Series 2 - Lesson 3 - Annotation 1
Give reasons for considering the Scriptures allegorical.
1. An allegory is a description of one thing or event, under the image of another which resembles it in properties and circumstances. In the Bible an allegory is the presentation of abstract principles under the guise of concrete forms.
A symbol is a visible sign, one that is conventional or traditional, of something invisible — as an idea, a quality, or an inner spiritual ideal that may not be adequately expressed in language or form. For example, the lion symbolizes courage; a nimbus enclosing a cross symbolizes Christ. Philosophers considered the ideal as being so perfect that they deemed it impossible to reproduce or duplicate the ideal in the exterior.
The word scriptures has come to mean any sacred writings. Before these sacred subjects were writings, they were handed down by word of mouth from one generation to another, especially in the East. The symbols used became confused with traditions. The result is symbolical allegories in which original ideas that were revealed to inspired men are mixed with events, characters, and cities. These finally became "scriptures." In these allegories and symbols there is given a plan for man to follow in order that he may live an enriched life religiously, economically, politically, and socially.
A parable is a short story dealing with familiar subjects or situations, and is told for the purpose of illustrating or making clear some important truth or phase of teaching. Thus, the value of the parable is to be found not in the actual story, but in the truth or teaching which it pictorially presents. A popular definition is: "A parable is an earthly story with a heavenly meaning."
In interpreting the allegories, symbols, and metaphors given in our Scriptures, many have done so from an undeveloped state of consciousness. They have accepted and insisted on the "letter" of the word instead of the spiritual meaning that it is intended to convey. The meaning was "veiled" behind forms, rites, ceremonies, and creeds, and was not deduced from the story that was told.
Preceding Entry: Give in your own words five affirmations for the realization of the indwelling Christ.
Following Entry: What phase of creation is described in the first chapter of Genesis?