29. Was Jonah really swallowed by a whale?

Growing up Pentecostal, I was raised to believe the Jonah story was a literal event. But even back then, I found the story a little difficult to swallow (pun intended).

I used to imagine that when Jonah was inside the whale, it must’ve been like when Pinocchio and Geppetto were trapped inside Monstro. (Yes, I realize that’s the second Pinocchio reference in two posts, but I’m going somewhere with this.)

Now that I’m a older and wiser, I know that a whale’s stomach isn’t filled with oxygen, it’s filled with things like saltwater, krill, dead fish, algae, digestive enzymes, and acids.

But the contents of a whale’s stomach are irrelevant, because, as most apologists will tell you, Jonah’s whale was no ordinary whale (or “big fish”). Jonah’s whale was miraculously and specially prepared by God for the task of swallowing Jonah. God customized this torture device whale with seating for one, and enough oxygen to keep Jonah hyperventilating for three days.

So while some Christians believe that Jonah’s story was a literal event, many will also admit that it was a miraculous event, which isn’t really a problem for Christianity, where miracles are just par for the course.

The problem with miracles…

So the first reason Christians are able to accept this story is because they accept the existence of miracles. The problem with this belief is it impairs our ability to differentiate between fact and fable. Allow me to demonstrate…

Imagine we hop into a “specially prepared” Delorean and travel back in time to 2000 BC. Once there, we insert the story of Pinocchio into the scriptures (we’ll call it “The Book of Geppetto”). The only change we’ll make to the story is to call the “blue fairy” an “angel of God.”

When we get back to the future, we’d likely find that modern fundamentalists actually believe that God once made a cricket talk, and that He turned a wooden marionette into a real boy, and that He helped a man survive for several days inside the belly of a… oh, wait… they already believe that…

Okay, scratch that idea, let’s say instead that we inserted the story of Paul Bunyan. When we got back to the future, we’d likely find that some Christians actually believe that giants once roamed the earth… oh, wait… crap!

Okay, fine, let’s say instead that we inserted the modern fairy tale Shrek. When we got back to the future, we’d likely find that some Christians actually believe that a donkey once talked and… oh, wait… uggggh, never mind.

The point is, many fables and fairy tales contain logical absurdities that allow us to recognize them as fiction. When we allow for miracles, it greatly impairs our ability to separate reality from fantasy. If it turns out that someone from the future has inserted the story of Jonah into the Bible as a joke, by what measure could we tell?

The problem with the Bible…

The second reason Christians are able to accept this story is because it’s in the Bible. When we accept other parts of the Bible, the fishy tale of Jonah comes along for the ride.

If the story of Jonah wasn’t in the Bible, or appeared in some other ancient text, we would simply dismiss it as fiction. But because it’s in the Bible, we assume God wants it there.

If we were to question the validity of the Jonah story now, then what else should we toss out? Questioning Jonah is a slippery slope, because a man being swallowed by a whale is really no less ridiculous than a virgin giving birth to the son of an invisible god.

The Problem with Allegory…

The third reason Christians can accept this story is because some will write it off as allegory. Allegory is sometimes used to salvage problematic Bible stories by turning them into parables or prophetic events, and insisting they still have substance and relevance.

For example, David Steinberg says “It is possible that Jonah (meaning ‘dove’) represents Israel, the fish represents Babylon, the time in the fish the Babylonian exile and the expulsion of Jonah from the fish represents God’s return of Israel to its own land…”

Sure. It’s also possible that Jonah represents George Lucas, the fish represents the original Star Wars trilogy, the time in the fish is the three decades before the prequels, and the expulsion is the poor reception the prequels received from fans and critics.

Or better yet, perhaps Jonah represents the moon landing, where the fish represents Apollo 11, the time inside the fish is the three days it took to travel to the moon, and the expulsion is how the we used the moon’s gravity to propel the astronauts back home.

Heck, even the authors of the New Testament used the Jonah story as a metaphor for Christ’s crucifixion and resurrection (Matthew 12:40), even though Jesus wasn’t exactly spewed from the tomb after disobeying God… but close enough.

The point is, it doesn’t take much work to turn a story into a reasonable sounding allegory. But if we turn every miraculous event into an allegory, it takes away from what makes the God of the Bible special.

The Problem with Paine…

So the question we have to ask ourselves is “Which is more likely, that a man has lied, or that a miracle has occurred?”

“Is it more probable that nature should go out of her course or that a man should tell a lie? We have never seen, in our time, nature go out of her course. But we have good reason to believe that millions of lies have been told in the same time. It is therefore at least millions to one that the reporter of a miracle tells a lie.”
~ Thomas Paine, The Age of Reason

Thomas Paine makes a fair point. In modern times, we no longer observe God’s people turning sticks into snakes, or parting great seas, or commanding the sun to stand still, or calling down fire from heaven. And we no longer observe God turning people into salt, or raining fire on evil cities, or raining manna on the hungry, or making donkeys talk, or giving men with long hair super strength. Yet… we do observe that just about every culture invents fables, myths, lies and legends.

So atheism would have us believe the Jonah story is simply a fable. Christianity would have us believe that there is an invisible god who occasionally violates the laws of nature in spectacular ways, but doesn’t anymore, and that the Hebrews weren’t lying and making up fables like every other culture that has ever existed.


In all honesty, we can never disprove the story of Jonah, and it may even be true! But there are certainly alternate explanations that seem far more probable.

Miracles, allegories and sacred texts my help to suspend our disbelief, but they also make any story defensible… even Pinocchio. If Pinocchio were in the Bible instead of Jonah, I might be concluding with something like this…

So I liedThe Old Testament story of Pinocchio may be literally true, but we would have to accept that a miracle occurred, which isn’t a problem for God (if He can create a Universe, He can turn a wooden puppet into a real boy!). But because lies and fables are far more commonplace than miracles, it’s more likely that the story is fiction. Although, it’s possible that Pinocchio (meaning ‘baby pine’) is allegorical, and that Pinocchio’s conversion to a real boy represents the renewing of our spirit through salvation, which was made possible by a sacrifice upon a piece of wood (possibly pine).

Of course, that’s complete and utter nonsense, but you can see how miracles, allegories, and sacred texts make it easier to defend just about anything. But just because we can defend it, doesn’t make it true… or even reasonable.

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68 Responses to 29. Was Jonah really swallowed by a whale?

  1. rautakyy says:

    You should publish these questions 500 as a book.

