When it comes to reading both Genesis and the Revelation, I can say hands down that I am not a literalist. At the same time I can say hands down that I believe both texts to be true and the inspired, inscripturated word of God. We do have to read all of scripture for what it is, each part. And we have to read it in context, especially its own, and it helps to know something of the historical, cultural context into which it was written.
I am reading in the Revelation right now, and sometimes don’t know quite what to make of it in regard to literal and figurative. Sometimes I’m thinking the text I’m reading is to some extent figurative. Truth is told all the way around, but exactly what is meant or how that truth will be played out in literal terms, sometimes I’m not sure, nor frankly do I care. What I do care about is that it is true. In fact it is rather easy for me to depart from some literal reading of a text, and chalk it down as figurative, saying something profound in a striking sort of way. Like the possibility of being victorious so that we can sit with Jesus on his throne just as Jesus was victorious and sat with his Father on his Father’s throne. Maybe all that means is that we will reign with Christ if we are victorious in him in this life. It may help to find more information which might actually see something of a literal fulfillment in the like. But much of the Revelation as well as the early chapters of Genesis lends itself readily to something of an interpretation which does not see all the text as strictly literal, while nonetheless true in its context, true in some way or another as part of God’s inscripturated word.
We need to read, study and ask questions. Though for myself, I am most concerned at this point with reading with a view to being formed more and more into the image of Jesus by God’s grace through the Spirit in communion with others in Jesus and in mission to the world.