From Chapter One: The Holy Bible
To sum up our Holy Bible discussion, we share an idea from Marcus J. Borg’s The Heart of Christianity. A recognized biblical scholar and author, Borg proposes that there are two ways to view the Holy Bible—literally and metaphorically. (We could also include words such as poetically, historically, symbolically, spiritually, etc.) Those who take the Bible literally believe that all the words are exactly true as written. Those who consider the Bible to be largely metaphorical take a non-literal or more-than-literal approach. They search for deeper meaning to the Bible’s verses, passages and stories.
We, likewise, concur with Borg that if we dwell on only the words in the Holy Bible, we might miss the message that God is trying to pass on to humans. Let’s use the Creation story in the first chapter of Genesis as an example. The literal view is that an all-powerful God waved a “magic wand” and created His entire Universe, or at least our planet Earth, in six (24-hour) “days,” then took a “day” off to rest. That’s exactly what the Bible says happened; and many fundamentalists subscribe to the literal validity of this scriptural passage as described by the words on the page.
The metaphorical view, however, looks beyond the story and sees a benevolent God creating a wonderful place for humans to inhabit, providing them with plants and animals to sustain their lives and, finally, creating us humans ourselves to live and enjoy life here on planet Earth. The seventh “day of rest” does not imply that God worked too hard and needed rest. He’s all-powerful, for heaven’s sake. Why would He need to rest? Rather, the “day of rest” reference is probably a message to us earthlings that we should not devote 100 percent of our lives to work, that we need some downtime to make the most of our lives and to live as soulful children of a benevolent and loving Creator, taking a break from work to enjoy God’s gifts and the fruits of our labor.