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Questions tagged [literalism]

A hermeneutical approach in which the Bible is understood as accurate historical narrative throughout, with the exception of parts clearly stated not to be so.

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Did Jesus and NT authors think OT was literal history?

As I read the gospels and the other NT books, both Jesus and the authors all seem to take the OT as entirely historically accurate, especially the events of Genesis and Exodus. Additionally, this ...
yters's user avatar
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Overview: which denominations teach that the trees in Eden were symbolic vs literal?

In a comment to another question, someone commented that the tree of life and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil are "clearly" symbolic and not actual trees. I was surprised by that ...
T Hummus's user avatar
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Did Satan physically and literally fall from Heaven or Sky?

According to Dante, in his Divine Comedy (Inferno), the fall of Satan caused a geological upheaval. The Devil fell on his head in the Southern Hemisphere, causing the lands to the south to rise to the ...
Felipe Ligeiro's user avatar
2 votes
1 answer
145 views

How do those who understand Noah's Flood to be a global flood explain what the carnivorous animals ate after disembarking?

How do those who understand Noah's Flood to be a global flood explain what the carnivorous animals ate after disembarking, if there were only 2 of all the other species left? Eating 1 would stop those ...
Only True God's user avatar
3 votes
0 answers
243 views

Besides Augustine and Origen, did any church fathers reject a literal interpretation of Genesis 1-2:4?

Augustine allegorically interpreted the first creation account in Genesis 1 - 2:4 but seems to have literally interpreted the second creation account in Genesis 2:5-3:24. Origen allegorically ...
Terjij Kassal's user avatar
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596 views

When Jesus says "Amen, Amen I say to you" is that a hint that the next thing He says should be taken "more literally" than usual?

At my son's confirmation class last night the teacher told him that our priest told him (and I haven't confirmed this with the priest) that whenever Jesus says "Amen Amen I say to you", that ...
Peter Turner's user avatar
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Do Biblical literalists believe we should gouge our eyes out or cut off our hands?

Biblical literalism, according to GotQuestions' article What is biblical literalism?, "is the position of most evangelicals and Christian fundamentalists [as well as GotQuestions]." In ...
Only True God's user avatar
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3 answers
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How do those who hold to a literal interpretation of the flood account respond to the criticism that Noah building the ark would be unfeasible?

In Longman and Walton's book The Lost World of the Flood (2018) they argue that the account of Noah's flood in the book of Genesis, although based on an historical event, employs rhetorical devices ...
Only True God's user avatar
1 vote
1 answer
169 views

To what extent do those who hold to a 'literal' account of Genesis 1-11, such as YECs, hold there are symbolic elements in Genesis 1-3?

YECs (Young Earth Creationists) often hold their views because of a 'literal' view of Genesis, and in particular the use of 'day' in the Genesis creation account. Are there aspects of Genesis that '...
Only True God's user avatar
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How do the SDA understand 'Christ's ministry in the heavenly sanctuary' based on Daniel 8:14?

According to fundamental Belief 24: (Christ’s ministry in the Heavenly Sanctuary) the SDA believe that Christ began his investigative judgement in 1844.This they refer to as the end of 2300 days of ...
collen ndhlovu's user avatar
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How does a literal teaching of the Great Flood explain the spread of ethnicities? [duplicate]

There are many issues raised if one follows a literal teaching regarding the Great Flood in Genesis but here I'm asking specifically about different people-groups. We're told that the whole world was ...
Mr. Boy's user avatar
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3 answers
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How do literalists envision the size of New Jerusalem?

A general social census that has been taking place in America since 1984 indicates that ~40% of American Christians favor a literal interpretation of Scripture. This literal view is defined as: &...
Mike Borden's user avatar
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How to reconcile both Outer Darkness and Unquenchable Fire as descriptions of Hell

From the book "4 Views On Hell", edited by William Crocket (there is a second edition edited by Preston Sprinkle) I understand that until around the 16th century the traditional, orthodox ...
Mike Borden's user avatar
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Are there any Eastern-Orthodox theologians who question the historicity of, for example, Moses and Joshua?

Some of the early church fathers seem to condone allegorical interpretations of certain part of scripture (for example Gregory of Nyssa concerning God's killing of the firstborn in Egypt). Are there ...
D. Hermansson's user avatar
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1 answer
408 views

What was the literal meaning of the term 'stone rejected by builders'? [closed]

Matthew 21:42 (NASB) says: Jesus said to them, “Did you never read in the Scriptures, ‘The stone which the builders rejected, This became the chief corner stone; This came about from the Lord, ...
Kadalikatt Joseph Sibichan's user avatar
-1 votes
1 answer
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How is the earth soon after God turn the light on according to the literalist / YEC?

