I know I am going to get a lot of flack for the following position but that is why I am being careful not to be irreverent or ridicule anyone. The following is my position on the way to read the Bible I freely admit that I could be wrong, but this is it for what it is worth. In my view on Bible interpretation there are two extremes making the same error. Let’s look at one extreme, that being the creationist museum types (to explore Abdula’s dilemma) These guys think that God could not have used evolution to create man. That natural selection was not the key to God’s creation. They hold on to the notion that everything in the bible is literal that God actually took six days to make everything and that dinosaurs walked with man.
Then there is the Atheist extreme so let’s look at the website Whywontgodhealamputees.com The name says it all these guys think that by asking a bunch of simplistic questions they can disprove the existence of God, or at least the Biblical God. They think if you apply reason to the Bible you come up with either the bible and God is imaginary or you have to rationalize away the truth. This is again relying on the idea that the Bible is literal. Both sides in my view are over simplifying it and both sides are making the same mistake. The Bible is not a literal explanation of history, it is a book about spiritual faith, if you use it to explain the past then you will have problems no matter which extreme you support. As a history major I know there are parts of the Bible that are chronologically correct and some that are chronologically incorrect. For example the reason that Jesus was born in Bethlehem was so he would fulfill prophesy more than reality, the timing of the census was known and does not mesh with either the time or place as described in the Bible. (Hat tip to a Professor Friend of mine from U of Ottawa) But nonetheless the point is made that Jesus fulfills prophesy weather the details are spot on does not matter. That is not to say that the Bible is wrong but the way we look at it read it and attempt to understand it is wrong. The same could be said of any holy book the Quran the Torah the teachings of Buddah etc… Religion deals with the spiritual that is the truth we should be looking for in scripture.