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THE STRANGENESS OF BIBLICAL IMAGERY

One of the difficulties of accepting Christianity is that some of the things described in the Bible are just… weird. Within the first few pages, for example, you’ve got a talking snake. And even when you learn that this “snake” is actually a fallen angel, that realization doesn’t make the scene less strange. Immediately after this, we hear of “the Lord God walking in the garden in the cool of the day” (Genesis 3:8).

Quite understandably, many modern readers want to treat this whole Book as a work of fiction. But before rushing to that hasty conclusion, consider another apparently fantastical historical account, Marco Polo’s report of seeing unicorns in Ferlec (modern Indonesia):

There are wild elephants in the country, and numerous unicorns, which are very nearly as big. They have hair like that of a buffalo, feet like those of an elephant, and a horn in the middle of the forehead, which is black and very thick. They do no mischief, however, with the horn, but with the tongue alone; for this is covered all over with long and strong prickles [and when savage with any one they crush him under their knees and then rasp him with their tongue]. The head resembles that of a wild boar, and they carry it ever bent towards the ground. They delight much to abide in mire and mud. ‘Tis a passing ugly beast to look upon, and is not in the least like that which our stories tell of as being caught in the lap of a virgin; in fact, ’tis altogether different from what we fancied.

It would be tempting, like the modern atheist’s approach to Scripture, to write this whole thing off as a fairy tale. But it was no fairy tale. He really did see the “unicorns” that he’s describing: he just lacked the language to describe them.

Read more at WordonFire.org…

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