George, your use of the phrase “linguistic officiousness” was probably an oversight - it has a snarky sound, don’t you think? It’s so easy to forget to be nice when we get carried away with a topic like this.
All the same, this is a most interesting topic to me. How do we deal with the not quite literal in the text? Clearly we can’t use the same approach to each instance, since they vary a great deal.
When Jesus calls himself a door, he is equating a person, himself, with an object, a door. We know that a person cannot be an object; Jesus knows this too. So we have an obvious metaphor. Jesus is telling us that his role in the universe shares an important quality with doors. We have to think about this. Probably it isn’t that he has hinges, or that he is a carpenter. More likely it is that he provides a way into and out of something.
But in Genesis no one is claiming to be a day. Day is used more or less the way it is used in other places. In this case the days are numbered as one counts from one to six, not given dates from a calendar. That has to be significant. The enumeration of each day is preceded by the phrase “and there was evening and there was morning.” Both the enumeration and this phrase are repeated again and again, from beginning to end. We can’t dismiss this either. Yet the number of activities that occur on each of these days varies a great deal. How can they all be the same length? We also notice that evening and morning both occur before the sun and moon are set in the sky to regulate and mark seasons and days and years. How can this be? There are clearly great mysteries involved here. We can neither dismiss the text and say this is just myth authored by those ignorant of current cosmology, nor can we simply insist that there were six ordinary days such as we experience now. There is a lot of work to be done here.
Nothing is more enticing than a good mystery. We should not hurry to solve it; we should not toss out any of the information we have. We have to be able to ponder, try different possibilities, and be patient with the process. Not easy, but very important.