Eric, you mention that Jesus used symbolism and you are correct in this statement. The point that you are missing is that even if something is symbolic, it still has real meaning and so you have to look for the real meaning.
Jesus said to them, “I am the bread of life; whoever comes to me will never hunger, and whoever believes in me will never thirst” (Jn 6:35). Eric posts John 6:35, and then points out that Jesus said, He is the bread of life and then he poses a question; “Are we to suggest that Jesus is literally bread’, in that he is made of dough?” In fact this is not the first time I have heard this question.
Actually I heard this first from an Evangelical minister. His point was that Jesus was not actually a loaf of bread and so he reasoned that bread and wine did not become His body and blood in verses having to do with the Last Supper. For example the Bible says; “Then he took the bread, said the blessing, broke it, and gave it to them, saying, “This IS my body, which will be given for you; do this in memory of me” (Lk 22:19). And because Jesus is not a loaf of bread, he maintained that Jesus really didn’t mean it when he said, “This IS my body.” His conclusion is that Jesus meant to say. “This REPRESENTS my body.” There is one little problem with this, the Reformed tradition says REPRESENTS; but Jesus said the word IS. This begs the question, should we follow the Reformed tradition or should we follow Jesus?
So now we have to go back to John 6:35 (I am the bread of life) and answer the question, if Jesus did not mean He was a loaf of bread, what did He mean? Amen, amen, I say to you, whoever believes has eternal life. I am the bread of life. Your ancestors ate the manna in the desert, but they died; this is the bread that comes down from heaven so that one may eat it and not die. I am the living bread that came down from heaven; whoever eats this bread will live forever; and the bread that I will give is my flesh for the life of the world” (Jn 6:47-51).
This answers the question asked earlier by Eric. “Are we to suggest that Jesus is literally bread,’ in that he is made of dough?” No, Jesus tells us the bread that he speaks of is not made of dough, it is His flesh. Some traditions say the bread is just symbol, but what some call symbol, Jesus calls, my flesh.
And so in the end, the bread that Jesus speaks of does not consist of dough because Jesus said; “the bread that I will give is MY FLESH for the life of the world.”