Atheists and fundamentalists want to argue that we cannot shift our understanding, because those who first wrote these things probably believed them to be literally true and countless Christians and Jews have done so throughout the ages. But if you believe that these ultimate things and questions, including God and the origin of our consciousness, must surpass our understanding, then the Truth exists outside of our capacity to grasp it – and we may, at different times in our species history, come up with different ways to express them, none of which, definitionally, can be actually real.
These are only hints and guesses,
Hints followed by guesses; and the rest
Is prayer, observance, discipline, thought and action.
The hint half guessed, the gift half understood, is Incarnation.
The Incarnation is where the true and the real touched. And that, much more than the doctrine of atonement or of the Resurrection, is, to my mind and soul, the crux, as it were, of Christianity.
Yes, but maybe, also, Atheists and fundamentalists want to argue that we cannot shift our understanding because the fundamentalist believes God somehow, in some way, caused the words to be written down once for all time. Thus they must be a literal account. To fundamentalists this makes perfect sense. To Atheists and non-fundamentalist Christians this is utter nonsense.