If the bible can't be taken literal , then what alternatives do we have ?
Most Christians accept the scientific study of the Bible as legitimate. Christianity is a religion built on truth . Restricting ourselves to a narrow ideological view, such as strict literalism especially when God is shown in an unfavourable light, interferes with our ability to trust in God's goodness and principal revelation through the Bible. In the majority view, many of the Bible's stories are historically accurate and should be interpreted literally. But some spiritual truths are revealed through the common literary mechanisms of allegory, parable, simile, metaphor, hyperbole, and irony that were never intended to be taken literally. Such mechanisms serve to "paint a mental picture" of ideas not easily expressed in words.
The modern understanding of the Bible came about partly as a result of discoveries in the fields of astronomy, geology and biology, but also as a result of developments in hermeneutics, the science and art of Bible interpretation consisting of observation, interpretation, evaluation, and application are the heart of all approaches to finding out what the Bible means. Interpreting the Bible correctly is a two-step process. We must first discover what the passage meant in the day and age of the author. Then we must discover its message for us in today's culture. Observation and interpretation apply to the first step; evaluation and application apply to the second . The stories in Genesis Chapters 1-11 serve primarily to establish the spiritual foundation of all that follows. The stories of Creation, the Great Flood and the Tower of Babel reveal the essential nature of God, His power and glory, and His relation to us.