    • Thanks, just 461 questions left to go! lol

      Mostly I just do this to investigate and reason these questions for myself. I guess I’m secretly hoping that someone will prove me wrong, or I’ll stumble across some great logical argument that forces me to recant and believe.

      But if I ever turn it into a book, which is a long way off, I’ll send you the first signed copy. 😉

      • DeliciousWhale says:

        Was looking this up recently. “Whale” is a simplified translation, the original means something more like, “scaled, finned, sea-creature”. So, rather than a whale, it might have been something like a whale-shark. They’re not made for digesting large creatures, and have a tendency to swallow air.

        There might be an even more likely sea creature, of course.

    • Anonymous says:

      Sadly mistaken. i have the perfect passage to explain why it does not make sense to you.. 1 Corinthians 2-3
      New International Version (NIV)
      2 And so it was with me, brothers and sisters. When I came to you, I did not come with eloquence or human wisdom as I proclaimed to you the testimony about God.[a] 2 For I resolved to know nothing while I was with you except Jesus Christ and him crucified. 3 I came to you in weakness with great fear and trembling. 4 My message and my preaching were not with wise and persuasive words, but with a demonstration of the Spirit’s power, 5 so that your faith might not rest on human wisdom, but on God’s power.

      God’s Wisdom Revealed by the Spirit

      6 We do, however, speak a message of wisdom among the mature, but not the wisdom of this age or of the rulers of this age, who are coming to nothing. 7 No, we declare God’s wisdom, a mystery that has been hidden and that God destined for our glory before time began. 8 None of the rulers of this age understood it, for if they had, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory. 9 However, as it is written:

      “What no eye has seen,
      what no ear has heard,
      and what no human mind has conceived”[b]—
      the things God has prepared for those who love him—
      10 these are the things God has revealed to us by his Spirit.

      The Spirit searches all things, even the deep things of God. 11 For who knows a person’s thoughts except their own spirit within them? In the same way no one knows the thoughts of God except the Spirit of God. 12 What we have received is not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, so that we may understand what God has freely given us. 13 This is what we speak, not in words taught us by human wisdom but in words taught by the Spirit, explaining spiritual realities with Spirit-taught words.[c] 14 The person without the Spirit does not accept the things that come from the Spirit of God but considers them foolishness, and cannot understand them because they are discerned only through the Spirit. 15 The person with the Spirit makes judgments about all things, but such a person is not subject to merely human judgments, 16 for,

      “Who has known the mind of the Lord
      so as to instruct him?”[d]
      But we have the mind of Christ.
      I would also like to inform you that Christ in fact is real.. Historical fact not a presumption based on, “what if i…”, not only that but the books of the bible today are in fact accurate with those initially written 2000 years ago.. so the excuse that the ” fish always gets bigger” can be canceled out. Christ lived.. Fact. Christ Died.. Fact. Christ is alive!!! FACT. Do not run from truth simply because you want to be the final say in your life. Today is the day of salvation. Take advantage of today. God Bless..

  2. Boxi'n horned saint says:

    Hi guys!

    What I think is that you have to take in to account for storytelling tradition. You know those fish stories anyways. Fish is always bigger on each telling of the tale. However there is never smoke without fire. There is truth somewhere there but just how much is again up for debate. After countless generations of storytellers it must have gotten pretty big fish story🙂

    More important is the theological side that we can find from this story. It tells about the nature of our God. And it is a damn good story that has captured imaginations of generations of sunday school children. Thus it is a powerful tool of memorization and theological learning. A less wild story would be harder to remember. Who wants to know about a guy that went into a city and preached for repentance? Now add a fish that swallows him and whoow! What a story.

    I find our modern way of searching for truth boring. We don’t tell stories anymore. That leads to a dull life. Our God knows human mind very well. He created it after all. Thus he knows how to best reach us. If it involves fish, then so be it.

    • rautakyy says:

      BHS, I agree about the point you make how stories are important to human culture and how the fish is allways bigger when the story is told again and again. This reminds me of the giant pike in the Finnish national epic Kalevala. To those who have not read it, in short the Heroes of the story are sailing a ship, when it lands on the back of a giant pike, and the heroes need to kill the fish in order to continue their journey. One of the heroes an ancient Sage called Väinämöinen makes a sither from the jaw of the pike and plays enchanting music with it.

      Kalevala is just as intriguing book as the Bible, though not such a best seller, due to much later launch and far less agressive marketing. If we were to think Kalevala as a holy book, would we be inclined to take the story of the pike as for real? Should we see the story at face value, and think that Ilmatar (the mother creator of earth and universe) miraculously sent a giant pike (or whale) for the heroes to stumble on? Or should we take it as a parable for something else? Maybe she wanted humans to understand, that no obstacle is unvincible and from the most horrendous creatures there is a chance for beaty to emerge (in the form of music in this case). Maybe it could be seen as a metaphor and indication of how the seadinosaurs and humans lived during the same age (the pike representing a saurian seamonster). It might even be an allegory for us not to take anything at face value, as if the heroes would have done so, they would not have achieved this wondrous instrument from the jaw of the horrific sea creature.

      The value of the story is equal to the story of Jonah. Both are ancient stories. Neither is plausible. The main difference is that the other is in a book considered holy by a bunch of people and the other is a story of heroes and gods to whom nobody anymore believes in. Why should we think the Bible is more valid in its description of a creator god as male, than the Kalevala that claims the creator to be female?

      If a god wanted for intelligent adults to believe the Bible to be the absolute truth, then surely the sundayschool kids could be taught by fairytales, that are not in the Bible. At very least, there could be a mention in the Bible when a story is to be taken as truth, and when as fiction to elaborate the readers imagination. But as our understanding of the universe grows, more and more fantastic stories of any religions move from the assumed reality into the realm of fiction. Eventually they end up like Kalevala, wich is just a fabulous story. The fact that some of the characters and places may have once existed does not cause us to believe that there actually was such a giant pike that a ship could be stuck on the back of it, or that the universe was created by a goddes called Ilmatar. Fictional stories are important and there is much even we adults can learn from them, but we do need to separate reality from fantasy. Gods seem to be just imaginary characters in stories. Imaginary characters and events are separated from real people and phenomenons by observing them. Faith in imaginary characters does not make them real.

      • Boxi'n horned saint says:

        Kalevala was written 1828 and not too many worshippers around lately. One of the measurements of a religion is that it still has live worship. So that cuts the number of possible religions significantly. God is able to protect His own word or He is not a God.

