What is it with literalness and the Bible? I am committed to truth. I’d rather be corrected than wrong 100% of the time, no matter how embarrassing or painful. I agree that when something is written, we need to expect the author was intelligent and intentional, and that he meant what he wrote. We need to expect the most plain meaning first. We must carefully take into consideration context and condition. A 10th Century BC oriental writer had very different context that seems quite foreign if we do not understand it. Likewise a 1st Century Jew, or even a 1st Century Roman. But, some people insist on literalness regardless, until they are presented with something absurd like God’s promise to Abraham to make his descendants as numerous as the sands of the sea and the stars of the heavens. They want to backpedal and emphasize the use of the word “as”. Well, go look it up. It is hard to get around.

Gen 22:17 I will surely bless you, and I will surely multiply your offspring as the stars of heaven and as the sand that is on the seashore.

There are other verses that reiterate, and Jer 33:22 specifies it to David’s and Levi’s descendants. The statement here though stipulates the similarity in the immeasurableness, rather than the actual count.

Of course, Heb 11:12 asserts the task is accomplished, a statement written nearly two thousand years ago, “Therefore from one man, and him as good as dead, were born descendants as many as the stars of heaven and as many as the innumerable grains of sand by the seashore.” Read the rest of this entry »