Sunday, February 28, 2016

When Did the Bible Stop Telling Us Stories?

The Tower of Babel lesson portrayed by this picture seems to be: "When you can't understand what someone is saying . . . hit them with a stick."

You may have heard pro-lifers make the point that if you don't accept life beginning at conception, then there is no other really obvious place to put the line. Does a "blob of protoplasm" become a "life" at 3 months? At the first noticed heartbeat? At viability? At birth?

I suggest now that we take that same line of thinking into the question of Church history v. Church mythology. As someone who believes in a seven day creation about 6000 years ago, I ask naysayers when we switched over from myth to history.

I was trying to figure out the point in the chronology of Bible stories where in an evolutionary view of the universe we start calling stuff that happened in the Bible "history" instead of "myth." Here is a rough list of Old Testament events and my guess at where the line gets drawn.

My point, of course, is that the line is arbitrary and that we should consider the creation story historical if not literal. Just as the absence of a better "life" line in the development of an unborn baby indicates life beginning at conception, the absence of a historical "myth" line in the Bible supports a seven day creation.

Often considered non-historical:

  • Creation
  • Adam and Eve
  • Cain and Abel

Enoch taken up to heaven without dying?
Whoops! Chronologically this happens here but this might be considered history.
  • Noah's ark
  • Ham shames Noah by "uncovering his nakedness" causing Ham to get all his descendants cursed. (Descendant cursing is very politically incorrect and considered non-historical now.)
  • Tower of Babel, where we supposedly get our different languages

Probably stuff considered "historical" starts at this point:

  • Sarah and Hagar each have babies with Abraham. The boys are named Isaac and Ishmael. Muslims trace their Biblical roots back to Ishmael.
  • The near-sacrifice of Isaac foreshadows the sacrifice of Christ

Sodom and Gomorrah
Whoops! This goes here chronologically but because it is the source of a lot of anti-homosexual talk, it is often discarded as myth.

  • Rebekah marries Isaac; they have two children.
  • Esau sells his birthright and then is tricked out of his blessing by Jacob.
  • Jacob's ladder
  • Jacob marries Rachel then has children by her and two other women.
  • Eleven of Jacob's sons gang up on poor Joseph, eventually causing the entire family to move to Egypt, which is a good thing . . . for awhile.
  • 400 years and hundreds of thousands of descendants later, Moses leads that BIG family out of Egypt.
  • 40 years of wandering in the desert
  • 10 commandments given twice
  • Ark of the Covenant
  • Deborah, Gideon, Samson, Samuel and the judges
  • Saul, David, Solomon
  • Israel and Judah divided
  • Elijah and the prophets
  • Babylonian exile (bye-bye nation of Israel)
  • The nation of Judah returns to the promised land
  • Maccabean revolt
  • Jesus is born

  • I am neither a historian nor a theologian and cannot tell you what is causing the difference of belief before and after the break. Where is it indicated in the New Testament? Those earliest stories are not treated differently when referenced by Our Lord and the apostles. Why do we believe in David but not in Noah?

    I would like to hear comments on this. Did I put the line in the right place?

    Thank you for listening to another of my creationist tirades.

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