I am reading Augustine’s On the Literal Meaning of Genesis. He asks some good questions for those who want to read Genesis 1 literalistically (as opposed to what Augustine thinks he is doing—reading it literally). Here are some of them (with a few of my own thrown in for good luck)

When God said, “Let there be light?” …

  • How long did it take him to say that?
  • What language was he speaking?
  • How loud did he say it?
  • To whom?
  • What does his voice sound like?
  • Does he have an accent?
  • A voice box?
  • Lips?
  • A tongue?

Augustine’s point is obvious: if you take the passage literalistically you end up speaking theological nonsense.