The Bible as Metaphor by David Mills

The Bible as Metaphor

David Mills on Nuancing the Scriptures for Modern Man

The liberal or skeptical Christian believes that the stories given us in the Bible are, for the most part, not true. Some of the history may be true, but the stories of the supernatural are certainly invented, because things like that—seas parting, fire coming down from the skies, tax payments found in fishes, bodies rising from the dead—simply do not happen. The Bible, as Christians have traditionally read it, is not to be trusted. It is not to be read “literally,” is how they usually put it.

But these skeptics are also convinced that though the Bible is untrustworthy, it is still useful and perhaps still needed, at least by Christians whose story—in the sense of founding myth—it provides. The answer to this problem is to make the stories they feel they can’t believe metaphors for ideas they already believe. What they already believe they ascribe to “modern man,” into whose materialism and relativism Christians must mold Christian doctrine.

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David Mills has been editor of Touchstone and executive editor of First Things.

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