Is Everything in the Bible Literally True?

Of course not.

If everything in the Bible is literally true, then every sentence in oratio obliqua in the Bible is literally true.  Now the sentence 'There is no God'  occurs in the oblique context, "The fool hath said in his heart, 'There is no God.'"  (Psalm 14:1)  So if everything  in the Bible is literally true, then 'There is no God' is literally true and the Bible proves that it is not the word of God!  Again, at Genesis 3:4 the Bible reports the Serpent saying to the woman (Eve), "You surely shall not die!"  So if everything in the Bible is true, then this falsehood is true.  Ergo, not everything in the Bible is literally true.

Someone who concedes the foregoing may go on to say, "OK, wise guy, everything in the Bible in oratio recta is literally true."  But this can't be right either.  For the Bible tells us in oratio recta that light was created before sources of light (sun, moon, stars) were created. The creation of light is reported at Genesis 1:3, but the creation of sources of light occurs later as reported at Genesis 1: 14-17.  Obviously, light cannot exist before sources of light exist.  So what the Bible reports on this head is false, if taken literally.  Furthermore, if the sun does not come into existence until the fourth day, how can there be days before the fourth day?  In one sense of 'day,' it is the period of time from the rising of the sun to its setting.  In a second sense of 'day,' one that embraces the first, a day is the period of time from the rising of the sun to its next rising.  In either of these senses there cannot be a day without a sun.  So again, these passages cannot be taken literally.

But there is a deeper problem.  The Genesis account implies that the creation of the heavens and the earth took time, six days to be exact. But the creation of the entire system of space-time-matter cannot be something that occurs in time.  And so again Genesis cannot be taken literally, but figuratively as expressing the truth that, as St. Augustine puts it, "the world was made, not in time, but simultaneously with time." (City of God, XI, 6)

And then there is the business about God resting on the seventh day.  What? He got fagged out after all the heavy lifting and had to take a rest?  As Augustine remarks, that would be a childish way of reading  Genesis 2:3.  The passage must be taken figuratively: ". . . the sacred narrative states that God rested, meaning thereby that those rest who are in Him, and whom He makes to rest." (City of God, XI, 8)

What is to be taken literally and what figuratively?  ". . . a method of determining whether a locution is literal or figurative must be established.  And generally this method consists in this:  that whatever appears in the divine Word that literally does not pertain to virtuous behavior or to the truth of faith you must take to be figurative." (Augustine, On Christian Doctrine, Book Three, Chapter 10)

This method consigns a lot to the figurative.  So it is not literally true that God caused the Red Sea to part, letting the Israelites through, and then caused the waters to come together to drown the Pharaoh's men?

I'm just asking.