This is a response to some of the issues raised on JT's blogspot "I am not a fundamentalist" and "Young Earth Creationism"
JT states, "They generally adopt these days only one view of Genesis and creation." I would like to say that anything other than the view he is averse to is built from either eisegesis or willful ignorance based upon another assumption and modal, usually some form of evolution, rather than a careful exegesis of the texts. JT says that 'Fundies' do not want to address issues of literary genre but I have been involved in textual studies for years in both conservative and liberal  environments and come to the conclusion that Genesis 1 - 11 is historical narrative. Not metaphorical poetry or any other poetry or framework. Yes, there is an element of anti-mythical apologetic but Genesis was written as straight forward narrative and is meant to be understood as narrative. Now that might cause a clash with the prevailing world view but as Paul said in another context: "Let God be proven true, and every human being shown up as a liar." (Rom 3:4).

Stephen W Boyd has written a very good paper on the genre of Genesis (specifically chapter 1-2:3) in which he shows statistically that the early chapters of Genesis are the same as other narrative texts found in the Old Testament and very different from Hebrew poetry. Poetic metaphor teaches a truth, but its words do not have their normal meanings and the sequence of events portrayed in it should not be correlated with real time. Poetry "uses words to express feelings addressed by a speaker talking or thinking to him/herself rather than to the reader. Its essential quality is... meditation." Narrative on the other hand, "uses words to develop a view of character and situation through the report of the story-teller to the reader." Genesis is clearly narrative and narratives are intended to be read historically. Boyd quotes Sailhamer as saying, "A biblical narrative text takes the raw material of language and shapes it into a version of the world of empirical reality. Its essential linguistic structures are adapted to conform to events in real life. The constraints that shape real life (for example, the limitations of time and space and perspective) are the constraints to which historical narrative texts must strive to conform in their imitation of real life . . . Events and characters are put before the reader as happening just as they happen in real life. The reader looks at the events in the narrative in much the same way as he or she would look at events in real life. They happen in the text before one’s eyes."

Elsewhere he quotes Sternberg, "Were the narrative written or read as fiction, then God would turn from the lord of history into a creature of the imagination, with the most disastrous results. The shape of time, the rationale of monotheism, the foundations of conduct, the national sense of identity, the very right to the land of Israel and the hope of deliverance to come: all hang in the generic balance. Hence, the Bible’s determination to sanctify and compel literal belief in the past. It claims not just the status of history but . . . of the history, the one and only truth that, like God himself, brooks no rival . . . . if as seekers for the truth, professional or amateur, we can take or leave the truth claim of inspiration, then as readers we must simply take it—just like any other biblical premise or convention, from the existence of God to the sense borne by specific words—or else invent our own text."

In his article on Young Earth Creationism JT makes a series of points criticising a straight forward reading of the early chapters of Genesis. Point 2 claims that the earliest Christian leaders did not take a literal view of Genesis. For me the key to understanding is found in the source documents not what Bouteneff says.

JT states, "This ancient wisdom wasn’t affected by the rise of evolutionary science or the potential conflict between science and faith, these things were far in the future." This statement is rather naive. Evolutionary thought did not begin during the Enlightenment. It has its roots in Hellenistic thought and worldview stretching back about half a millenium before Christ. In From Greeks to Darwin, Henry Osborn states that evolutionary ideas go as far back as the 600s BC. So the early church fathers were exposed to evolutionary, old-age thinking. Basil of Caesarea said, "In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth... The philosophers of Greece have made much ado to explain nature... Those who were too ignorant to rise to a knowledge of a God, could not allow that an intelligent cause presided at the birth of the Universe... Some had recourse to material principles and attributed the origin of the Universe to the elements of the world... Deceived by their inherent atheism it appeared to them that nothing governed or ruled the universe, and that all was given up to chance." Many early Christians refuted these ideas but some incorporated them into their theology.

