Free & Fit - Children's Literature in Theology - Introduction to the Four Senses of Theology

Free & Fit - Children's Literature in Theology - Introduction to the Four Senses of Theological Interpretation by Tim Cheux





The use of different theological interpretations to explore how the Bible, New and Old Testament, can be explained through the Four Spiritual senses. The Four Senses of Theology included the two classes in the Literal and Spiritual sense. However, the Spiritual sense includes three of its own types; Allegorical which is a narrative of a story explaining the symbol of the book or passage, typological in the morale interpretation what it means in an ethical or moral context and how we should act, turning inwardly and back to God. Then, finally, in Analogically senses of scripture which explains the Apocalyptic future of the Christian faith and pointing towards heaven (McClain, 2019, Lecture on Introduction to Children's Literature).


In the first sense, literal sense, the context of literal is not literalist. It is not just what happened scientifically or historically what happened, but what the story is telling us as the human interpreter and then separately in turn God as interpreter being the creator and author. In Genesis 1:1 to know that we do not know the necessary length of time if it were six days, but that God worked for six units of metric measurement and then rested on the seventh metrical measurement. It was not necessary to define it as days, but it could have been weeks, months, years or even centuries. We do not know how long it was and this has been disputed throughout history. Therefore, it is important that we understand not to interpret it too literally, but to instead read between the lines and fully try to understand what the scripture, the characters and the story is telling us (McClain, 2019, Lecture on Introduction to Children's Literature.)


It is also vitally important for us to understand the differences in context to the three different Spiritual senses. Not to just understand the Spiritual examples, but also to understand the Allegorical, Morale and Anagogical in the context of scripture. The Allegorical examples are often used to quote Jesus and his teachings through the parables on Matthew 13:1-23 which describes the parable of the sower. For example, the fable of the sower Jesus describes that the person who sows much receives much. “But the seed falling on good soil refers to someone who hears the word and understands it. This is the one who produces a crop, yielding a hundred, sixty or thirty times what was sown (Matthew 13:1-25).” The practical explanation helps us the reader to gain a fuller understanding of the text and to fully grasp what it means.


The morale method is the process which we measure the scriptures through its morale teaching. In context to the Old Testament this would be the Proverbial wisdom texts which includes the Book of Proverbs, Ecclesiastes and Job often known as the wisdom books. In Proverbs 1:7 we read about the difference between a righteous person and one person who describes a life of disobedience. The righteous shall live and the wicked shall perish. Finally, we then learn about the almost Prophetic gift of interpreting scripture through anagogical theory and what Biblical futures look like. A notable example of this in the book of Revelation (1:12-17) in the New Testament and in the Book of Daniel (3:28-30) (McClain, 2019, Lecture on Introduction to Children's Literature.)


Chosen Text and Biblical Reference Point

The Chosen text for this paper is the Fantastic Mr. Fox and the scene where Fantastic Mr. Fox is describing a story, which he explains to his family, as taking three days and nights. There are two stories which parallel this in the Bible both in the Old Testament with Jonah and the Big Fish (Jonah 1:17, Jonah 2:10) and Jesus and the Resurrection Matthew (12:38-40).


The text selected from the book chosen by the author of this paper is taken from Chapter nine and describes a scene where the family are scrambling to hide from the oncoming humans whom are seeking to take their land and the family are desperately digging to hide from the humans.


For three days and three nights this waiting-game went on. "How long can a fox go without food or water? "Boggis asked on the third day" Not much longer now," Bean told him. "He'll make a run for it soon. He'll have to." Bean was right. Down in the tunnel the foxes were slowly but surely starving to death. "If only we could have just a tiny sip of water," said one of the Small Foxes. "Oh, Dad, can't you do something? "Couldn't we make a dash for it, Dad? We'd have a little bit of a chance, wouldn't we?" "No chance at all," snapped Mrs. Fox. "I refuse to let you go up there and face those guns. I'd sooner you stay down here and die in peace (Roehl Dahl, Chapter 9, page)."


The struggle is between the people, Boggis and Bean were debating how long could the foxes go without food and water before they need to come up to ground to sustain themselves. The difficulty was that they were facing a certain death with the humans waiting for them at the top of the ground from where they had a digger and were ready to pounce to shoot them with their guns as soon as they set foot before them. So, what type of story do we believe here in the context of our theological senses? We are certain to not to describe it as being the literal interpretation as the Foxes are surely in a situation of despair and there may be no confusion about the context of time here due to the realistic and disputed amount of time they have left before they starve to death.


We can certainly take moral pictures from this text. For example, Mrs. Fox responds to her child's plea to leave that she “refuses to let the fox go up there and face those guns.” Essentia