Throughout the Bible God is said to have done, thought, and said a host of things that modern Christians would like to dismiss. The easiest way they attempt to do this is by labeling God’s actions, thoughts, and words as an anthropomorphism. In reality, this is no different than labeling as fable, large swaths of the Bible. But even more telling is that the Bible stories themselves do not allow such a interpretation.
Take God’s dialogue in Exodus 32:
Exo 32:7 And the LORD said to Moses, “Go, get down! For your people whom you brought out of the land of Egypt have corrupted themselves.
Exo 32:8 They have turned aside quickly out of the way which I commanded them. They have made themselves a molded calf, and worshiped it and sacrificed to it, and said, ‘This is your god, O Israel, that brought you out of the land of Egypt!’ ”
Exo 32:9 And the LORD said to Moses, “I have seen this people, and indeed it is a stiff-necked people!
Exo 32:10 Now therefore, let Me alone, that My wrath may burn hot against them and I may consume them. And I will make of you a great nation.”
Exo 32:11 Then Moses pleaded with the LORD his God, and said: “LORD, why does Your wrath burn hot against Your people whom You have brought out of the land of Egypt with great power and with a mighty hand?
Exo 32:12 Why should the Egyptians speak, and say, ‘He brought them out to harm them, to kill them in the mountains, and to consume them from the face of the earth’? Turn from Your fierce wrath, and relent from this harm to Your people.
Exo 32:13 Remember Abraham, Isaac, and Israel, Your servants, to whom You swore by Your own self, and said to them, ‘I will multiply your descendants as the stars of heaven; and all this land that I have spoken of I give to your descendants, and they shall inherit it forever.’ ”
Exo 32:14 So the LORD relented from the harm which He said He would do to His people.
This first thing to note is that this is a back and forth dialogue between Moses and God. If God did not say these things, then Moses also did not say these things. God says to Moses that the people have corrupted themselves. God says that He will destroy Israel. Moses “pleads” with God. Moses offers arguments to God as why God should not destroy Israel (Note: Moses did not believe in the modern concept of omniscience). As a result, God repents of the harm that He said He would do.
If God never said that He would destroy Israel, if God never said that He was full of wrath, then what is Moses responding to? Why does Moses argue in the fashion that he does? Moses’ argument only makes sense in light of Moses being informed by God in the manner described by the text. In other words, the text is irreducibly complex. God cannot be made non-literal without doing the same to Moses.
The text reads and only makes sense in light of a face value understanding of what is said and done. It is no wonder that future authors affirm the face value reading, as well.