        Bible is not a book of imagination. That we have established earlier. Have we not? Too much archeological evidence around to say it is just a book of fairytales. Where there is smoke there is fire. But don’t expect bronze age storytellers to give scientific information. God used their culture and knowledge of the world and that’s it.

        • rautakyy says:

          BHS, what does it matter how old the book is? The stories in Kalevala are ancient. They were only collected and finally printed in the 19th century. There are an abundance of things in it about the iron age Finnish society Mr. Lönnrot, the collector of the stories of wich the Kalevala is formed, could have not known. These have only later been established by archaeological research. Does that make the story of the giant pike, or the Ilmatar creating the world any more true?

          There is no archaeological evidence of the giant pike, but neither is there any of Jonah being swallowed by a giant fish, or whale. Is there? Fairytales do not turn real by the fact that they are set in a real and existing place, or society. Story of the Superman does not turn real just because he meets up with Hitler, even if we are pretty sure Mr. Hitler did existed.

          There are no gods defending any scriptures, or particular faiths just religious people acting like their gods were not able to defend themselves. If gods existance is determined by the fact a god is worshipped, then there are tens of thousands of gods and even Santa Claus exists by that measure.

          Naturally we can not expect bronze age storytellers to give any more scientific information, than the iron age story tellers in a completely different culture, but why should we believe any of their fanciest stories?

          • Boxi'n horned saint says:

            personal revelation.

            • rautakyy says:

              Well, BHS, I doubt if there are any people who have had personal revelations from Ilmatar, in about few hundred years now, though I can not be sure.

              I hope this is not too personal. What kind of personal revelation reveals the story of Jonah to be true, but the story of the giant pike in Kalevala, or Pinocchio not to be true? How does that actually work?

              There are a bundle of people who claim to have personal revelations both from your god and thousands of other gods and goddesses. Is there a significant difference between these experiences?

      • Hi rautakyy,

        “Kalevala is just as intriguing book as the Bible, though not such a best seller, due to much later launch and far less agressive marketing.”

        That one made me laugh. But this is a terrific example.

        I’d never heard of Ilmatar, so I prayed to her…. just in case the Finnish were right. She gave me the same response as Zeus, Yahweh and the Flying Spaghetti Monster — nothing. But I think I know what the problem is. Maybe Ilmatar can only reveal herself to me if have faith in her, but I can only have faith in her if she gives me faith. So… I guess I just have to wait until Ilmatar, or one of these other gods, gives me enough faith.😉

        Anyway, your point is well made. Who is right? Did God inspire the Jews to write the story of Jonah, or did Ilmatar inspire the Finnish to write the story off the giant pike? Or do our imaginations inspire us to make up stories based on our surroundings? I think the latter is the most probable.

    • Howdy BHS, glad you made it back to fight another day.🙂

      “More important is the theological side that we can find from this story.”

      So it seems to me you’re going with option #3, that the story may be based somehow in truth (“there is never smoke without fire”) but that it is the theological or interpreted meaning that’s important. But which theological side?

      Theologically, the story may imply that we have no freewill. Jonah freely chose to not go to Nineveh, and God tortured him until Jonah did what God wanted. (Which actually sums up God pretty nicely… come to think of it; we do what God wants, or He tortures us.) We could make up thousands of theological sides.

      I should also note that God could’ve been cool about it. He could’ve had a nice heart-to-heart chat with Jonah about how He loved the people of Ninevah, and He could’ve reassured Jonah that he wouldn’t be harmed and Jonah’s message would be well received. Instead, God prepared a whale. What a guy.

      Secondly, you say that “After countless generations of storytellers it must have gotten pretty big fish story.” But if this is true, can’t the virgin birth or the Jesus story be just one big fish story? Maybe Jesus was just a crazy charismatic carpenter who campaigned to become the prophesied king of the Jews (he wouldn’t have been the first). After he was met with failure, his associates spun his death into a sacrifice, made up a few miracles, and did what they could to make it look like Jesus fulfilled other Jewish prophecies. 40+ years later, presto, Jesus is a God!

  3. Boxi'n horned saint says:

    Difficult question because experience like personal revelation is hard to quantify:


    Maybe John 6:65 is true:

    “He went on to say, “This is why I told you that no one can come to me unless the Father has enabled him.”

    Who knows?

    • rautakyy says:

      BHS, If people can only find faith after a god makes them receptible to the idea, then why are most people left out? Is that the work of a benevolent deity? It seems more like the work of an evil entity. Does it not? Even more than that, it seems like the typical religious excuse for the fact that most people are not receptible to any particular religion. That is a completely human effort.

      In the link you provided, the writer asks for 100% conviction to something we have no possibility of having 100% knowledge of. But how is that relevant to the blog post, or our conversation? Should we understand this so, that even if the story of Jonah is absolute bogus, it still is the word of a god?

      In your link it is suggested that, if one prays to have revelation, then a god will provide one. That is also colled self suggestion, and rarely leads to any objective truth at all. Did you not know this? If you really meditate hard enough and believe in Buddha, he will provide you with ascencion to Nirvana.

      The writer in the link claims that scientific integrity only requires us to be 95% sure. I do not know where he took that particular percentage, but the Bible is nowhere near 95% true. Besides, if you cut out all the unplausible fabulous parts from the Bible, what you are left with, is a collection of histories of the struggle of one particular nation through the antiquity. With the fancies in it, it is just the same, exept there is an interresting sociological collection of myths that describe some interresting philosophical questions and the evolution from pantheism to monotheism as a cultural movement. It is no leap of faith for me to believe there was a king to whom all the stories of David refer to. I do not even doubt the story that he gave his bride to be a gift of 400 Philistean foreskins, though it represents a totally alien culture to me. I doubt the stories like Jonah being swallowed by giant seacreature and surviving it, or a man actually redeeming all people from their “sins” by being executed and actually resurrecting from death, or all the other fancies in the book. They do not give the impression of a universal message from a demiurgi, but rather of generations of human individuals striving to concieve the world around them, with what knowledge and methods they had in the antiquity, and of course simply just telling stories.

      • So I need to step out in faith before God will reveal Himself to me… but I won’t have that faith unless God gives it to me… but He won’t give it to me unless I step out in faith… but I can’t have faith unless God gives it to me… 😉

        “A casual stroll through the lunatic asylum shows that faith does not prove anything.”
        –Friedrich Nietzsche

        • gizzer says:

          Mathew 12.40

        • ASkepticalChristian says:

          What if you see Jesus’ return (as one of important prophecy in Christianity) WITH YOUR OWN EYES, for example?

          Would you believe and re-accept Christianity after witnessing that supernatural phenomenon?

