6*24 hours

Starting from a point in time when two elements existed

Account of origin of man, sin and death

Possible problems with two Accounts of the beginning of human race

The figure of Adam

The figure of Eve


Additional reading

  1. Satan or the devil
  2. Christendom Astray The Devil Not A Personal Super-Natural Being
  3. Satan the evil within
  4. Fallen Angels
  5. Sheol or the grave
  6. The 1st Adam in the Hebrew Scriptures #4 The Fall
  7. The 1st Adam in the Hebrew Scriptures #5 Temptation, assault and curse
  8. Messenger of Satan
  9. Sources of evil
  10. United flesh and knowingly actions
  11. The Existence of Evil
  12. Epicurus’ Problem of Evil
  13. Autumn traditions for 2014 – 2 Summersend and mansend


Further reading

  1. Parable
  2. Fable
  3. “Allegory”
  4. An Allegory
  5. AcciDEntal Scrotus: allegory is all around when medievalising moDErn French teaching
  6. Against Plato for Homer: The Doctrine of Ideas Is Ridiculous
  7. Odysseus’ Wanderings As Allegory
  8. Proteus, Tithonus and Aiolos: More Odyssean Allegories
  9. Allegory of the Cave
  10. An allegory with Venus and Cupid – Bronzino
  11. The Parable of the Fisheries Manager
  12. A Parabled Rethinking of Rural Housing
  13. Learn to listen
  14. Ears to Hear
  15. How is a dream like a parable?
  16. Shrewd Manager Part 1 of 2
  17. Parables: The Power of Hidden Truth – Daily Devotion for Friday July 7th 2017
  18. A Parable Following General Synod, July 2017
  19. “The 4 Types of Soil & How to Improve Our Own” — 15th Sunday of Ordinary Time—Year A
  20. Parables of Hunger: The Parable of Leaven
  21. The Parable of the Weed and the Mulch: A sermon for Proper 10, Year A, 2016
  22. An Inconvenient Truth
  23. Making the wild places plains – The parable of the sower
  24. The Parable of the Profligate Sower
  25. Sermon: The Parable of the Sower
  26. A Sower | Proper 10
  27. The Prodigal Sower
  28. The parable of the sower – The soil is not the point
  29. the Sower sends sowers to sow
  30. Few (more) things I learned from the parable of the good shepherd
  31. Pearls before Swine: reclaiming sacred identity
  32. The kingdom Of Heaven Is Like 7-16-17
  33. Don’t Let God Take Care Of Your Garden
  34. Our Ghosts Are Mirrors of What We Were
  35. ‘Dreams nudge the conscious mind awake’


9 gedachten over “Literalist and non-literalist views”

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