Jonah and the Whale: Real or Symbolic?
- 2021 6 Sep
The following is a transcribed Video Q&A, so the text may not read like an edited article would. Scroll to the bottom to view this video in its entirety.
"It's a real story, and the reason I say that is... well, there's a couple of reasons really.
One is that Jesus refers to it as if it happened, so He makes a parallel between Jonah spending three days in the fish and Jesus spending three days in the grave. The way He speaks of it is just as that happened to Jonah, this will happen to Him, and so I've got to take Jesus at his word and the historicity of Jonah is important for understanding Jesus' own death and resurrection.
The other reason is that the narrative of Jonah itself is not mythical, it is rooted in history and time and space. Jonah is introduced as being a particular person, at a particular time, with a particular father, with a particular mission. It is not written as myth, it's written as historical.
I gather that there'd be one or two instances in history of people being swallowed by whales and that kind of thing and being alive at the end of it. I'm sure it doesn't happen very often, but it would seem to be possible. But the most important reason is that Jesus says that he treats it as historical fact."