I’ll be the first to admit that some of the stories and characters in the Bible seem more fitting for a kid’s bed time story than a truthful account of human history. And I’m a pastor.
Here is an honest list of Bible references that my 21st century brain just can’t get wrapped around. These are some of the things from the Old Testament that sometimes make me second-guess if this book is really meant to always be taken in a literal sense simply because they all sound so ridiculous.
- The six-day creation
- Adam, Eve, and the introduction of sin
- Noah and the ark
- A woman turning into a pillar of salt (Lot’s wife)
- A 100-year-old father and 90-year-old mother (Abraham and Sarah)
- A burning bush that speaks
- The original Passover
- Splitting the Red Sea
- Samson killing 1,000 men with a donkey’s jawbone
- David and Goliath
- A floating ax head (Elijah)
- Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego surviving the furnace
- Daniel surviving the lions
We quickly chalk these stories and characters up as either metaphorical lessons, oral traditions, legends, or just crazy-talk because they don’t make sense to our new-age, millennial minds. But have you ever thought of all the things that happen around us every day from a perspective of someone in Old Testament times? How much would the description of any of these common occurrences in our world blow Abraham’s mind and make him label our world as “just a story”?
- Computer graphics and video games
- Cell phones
- Internet and email
- Digital or even “old school” cameras
- Thumb drives
- Bluetooth connectivity
- Millions of miles of underground fiber optic cables
- Convection ovens and microwaves
- Man-made refrigeration
- Lasik eye surgery
- Open heart surgery
- Organ transplants
- Cruise ships
- Walking on the moon
- Internal combustion engine (cars, trains, lawn mowers, etc.)
- Atomic bombs
- 1-mile range sniper rifles
- …I could go on but I think you get my point
To each passing generation, the contents of the Bible, especially the Old Testament, seem to become less and less believable. But why is that? How do all the amazing advancements in technology from just the past 50 years not point us to a worldview that says “Anything is possible”? The emerging generation is the first to have been surrounded from birth by an age of computers and other insanely miraculous advancements that are apparently not that impressive anymore.
Of course my palm-sized computer can listen to me ask “What was the best movie in 2001?” and then immediately give me all four movies that were nominated for that year’s Oscar for “Best Picture.” What’s so fancy about that? A lot, actually. I’d be willing to bet that if Moses were there to see that, he would slip off his sandals again, just like he did when the burning bush started talking to him. Take a second to remind yourself just how crazy all of this stuff around us really is, and ask yourself again if the Old Testament stories are really so impossible and ridiculous. Who would have more trouble accepting reality? Moses going skydiving, or you leading your family through the Red Sea? It’s not such an easy question.
Does part of me have to just trust and accept that some hard-to-believe things from the Bible actually happened? Sure. But that debate of possibility boils down to one question: could the Creator of the universe do a few things that I think are physically impossible?
In the end, I honestly don’t think believing the entire Bible as historical truth hurts or even changes anything. I don’t picture Jesus ever asking me what I believed about Adam, Noah, Abraham, Elijah, or even John the Baptizer as a determining factor for spending eternity in heaven with Him. It has always been about faith in Jesus as our Savior, not other men, or even other Godly men.