I am very interested in your beliefs. Do you believe in the Bible as a literal source? When the Bible says that it the world was created in 6 days, why do you feel it wasn’t actually 6 days?


My answer is that when the Bible is written so that it is obviously to be taken literally, I take it literally. When the Bible is written so that it is obviously to be taken figuratively, I take it figuratively. A forced, pure literal interpretation cannot be used consistently.

For example, when it says that Jesus sat by a well, I take that literally. When it says that David was King of Israel, that is obviously to be taken literally. When David says that "the arm of the Lord" saved him, this is obviously to be taken figuratively. Some Bible literature is prinicipally figurative, some is principally literal. For example, apocalyptic writing such as Revelation and parts of Zechariah and Ezekiel are obviously to be taken principally figuratively. When Jesus told the parable of the rich man and Lazarus, this is to be taken figuratively. Historical books like Acts are to be taken almost 100% literally, although it is possible in one sermon by Peter, he may speak figuratively. Even then, I believe the sermon literally happened!

There are a very small number of Bible passages for which it is not immediately obvious if the details should be taken literally or figuratively. Of course, the question you raise is a perfect example. Some take the "days" of Genesis 1 to be figurative. Others take them to be literal 24 hour periods. It is a mistake to force someone to the false dilemma "you have to decide if you take the Bible literally or not." This false dilemma is just a diversion from a mature analysis of the scripture. You can read my book "Is There a God" for a detailed analysis of why I tend to take the "days" of Genesis 1 to be figurative. I will admit that this is a difficult question and my conclusion is debatable, but that is my conclusion. I believe that it was not the intent of God to give a detailed "scientific" description of the creation in Genesis 1. I believe that the intention of the creation account is theological, not scientific. Many early Christians, who had no scientific axe to grind, concluded with me that these days are metaporical. You will have to reach your own conclusion, but if you want a detailed account of my reasoning, I suggest you get a copy of this book ( Is There a God?) if you want details (

John Oakes

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