Who gets to decide which parts are literal history and which are figurative? No one questions that almost all of Revelation is figurative (except the Left Behind crowd) but mention that Genesis could be figurative and people lose their minds.
4 “Where were you when I laid the earth’s foundation?
Tell me, if you understand.
5 Who marked off its dimensions? Surely you know!
Who stretched a measuring line across it?
6 On what were its footings set,
or who laid its cornerstone—
7 while the morning stars sang together
and all the angels shouted for joy?
But yet in Genesis 1, the stars were created on the 4th day … AFTER the earth was created.
So which is it? Who is telling the truth? The author of Genesis (whoever that is) or God speaking in Job? The stars sang when the earth was created but the earth was created four days before the stars?
The problem with taking Genesis as history and saying that believing it is insanely accurate in its accounts of Creation or the Flood or the Tower of Babel sets you up to eventually become an atheist, an agnostic, or a deceived Christian who utilizes PMMD – the Perpetual Miracle Machine Defense. Once that pillar is shaken (and it will be shaken if not completely destroyed), it becomes an either/or proposition. For too many in the YEC/AiG crowd, Genesis [as real history] has become their god.
If Genesis is history, do you really believe that the Chinese, the Japanese, the Aleutians, and the peoples inhabiting the Americas 5000-6000 years ago all came to Egypt for grain? The Bible says that all the people of the earth came to Joseph for grain … How did they know, in Japan, when there was a great famine, that there was grain in Egypt? At some point, we have to get real.
Much of Hebrew history in the Bible is rife with hyperbole and exaggeration. That doesn’t detract from the lessons it teaches nor does it detract from the majesty of God’s creation. It also doesn’t mean that Paul, Jesus, or the disciples were uninformed idiots going about peddling a pack of lies. What it DOES mean is that you have to study to present yourself to God as one approved, a worker who has no need to be ashamed, rightly handling the word of truth. What is the author trying to convey? What does this teach us about God? What can we learn about his character?
What’s so often forgotten is that all these stories were passed down for thousands of years before the Hebrew language even emerged, yet we’re supposed to take these stories as if they were a blow-by-blow commentary of HOW rather than an exposition on WHO, WHY, and WHAT … all finally written in Hebrew around 800BC.
I’d recommend John H Walton’s books as well as his teachings on YouTube.