A few key events covered in the Bible have been theorized within good reason to represent actual events. For instance, historical records show Jesus as having been a real person, though not necessarily the Son of God. In fact, it’s technically AD 2016, since archaeologists have estimated from his remains that he was born closer to what we consider 6 BC than Year 0. Suggestions of an ancient sand bar or a high reef have been found where Moses was said to have parted the Red Sea, indicating that a low tide could have presented a temporary bridge across the sea. And new studies have found that the ancient world may have undergone a deep freeze (more severe than the known Ice Age) followed by a global melting that left several species, acclimated to the cold weather, nearly extinct if not entirely so. This, of course, is akin to the flood in the tale of Noah’s Ark.
We could even go so far as to say that Eve’s birth from Adam’s rib represents the fact that two genders exist because of the male rather than implying male dominance over females. The fall from grace following the temptation represents anything and everything from the dangers of ill-gotten gains, rewards not earned and the dangers of knowledge in the wrong hands. That is, in the hands of the informed but uneducated (knowing but not understanding).
The paraphrased quote “Eat this bread for it is my body; drink this wine for it is my blood.” was little more than Jesus’s way of urging his disciples to carry on his teachings – that a part of him was figuratively in them – after his death. This represents the way in which we carry a little piece of those who most strongly influence us, affecting our ideals and personalities.
The fact that the earliest date in the Bible is 4000 B.C. does not represent the actual age of the Earth, but rather Man’s self-documented time upon it. One of the oldest known historical documents is a depiction of the conflict between Kings Abydos and Naqda in Luxor, Egypt. The estimated year of recording? 3250 B.C. Also speaking of Genesis, the seven days of Creation should not be taken literally, especially since it’s a well-accepted notion, even within the Christian community, that God’s sense of time is far different from our own. These should be taken as stages of development, though I doubt that the planet was created before the Sun.
The point here is that the passages should not be taken at face value with literal interpretations. Seven days doesn’t necessarily mean seven actual days. Image, as in Man being created in God’s image, doesn’t necessarily mean physical appearance. Parting the sea can mean that the tide went down, rather than the sea actually spreading to form two foreboding walls of salt water over dry sand. And a devastating flood can refer to a catastrophic melting of glaciers with a small population of survivors, rather than every animal riding out a worldwide monsoon two-by-two in a wooden boat.
They are meant to represent and hint at actual events, in some cases, but not to be exact retellings of them. In others, they’re only meant to teach a principle or moral. With the time that has passed since the original documentation, necessitating translations across languages and dialects as well as modifications to fit updated ideals, we cannot take the scriptures literally. Take from them the lessons intended, but don’t shoot off at the mouth about how the Earth is only 6000 years old simply because the Bible says that’s how long Man has existed.