          • Oh, I would, certainly. In fact, I would accept far less than his return. But I do think we have to be careful when we say, “supernatural phenomenon”.

            If we just wait around for something odd to happen as some kind of sign, something will, it’s just a matter of confirmation bias, time, and probability. And the brain can be a very biased and fickle thing.

            But if I could sit alone with my thoughts and pray, for example, “God, flip that light switch,” or “levitate that coin,” or “change the clock to read 7:77,” and it happened, I think that would suffice for me.

            But there are many claims about miracles and other supernatural phenomenon that I don’t find very convincing. Supposedly, for example, God cures millions of people ever year… but he still can’t grow out an amputee’s limb… or show consistently impressive results in a prayer study.

  4. Boxi'n horned saint says:

    Boy I’m glad to be looking at this on this side of the fence. Life seem so complicated out there😉

    Well if you think that God is a children’s story why make all this fuss about it anyways? If you don’t believe in the afterlife then be content with with what you have right now. Universe will keep rolling wether or not us dust specks will keep yelling to the wind or not:

    • Ah, come now BHS, come to the dark side — we have cookies! 🙂

      I find Christianity more fascinating now than when I was a Christian. Having been a part of it, I now want to think through all my past views. Doing so gives me greater clarity and helps me understand the actual reality of things. And who knows, I may find out I’m wrong, but I don’t think so.

      Take care!

      • rautakyy says:

        To me religions are a fascinating cultural phenomenon. They are like fairy tales, but for different reasons adults sincerily believe in them and teach their offspring to do the same. There are a lot of fairy tales in the world, that are not at all suitable for children. I am interrested in history and I am a bit of a humanist, hence religions intrigue me.

        It is only when religions are used to override ethics, that I take real issue with them. But that is what I do with other forms of human culture also.

        BHS, I hope you see, that I am not trying to convert you, or anyone for that matter. What would be the point of that? Discussion is good, because it widens our perspectives.

        • Boxi'n horned saint says:

          Well you can start a meaningful discussion after you stop calling something many people hold dear a fairytale.

          • rautakyy says:

            What should the story of Jonah, for example be called? It has rather obvious fairytale elements in it, does it not? I hold J.R.R. Tolkiens books very dear, but it does not diminish their value to me that they are universally called fairytales. I also hold dear the previously mentioned Kalevala and to some extent the Bible also. There are many interresting, educational and uplifting stories in all of these even if I do not think any of them are divinely inspired.

            • Boxin' Horned Saint says:

              Tolkien’s books are beautiful and he was a christian. The plot is very biblical. Kalevala is a beautiful ethos and who knows maybe it’s battles against darkness are reflecting christ in some way? I have to look it up someday. What about the story of Jonah then? Oxford does have a little bit of departure from accepted literalist view:


              Sorry if I’m a bit touchy if my dear faith is being called a fairytale or compared to santa. I guess it goes with the territory of this blog.

              • rautakyy says:

                BHS, yes Tolkien was a christian (though I know of christians who would say he was a schismatic, or even a heretic) and by no means does that diminsh his work in any way. His stories might have many cultural aspects recognizable as christian, but also and I might say even more so, older European traditions than christianity, were his favourite sources. Among them is the Kalevala. Having read both the Bible and Kalevala I can wouch for him having more influece from the latter. It of course allways depends on our cultural backround how we see any text, regardless of the inner meaning of the writer. A christian might see the battle between good and evil as a christian subject just as a hindu might interprete it as a hindu subject. At least that is what Ramayana is mostly about.

                I think much of the article you linked deals with this problem. We modern day readers have a certain perspective formed by our respective cultures. It is not impossible to say what the writers of Bible might have meant by the story of Jonah for example, if we know enough about their culture otherwise. But if it was mean as a universal message by a creator deity, it is a poor attempt at that. It rather inevitably paints a picture of a disinterrested, or an incompetent god. Is the message of the Bible only meant for people who swallow it without a question and those lucky few sceptiks who can understand ancient arameic and hebrews, not to mention their culture to make any sense of the book? Of course if there does not exist this peril of doom in the afterlife, then the responsibility of god to act to save us all is greatly diminished, right?

                As to literal interpretation there are a lot of religious folk out there who claim both to have a personal relationship and revelation of what their respective gods want, and at the same time are quite literal in their interpretations of the Bible, the Quran, the Torah and what have you. I am affraid that to my outsiders eye, it also seems they are the ones doing most damage ever done in the name of any religions. Would it be too much to ask their respective gods, that they would interfere as much, as they alledgedly have these talking terms, to tell them to stop harassing people of other denominations, or sexual orientations? They do make up great marketers of the faith to certain kind of audiences, but also have an obvious negative effect on anyone with half a brain functioning, would you not say?

                The “readers digest” problem of getting the meaning from a book by an anciet and dissappeared culture applies to many other parts of the Bible also. For example, modern people (christians included, and especially they) look at the term “God” in the Bible as explicitly one and only same god all throughout the passages, but when the modern translations and Hollywood movies speak only of one god, the Bible actually refers to several gods. It is the monotheistic interpretation, or rather preassumption of latter generations, that El and Yahwe are one and only god, but El does not make the transform into a “singularity” in the earliest passages. In fact we know that in Canaan El was worshipped as the patron god and father of Bal. Rather at first this patron god only appears the only god for the Jews to worship, and only later turns into the only god to even exist. It even engages in combat with other gods and attends meetings by gods.

                • BHS: I read the link. I find it interesting where it concludes “The end result of these considerations, according to McKenzie, is that Jonah is not ‘history but satire or parody, a ridiculous story that makes a serious point.'” If it is satire, I think this speaks more to the culture that wrote it than any inspiration of God. If it was inspired satire, why does God change His character and lose his sense of humor when He inspires the New Testament?

                  BHS: “Sorry if I’m a bit touchy if my dear faith is being called a fairytale or compared to santa.”

                  I understand, I’d be offended too if I read this 10 years ago. But I appreciate you putting up with us, anyway.

                  rautakyy: “The ‘readers digest’ problem of getting the meaning from a book by an anciet and dissappeared culture applies to many other parts of the Bible also.”

                  It would be unfortunate if such important messages, like the story of Jonah, were lost due to our inability to interpret a lost culture’s genres. If the Holy Spirit reveals the truth of these scriptures to us today, then one would think all charismatic churches would all agree on how we should interpret the story (literal, allegorical, satirical, etc.), because God’s spirit should be telling them all the same thing.

