The short answer is no. Why? Because you can’t take the Bible literally and still be
true to the texts that make up the Bible. There are several reasons for this.
Stories were told to pass down a culture’s lore and teach lessons on morality. The storytellers would
say, “I don’t know if it actually happened, but I know that it is true.” We can’t hold the stories about
legendary figures to modern standards of accuracy when the original scribe felt no reason to abide
by those standards.
The language itself had a much smaller vocabulary than English. Many words had several different
layers of meaning. “Heaven and earth” could refer to the cosmos, the planet earth and the sky above
it, or the spirit and body of a single living being. “The promised land” could refer to a geographic
location or a place and time where people could live at peace with God and others which could be in
the life after death. Wind, breath and spirit are all translating the same word in Biblical texts.
Insisting on literal meanings takes away the more profound meanings of the texts.
The degree of literal meaning also changes depending on whether the text is law. prophecy, poetic
praise, morality tale or history. For example, Genesis 1 is written in quite a sophisticated poetic style.
It is highly unlikely that the writer meant to convey a six twenty-four-hour day creation of everything
that exists. To treat it as a literal, scientific recounting of the beginning of matter and life is to miss
the deep meaning of the spiritual journey we must take in order to form the image of God in our
Sacred texts can help our spiritual formation. That’s why they have been written and passed down
through the centuries. If you take them seriously you can see how profound their messages are. If
you take them literally you will be skimming the surface only.
This is a short answer and overly simplified. Volumes have been written on the subject, but I think
this may be enough to satisfy some and whet the appetite of others to do more research on the
subject of biblical literalism.