The Bible: Story book or actual events?

Can you cite a source for Jewish polytheism? I’ve read that there was no mention in pre-captivity Hebrew writings of a relationship between one’s conduct on Earth and their destination after death. It was only after they rubbed elbows with the Zoroastrians, who seemed to have invented the concept, that they began writing in such terms. Everyone influences everyone else more than everyone wants to admit. They tend to affect each other’s dogmas while they swap recipes. No big deal really.

It is true,nobody can get easily the original truth,some of the readings in bible could not be understand at a sudden,it has a long hidden meanings ,it will reveal later days, we should turn our heart as a child to hope the bible as well as GOD. Dear FATHER please guide us to know your words meanings fully. Amen.

I do not agree. What you are describing as polytheistic Judaism was not Judaism. You can ask the Jews about it. Before the Jewish people who came back from exile, there were people living in the mountains of the area now the state of Israel. These people are mixtures of people, some were Canannites and some were from the south and so on. They had all sorts of beliefs.

The followers of Judaism, the ancestors of the Jewish people that we know today defeated or converted many of these people as they settled in the lands that came to be know as Galilee and Judea. Actual historical Judaism is the belief system held by these people. What you call “Judaism” is a historical scholar blending of several different peoples living in the land that is now the state of Israel. This is like saying that Vatican City is the religious capital of Italy. Well, this is a misstatement because Vatican City is an independent sovereignty land-locked by Italy and so is not a part of Italy.

[quote="Timbothefiveth]Some stories are literal, some are not, and some are a code. For instance, the Gospels contain historical events, such as when the Lord told some parables. The parables He told are not literal. Then there is Revelation, which is real but often uses metaphors. For instance, the 7 headed beast probably doesn’t represent an actual monster.

I like the library analogy.

I think this gives the best and most succinct answer to the question. I would have answered “yes and yes” since the Bible is part actual events and part story. I too like the library image.

This is very true and something that I did not realize for a long time. When one reads the first few books of the OT, the realization that the people of the Book recognized more than one god is very clear. For example, why would God have to explain to Moses WHO He was (the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac) unless Moses thought there could be more than one god? The admonition to have “no other gods” appears in several places, as does the instructions to not serve “other gods”, or “pagan gods”. Throughout Deuteronomy you see the words “the Lord, YOUR God”, apparently to differentiate this god from others.

In 2 Chronicles, God warns about following the gods of other lands and nations, and states that “our God is greater than all other Gods”. The most obvious indication that these people accepted multiple deities is in the first commandment given to the people through Moses: “You shall not have other gods besides me.”

It would appear that the Jewish people of that time (perhaps not later) accepted that there were various gods, but that THEIR God was the supreme God. The rest were, in essence, minor deities who could not do what their God could. This must have evolved into the idea of one and only one God.

The Old Testament is quite clear that all these other “gods” aren’t real gods. It calls them “idols” repeatedly, for one. This is not a term the pagans would have used, as it’s a condemning word. There is no passage of the Bible that indicates the other “gods” had any power. Every reference shows them powerless. Elijah’s test to discern the true god, where fire falls down from Heaven, is a good example, as is Dagon’s falling to pieces in front of the Ark of the Covenant. The writer of Deuteronomy praises the kings that destroyed Asherah poles and other idols. They always condemn all gods except the one true God, and the Biblical writers consistently present these other “gods” as powerless.

There probably were a lot of Israelites in Egypt worshipping a plurality of gods, and that probably is a reason why God had to carefully distinguish Himself from them when identifying Himself to Moses, but this doesn’t indicate that these other gods had any legitimate place in Israelite worship. Here are some examples of how the earliest Old Testament books condemned polytheism:

Deuteronomy 27:15 Cursed is the man who makes an idol or a molten image, an abomination to the LORD, the work of the hands of the craftsman, and sets it up in secret.’ And all the people shall answer and say, ‘Amen.’

Deuteronomy 5:8 You shall not make for yourself an idol in the form of anything in heaven above or on the earth beneath or in the waters below.

Exodus 20:4 You shall not make for yourself an idol, or any likeness of what is in heaven above or on the earth beneath or in the water under the earth.

In fact, the Old Testament repeatedly describes God massacring Israelites through plagues or foreign armies because of idolatry.

The library image is quite universally accepted by Catholic exegetes. While even the most orthodox scholars would warn against a purely fundamental approach to interpreting sacred scripture, one must be wary of the excesses of relying solely on the higher criticisms. It is worth noting that only seven scripture passages are dogmatically defined by the Church. That of course doesn’t mean that anything goes, and that all the rest are ripe for private interpretation, not at all. Paragraph 85 of the CCC quite clearly states:

“The task of giving an authentic interpretation of the Word of God, whether in its written form or in the form of Tradition, has been entrusted to the living, teaching office of the Church alone. Its authority in this matter is exercised in the name of Jesus Christ.”

For the average person this means always reading scripture withing “The living Tradition of the Whole Church”, always being attentive to the analogy of the faith. CCC 113, 114

A good document to read concerning the studying of scripture as a Catholic is “The Interpretation of the Bible in the Church”, presented to John Paul II in 1993 by Pontifical Biblical Commission.

