How much difference is there between something being true or being truth? I don’t mean to be pedantic, but this paradigm has been helpful for me in engaging with for some, some of the more contentious parts of scripture. I have a very high view of the inspiration and infallibility of scripture but I wonder if some Christians have not helped themselves or our faith by misunderstanding or misrepresenting the type of literature that Jonah, the creation narrative or the story of Noah and the flood might be. Did they really happen like we were told as children?
What has helped me to be honest in my faith is to call these texts truth rather than true. I am not saying they definitely did not happen exactly as they read but I want to be both open to them not being true but clearly holding truth. I do not want to be wishy-washy, but taking this approach facilitates me holding scripture in the highest of regard, while being open to what the original writer with God’s inspiration meant to communicate.
I believe in a literal virgin birth and the death and resurrection of Jesus, and if I ask myself could the Trinity have made, the earth in seven days if they had wanted, a human being live in the belly of a whale, the whole earth be flooded, the answer is absolutely, unequivocally, YES. But it may not have happened like that and this approach means it does not shake or undermine my faith or the authority of God’s word for me. If God is God, then what’s the problem of these and even more outrageous seemingly impossible unlikely things happening or truth emerging though authors telling stories about things that may not have literally happened as the story says to communicate some deep truth about our loving, relational seeking God?