  5. Boxi'n horned saint says:

    Well I think that not respecting others views and aggressively disseminating against them is pissing to the wind. Believe in the spirit world or not it will not bring anything beneficial to your lives. But that’s just me saying.

    It does not matter if the book of Jonah is literal fact or is using storytelling methods to enhance the story. Inerrancy or neo-orthodoxy or somewhere in between. Who cares?😮

    The thing is. There is no way you can say it was not divinely inspired text. Prove me it is not. So far nothing earthshaking or new has been said here. Just the same o’l new atheist propaganda again and again. Give me something other than your guesstimates. If you can.😕

    Each to their own I suppose.🙄

    • rautakyy says:

      Sorry if this is a bit of topic, but what is this “new atheism” everybody is talking about? How does it differ from previous atheism? Have the atheist arguments evolved much lately?

      BHS, who is agressively disseminating to others views? Our host writing this blog dissolving his own views, that happen to be against your views, or you commenting it? Or perhaps me commenting your comments? In my view this has been a fairly polite conversation all the time. So far we have managed to agree, that we do not agree on many a matter. No one has submitted to ad hominem attacks or using what is called the strawman, as far as I can remember. If I have hurt your religious feelings, I apologize. That is not my intention, and I very much doubt it is the purpose of this blog either.

      This all comes once again to the final question of who has the burden of proof. Those who claim a god actually inspired the story of Jonah, or those questioning any divine influence based on the obvious fairytale elements of the story. This is the basic question of faith and religions. Why would a god require us to believe in something, that seems to us quite unplausible? What does it really tell about a person wether she/he finds faith in this, or that divinity? How would you respond, if I asked you to prove the Mahabharata was not inspired by divine influence?

      Which is the more far fetched guess, that there must be a particular god, or that there propably are none?

  6. “There is no way you can say it was not divinely inspired text. Prove me it is not.”

    Prove to me my religion is false!

  7. Boxin' Horned Saint says:

    I think the message of the book of Jonah is clear as bell. Don’t disobey God, care even for your enemies, salvation belongs to all people etc.. It does not matter wether you have a university degree or not. It does not matter wether you interpret it literally or not. Message remains the same. It is also a “type”. A short of a preview of Jesus and His burial and resurrection. Of course the world is full of conflicting messages but we don’t have to make this more complex than it is. The point of the story reads the same for university professor and sunday school children.

    This and other books of the bible are to be read as a whole. When you do that a beautiful and comprehensive image of the God emerges. Of course He used the local cultures and customs to bring about His message. That means bronze age interpretation of the world and such, but still it works. God uses our imagination to bring about His message. And then there is always the possibility of miracles😉

    Plurality in the name of the God in the Old Testament is considered to be due to His triune nature.

    • Boxin' Horned Saint says:

      And my wife makes superb cookies😀

      • (I’m not sure what’s going on with the way WordPress is sorting the responses on this post, but I got it.)

        “It does not matter wether you interpret it literally or not.”

        So it doesn’t matter if God did a miracle or not? Where do we start taking Him literally?

        “It is also a ‘type’. A short of a preview of Jesus and His burial and resurrection.”

        I see this as a poor metaphor added with the benefit of hindsight. Jesus didn’t cower away from God like Jonah, nor did he need to be forced into a cave (or hell) before He would agree to bring the gospel to the people. But again, metaphors are very easy to create.

        “The point of the story reads the same for university professor and sunday school children.”

        There may very well be a message, but it seems that many Christians want to put ALL the emphasis on the message to distract from the ridiculous story. Like I said above, it’s as if we’re trying to salvage a problematic story by turning into some kind of parable or prophetic message (or satire).

        If it’s true that ONLY the message matters, then can we also disregard all the other miracles in the Bible? Perhaps God never did any of them, and they too were just stories intended to deliver a message — Jesus didn’t really heal anyone, we’re just supposed to get the message that he loved them.

        “This and other books of the bible are to be read as a whole. When you do that a beautiful and comprehensive image of the God emerges.”

        I see a beautiful and comprehensive image of God that evolves.

        And God does a lot of evolving in the Bible. As rautakyy pointed out, God likely began as one chief god (out of several) that the Jews chose to worship. Eventually, He evolves into the only god in existence (with great emphasis), and He later evolves into a human that’s apart from God but still manages to be wholly God — 3 gods in 1!

        God’s character also evolves, from a God who blesses the execution of enemy children, to a God who says “Let them come to me!” He evolves from the God of the Jews, to the God of the gentiles (finally recognizing the importance of expanding into emerging markets). And His punishments evolve, from death or Sheol, to heaven and hades (a idea clearly plagiarized from the Romans).

        We can even see how the story continued to evolve through later Mormon or Islamic revelations. And given enough time, I have little doubt there will be more revelations that will eventually become accepted by millions.

        If we hopped into our time machine and presented the current view of God to the ancient Jews, they would probably have us stoned to death for bringing a false gospel.

        • Boxin' Horned Saint says:

          Lets see where this post ends up🙂

          Believing in storytelling methods does not mean that we should dump the possibility of the miracles. N.T. Wright says this:

          “I believe, is one of the reasons why God has given us so much story, so much narrative in scripture. Story authority, as Jesus knew only too well, is the authority that really works. Throw a rulebook at people’s heads, or offer them a list of doctrines, and they can duck or avoid it, or simply disagree and go away. Tell them a story, though, and you invite them to come into a different world; you invite them to share a world-view or better still, a ‘God-view’. That, actually, is what the parables are all about. They offer, as all genuine Christian story-telling the does, a world-view which, as someone comes into it and finds how compelling it is, quietly shatters the world-view that they were in already. Stories determine how people see themselves and how they see the world. Stories determine how they experience God, and the world, and themselves, and others.”

          Where do we start taking God literally then? I am an avid believer in where there is smoke there is fire. Miracles of the Old Testament are there but to what extent is anyones quess. We don’t have a time machine to go back and see. Important bit is the revelation of God as told trough the Bible.

          Is it evolving revelation? Certainly. God reveals Himself in parts that culminate in ministry of Jesus.

          Are there many Gods? No. God is clearly portrayed as one in the Bible. (Trinity is another BIG discussion for later)


          To this list I’d like to ad a possibility that “other gods” are other spiritual beings. Angels or demons. Bible gives us a vision of heaven that is filled with supernatural activity.

          • BHS: “Miracles of the Old Testament are there but to what extent is anyones quess. We don’t have a time machine to go back and see. Important bit is the revelation of God as told trough the Bible.”