Pope Benedict in a recent audience sums this all up nicely.

VATICAN CITY, OCT. 26, 2009 ( The historical-critical method of interpreting biblical texts is legitimate and necessary, but it must not be forgotten that the key to the interpretation of Scripture is the faith of the Church, says Benedict XVI.

=dangel;5690695]Some of my older relatives, especially my great grandma, are adamant that the stories within the Bible are real events, all of them happened.

However my the younger relatives and a lot of my friends say that the stories aren’t literal events but stories to teach us how to live our lives today with events that we may face.

Then I spoke to my friend who actually takes religious studies and she says that some of the stories are literal events and others aren’t.

I really need some clarification on this because what makes the story of Adam and Eve any more legit than other ‘none literal’ stories within the Bible (if any at all)?:confused:

Thanks in advance

Perhaps the “best way” to explain it is: Everything in the Bible is true, BUT not everything in the Bible is factual.

Stories are varied in meaning but greatly used because from Abraham almost to the time of Christ, liticeracy was rare, as were writting materials. That is why Jewish History is filled with stories so they could and would be memorized and retold, and passed on.

Jesus used stories to make clear specific teaching and moral truths.

“If your eye is your problem [leading you to sin] pluck it out”, is a MORAL truth not a literal truth. As is “remove the log from your own eye before trying to remove the SPECK from yor Brothers eye.” True, not factual.:thumbsup:

Seek the moral truth, look for the Wisdom and don’t be overly concerned about the reality of the story, so much as what the story teaches.:slight_smile:

Love and prayers,

Biblical scholars who approach the Bible from the historical-critical perspective say that the Bible is a product of its time, it is hard to transfer its teachings into modern life.

Biblical scholars who approach the Bible from the historical-critical perspective say that the Bible is a product of its time, it is hard to transfer its teachings into modern life.

This is one of the excesses of the higher criticisms the Holy Father warns about in the preface of his book Jesus of Nazareth.

If you take the books of the Bible seriously then you need to understand that they were written for people of a particular time period.

If you take the books of the Bible seriously then you need to understand that they were written for people of a particular time period.

Who is it that takes the books of the bible more seriously than Benedict XVII ?

The Pope has to defend his religion first, looking at the Bible from a historical perspective can lead to many conclusions contrary to traditional Christianity, that’s why he sees it as a threat.

The Pope has to defend his religion first, looking at the Bible from a historical perspective can lead to many conclusions contrary to traditional Christianity, that’s why he sees it as a threat.

Well, I regret that I am at work and cannot reply further, but at least now I know where it is you are coming from.

I think one of the underlining questions here is, Is the Genesis account of creation of the world a allegory or factual. My inclination is that it is an allegory. The main point is that God created everything. How he did it nobody knows. This is what splits some christian churches. Some interpret the bible literally. Some interpret the bible both partly literal and allegory.:):):slight_smile:

What if: the Bible is the written communication from the Creator to the creation–thus infallible by nature?

What if: holy men of God were moved to write as The Spirit of God breathed the words to write using the style of the writer?

How could it be fiction, fable, and fairy tales?

The world will be judged by it–the whole world is guilty–only those washed in the blood are forgiven. What have we done with Jesus?

It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the Living God.

Where will you be in 100 years?

Selah,(pause and reflect)

James Least

If the bible is all fact. Then how can something written thousands of years after the first man was created, assuming your correct, was how it actual happened. They have already proven that man was around quite a while before the first chapter was written. :):):slight_smile:

Well you are making a statement about the writing of the story thousands of years after that event - does that make your statement inaccurate, allegorical, or factual?

Not sure who “they” are. RE: #36 above.

Only God has the correct chronograph. Man keeps changing his assumptions of time-- past, present and future.

Why do “they” keep changing the science books. God’s Word never changes. He is the same yesterday, today and forever.

“They” have problems with the fact that God is–therefore all are accountable to someone higher than ourselves.

There is also a problem with what God tells us we are: DEPRAVED.

He has also provided the only remedy for depravity: JESUS.

What time is it? Will our excuses stand in judgement?

Where will you be in 100 years?


James Least

Sure. Lets just take a look at the Tanakh for starters and, specifically, at the word “elohim” which means “gods” and derives from the Canaanite Pantheon with “El” being the supreme deity and “'lhm” being the children of El/minor deities. Genesis 1:26 contains the word “elohim” used both singularly and plural; describing Yaweh (Hebrew parallel of El) creating man in the image of the “elohim” (gods). This is also apparent throughout the Tankah in the incorporation of Canaanite god’s and goddesses (namely Ashtoreth, consort of Yaweh and Queen of Heaven, and Baal the son of Yaweh) and their belief that every nation had it’s own god ultimately spawning from Yaweh and Ashtoreth. None of the early prophets ran around saying that these other deities did not exist, rather, they sought to end worship of these deities in demonstrating the supremacy of Yaweh over all other gods in the Pantheon. The consolidation of the Pantheon into a single deity did not occur until after the Babylonian captivity.

Or it could simply be a reference to the Trinity. Laws against polythesim were in place before the Israel went into Canaan.

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