Genesis 1:2 Then God said, "Let there be light"; and there was light. Is the other half of earth dark? My understanding is that when the light was created, then (logically) the other half of the ...
karma's user avatar
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To the YEC, did God make a single male/female pair of each kind of animal?

Genesis 1:21-22 So God created the great creatures of the sea and every living thing with which the water teems and that moves about in it, according to their kinds, and every winged bird ...
karma's user avatar
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3 votes
2 answers
271 views

How do proponents of Original Sin support a strictly literal interpretation of Genesis

Many modern theologians who adhere to the doctrine of original sin are often proponents of the claim that Genesis is to be interpreted strictly literally (most strictly as a 7 day creation of a young ...
James Shewey's user avatar
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Do Catholics believe everything in the bible is true as written? [closed]

I thought I remember at some point learning that Catholics believed everything that was mentioned int he bible actually happened. Things like Noah actually having 2 of every animal on one ark, Jonah ...
nonpoint's user avatar
2 votes
3 answers
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Reading the Bible Literally

Which denominations believe that the bible should be read "literally?" Do they believe that all of the text should be read this way? Why? Context: It seems like most of these people would still read ...
warder57's user avatar
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Why is hell for a literal eternity if it does not have literal flames and worms?

According to those that believe hell will be "eternal conscious torment" or "eternal separation", if the flames and worms are not literal, then why is it necessary that the word "eternal" be a literal ...
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Do Lutherans believe in a literal interpretation of Genesis?

Do Lutherans believe that the story of Adam and Eve and all the book of Genesis is to be taken as literal truth?
Dan's user avatar
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What percentage of Christendom takes early Genesis in a literal sense?

This obviously varies massively between denominations and even within denominations. I am trying to assess what percentage of Christendom takes early Genesis absolutely literally (six-day creation ...
Gordon Stanger's user avatar
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1 answer
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Do the Majority of Denominations believe in a literal flood or a metaphorical one? [closed]

The Bible says in Genesis that all of humanity was wiped out by a massive, world-encompassing flood. Only Noah and his family were saved because they were Godly people. Floods, even small ones and ...
Jax's user avatar
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2 answers
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What was the population of the world at the time of the flood?

I understand that from the perspective of those who take the Bible literally, the global flood took place about 2400 B.C. and that the world began about 4000 B.C., giving 1600 years of human ...
Narnian's user avatar
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14 votes
2 answers
592 views

To a YEC, how does a metaphorical interpretation of Genesis 1-3 distort the gospel?

In my conversations with Young Earth Creationists (YECs), I have on occasion heard the argument that I must interpret Genesis literally, otherwise the entire gospel, culminating at salvation, crumbles....
Flimzy's user avatar
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-1 votes
2 answers
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Can Trinity be taught only from Bible? [duplicate]

Is it possible to teach the concept of Trinity directly from the words of Bible (or sayings of Jesus), without any interpretation or explanation? Here interpretation or explanation excludes literal ...
Gulshan's user avatar
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1 answer
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How and when do I take God's word literally? [closed]

Every time I talk to a non-believer, they reference several things that they think make their argument stronger. When I talk about what God says for us not and not to do, they bring up things like "...
ilarsona's user avatar
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3 answers
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How do Old Earth Literalist handle the Biblical Earth age?

I find it a confusing paradox, maybe someone can help clear this up. If someone considers themselves to be a Biblical Literalist AND an Old Earth Creationist, how do you handle the dates within the ...
The Freemason's user avatar
4 votes
4 answers
2k views

Biblical literalness and the speed of light [duplicate]

How do biblical literalists defend that if a star is 10 million light years away and we can see the light from it, therefore the Earth would have to be at least 10 million years old? That is, ...
The Freemason's user avatar
9 votes
4 answers
4k views

How do Christians that do not believe in inerrancy interpret the Bible?

I know there are several Christian traditions that do not claim that scripture is inerrant (and therefore do not interpret everything in the Bible literally). If this is the case, then it seems like a ...
user avatar
11 votes
4 answers
27k views

What is the difference between being filled by the Holy Spirit and being indwelt by the Holy Spirit? [closed]

The book of Acts talks about people "being filled" with the Holy Spirit at various times. There is also the concept of being indwelt by the Holy Spirit. From the perspective that asserts these are, ...
Narnian's user avatar
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2 votes
1 answer
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Who decides if a verse is literal and what parts of the Bible metaphorical? [closed]

Just to be clear, I'm not asking what parts of the Bible are literal and what parts aren't. I just want to know who decides which view verses are supposed to be followed and which ones are like ...
FFCoder's user avatar
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15 votes
4 answers
5k views

How do Bible Literalists deal with trees older than the flood?

