Any number of people assume that the Bible says that Eve ate an apple, or that Jonah was swallowed by a whale. Yet the Bible never says a word about whales or apples. In the former case it refers to a fish, which might imply any sort of sea-monster; and in the second, to the essential experience of fruition, or tasting the fruit of the tree, which is obviously more general and even more mystical . . . The things that look silly now are the first rationalistic explanations rather than the first religious or primitive outlines. If those original images had been left in their own natural mystery of dark fruition or dim monsters of the deep, nobody would have quarrelled with them half so much . . . But it is unfair to turn round and blame the Bible because of all these legends and jokes and journalistic allusions, which are read into the Bible by people who have not read the Bible.
—G. K. Chesterton, “The Bible and the Sceptics,” The Illustrated London News, 20 April 1929