            Sounds pretty vague. It sounds like you’re saying “Maybe Jonah experienced a miracle, maybe he didn’t, the important thing is that his message was a revelation from God!”

            What I’m personally looking for is a reason to believe this message was from God. For many Christians, the miracle is that reason. Without it, all we’re left with is a funny story, and there’s no more reason to believe this message than the Vedas (that rautakyy referred to earlier), which were also said to be a divinely revealed. Wikipedia says…

            The Vedas are apauruṣeya (“not of human agency”). They are supposed to have been directly revealed, and thus are called śruti (“what is heard”), distinguishing them from other religious texts, which are called smṛti (“what is remembered”).

            So thus far, the most likely sounding explanation I’ve encountered is that all cultures make up stories, and that the Hebrews were likely no exception. Like other cultures, they too made unverifiable extraordinary claims that were supposedly inspired from the spirit world. But I have yet to see why such claims should be accepted as reasonable. :-/

            All this talk has given me an idea…

            Henceforth, I hereby declare that the words of my blog are divinely inspired (just don’t ask me to prove it). “All readers should believe what is written herein,” thus sayith the Lord. See? Easy.

  8. As a Christian and professional biologist, I thoroughly enjoyed reading your blog. For what it’s worth, I’ll be following closely.

  9. rautakyy says:

    BHS said: “Are there many Gods? No. God is clearly portrayed as one in the Bible.” Even if that were so, the Bible is also the same book, that clearly claims a man lived in a fish for three days.

    What claims of the Bible should be taken as reasonable? That there was a king called David? That the ancient Hebrews were a nation that started to worship just one god? That there was a man from Nasarea during the Roman empire, that preached for compassion? I am willing to accept all of these claims, because they are reasonable. But there are unreasonable claims also, such as: The world was created in six days, the world was created before the sun and the moon, or that a man actually died, but resurrected. The moralistic guidelines in the Bible are also very questionable, though perhaps representative of the culture they were formulated in, such as: How should one treat slaves, when is a totally disproportionate revenge and even genoside eligible, what is the place for a woman in the society and what determines a person to be cast to an everlasting torture. Not to speak about the absolutely ridiculous ones, such as: A man living three days inside a fish, a man losing his strength when his hair is cut and how this alledged god kills people who are not willing to give all of their money to the congregation.

    However, there are other gods mentioned in the Bible also. God of Abraham and later of Moses defeats them like Bal Pteor on mount Pteor, but they defenately are gods. There is no escaping that. Is it reasonable to claim that the name “God of gods” in the Bible refers the one true god among man made idols of imaginary gods that do not exist? Or is it more reasonable to claim, that in this phase of the scripture, the god of the Israelites is just one god among the gods of other nations, but somone wants to put emphasis on this particular god?

    If the god of Israelites (only later alledged as the only god) attends a meeting of gods, is supposed to mean he visits a meeting of princes and kings who claim to be gods, than why does the psalm where this is written not say, that this is the case. Why does it exclusively speak about other gods, if these are in fact no other gods at all? Why is it, that the creator of the entire universe is not making very clear about such an important matter, if the Bible is the most important message to mankind? Or is it more reasonable to conclude, that this is a natural part of an evolving mythology invented and created by generations of men?

    The Veda tradition, that is actually much older than the Torah (on wich the Bible is based on), clearly describes dozens of gods. Why should we not believe it?

    • Boxin' Horned Saint says:

      Whoohow! Easy dude! Thats enough stuff to fill more than several blogposts to answer. But some ideas that pop in to my mind.

      Where we start to take the bible seriously then? Thats easy. We take it all seriously. It is God’s revelation to humans. Period. I’m evangelical after all. We generally don’t like to abandon main ideas of the bible. God created earth. Jesus was born from a virgin. He died on a cross and rose from the dead etc. But that does not exclude intelligent reading that I have been advocating here.

      It is true that the bible records israel’s journey from polytheism to monotheism. Abraham was clearly called from idol worship to worship of the One True God. Israel was also often reprimanded for worshiping false gods. There is a strong possibility in my mind that when bible speaks about sons of God, it speaks about other powerful spiritual beings. There are angels and demons after all.

      Now where did you get the idea that the bible is based on the verda tradition? I’d like to study that further if you can point me to some books or internet links.🙂

      • rautakyy says:

        BHS, I said the Bible is based on the Torah. Not the Veda.

        I am sorry if my comment witheld several different aspects, but the link you posted demanded an answer. I answer what I have concluded myself. You keep sending links with tons of text behind them on pages, that do not allow answers.

        Many people have faith in the miraculous events in the Bible, and I am OK with that as long as they do not use the morality in the Bible to attack other people, or as long as they do not let themselves be deluded into accepting violence on religious grounds (as I hope and expect you would not). Even so, for the sake of discussion, these miracles do not stand any reasonable observation. What they require is blind faith for people to find them plausible. If you take it all seriously, does it mean you are willing to accept a god that has very low moral standards? Or, do you accept such a deity only as some form of necessary evil?

        The Bible often speaks of men in terms of “son of god”. Sometimes this means angels or demons, but also often enough it only refers to “holy” men. Men who did gods bidding like Abraham. This is why islam does not accept Jesus as flesh and blood son of a god. They regard him only as one of those “holy men” among other “sons of god”. Nowhere in the Bible that I know of, is it implied, that angels, or demons were worshipped by men as gods. Though by definition, many of them seem to have divinal powers. What is the devil? It has divine power and sometimes it seems to make the rules by wich even the alledged singular deity has to play.

        The “one true god” which Abraham worships is called El (the “Lord”). Now, we do know that ancient people of Canaan worshipped El as their supreme god among others. Their Bal was actually the son of El. In later parts of the Bible El is no longer referred to since the Yahweh takes the place of El. If there never were any other gods, than El, why had people started to worship them in the first place side by side with El? It makes no sense, exept if all these gods are just figments of imagination and an evolving cultural phenomenon.

        • Boxin' Horned Saint says:

          This God/many gods business is something I must study further. Nothing serious for the gospel I suppose, or I would have heard about it long ago. Interesting still.

          Something that comes in to my mind on top of the hat. It is common knowledge that abraham was called from pagan worship. Now this God has been called in many names in different cultures. One example I know of is arabic bible where God’s name is translated allah. Still it is the same God.

          • rautakyy says:

            BHS, that is a beatifull and poetic thought, wich you expressed by declaring the possibility, that it might be the very same god, simply worshipped in different ways. I salute you for that! It is not so strange, when you think about how many different ways of worship there is in different denominations of christianity alone.

