I used to think that every story in the Bible was historical. Abraham came out of the land of Ur. Moses parted the Red Sea. David was a king of Israel. As I learn more about the Old Testament, I’m persistently faced with the perplexing suggestion that these stories may not be completely true. Some are historical legends, with strains of truth and layers of tradition woven together. Others are folklore, expressing truths about the Israelite’s God and defining the Israelite identity. A daring few could even be categorized as fictional.
Such propositions startle me. If something is fictional, how can it be scripture, the inspired word of God, infallible, with truths for me? I’ve come to enjoy good literature, and have become comfortable gently teasing out truths about the human condition and honest questions about the world, even in secular works. I never thought that I could approach scriptures that way, though. It wasn’t until I revisited C.S. Lewis’ views on the connection of myth and Christianity that I came to understand that Biblical literature can be read similarly. Continue reading “God’s myth”