Literalism versus the Alternatives as Understood through the Lens of the Evolution and Creation Debate
I would suggest this (see also Day-Age theory):
A Biblical Case for Old-Earth Creationism
This allows for the creation to be literal. But, ff it is poetic….it still doesn’t change what is conveyed–that God created the earth, us, and Creation. The idea that you could convey historical facts via song, poetry, or pretty much any other literary device.
I think a little more investigation might yield the notion that there are different literary genres in the Bible, so the attempt to make this distinction doesn’t entirely make sense. And people use multiple genres in real life…..without having this true/false problem. Treating the Bible as different genres which are cued in the text and context…..is the best way to read it in a way consonant with how its supposed to be read and interpreted.
Third, it seems you suggest there are important passages which aren’t literal which make the Bible less than a credible document.
Fourth, from your perspective lets posit a world where God is God:
1) If God did create the universe–this means at least two things:
a) then miracles are a credible option
b) then the parts in Revelation are potentially (literally) true.
Fifth, you understand history and literature thematically. You understand it from a story. I don’t understand why it would be different with the Bible?
Sixth, arguably, literary accuracy is only important in the most important passages. Or at least if those passages check out….the minutia passages don’t matter as much.
Lets assume the parables that Jesus told didn’t happen as a historical event–that doesn’t mean the parable itself isn’t true. We have Aesops fables, but the theme is still true–it still teaches us something about life. And I think its possible in some cases this misses the point.
My guess is the Jewish audience understood this to be the case.
Ascribing a purpose to the author…..then saying the piece doesn’t meet that purpose doesn’t seem to always be an effective strategy of thinking.
I just don’t see how the Bible’s credibility rises and falls under the issue of literalism versus non-literalism.
And of course…I think my answer on the larger thread also has some interesting things to say on this issue as well, which you can read here: