Koyaanisqatsi;683596 wrote:thus directly related to the OP.
Er, not really.[/quote]
The thread was about an interesting incident at the Moody Institute, til you got upset by my observation that non-literal readings had an extensive premodern history, and thus could only dubitably be called postmodern.
From the OP:
So apparently there are those at Moody who hold to a postmodernist understanding of the Bible- which seems to me to be diametrically opposed to a literalist one. ... This dispute both amuses and interests me. If one of the most famous literalist institutions in the US can't seem to hold to its doctrine, whence literalism?
Jobar was very clearly, literally
asking “whence literalism” in regard to an institution famous for its insistence on inerrancy. Your response regarding past errantists really had nothing to do with the OP other than tangentially, but it was your comments here that I was responding to:
Poli raised Origen’s and Augustine’s figurative interpretation of Genesis, for examples, but if that’s the case, then what the hell was Jesus talking about in Matthew 20:28 (“the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many”
or in regard to marriage (linked to Adam and Eve) in Matthew 19 or Abel in 23 or Noah in 24? He’s clearly not referring to any of these people as mythical or the events around them as figurative.'
Figurative = non-literal . Figurative =/= fictional. The account in Genesis is understood as true - Augustine's theology cannot by any means be understood without the guiding concept of original sin - it just isn't literal. Whether or not there was a literal talking snake or literal foliage is irrelevant to the divine-human relationship being expressed through the story.
If I tried to explain general relativity using Einstein's example of the train and platform, would you conclude that general relativity is a lie because the metaphor describing it involved a train and and passenger that in all likelihood never literally existed? Communicating the details of the train station is not the purpose of the story. Even if the person telling it to you happens to actually believe that it was.
As for geneaologies, etc, this only presents a problem if you assume literalism in the first place. No doubt the writers of the gospels, like all Jews of their day, believed themselves to be in direct line of descent from Adam through Abraham. You don't have to agree with them to understand the story, however. Only if someone has already sold you the bill of goods that the Bible must
be literally true is this even alarming. It is important that Jesus was a "son of Adam", ie entirely, bodily, human. Indeed, "Son of man/adam" is the only title that he ever accepted. His humanity is important for phenomenological, not genealogical, reasons. It's a book of theology, not a paternity suit.[/quote]
When you say things like, “The account in Genesis is understood as true” and then go on to contradict what “true” means by pointing out that there were no talking snakes or an actual tree with an actual fruit that granted knowledge of good and evil—or, more importantly an actual tree of immortal life that caused God to banish Adam and Eve lest they eat of it too and become “like gods”—then you are saying that the Genesis account could not possibly be true (or “understood as true”
Iow, you’ve made an incoherent, contradictory claim that goes to the very heart of the OP.
You then invoked Einstein’s use of the train analogy to illustrate the aspects of his theory as an example of how this works, but again this was incoherent when actually applied to the G/GMPN story, which brings us, once again back to:
It is very very simple. You said that metaphors described something real. Never in contention. So, what is the real being described metaphorically in the G/GMPN story arc?
To which you are now stating:
The nature of the relationship between God and humankind.
Which does not address the question. If the “real” is “the relationship between God and humankind” is the answer, then again the entire story arc of G/GMPN would have to all be real—as in really happened the way it was described and not merely figurative, aka, “non-fictional”—or else what is the “relationship” actually based on?
your comments, just reverse engineer the story in order to get at the real. Take out, for example, the trees and the talking snake. Ok, so there was no actual tree of knowledge or tree of immortality and no talking snake. What about Adam and Eve? Not real either? Ok, the metaphor in Genesis is that man somehow
and some point evidently early in its “creation” disobeyed God (aka, “sinnned”
and was punished with death and that’s how/why we all die. Iow, the metaphor attempts to explain a real condition; namely that we all die.
Fair enough? So to invoke your Einstein example here, we could say that the story is meant to illustrate our “relationship between God and humankind” to be one of obedience and punishment for disobedience. I guess.
So, ok, now boot up the conclusion of that story from GMark. Jesus is God’s son, sent to earth in order to be killed as an apparently necessary sacrifice to God to pay for Adam’s sin.
Well, Adam didn’t really exist and therefore didn’t really sin, so from the standpoint of metaphor and figurative language, does this necessarily mean Jesus wasn’t actually God’s son and did not actually exist too? Just another metaphorical character? And if so, how does this further enlighten the relationship between God and humankind? What is the real here that the metaphor describes? That we are to kill our first born sons as a sacrifice to God? I hope not.
That we are now eternal beings, because the sin of disobedience was paid for and thus we are allowed life after death? That is the essential claim of the passion narrative, after all.
So, in light of the spirt of the OP, how exactly does that work out either literally or figuratively if Jesus didn’t actually exist and wasn’t actually killed as a sacrificial atonement and how can it be considered atonement if Adam didn’t actually exist and didn’t actually disobey, etc., etc., etc.?
So—once again—your remarks do not clarify the questions regarding literalism vs. postmodernism; quite the contrary. When applied
they only make the whole G/GMPN story arc even more incoherent.