I published last Sunday’s post knowing that a good many people consider Genesis to be a work of fiction. I don’t. I believe it all happened as recorded, witnessed by the one doing the creating – God.
There are other portions of the bible I’m less sure of. I think that most people believe that Jesus was comfortable sharing made up stories, parables we call them about shepherds and muggings and lost coins and farmers. There is the book of Job which I suspect most people dismiss simply because it starts in a place no human observer has ever been – Heaven.
The Psalms are simply songs, there are a few books that simply contain words of wisdom: Proverbs, The Song of Songs, and potentially one of the most depressing books of all: Ecclesseasties… So, neither fiction, nor history. Perhaps you could even class them as the first Dummies Guides To… Well, The Song of Songs would be the first Dummies Guide to Sex. I really should re-read that…
There are a lot of books of prophecy in the Bible. Kind of hard to classify that using the Dewey method. Non-Fiction that hasn’t happened yet? Alternative Future History? Actually, that might be exactly the right classification as the impression given throughout the Bible is that whatever the blessing promised through the prophecy, it can be lost if we insist on rebelling against God and whatever destruction is warned against could potentially be avoided if we seek our creator, turn from evil, start showing love and kindness to those around us, especially the poor and the weak.
Back to the original question though. What if none of the Bible was fiction?
Genesis and Job share one common factor, they both begin from God’s perspective. Recorded outside of human experience. It shouldn’t really surprise us that the God who is so involved throughout the rest of the Bible would share a little of events outside of our experience, especially since the entire direction of our history seems to involve God trying to lead us back to a place where he can walk and talk with us as he did in Eden.
I wonder sometimes if even Jesus, when he told those parables, was actually using illustrations he’d witnessed. It’s not hard to imagine him turning real events into generalised stories in order to make a point.
Regardless, the Bible remains the most powerful book available to us today. Are you reading it?