According to Answers in Genesis, the flood happened in approximately 2348 BC, which means it would've happened about 4360 years ago. Wikipedia has a list of the oldest individual trees known, of which ...
El'endia Starman's user avatar
4 votes
1 answer
253 views

Is Thomas More's reading of "This is my body" a literal one by modern standards?

Thomas More, whose birthday it is today (7 February), was a strong defender of Catholic eucharistic theology. In his Answer to a poisoned book (1533), a reply to a Zwinglian tract probably written by ...
James T's user avatar
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8 votes
2 answers
2k views

From a Fundamentalist viewpoint, what does it mean to "take the Bible literally"?

In my previous answer on this question, while discussing Biblical Inerrancy, I stated: The doctrine of inerrancy does not imply hyper-literalism. As noted above, in the second possible mechanism ...
David Stratton's user avatar
8 votes
4 answers
1k views

According to the young-earth perspective, when were races created?

From Genesis, God created Adam and Eve. How come we have so many races on earth if we came from the same parent? Is it because people changed physically by adapting to various climates? Or races were ...
Paddington's user avatar
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1 vote
2 answers
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John 14:2: a literal house / temple or heaven

In John, Jesus is speaking of Heaven. However in Matthew he's talking about a physical temple. John 14:2 NIV 2 My Father’s house has many rooms; if that were not so, would I have told you that ...
user avatar
3 votes
3 answers
697 views

How does a biblical literalist interpret the tale of David and Goliath?

Affable Geek's answer to What does it mean to interpret the Bible literally? mentioned the possibility of non-literalists interpreting the story of David and Goliath as a "tale that grew in the ...
Mason Wheeler's user avatar
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6 votes
4 answers
1k views

If Christianity speaks out against the use of "magic" does this mean "magic" is literally real?

If the bible opposes the practice of magic does this mean its claims of "magic" are literally real (as opposed to metaphorically)? If so, is there scientific proof of the existence of "magic"? Is ...
rpeg's user avatar
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-5 votes
1 answer
210 views

How much of Genesis 2 *actually* occurred? [closed]

Building on this question... How much of Genesis 2 actually occurred? And how do historians/biblical scholars know that it occurred?
Jim G.'s user avatar
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9 votes
2 answers
110k views

How can Psalm 137:9 be defended?

Happy shall he be, that taketh and dasheth thy little ones against the stones. Whenever I debate someone about Bible literal-ism they usually mention Psalm 137:9 KJV. Based on the Protestant ...
user avatar
5 votes
1 answer
7k views

According to Biblical Literalists, who is Satan? Where did he come from? What is he? And what will happen to him?

According to Protestant Biblical Literalists: Who is Satan? Where did he come from? Where is he going or what will happen to him? I'm interested in answers with citations from the Bible.
Narnian's user avatar
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6 votes
4 answers
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If humans are now genetically tainted by corruption, what was perfection like? [closed]

I have frequently heard the argument that various human frailties, such as dying of old age, are the result of corruption after the original sin; less frequently, but often enough to get my attention, ...
Rex Kerr's user avatar
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20 votes
3 answers
622 views

By what mechanism could the Bible be inerrant?

For those who believe in the inerrancy of the Bible (or those who understand the positions of those who do), how can the Bible have this status given all the opportunities for any message delivered by ...
Rex Kerr's user avatar
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11 votes
5 answers
8k views

If the Bible is open to interpretation, how does one know which one is right? [closed]

Often times when I cite a particularly egregious passage from the Bible in an argument with a Christian, they just shrug and say it's not meant be taken literally, that it's parable, or worse - that ...
user avatar
21 votes
8 answers
25k views

Where did Noah find polar bears and penguins in Palestine, according to those who accept a global flood?

According to Christians who accept a literal global flood, how could animals accustomed to thriving in extreme temperatures be found in a common place for preservation aboard the ark?
Ryan's user avatar
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4 votes
2 answers
204 views

Literality of Matthew 13:44? [closed]

I brought up Matthew 13:44 (see below for text) as related to this answer, though it was only tangentially related. I brought up the question Is that not a literal passage? along with the verse, and ...
RCIX's user avatar
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16 votes
9 answers
8k views

What does Matthew 5:27-30 ("Cast off your eye/hand/etc") mean? [closed]

For reference, here's the text of Matthew 5:27-30: “You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall not commit adultery.’ But I tell you that anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed ...
RCIX's user avatar
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25 votes
5 answers
1k views

Does being a Christian mean being a Bible literalist? [closed]

Where are the lines for Bible literalism in the Christian faith? Are all aspects of the Bible treated with the same level of literal belief (as actual history), or are some parts considered to be ...
Jim McKeeth's user avatar
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