            Judaism, christianity and islam have evolved from the same notion and tradition as different branches. In their area of origin also comes such religious movements as Zaraosterianism and worshipping of Sheitan, both of wich still exist and most propably had their own influence in how people saw these monotheistic ideas when they were new. Many of the old religions in the area have also influenced how these three major monotheistic religious groups of today have come to be what they are. Such as the monotheistic idea of Aton Ra (which is the oldest monotheistic religion known), the cult of Mithras and other mystery religions Like the Sacred Mother that were very famous and popular in Roman empire. No doubt the many polytheist and pantheist religions in the area and neighbouring it have left their mark on all of the aforementioned religions also. Then there are the many different religions around the globe, that have come to similar conclusions like for example the Sky god of Mongols, or buddhism. Even hindu religion has similarities with these monotheistic religions.

            Even rationalism has influenced the religions of the “Book”. On how people look at the religious traditions. I would be so bold to claim, that it was rationalism, which brought about the reformation of the church and gave birht to the protestant movement. After the dark ages the rationalism of antiquity was born again, and people of rennessance and enlightenment wanted even god to display rational plausibility. This resulted eventually in secularism and atheism, but that is a nother story.

            Religions and myths are very much alike around the globe. It could be because there is only one god, that is interpreted differently in different cultures, like christianity for example is understood quite differently in different denominations and even in different countries. Even within denominations like catholicism, which is quite different for a Frenchman, than it is for a Peruvian. On the other hand, because these religions and denominations keep debunking each other, it is very hard to say who has the truth about a god, or if there is a god, can that truth even be obtained. At least, if there is a god, it is not making its business to tell us which group has the actual truth. Instead there are these traditional stories and personal experiences, that speak for every religion on earth.

            From where I stand, it seems just human culture and mere myths, but if someone has nothing against other people worshipping their gods like they want to and not harming anyone while doing it, it is all the same to me.

            • @ BHS and rautakky,

              “Religions and myths are very much alike around the globe.”

              I was reading today about the Muslim miracle of the “splitting of the moon”. It amazes me how much the life of the Muslim mirrors the life of the Christian, only using different miracles and different scientific proof texts.

              Anyway, I had to laugh when I read “Early traditions support a literal interpretation… [but] …the verse may also have an allegorical meaning, i.e. the matter has become clear as the moon.” Good grief.

              It’s as if all their religious scholars are holding the exact same debate we are, only over a different book. It’s really things like this that made me question the legitimacy of my own beliefs. I.e., if everyone else is using the same argument, how valid can they be?

              I’m sure somewhere in the Middle East there’s a blog exactly like this one, only instead of Jonah and the Whale, it’s over Muhammad and the splitting of the moon. 😉

              Take care!

    • rautakyy: “The moralistic guidelines in the Bible are also very questionable”

      Side note: My favorite Biblical guideline is “Do not impose on others what you do not wish for yourself.” Oh, wait… that was Confucius. Anyway, I think when moral guidelines are reasonable, multiple individuals will come the same conclusions on their own. The Bible gets some of these right, but not all.

      I think it was Julia Sweeney who fixed this quote by saying: “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you… just ask their permission first.”

      • rautakyy says:

        @500 Questions, yes there are many moral and even ethical conclusions people have reached allready in the antiquity. Some of those can be found in the Bible also, but when people take the book at face value and start promoting tribal moralism, that was meant as a survival guide of one nation during the bronze age, as it was a base for all morals, it gets really ugly.

        This is the main problem of superstition. Without knowledge, people come to the wrong conclusions about a great many issues, and in time they start to call those conclusions traditional, and when such are compiled to one tradition, it will eventually be called a religion. The good things in it do not make up for all the evil that mainly results, not so much from the evil of few men, but from the ignorance of many.

        The addition to the obvious, famous and logical thought by Julia Sweeney, demonstrates how much further we have come as societies since the Roman empire in ethical thinking. People are the same (in evolutionary terms) as they were in those days, but it would be absurd to think our cultures have not evolved.

  10. Boxin' Horned Saint says:

    This thread is becoming increasingly difficult to follow so I’ll post my answer to you both here. Hope it stays where it belongs. At the end🙂

    I have been pondering the inspiration and inerrancy theories of the bible lately. It is a huge undertaking. But is it not the meaning of this blog to try and find answers to such questions? Certainly it is a difficult one.

    Interestingly you can find fully christian thinkers that say bible can contain material that begs to be read differently than literally. Very interesting:


    There is a gray area between full inerrancy and liberal christianity. That is probably where you’ll find me. Certainly some material like the creation story are in the need for such a treatment. But what I do like to believe is that everything written in the bible is there for a reason.

    What I do maintain that there is no other name than Jesus Christ that a man can be saved. So tough we use the same name in arabic bible, and some theologians are discussing weather it is really same God (there are common elements), everyone still needs to turn to Jesus for salvation.

  11. leopoldo says:

    si Uds piensan que el relato de Jonas no es cierto entonses descarta todos los demas relatos ,,el cruce del mar Rojo ,el cruce del Jordan y los milagros de Jesus entonses es mejor creer que “la tirra sera un paraiso bajo la internacional”

  12. sketchboy01 says:

    I am an artist and storyteller who accidentally found this blog while searching for reference images of the giant whale in Pinocchio. As a admirer of Joseph Campbell’s scholarly work, I lean toward metaphor and allegory as the angle and as an extremely powerful form of communication. Personally, I find very little about fairy tales “mere” since I include it within a particularly important part of fiction in general.
    I read this entire conversation (+ most of the links!) and found it thoroughly entertaining and enlightening. It’s very nice to read a civil and lively discussion on these wild Interenets– I’ll be sure to follow.

  13. Anonymous says:

    For god so loved the world that he gave his only son that who ever believes will have eternal life. John 3:16 Jonah’s message is to repent and that God cares for all people. You will spend eternity somewhere and only you can decide where. Deep inside you is the truth and that truth is Jesus Christ. Stop shutting him out of your life.

  14. Anonymous says:

    This is such a civil discussion in the topic of the validity of the stories in the Bible. I will definitely be following. 😃

  15. looking for answers says:

    well lately I’ve been watching this show call “Acient Aliens” and now I know this may sound crazy but hear me out….. What if in the bible we replace the word Angel with the word Alien and in the story of Jonah we replace the word whale with the word submarine would the story make more sense… BTW now a woman can get pregnant without sex with a man its called artificial incubation not really sure how to spell the word but I think anybody reading this know what I am trying to say….. I mean its just a thought tell me what you think …..

