Is Genesis “Allegorical?”

Thorny Plant

“Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfill. For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled.”

Matthew 5:17,18


A jot and a tittle are like a dot above the i or the cross of the t. In cursive writing that would change an i to an e, or a t to an l.

“Heaven and earth shall pass away, but my words shall not pass away.” Matthew 24:35

Genesis is the basis of the Law. It is true and it will be fulfilled.

What is “allegorical?” Jotham’s parable of the trees and the bramble in Judges 9 is not literally true. But it does not really fit the category of “allegory” because the individual parts of the parable are true (the trees represent people). The same is true of Joseph’s dreams and Pharaoh’s dreams in Genesis. You can point out Abraham’s visions, Jacob’s dream of a ladder to heaven, but none of these actually qualify under the definition of “allegory.”

Jesus used parables. A parable is conveying truth using actual people and events, though no one person actually meets all the criteria. Today we call this technique a composite and it is frequently used in journalism. Jesus did not use what we call allegories, where the basic underlying themes are not true. The sower sowing seed is a parable. There really are people who sow seeds, and they really do get the results Jesus gave. Aesop’s fables are allegories. Animals, the wind, bridges and rocks do not talk.

There are no myths in the Bible, of any kind. If the Law, or portions of the Law, are allegorical, at what point do you believe the Bible stops being “allegorical”? If you follow that line of thinking, you must come to the same conclusion Origen did, that nothing is historical; it is all allegorical.

From the very beginning, there were 3 approaches to the Word of God. 1st, the mystical: The first person to champion this view was Philo, the Jew in the 1st Century. Many believe that this was the reason John wrote the gospel of John, to combat this view. Mysticism is still alive and well today. The 2nd position is the allegorical, championed by Origen. The allegorical view as a teaching method can be quite beneficial. But it is better to call the teaching tool application rather than allegory, since the problem with the allegorical method is that you are sitting in judgment on the Bible rather than letting the Bible judge you.

The third method held by the vast majority of believers throughout the history of the Church is the literal method. “When the plain sense of Scripture makes common sense, seek no other sense.”


See our blog Rightly Dividing The Word Of Truth.


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