Many early fathers used typology in their arguments to say that the literal days of Genesis were a type of the history of the world divided into six thousand years ending with the Millennium. Irenaeus said: “the day of the Lord is as a thousand years; and in six days created things were completed: it is evident, therefore, that they will come to an end at the sixth thousand year.” Against Heresies 5.28.2-3, in ANF, vol. 1. All of these give an age for the cosmos of 6,000 years: Justin Martyr; Epistle of Barnabas; Hippolytus; Theophilus of Antioch; Lactantius; Cyprian of Carthage; Julius Africanus; Methodius; Victorinus; Jerome; Hilary of Poitiers. Even those who incorporated Hellenistic allegorical thinking into their theology stated that the Earth was no more than 6000 years old: Clement (5,592 years - Stromata 1.21); Eusebius of Caesarea (5,228 years - Chronicle). Even Origen said "the Mosaic account of creation . . . teaches that the world is not yet ten thousand years old, but very much under that." (Contra Celcus). Augustine, who allegorised nearly everything and believed that creation was instantaneous said in his City of God that the age of the Earth was under 6000 years. Ambrose, who was neoplatonic in thinking and allegorical in theology said: "Scripture established a law that twenty-four hours, including both day and night, should be given the name of day only, as if one were to say the length of one day is twenty-four hours in extent... just as there is a single revolution of time, so there is but one day. Thus were created the evening and the morning. Scripture means the space of a day and a night, and afterwards no more says day and night, but calls them both under the name of the more important: a custom which you will find throughout Scripture."

So the 'ancient wisdom' was affected by incipient evolutionary thoughts but most attacked it and interpreted Genesis not allegorically but typologically. The literal days of Genesis being a type of the history of the world. A history spanning no more than 6000 years!

In point three JT cites a variety of scientists and theologians who sit comfortably with an evolutionary or theistic evolutionary viewpoint. There are some errors here. Charles Lyell was certainly not a Bible-believing Christian! He said this in one of his lectures: “the physical part of Geological inquiry ought to be conducted as if the Scriptures were not in existence.” He said just before the publication of his book, Principles of Geology, “I trust I shall make my sketch of the progress of geology popular. Old Fleming is frightened and thinks the age will not stand my anti-Mosaical [Biblical] conclusions and at least that the subject will for a time become unpopular and awkward for the clergy, but I am not afraid. I shall out with the whole but in as conciliatory a manner as possible.” He also said, “If ever the Mosaic geology [Biblical] could be set down [removed] without giving offense, it would be in an historical sketch.” And in this letter he states: “I am sure you may get into Q.R what will free the science from Moses [Genesis].” Lyell was very anti-Christian.

As to the others quoted who were Christians, I think you will find that they accept the creation account as it stands but place outside interpretations upon it, based upon presuppositions. Newton describes creation in Genesis, as it is, but places his own understanding upon the processes described. Moderns like Collins (Human genome project), Polkinghorne, Lennox and let’s not forget Alistair McGrath et al attempt to fit Genesis into an already held, evolutionary worldview because a creationist worldview would result in ridicule from peers. But their reinterpretation of Genesis is not based upon the actual teachings of the text nor of the evidence of science for that matter. The conflict is not with science but with those who interpret the evidence of science according to a the materialistic, evolutionary worldview advocated by Lyell and his good friend Charles Darwin. Now evolution may be the majority consensus but that does not mean Christians should follow suit.

In response to point 4, holding dogmatically to a recent creation view is not the issue. People with a variety of views are committed to Christ but to say that the issue is not important is to undermine the teachings of the Bible, and most importantly, Jesus himself. A straight reading of the text (even in English) gives a direct teaching: God created everything and this is what he did. This is how things went wrong and things became so bad that the whole world was returned temporarily to its original watery condition. Creation - good; Fall - creation flawed and cursed; Flood - creation destroyed by water; Post-diluvian world - denuded and depleted. Other views have to tamper with the intended reading of the narratives and twist the meaning to make it conform to an extra-biblical worldview. This is totally unnecessary as read correctly the evidence of science points to creation and the flood as narrated in Genesis.