    • Sure, I think I’m picking up what you’re laying down: perhaps Mary was artificially inseminated by aliens and Jonah was taken under water in some kind of alien craft.

      While I’m not opposed to the idea of life being created/seeded by other life forms (we humans may do the same thing ourselves one day), it still doesn’t help to answer the question of where we came from, it just changes the question to “Where did THEY come from?” At some point, life has to begin somewhere, so why not with us?

      But getting back to Jonah, I just have to wonder why aliens would even want to bother taking Jonah under the water. Jonah doesn’t mention other people (or even angels) being inside the big fish with him, and we don’t hear very many other reports of underwater aliens doing this kind of thing today. I think the simplest and most likely explanation is that the tale was made up, and to suggest it was aliens would be reading far too much into it.

      As for Mary, thousands of girls today will insist to their mothers that they are still virgins… but they are not. But my best guess is that the virgin story actually came much later, as new Christians combed the Old Testament for vague prophecies they could link to Jesus’s story.

  16. Anonymous says:

    Only Jonah wasn’t swallowed by a whale, the Bible say Great fish!

    • This is true. Matthew 12:40 is sometimes translated as whale, sometimes as sea creature, sometimes as sea monster, and often times as “huge fish.” I’m not sure if they had a word for whale at the time, or understood that whales were not fish, but a whale seems more probable than a gigantic fish. But whale or fish, the core problem with the story is still the same.

  17. Alex says:

    Actually, if you don’t believe in a God anymore, then this question (or article) is rather moot. But for the sake of others who may stumble onto your site, particularly new Christians, some points of clarifications would be helpful to them.

    (1) From a Biblical perspective, the point that Jesus Himself pointed to the story of Jonah as something factual gives an indication that Christians should view this as something that has historically occurred rather than an allegory.

    (2) Nowhere in the book of Jonah was there evidence that says that Jonah survived the journey in the fish. In fact, chapter 2, in particular verses 1, 5 and 6, suggests that Jonah had died and God raised him from the dead at the end (Oops… But that’s an even bigger miracles for 500, right? :-)). This can be corroborated by Jesus in Matthew 12:40 when He compared his coming crucifixion and resurrection with what had happened to Jonah in the fish.

    In any case, for the Christian readers, the book of Jonah is not about him and the fish. Rather it is about God showing loving-kindness even to the supposed enemies of Israel by sending Jonah to bring the message of salvation to the people in Nineveh, telling Jonah that shouldn’t He have “compassion on Nineveh, the great city in which there are more than 120,000 persons who do not know the difference between their right and left hand”.

    • Howdy Alex,

      On the first point, I concur.

      On the second point, that’s an interesting take. We might be able to infer this, but unfortunately the Bible doesn’t explicitly state that Jonah DIED while in the whale. If true, why not just say: “Jonah was swallowed by a whale and died, but his spirit remained entrapped in the whale”?

      Chapter 1 tells us that “Jonah was in the belly of the fish three days and three nights.” What was Jonah doing during that time? The next verse in chapter 2 tells us, “From inside the fish Jonah prayed to the Lord his God.” This seems to indicate he was alive, but this could be a (rather lengthy) prayer uttered just before his death, or from a spirit body, or Jonah may have been alive and equated his situation with certain death.

      When the whale finally spits him out, there’s no mention that God had to perform any form of spiritual CPR or miraculous resurrection — the whale spat him out, and he was no worse for wear. This leads me to believe he was near death, and he knew he would die without God’s help, but he never actually did. (And if others have come back from the dead after three days, that sorta makes Jesus’s trick a little less special, don’t you think?)

      But as you pointed out, while this might help to explain one miracle, it does so by invoking another. And that’s the beauty of the Bible, you can always invoke a miracle to explain things if you need to.


  18. Pingback: Does God Exist? - Page 131

  19. markHisway says:

    Question: “Was Jonah truly swallowed by a whale?”

    Answer: http://www.gotquestions.org/Jonah-whale.html#ixzz39v7QVDJS

  20. Nathan says:

    Jonah, was a messenger sent to perform a duty and he tried to escape the given duty, you can cite 1000 reasons for not doing the given duty, God when he decides, it is already decided. So Even the fish can swallow and keep him in the belly, as you have mentioned, a virgin gives birth to a child, when we accept such a impossible task, like parting of the sea also, this is not only miracle it shows the power of our almighty, there is tasks assigned for each of us, most of us know it, while other act as if they are yet to know? but God keeps on reminding us of our purpose of being born. The sooner we respond and we are released from the earthly prison but we have started enjoying the worlds pleasures and forgetting our mission and get engrossed with the earthly matters, Imagine we are only seeing the trailer of heaven to come, if we are qualified in these simple world, God is going to take us to heaven, the actual movie will began then…

  21. Sanjoy says:

    Jesus is our saviour, and we all need to born again because the kingdom of God is near amen.

    • consultgtf says:

      Sorry, we need to be saved by our Creator!
      Its very true that we need to be born again, but how and when? Not in literal sense, though.

      Yes, Jesus gave a different perspective to the old testament beliefs, that does not mean that he will save us! As I am still in confusion, as Jesus was killed by humans to save their power, then it was given a new angle to it by saying, he was sacrificed? But my question is Was Jesus sacrificed to Himself (if Trinity is to be believed) Or do you think GTF will accept Jesus death as ransom for forgiving our sins?
      Also, Jesus was taken to heaven directly after his resurrection? How could have he suffered for our sins? for people who were born before him and for the people who are going to be born hereafter…
      Why are our elders teaching us such things, which cannot be true?

      Kingdom of God is amidst us, we need to live a worthy life? In every way of our life, not as per Satan’s will but…Can we?

  22. Anonymous says:

    The only way to prove the story is true is for a man (preferably a Christian) in the present day to allow himself to be swallowed by a whale, then see if he (and/or other Christians) can pray for that whale to spew the man ashore alive after three days. Makes sense, don’t it?…

    • Afterwards we can see about calling down some fire from heaven. Would make for an interesting episode of MythBusters.

      I think most believers would excuse the lack of miracles by saying “God works on his own terms.” (I certainly would have.) Still… the Bible DOES say that if we have faith, we can move mountains, and if two or three Christians agree in prayer, Jesus will do what they asked. So… ya, sounds like a good test.

    • consultgtf says:

      The meaning as understood by me…
      When God chooses His people for His work, Whatever happens to stop it…He is with us always, and will ensure that His plan is executed. IF IT IS, HIS WILL!

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