We live in an age in which people in the Church no longer believe large portions of their Book. They claim that certain parts are not literally true.
‘Literal’ means, to understand the meaning of words in their usual or most basic sense. Literal means something is real. For example, were the first couple on earth completely human, was the flood a universal deluge that destroyed most life, did Jesus walk by the sea of Galilee, et cetera?
The big question is, how does one determine what is literal (real) and what is not? It is actually very easy. Which portions of the Bible, if we remove them, will ‘fatally wound’ the Bible?
If we take out or change any of the following, there is no Gospel at all.
- Creation in six days. If God is not powerful enough to miraculously create all of nature in 6 days, He cannot create the new heavens and earth: no creation, no eternal future Kingdom.
- The first couple on earth, Adam and Eve. If they were not literal, then their descendant, Jesus cannot be real either.
- The universal flood. It is a symbol of God’s last judgment that will apply to all people.
- Abraham, the ancestor of the Jewish nation. No Abraham, no Jewish nation, no Israel.
- The history of Israel. Most of the events in the Bible happened there. Anyone can visit Israel and see for themselves where Jesus walked along the Lake of Galilee or Jerusalem where He was crucified.
- Miracles. For example, an ax head floated,1 Moses lead the Israelites out of Egypt through miracles, the resurrection of Lazarus,2 or the miraculous catch of fish.3 No miracles, no future resurrection of people, no eternal life, no use for the Bible.
- Jesus Christ. He was conceived by a virgin, resurrected, ascended and sits at the right hand of God in heaven. No literal Jesus, no Gospel at all.
- The final Judgment. All people who ever lived will give an account of their deeds to God. Without it, there can be no eternal justice, and no way to divide the sheep and the goats.
- Two eternal destinations. They are the New heaven and earth (reward) and the lake of burning sulphur (punishment). If they are not real, what is the use of the Bible, the use of righteous living with the help of the Holy Spirit?
These are the main aspects that the Bible hinges on. If you take any of them away, nothing remains. They have to be literal, real and true for the Bible to be a reliable guide to eternal life with God.
- 2 Kings 6:1-7
- John 11:1-44
- Luke 5:1-11