Point 5 states that most Bible scholars hold an evolutionary worldview or old creation view. The interpretation of the text is not based upon a translation of Genesis 1 or else English translations would reflect that. Genesis is historical narrative in Hebrew and that is how it is translated into English. The question of interpretation is a different issue founded upon basic assumptions. The consensus opinion is that the cosmos is old, very old and yet a straightforward reading of Genesis and the teachings of Jesus and the Biblical writers paints a younger and contrasting picture to the evolutionary framework. Those scholars, wishing to appear credible in the academic world choose to accept theory over revelation and shoehorn old age geological epochs into the story. The resulting portrait is more Picasso than Da Vinci!

As for the theory that there is a gap of millions or billions of years between Genesis 1:1 and 2 is not supported by the text. FF Bruce completely dismisses the idea that there is some sort of gap between Genesis 1:1 and 1:2 and gives a detailed textual argument as to why verses 2-3 are parenthetical and explanatory expansions on verse 1:

"The question before us is whether... ver. 2 implies the occurrence of some change of catastrophic order subsequent to creation, and that the earth had become ‘without form and void,’ or ver. 2 merely defines the condition of the earth at its creation... “The verse [Gen 1:1] gives a summary of the description which follows, stating the broad general fact of the creation of the universe; the details of the process then form the subject of the rest of the chapter.” So writes S. R. Driver... most modern scholars who thus subordinate ver. 1... make ver. 2 a parenthesis and ver. 3 the principal clause, thus: “In the beginning of God’s creating the heaven and the earth (now the earth was waste and emptiness, and darkness on the face of the deep, and the Spirit of God hovering on the face of the water), God said ‘Let there be light,’ and there was light.” This perfectly legitimate way of taking these verses is powerfully supported by the fact that the noun reshith (“beginning”) is regularly in the construct state, i.e., the state which a noun assumes when it is followed by a genitive. The present writer [F.F. Bruce] is almost persuaded that this is the true construction here... Ver. 2 is what is called a “circumstantial clause,” expressing the circumstances concomitant to the principal statement.

The words tohu wa-bohu require further consideration. From the occurrence of tohu in Isa. xlv, 18, it is frequently inferred that if God did not create the earth tohu, then its appearance in this condition in Gen. i, 2 must be later than its creation in Gen. i, 1. This would follow only if tohu had the same meaning in both places... Isa. xlv, 18... adverbial accusative (“in vain”, “for nothing”); it was not to no purpose (tohu) that God created the earth, but with a definite aim in view—namely, to be inhabited... The meaning of tohu in Gen. i, 2 does not fit the context of these two verses in Isa. xlv."
(F.F. Bruce, “’And the Earth was Without Form and void,’ An Enquiry into the Exact Meaning of Genesis 1, 2," Journal of the Transactions of the Victoria Institute). So the "... finest Bible teacher of the 20th century" agrees that the text is historical narrative and that there is no gap for long ages in Genesis 1. Wenham in his commentary says, "...most modern commentators agree that v 1 is an independent main clause..." He also states of the text that it is "most natural to interpret the text synchronically, i.e., v 1: first creative act; v 2: consequence of v 1; v 3: first creative word." (Wenham, G. J. (2002). Vol. 1: Word Biblical Commentary : Genesis 1-15. Word Biblical Commentary (12)). In other words verse 1 and the rest of the chapter occurred at the same time. No gap, no long ages, no room for evolutionary ideas.

