Probably one of the chiefest reasons modern evangelicalism is wholesale abandoning Biblical inerrancy is the discomfort many have with the plain reading of the Biblical account of Creation.
This has led some to put forward the idea that the Creation account was simply an observational statement which is not itself an actually accurate description of the real events – much like when we say “the sun rose” – obviously, the sun don’t rise none; our world, caught in a stable orbit within our sun’s gravity well revolves around our parent star exactly once each solar year. It is simply a statement of observation; from the perspective of the viewer, the sun seems to rise while the horizon appears from our frame of reference to remain fixed. It is technically inaccurate to use the phraseology, “the sun rose,” but even planetary scientists use the term descriptively; it is an idiomatic peculiarity of the human experience expressed in language.
Those who seek to accommodate current scientific assumptions, to help the Bible out and excuse what they view as an obvious contra-scientific view of origins, try to argue that the first several chapters of Genesis are obviously in the same category; they are observational, phenomenological descriptions only which are something more than myth but less than strictly accurate.
You have several galactically massive problems with that view. Not the least of which is that the Creation account is given in such exacting detail down to an explicit chronology, that the Spirit sure does seem to have Himself at least at one time believed that He was accurately recording the events He claims to have not only been witness to but actually the active agent in. Too bad the Holy Spirit didn’t have the benefit of modern science, there, eh? Poor divine Guy…
The Spirit’s not the only Person of the Trinity Who suffers from this myopia, either; Jesus apparently didn’t have that information, either. He certainly seems to have been victim to the mistaken idea that Genesis is accurate and trustworthy. He didn’t have the advantage of living in the modern era, here in the Year of Our Lord Darwin 200, where such silly misconceptions could have been corrected and He could have spared Himself (to say nothing of His less conservative followers) considerable embarrassment.
The bottom line for me, and one which those who hold this sort of view vigorously deny is the case, is that it all boils down to a question of authority.
Either the Bible is the final authority for the Christian, or it isn’t. You can’t have it both ways, and there is no via media. If it is the final authority, then all things must be viewed through its lens.
The modern (and the postmodern, ironically enough) view Scripture through a lens other than itself.
The modern views Scripture through the lens of current scientific understanding. The idea is that the Biblical authors were genuine and sincere, but also ignorant, and while the Bible is accurate in the message it seeks to convey, the particulars must be viewed through our much more complete understanding of the way of things and must be redacted to fit more comfortably into the worldview we now know to be established scientific fact.
Except…that it’s not established.
Science, by its very nature, is constantly (dare I use the term?) evolving, constantly learning new things which put the older, “established” things into a different light, allowing for wholesale reinterpretation of previously unquestioned tenets. We are vastly more ignorant than our premodern ancestors if we think that we have things so nailed down scientifically that we can now offer editorial help to God. Even previously understood laws of science are vulnerable to reinterpretation in light of new information. Just in the previous century, our entire understanding of the physical nature of creation had been turned on its head – not once, but several times. In another hundred years (should the Lord tarry) I expect that our current understanding of physics (and with it, cosmology) will be again completely revolutionized.
By contrast, the Bible is fixed, unchangeable. And given its origin (the God who created all things and exists wholly outside of Creation), is the only viable lens through which the Christian can and should view the world.
The modern views Scripture though the lens of our current, limited understanding of science; the postmodern views Scripture through the lens of culture.
Even worse an option.
I view both through the lens of Scripture.
So when the Bible sure does seem by every internal indication to teach that God created the universe in six consecutive chronological days, I have no choice but to accept that, and to view all data through that presupposition.
As Dr. Morris states in this tremendous article:
The difference is this: we believe the Bible must take priority over scientific theories, while they believe scientific theories must determine our biblical interpretations.
The issue is, categorically, one of authority. If I view Scripture through any external lens, that lens is my true authority. If I accommodate Scripture to culture, culture is my authority. If I accommodate Scripture to current scientific understanding, then that is my authority.
If I instead accommodate both culture and current scientific understanding to Scritpure…then Scripture is my authority.
Read the article “Old-Earth Creationism” and consider its arguments.