The early church Fathers on the Scriptures
The two meanings of the Bible
by Origen, c. 185-254

The reason why the divine power has give us the Scriptures is not solely to present facts according t the literal interpretation of the narrative.  If one looks to the letter of the text, some of the facts have not actually happened and would be irrational and illogical.

Granted , the facts that have happened in the literal sense are much more numerous than the facts that have been added and have only a spiritual meaning.

All the same, in the face of certain pages the reader feels embarrassed.  Without accurate research it is not possible to discover if a fact that seems historical actually happened according to the literal sense of the words or if it did not happen at all.

By keeping the commandment of the Lord to "search the Scriptures" (John 5:39), one ought to examine with care and attention where the literal meaning is historical and where it is not.

In Scripture not everything is objectively historical in the literal sense.  Sometimes it is obvious that the result of taking it literally is impossible. But the divine Scripture, taken as a whole, has a spiritual meaning.
 

(Translation by Thomas Spidlik, Drinking from the Hidden Fountain: A Patristic Breviary, Cistercian Publications, Kalamazoo, MI - Spencer, MASS, 1994)
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