As for John Lennox' book Seven Days that Divide the World, this reviewer said, " should be noted that God’s created work did not cease on the seventh day but that it was finished “by the seventh day.” Thus God had completed (kala’) all His work, and all their hosts (tsaba’), referring to everything in heaven and earth being completed. The words of Genesis 2:1 introduce the completion of God’s creation. The seventh day is mentioned three times in these verses revealing its uniqueness and importance. The verbs “completed,” “rested,” and “blessed” indicate the uniqueness of this day, and these are all associated with the work of God. Day Seven, like the other days, is a literal historical day of 24 hours.4 It is not a day of creation, but a day of rest. Dr. Robert McCabe showed there is a five-fold framework apparent in the first six days, which is absent in Day Seven. This framework is used in Genesis 1:1–2:3 to shape each of the days: “God said . . .”; “let there be . . .” Fulfillment: “there was”. Evaluation: “God saw that it was good”. And conclusion: “there was evening and morning”.
The evening and morning formula that has been used with the other days is no longer needed on Day Seven as it had a rhetorical function to mark the transition from the concluding day to the following day. The Creation Week is now complete and therefore it was not necessary to use the formula “evening and morning.”
However, it is not only “evening and morning” that are missing from the seventh day, none of the other parts of this framework are used on the seventh day. The framework is used to represent accurately God’s work involved in His creative activity. The reason this framework is not used on the seventh day is to show that God had ceased creating. Therefore, the reason evening and morning are not used is related to the other parts of the framework.
In addition, the reason the definite article is used for the first time on the sixth day is to indicate the completion of the work of creation upon that day (Keil and Delitzsch 1980, p. 50)." (Simon Turpin)

The argument in point 8 that death existed before the fall and that Romans 5 only applies to humans is not borne out in the New Testament. Romans 5:12ff does describe death in terms of its effect upon humans but Romans 8:20-22 states: “For the creation was subjected to futility... the creation itself also will be set free from its slavery to corruption into the freedom of the glory of the children of God. For we know that the whole creation groans and suffers the pains of childbirth together until now.”
This clearly refers to the fall of man and includes the rest of creation in the consequences - death. In his two volume commentary on Romans Cranfield says this: καὶ αὐτὴ ἡ κτίσις: ‘the creation itself also’. The implied contrast is with the children of God. That Paul’s main interest in these verses is in the certainty of the coming glory of believers... is no doubt true; but to state categorically that ‘He... is not concerned with creation for its own sake’... is surely to go beyond what is warranted by the evidence...
ἀπό τῆς δουλείας τῆς φθορᾶς: ‘from the bondage of decay’, i.e., from the condition of being the slaves of death and decay, of corruption and transitoriness... the creation will be freed from a state of slavery into a state of freedom... As the δουλεία τῆς φθορᾶς is a bondage to corruption, a bondage which corruption may be said to impose... it will have its own proper liberty as a result of the glorification of the children of God... of the freedom fully and perfectly to fulfil its Creator’s purpose for it, that freedom which it does not have, so long as man, its lord (Gen 1:26, 28; Ps 8:6), is in disgrace.
(Cranfield, C. E. B. (2004). A critical and exegetical commentary on the Epistle to the Romans (415). London; New York: T&T Clark International).

The assertion that animals and plants died before human sin is not found in the Bible at all. God created plants (Gen 1:11f). God created animals and humans and gave to them plants for food (Gen 1:29f). They were herbivores! Adam and Eve were still herbivores after the fall (Gen 3:18). Carnivory only occurred after the Flood. “The fear of you and the terror of you will be on every beast of the earth and on every bird of the sky; with everything that creeps on the ground, and all the fish of the sea, into your hand they are given. “Every moving thing that is alive shall be food for you; I give all to you, AS I GAVE THE GREEN PLANT.” (Genesis 9:2–3). A new situation demanded new circumstances. The now denuded and changed planet was a hostile place and one would have to compete to survive. Not enough food to go around anymore. Earth's vast stores of vegetation now locked up in carboniferous layers beneath the petrifying, fossil forming sediments under Noah's feet. Hence God's permission. The creation of a new cosmos (Isaiah 65:17) will be a return to God's 'very good' creation in which predator and prey will both be, as was, herbivores (Isaiah 65:25).

In Hebrew thought plants are not classed as alive in the same biological sense as in science. They do not have life/soul (נֶפֶשׁ nephesh). They grow and multiply as a source of food and resources. That is their purpose. The question of when Satan fell is moot and even if the principle of sin (in Satan) existed before the fall the reality and consequences of sin (ie death and corruption) did not occur until afterwards. Creation was 'very good' until then.

Unlike JT who sees both creation and eschatology as unimportant it is clear in the New Testament that both Jesus and the apostles held the contrary view. See my blog Is Genesis important to the Gospel?