This is more geared to the Protestants, but Orthodox are of course free to comment
I've been having discussions with a good friend of mine who I believe to be (more or less by his own admission) a "Young Earth creationist". This puzzles me quite a bit since he, like me, has a very logical and scientific way of thinking. He values rational thinking. We are the sort of friends that know what the other is thinking before they say it, and sometimes even think it. I say that to emphasize how well we know each other, and how similar we are. I am therefore left very confused how a mind similar in every way to my own can believe the Christian Deluge story from a literal, Young Earth, anti-evolution perspective.
The key thing about that which I don't understand is why those adhering to that belief felt compelled to take Genesis literally in the first place. I suspect there is some way to pick and choose the right verses from the New Testament to form an argument for taking it literally, but, he was unable to articulate that argument or those verses for me. I can't blame him for that, he's not a Biblical scholar with instant command of every argument...since he is overall a rational thinker I trust he must have heard a compelling (to him) argument somewhere. I've tried searching for that argument online but I must be using the wrong terms, or nobody has really written about it here yet, because I haven't found much.
So, can someone here explain the argument that Genesis must absolutely be taken literally?
It seems like Christians are shifting more toward that opinion today than in recent history. Just a decade or so ago I seem to recall my mom (a Christian) saying "a day for God isn't necessarily a day as we think of it". But now she, too, is waxing literal/fundamentalist. Why the shift?
I am currently re-reading Genesis, a bit at a time (Oh I know the heresy of an atheist!). I made a pretty crude argument when talking to this friend... I said, "God says the serpent will eat dirt forever...we know serpents don't eat dirt...so obviously God was speaking figuratively, right, not literally?" He told me that is viewed to be Messianic prophecy. If that is the case, I wondered where the guide is that states which verses in Genesis are to be taken literally, and which are to be taken figuratively as Messianic prophecy or some other prophecy, but our conversation did not go that route. Can anyone explain this?
Any insight into these matters would be much appreciated!