Humbly, after fifty minutes of making his case from the flipping gospel of all places, he allowed for a time of questions. My hand shot up through the ceiling tiles.
But this is the sort thinking that led me to back off the hardline stance; I tried literally reading it.
“Let the earth sprout vegetation, plants yielding seed, and fruit trees bearing fruit in which is their seed, each according to its kind, on the earth.” And it was so. The earth brought forth vegetation…Let the earth bring forth living creatures according to their kinds—livestock and creeping things and beasts of the earth according to their kinds. And it was so.…" Genesis 1:11,12,24Note the actual phrasing. Earth brings forth the vegetation. Earth brings forth the creatures. The earth seems to be the mechanism for making, if taken at face value. The response to this is generally something like, “That’s just a way of saying it.” Which is fine. But that admits and establishes we don’t take the words for themselves. We intuit that things are being said “in a way” to tell us things which aren't obvious from a literal reading. We bring that to the text. This one example isn’t the end all be all. It shows rather simply that probably no one embraces the text in the rigid literal sense many of us have been taught is requisite for the truly faithful. Being strict in our literalism isn’t fair to our own ability to appreciate the point behind the metaphor.
If you choose based on the evidence to believe earth is thousands of years young and that Genesis, though ancient, is a fair telling of things, my challenge to you is to not put that conviction at the center. That would be idolatry. Leave yourself humbly open to new information, and never, like I did, conflate following Christ with fighting about things not ever listed scripturally in what it means to be Christians. And if you have chosen to look at the evidence and embrace an evolutionary view of things, be sure your position isn’t mere disassociation from your faith roots so your smart, cynical science friends will respect you. There’s belief and tribalism on both sides. Don’t throw out Genesis anymore than you'd throw out any other art which tells the truth.