It’s all real, sometimes you use metaphors to express what can’t be said out right, but that doesn’t mean the metaphors aren’t real. You bypass the rational mind and go right to the symbolic. – Abby in THE DEEPEST WATER, Kate Wilhelm.
Scripture, I believe, is not inaccurate; it is, however, not literal. Our problem is our Western logic paradigm which states, “For something to be true it must be supported by facts.” Of all the world’s cultures, Western culture is the only one that thinks this way, and remember, the Hebrew/Christian scripture is not the product of Western culture.
“Inaccurate,” is a culturally prejudiced term. There are two definitions of “accurate:”
(1) It can mean that if the facts are wrong it is not “accurate.” If the facts are wrong then it must not be true. This is the Western culture paradigm.
(2) Conforming to a qualitative standard. This is the meaning of the word in non-Western cultural paradigms. This definition proposes that truth is not dependent upon being factual.
The non-Western paradigm holds that just because the facts are wrong — inaccurate (def. 1) — if still conforms to a qualitative standard it is true. Not literally true, yet the meaning of the story is what is true (accurate). The MEANING is not inaccurate (although the facts may be). There is a Native American storytelling tradition that starts the story with, “I don’t know that that it happened this way, but it is True.” This is what I am driving at, that even in that which we perceive to be inaccurate, factual-wise, there is Truth to be found in the story. If I discover that Truth as it applies to me, then that story is accurate (def. 2) in that it accomplished its purpose.
In the final analysis it makes no difference whether a particular story in the scripture is literally true or not, it still conveys God’s Truth.
This is the definition I am using.