In the history of our culture, childhood corporal punishment has almost universally been viewed as necessary and beneficial. Furthermore, the potential for psychological harm has been at most dimly and inconsistently perceived, even in the context of severe punishment. In such a culture, the situation of children could not be communicated literally because the requisite framework of cultural understanding did not yet exist.
[R]eligious myths ... express painful childhood themes in a palliated form. That is, they represent the experiences of childhood—rendered as theological projections—with embedded “happy endings.” Engaging emotionally with these ameliorated representations of childhood can provide a psychological compensation for, and distraction from, painful childhood experiences that may in actuality have been unmitigated.
The Shaping of New Testament Narrative and Salvation Teachings by Painful Childhood Experience