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As a writer - particularly a writer who plays with the fourth wall, who toys with religious and metaphysical concepts, and who routinely uncovers references and hints in his own work of which he wasn't consciously aware when he originally wrote it - nothing is ever "just a metaphor" or "just a story" to me. I suppose that's where Jamie and Gina differ - Gina, as an avatar of my literalist religious upbringing, is literally concerned about a literal spectral version of Jamie that will either bask or bake in the hereafter, while Jamie, as an avatar of my curiosity and masturbatory navel-gazing, is trying to wring all the meaning and relevance and utility he can out of Genesis while still acknowledging that it is not a biology textbook.

It's a fair question, though - is it possible to reject young-earth creationism as an explanation of "where do we come from", while still embracing premillennial dispensationalism as a an explanation of "where are we going"?

(Sunday afternoon, INT: kitchen, GU's mother's home.)

GU: So you decided Adam and Noah were metaphors?
JH: I dunno. I don't know if "metaphor" is really the right word. Their stories are more important than that. It's like they're real and we're the metaphors.
GU: But you still see a separation between them and us, whatever level of reality they inhabit was or is distinct from our own.
JH: Exactly. I do not believe that if I got in a time machine and went back four thousand years that I could see a flooded Earth and a historical Noah.
GU: So what about the afterlife? If "God made the earth in six days" doesn't mean that God made the earth in six days, what does "today you will be with me in Paradise" mean?
JH: Part of being a Deist is accepting a certain amount of uncertainty about stuff like that. I guess I'm afterlife-agnostic.
GU: And the possibility of eternal bliss, torture, or oblivion doesn't strike you as a priority at all?
JH: People have been talking about this stuff for millenia before I showed up and they haven't reached a consensus yet. I really don't think I'm smarter than every theology major who has ever lived.