Pastor Mark Driscoll of Trinity Church in Arizona has suggested that attempts at a natural explanation for how the biblical figure Jonah could have survived inside a fish is "far-fetched," but offered three potential answers for how the story can be interpreted.
"The story of Jonah is controversial, but it's a foreshadowing of Jesus – and Jesus clearly spoke of it as being a real event in history," Driscoll stated, and explained in the beginning of a video posted on his website on Monday that many people wonder whether the story of Jonah is real or not.
He also pointed out that some critics of the Bible also focus on the seeming implausibility of a grown man surviving inside a fish as evidence that the Bible itself is not trustworthy.
"This just shows you are all crazy," he said of what non-believers say to Christians about the story.
Still, Driscoll analyzed three possible explanations people have for how Jonah could have indeed survived inside a fish. The pastor offered that a minority believe that the biblical prophet could have found an air pocket or something along the lines and found a way to physically live through three days and three nights inside the creature – though Driscoll admitted that it seems "a bit far-fetched."
Next, however, he centered on the explanation that God supernaturally sustained Jonah's life, which he said is the version of the story that is supported by most Bible scholars.
"If God can give a virgin a baby, if He can raise Lazarus from the dead, maybe He did a supernatural miracle, and somehow kept Jonah alive in the fish," Driscoll suggested, and noted that Jesus Himself performed many miracles, and pointed to the story of Jonah as one that shows God's great powers.
The Trinity Church pastor then analyzed a third way of interpreting the story, namely that Jonah actually died inside the fish, but was brought back to life, which in many ways foreshadows Jesus' death and resurrection, since Jesus also spent three days in death before coming back to life.
Driscoll said that the Bible doesn't overtly explain which of the three interpretations is the correct one, but said that the story of Jonah remains a very important one for Christians, as it is a tale for people who have been rebelling and running from God, but are hearing God's call to come back.
Late in October, in time for Halloween season, Driscoll explored another controversial topic surrounding the Bible, namely what it says about zombies.
The Arizona-based pastor listed out numerous instances in the Bible that include descriptions of zombie-like occurrences, such as flesh rotting away on people standing on their feet, as found in Zechariah 14:12–13, but said that the question very much depends on people's understanding of what a zombie is.