Summary: There are three ways for a Christian to accept the creation story in light of the archeological evidence stacked against us.
Question: I want to believe the Bible but with so much science out there concerning evolution/creation, the Bible has become suspect at best. What about dinosaurs, dating back millions of years ago if the Bible says the earth is only about 6-8 thousand years old?
For the Christian who hates being on the defensive and wants to accept true science and the Bible, there are basically three positions that are taken.
I. Creation Allegory Approach.
The Bible says that in Psalms 90:4 "For a thousand years in your sight are but as yesterday when it is past, or as a watch in the night."
Peter summarized this Psalms in 2 Peter 3:8: "But do not overlook this one fact, beloved, that with the Lord one day is as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day."
Many Christians believe this gives them a "way out" concerning the assault of science on Christianity. They believe that God created the world, just like He said, but used evolution and accomplished it over millions, perhaps billions, of years. They say, the term for "day" in Genesis might be understood as a 24 hour day to us, but to God, it could have meant very much longer than that. Therefore, all the science about the dinosaurs and the age of the earth could both be true.
This approach to Genesis has become very popular in our Christian schools and seminaries. It's strength is that this keeps Christians from being on the defensive and allows us to be open to science and discoveries that scholars accept. It keeps Christians from looking like neanderthal thinking, backwards, ignorant buffoons like the ones who used to swear that the earth was flat. We can teach the love of Jesus with this approach and the salvation of Jesus Christ. This is what makes this so desirable to many Christians, pastors and teachers.
Along with that strong upside, however, is a downside.
First, the use of Hebrew language in Genesis seems to prohibit this.
Gen 1:5 God called the light Day, and the darkness he called Night. And there was evening and there was morning, the first day.
Gen 1:8 And God called the expanse Heaven. And there was evening and there was morning, the second day.
The same measure of days in the six days of creation is used in verses 13, 19, 23 and 31. The Hebrew word for "evening" means "end of day". The word for "morning" means "beginning of day". Tied with verse 14-18, the phrase "day" obviously means a 24 hour day.
Gen 1:14-18 And God said, "Let there be lights in the expanse of the heavens to separate the day from the night. And let them be for signs and for seasons, and for days and years, 15 and let them be lights in the expanse of the heavens to give light upon the earth." And it was so. 16 And God made the two great lights--the greater light to rule the day and the lesser light to rule the night--and the stars. 17 And God set them in the expanse of the heavens to give light on the earth, 18 to rule over the day and over the night, and to separate the light from the darkness. And God saw that it was good.
In this description of the creation of the marks of time, time appears to be reflect a literal 24 hour day.