The “man on the street” today uses modern expressions such as “physical reality” – yet he is not referring to technical entities – which the ancients could not and did not understand, but he is still “thinking” in much the same way as all the ancients thought in this area. All the people read of or hear of tree, water, “earth”, and think of and “come from” the objects of our “experience in this world” (as we say) “the hard stuff” – only one aspect of which is the modern discovery of “physical reality”. That is, in fact “physical reality” is an entity that can be considered to be “the objects of our experience in this world.”
But what causes us to make the assumption (unconsciously) that the Bible is the same as any other literature? Why couldn’t the Bible be different from all other literature – not only in its content – but even in the manner of its “writing”? In all other writing when we read of tree, water, earth and even verbs, we do – and are supposed to “bring in” and “use” and “start with” our experience with these objects “in this world”.
But why couldn’t the Bible be different? Why couldn’t it be coming from a different and higher view and use of “our” terms than we do? When the Bible speaks of tree, water, earth, etc. it is initially referring to a “universal” and higher idea of these objects than that of our experience with these objects in this world.
The Bible is Godly thinking – that is much “higher” initially than our “normal” way of thinking.
When the Bible speaks of tree, water, earth, etc., there is indeed (and necessarily) at least continuity with our “worldly” use of these terms. But we are wrong in our assumption that our starting point (in understanding Scripture) must be our experience with these objects signified by these terms in this world!
When the Bible speaks of vine, there is indeed continuity with (more on this later) the idea of vine that we have “developed” in this world. But the Bible initially (with no need for “symbolic talk”) is coming from a much broader “definition” of “vine” than we ever could suppose – When the Bible speaks of vine – it is immediately coming from a universal “vine in itselfness” idea (German “daesin”) only one version of which is our severely limited idea of vine “developed” in this world. But the Bible is different. Its “definitions” and ideas are fundamentally different and much broader than ours. And the Bible also speaks of “the true vine” which is a third reality that is different from either “vine in itselfness” or our worldly idea of vine.
But our goal must always be this “vine in itselfness” or “water in itselfness” etc. rather than our hopelessly limited experience with these “objects” in this world.
All this is very foreign. But this – and this alone – is what we should have realized long ago – and thus avoided the historical metaphor/allegory errors.
Only in this way is there any hope of “comparing spiritual with spiritual”. At present, we are still changing the Scripture to “compare physical with spiritual”. This would eliminate the “need for” our metaphor approach – which has caused so much trouble.
We need to read the Bible far differently than we have ever done before!