Tuesday, January 29, 2008

More on Bible "Myths": Literally True OR Symbolically True

This has been a busy month: relatives to take care of, son at home, new computer which needed to go back for repairs...and now works great!...health issues, memorial services for two friends who died young (one was a year younger than me and one was about ten years younger than me, and who left behind six children aged 22 to 6!)...

But I won't apologize if I have not been keeping up with Bible issues. Instead of doing what most bloggers do--blog incessantly even if they have little to say (the neocons, for instance, who read each others blogs and link to all of them, so that readers of these blogs are constantly clicking on the same links and reading the same stuff over and over again! And then for some relief from this they go over to "Little Green Footballs" to laugh at the ridiculous hateful commentary spewed out by folks who must look like morons to sane people), just so long as they blog at least once a day--I have made it a point to post blog posts only when The Spirit leads me. Which leads to another Bible Myth.

I call this a "myth" because somehow I grew up believing that either everything in the Bible was literally true ("yes, dear, God made the world in six 24-hour days, and on the 7th day He rested", for instance) or symbolically true but not literally true ("no, dear, God doesn't need a fixed period of 24 hours...and who knew what a day was before He created the Sun, Moon, and Stars to guide the realm of 'day'? So all that "six days" stuff is symbolic...besides, God never 'rests'.). From what I have heard preached or discussed by those who claim to know what's in the Bible, most Christians either believe the Bible is literally true but uses symbolism to explain it's literal truth OR believe the Bible is strictly symbolic and there is no literal truth to it...well, except for the historical books in the Old Testament and the Book of Acts in the New Testament (which most Christians of both stripes agree must be literally true, especially since archaeological evidence proves their truth).

What got me started on this was learning that one of the more Biblically discerning individuals on the Internet, L. Ray Smith of Bible-Truths.com, is giving a lecture series regarding Creation (Genesis) this coming September. I will not be able to attend; however, his audio files will be posted from that conference. Smith takes the line that other than the historical books such as Chronicles, Kings, Acts, Esther and Ruth, everything in the Bible is basically a parable. Smith might believe that there is no literal "six-day creation." It was Smith, for instance, who turned me on to the impossibility of "Hell for eternity" (yet, I feel that I went further than he did because I explained that, due to the fact that God exists outside of time precisely because it was He who created time, BUT simultaneously exists in time, the notion of "eternity" as a time frame has no meaning for God, so then why would He even specify it as a time frame? It is for reasons such as this--to prove punishment CANNOT be "eternal" timewise of "infinity" "number"-wise--that God gave us mathematics [among other reasons, of course!]). But this is not a plea for my understanding "is better than" Smith's. In fact, while Smith gives a fairly good debunking of "the rapture," a local "substitute" preacher, who also is the caretaker of the site of the local "camp meeting" nearby, Virgil Gage, pointed me to the ultimate reasons there will not be any "pre-trib" or "post-trib" or "mid-trib" "rapture" of the Church: John 17:15 and 20, which Christ Himself says there will not be any "removal" of any believers from the Earth comparable to what is claimed by those who preach the rapture theory. In fact, Gage understands too that God has His own time frame which is barely discernible to us humans.

In fact, to even suggest that God either exists in the here and now only or in "timelessness" makes no sense. He exists in both realms and in all realms. How many times is it written in the Bible, "God is the same today, yesterday, and tomorrow"? Or that "God has no beginning and no end," Or that God "was, is, and will be" and "knows the end from the beginning" and other such phrases from Genesis 1:1 to Revelation 22: 21.

God exists in time (yes, the present-day) and in timelessness simultaneously. Someone on the Bible-Truths forums even suggested that all time periods are fluid, that the 1500s (for instance) co-exist with the 2000s! (The thing is, I have no way to prove this or disprove this, and no way to verify this regardless. But it is interesting, especially for folks like me who think theoretical mathematics is an interesting topic.)

That's because God exists in all things, because God exists in all atoms and molecules. that is, everything is made up of "God". Spirit, that is, as well as matter organic and inorganic, which is why "God" created and creates all things ("Creates"? Here is another good idea from Smith: get yourself a "Concordant Literal New Testament" put out by the Concordant company. In fact, the New Testament translated from the Ancient Greek is in many ways mis-translated because the wrong tense is used. The Greek language also uses the "aorist" tense, which is past, present, and future at the same time, and where properly translated many things mentioned in the Bible are "coming" as well as "has come" or "have come" or "will come," that is, existing in all three time frames simultaneously. For example: with the Concordant Literal Old Testament (available book by book only...the entire Old Testament Concordant Literal Old Testament doesn't seem to be available), where it says "Let us make man in our own image," in Genesis in the King James, it says "Let us be making man in our own image," in the Concordant Literal. So that, in the King James it seems as if God (as "us) made man and that's it, whereas in the Concordant Literal it seems as if God (as "us") is making man continuously. If this "aorist" tense translation is more accurate, then this must prove that God exists in all time frames simultaneously, including outside of time. Thus, if "literal" truth relies on historical time frames while "symbolic" truth relies on no time frames (or timelessness), that God exists in both simultaneously most show that both literal truth in all things in the Bible AND symbolic truth in all things in the Bible MUST BOTH BE TRUE!

And, believe me, without the Holy Spirit guiding me in writing this, I never would have come up with such a conclusion!

Deborah Lagarde