I’d like to burn some very typical straw men. Hopefully, in the debate over Christianity, these unnecessary issues can be avoided.
Creation - Neither Genesis nor any of the scriptures demands that the earth and universe is only 6- to 10- thousand years old. The Hebrew word for “day” (yom) could mean long periods of time. The words “there was morning and there was evening, the first day” could be translated “there was beginning and ending, the first (yom)”.
(BTW, the narrative moves to the surface of the earth in Genesis 1:2. While stars were certainly already in existence, their light was not visible on the surface of the earth until the opaque early atmosphere cleared).
Adam and Eve – While scripture does indicate they were specially created, there are gaps in the biblical genealogies that could place Adam and Eve back 60- to 90-thousand years. This would also predict increasing discovery of a common DNA originating between east Africa and the Mesopotamia.
(BTW, the word for “rib” means “side”. The story of Eve’s creation could mean God created her from Adam for symbolic purposes. I speculate a biopsy, of sorts, from the side, with a few million variations to the DNA producing a female. )
Talking Snakes - A boa constrictor with vocal cords is not in view here. That image comes largely from medieval art. The “serpent” in the garden was intelligent and used for evil. One can only speculate what sort of being it was (perhaps one no longer extant).
The Flood – The fact that a great flood is found in various cultures indicates that it happened. Two questions emerge: which account is most accurate and whether the flood was global or local.
I’m of the opinion that the flood was regional rather than global for several reasons. First, while the flood was universal in effect, it was only regional in extent due to human’s not having moved much beyond the Mesopotamia at the time. A global flood was unnecessary.
Secondly, language like “under all the heavens”, “all the earth”, etc. are most likely from the perspective of the observer, i.e. a flood from horizon to horizon. “Mountains” could be translated “hills” with rain and water “covering” (or running over) them rather than submerging them.
Thirdly, this would mean there were not polar bears and penguins, etc. on the ark, but only animals indigenous to the region and of special relation to man.
Fourthly, a global flood would have torn the ark to pieces, no matter how well built. And it certainly would not have landed anywhere near its original location.
Fifthly, the scripture itself said a “large wind” was used in the evaporation process. Such a wind would have virtually no effect in a global flood.
Finally, if the flood were only regional why not just have Noah, his family, and whatever animals needed, hike out of the area and be safe? Why a big specifically-built ark? I think because God often operates via symbols teaching important truths or significance, i.e. salvation in Christ or deliverance through troubled waters (trials).
Use of Metaphor – The scriptures use metaphor and other literary devices. One need only utilize common exegetical analysis and context to determine what any author meant as literal or metaphorical (and on a case-by-case basis).
Inerrancy – If there are consequential or factual errors in the Bible that does not mean Christianity is false. However, I find it remarkable how well the Bible holds up to scrutiny and that there are plausible answers to discrepancies. Personally, I hold to the Chicago Statement on Inerrancy.
Hell – is not a place of torture (external) but of torment (internal). There are many descriptions of hell in the scriptures. The “fire” is most likely not the chemical combustion we’re familiar with. It, combined with all the other descriptions, reduces to separation from God and the judgment of God.
This does not make hell more tolerable (that’s not possible). But it does dispel hillbilly theology that has poor souls swatting flames for eternity! Christ depicted conversation taking place “in the flames”. No person could have a conversation while on fire! On our familiar planet, one is in mindless torture if burning.
It is, however, a profound tragedy to be eternally separated from God. It is a “spiritual chaos” one enters when the intact “self” survives the physical body. There are indications that some kind of body could exist in hell.
Heaven – is a remarkably physical place. It is not ethereal or immaterial. It is a combination of a “new heaven and new earth”. We will live on earth in physical bodies that are “spiritual” which nonetheless have access to one another and continued exploration of the universe without many of the limits of current bodies affected by entropy, etc. Christ’s resurrected body could be touched and he ate food, etc. This describes the redeemed, resurrected body.
This is not to be confused with an intermediary state which is not physical. At death, one goes either into the very presence of God to await the resurrection of the body, or in a state of chaos to await final judgment.
“God will not allow anything to happen in your life that you can’t handle” – False! Scripturally, there are plenty of things that happen that one cannot handle! Devastating things! The accurate teaching is that nothing will happen that God’s grace will not get one through.
“You must become like children” - Christ said to “humble yourself like a little child”. It does not mean to be naïve, ignorant, gullible, or irrational.
Pascal’s Wager – This is not an argument for God nor necessarily addressed to atheists. Pascal used a popular gambling motif to shake the French laity out of spiritual complacency and to at least move them in the direction of God.
Further, the Wager, as it is commonly used, is not allowed by Paul in 1 Corinthians 15. He said if Christ was not risen, then the jig is up! Christianity is false! He did not say believe it anyway “just in case” or because it provides a positive way of life.
I hope these internal considerations provide food for thought.
Lol! In all honesty though I don't know of any literalist who doesn't take the snake as Satan. I ought to admit that. But there are ultra-literalists.
Lol, I once had a Church of Christ pastor's wife tell me that she believed in transubstantiation even though it was Catholic because the text literally said "this is my body"
So Catholics are in essensce ..uh..cannibals? :)
Christianity is, in general, a ritualized cannibalistic death cult. They celebrate the tortuous death of their messiah and try to relive the event at regular intervals through the symbolic cannibalizing of his corpse. How they are allowed to indoctrinate children to such a cult in this modern age is a mystery to me.
This is a useful "do something different" and some christians that relate to your existence are understanding it to them at an area where it can be done.
Why and how this has happened does not have to be a mystery to you or them. You can understand it together with the area of Rick Warren who is looking into how he understands and experiences knowledge toward a whole knowing of unity.
@Wholely - medication.
Heather Happy to see you as Always,
You do not have control over yourself. So with that being true what is it that is happening with regard to your controls?
In the area where you are not happy with your circumstances, what you receive to your existence is communication to you not to be understood as going out to another. You are losing that hooked on connection and projection. Within what is conscious cognitive distortions of reality this happens along with fear. Frame your experience with both internal communication (this is a gas) and what you understand to write on your TV set correctly as to you and that way and you can move out of this "purgatory" (some know that word) you are in. It is true.
Take yourself to the fire department and see what they know about control.
You are all over the place now. You can be picked up placed whole. It always happens.
Take the 905.
@Wholely - medication.
Heather, There is no such thing as Wholey Medication.
You have understood what is not useable to you from medical business people who when at that activity are not interested in your existence doing what it can continue to do preoccupied instead with protection and death. Those unsure needle punch circumstances are not nice to be hung up on.
While there is no "Wholey Medication" for you to understand about, there is the act of unification and unification is the provision of a communication that removes useless life and information out of your existence. In order for it to be provided to you, you have to be seeing, doing, or saying something interesting that can be seen and understandable at unity with what human beings are seeing doing and saying while being continuously provided emotion that is good.
Those who are interested can now know how it is that God caused Jesus as an interesting whole sight for some to see in person some and how it is that seeing a whole sight (a whole image) places one able to be provided what is called unification. Unification means you are caused whole. Caused whole and "healing" is not the same and what you go over to do (see, do or say) is related to your always position mark within God's process places (Five of which are known about now).
You can not be provided whole while understanding to you non interesting and non continuable images and words on a computer and you are being provided instead whole's inverse.
This is truthful communication provided understood to my existence area at the process place that is God's peace. Those able can use it as it is able to be complete.
There is nothing else to say to your TV sets at this location mark.
@Wholely - medication.
Cannibals and vampires --
I've always considered it to be the Geico gekko --