Posted: Oct 10, 2010 1:26 am
by TimONeill
quas wrote:Okay, Tim, that's a very good explanation, but I still want to know what people like hotshoe want to know.

hotshoe wrote:But we do have to wonder, if so little of their bible is "true" or "factual" to them, then why do they get to the part about the resurrection and suddenly insist it was literally, factually true ? What do they think it even means, that Jesus was bodily taken into heaven ? Where's that ? How, physically, did his body get there ? Yeah, yeah, I know it's a miracle, and miracles don't have to have sensible explanations. But, how do they pick which miracles to believe in as actual physical happenings, and which ones to ignore or view just as metaphors for some spiritual message ?

What person of intelligence, I ask, will consider as a reasonable statement that the first and the second and the third day, in which there are said to be both morning and evening, existed without sun and moon and stars, while the first day was even without a heaven? .... I do not think anyone will doubt that these are figurative expressions which indicate certain mysteries through a semblance of history.
(Origen, First Principles, IV.3)

I guess I need to ask Origen the same question. What person of intelligence will consider as a reasonable statement that Jesus was born of a virgin, turned water into wine without fermentation, walked on water, "spawned" food to feed a crowd, raised the dead and rose from death?

Origen isn't saying that nothing supernatural can occur or that no supernatural things in the Bible can be taken literally. He's saying that not everything should be interpreted that way or solely that way. Obviously he believed some things should be (eg the miracles you mention) and some shouldn't (eg the Genesis creation story).

And that's pretty much the position of non-literalist Christians today. Ones like your friend.

Of course, how non-literalist Christians like Origen, Augustine and your friend sort out which bits to take literally and which bits not to is another question. Perhaps you should ask your friend. I'm simply noting a fact of history - few Christians were plain literalists until quite recently and your idea that the Church Fathers were is incorrect.