Literal, Literally

Traditionally, the word literal has been used as an adjective to describe the textbook/dictionary definition of something. Our society today is so full of hyperboles and comparisons that if one uses ‘literal’ as a predescription to something, he or she implies that his speech is of its purest form, defining something for what it truly is. However, recent times have revealed the exaggeration of even the word ‘literal,’ exemplified by people saying things like, “I’m literally going to die,” or, “I’m literally starving.” These have denatured the use of the word literal. St. Augustine, however, takes that a literal interpretation, specifically regarding the Book of Genesis, to be inappropriate in finding the true meaning of the passage. He hones in on the concept of time in the reading, saying that, “God does not work by time-measured movements…but by the eternal and unchanging, stable formulate of his Word…” (Sec 36). It is difficult to describe a being far removed fro our eyes and existence, so authors used humanly words and descriptions to attempt to convey his message. We must take Scripture and the creation story for what it is as the conveying of God’s absoluteness and his love for us.


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