While discussing Creation and Genesis with a Theistic Evolutionist yesterday, he made the following comment, “Genesis 1 does not have to be literal, or use an indeterminate time-period meaning of the Hebrew word for day, ‘Yom'”
To which I agreed, “Absolutely, at this point I think the “yoms” of Gen. 1 could be read either way.
For the ancients who had just left Egypt and knew also of the Mesopotamian cosmogony, the accomodationist view of the Creation story would have been plainly obvious. Genesis 1 shows Yahweh creating the universe out of nothing and by Himself in a transcendent manner and making man in His image to be in a relationship of faithful love with Him. The pagan myths show the universe being created out of pre-existent matter (a dark and chaotic sea like in Genesis) with the help of a host of gods which also have to be created and finally man is created from the dust of the earth to be fearful slaves of the gods. Both the dependence of Genesis 1 on previous myths and its differences are striking, ultimately it shows the one true God beating the false gods at their own game. This is the accomodationist view held by Evolutionary Creationists especially.
Progressive Creationists generally favor the concordist view of Scripture. By inspiration and apart from the knowledge of the original author or audience there may be concordist elements in the story simply because God is also the author of Genesis. Of course, we have to hold concordist scientific interpretations as edifying but tentative and not insist too strongly on them. We have been burned historically by doing so (The Four Elements, flat earth, hemispherical earth, the Antipodes, lucid moon and daylight independent of sunlight, geocentrism, etc.). Genesis 1 does have some neat similarities to modern scientific theory regarding the timeline of the universe/earth’s creation: http://www.rareuniverse.org/timeline.html
I approach the accommodationist view and the spiritual truths it teaches as, “Thus saith the Lord” and the concordist view as, “Ain’t that neat!”
I think both views are currently viable for thinking Christians while the Young Earth science view will eventually be as rare as adherents to geocentrism like these guys.
Or of the flat earth like these guys:these guys
Both of whose arguments and debating style are exactly like that of the better known Young Earth creationists. I would challenge any YEC to spend some time on these last two sites and examine their arguments against established science. See if it is not like looking into a mirror in substance if not in the details.
I stated above that I believe these two views are the most plausible models of Creation for thinking Christians. Note that I did not say these are the only two models intelligent Christians can choose from. I believe there are many very intelligent Young Earth creationists but it also seems to me that they are not really thinking through the reasonable critiques of their position out of fear of compromising the written Word of God. But this fear is baseless and the YEC are ultimately not defending Genesis 1 but a particular interpretation of the inspired Creation story. Understood correctly, there is no conflict between God’s Word and His World.
To shamelessly paraphrase something Cardinal John Henry Newman said, “To be deep in established science is to cease to be a Young Earth creationist.”