From another thread, on the literalness of early Genesis:
See… you made my point. In YOUR mind, you cannot be convinced of talking snakes… or, moreso, a Global Flood, Sodom and Gomorrah, a parting of the Red Sea, feeding of 5000 (loaves and fishes)… etc.
Now, as a Catholic I have no problem believing in e.g. the parting of the Red Sea, or the loaves and fishes, or for that matter the Resurrection, or the Eucharist. And yet at the same time I maintain that the creation story as told in Genesis is not a literal (historic and scientific) account. And I know I’m not alone in that.
So, what is the difference between the two? I’m still working it out in my mind, but I’ll take a start at it, hoping that others will join in.
What separates miracles like the parting of the Red Sea and a talking *** from the creation story is that the former are identifiable as miracles precisely because they go counter to our collective understanding of the world, an understanding that is validated over and over, each and every day. We know how water behaves. We know what donkeys are capable of. More generally, we accept that we can, through observation, make certain conclusions about the world that are more or less universal. And note that God is using precisely that human capacity in his miracles. God uses miracles to get our attention by explicitly violating his own natural laws as we are able to comprehend them. But without consistent natural laws, and without our ability to comprehend them, miracles would be impossible, since everything would look like a miracle!
Now compare that with the Genesis creation account. The words of Genesis 1 and 2 tell us one account of creation, while many different scientific disciplines, using many scientific laws and much observed data, tell us a very different account. The differences are so great that only one of three things can account for them:
We are fundamentally unable to comprehend our world through science. Science simply doesn’t work.
God has deliberately subverted our God-given intellect and ability to observe and comprehend the world around us, by creating the word one way and leaving vast and consistent evidence that the world was created in an entirely different way.
The Genesis creation account(s) are not meant to be taken as literal historic and scientific fact (which is not to say that they are not true).
Both choices (1) and (2) would seem to go exactly counter to God’s miracles, where he is very open in requiring the consistency of his laws, and our ability to comprehend them, in order that we might distinguish his miracles. But if (1) or (2) are correct, then we cannot trust any miracle attributed to God, since we cannot trust either the laws or our ability to comprehend those laws. (1) and (2) seem to me to invalidate God’s miracles, and leave us in a world where we can know nothing, including God’s own actions.
That’s my first pass at analysing this question. Please chime in with your own thoughts.