Does the existence of dinosaurs, and all the history of life prior to human civilization, in any way disprove or go against God though? Genesis might be seen more as a parable than a literal explanation as to how life and everything came into existence. God may simply have poured his spirit into man as he came to a certain stage in his evolution. These things are hard to reconcile I know, but I`m not about to throw out all the data that is out there, and that is quite solid, (in more than one way) as to the existence of a long history of life and development prior to the advent of modern man and certainly civilization.
I don`t buy into the idea that evolution and faith are mutually exclusive in other words. I see it more as an incredible richness of creation, and maybe God only intervenes at certain rare stages or moments in the universe that he started in the first place. That would make it a bit easier to understand at least.
None of the Church Fathers took anything in Genesis as 'metaphor' or 'allegory'. that's a modern kind of cope. believe in God's Revelation or don't. On the other hand, none of them believed in a 'literal' reading either, because there is no such thing. There is no such thing as a literal description of the world because descriptions are made with words, and words are symbols meant to represent reality, but they are not reality. Words are like a map, they point towards reality, they represent reality, but they are not reality itself: they are by necessity a reduction of the real to something more palatable. Thus there is no such thing as a literal description of anything. That does not make the description less true, or the events and things it is describing less true. It merely means that, just like with science and technology, modern man is again fooled into overestimating the power of his own invention. Medieval man did not believe in literal readings, it is modern man that does. It is for this reason he cannot comprehend even the most basic distinction between map and reality – and this applies both to his reading of the Bible as to scientific descriptions, with the exception that he tends to think the words in the Bible do not describe anything real whereas the words of the journalists and the scientists are the same as the reality they are attempting to describe.
The Biblical story requires MUCH LESS faith than the scientific descriptions, due to the large amount of people involved in the latter versus the former. To believe the Bible you only have to have faith in God, the writers and the church. To believe soyence you have to have faith in a gigantic network of people, many organizations, institutions and motives, from the scientists themselves to the journalists. And I have no such faith. I am highly skeptical of humans and their enterprises. I have faith in God and His enterprise.
But again, that is a very different thing from a 'literal' reading in the way that people use that word. Now, some things are exactly as described, like Jesus's words. That is not difficult to describe. Creation or the resurrection on the other hand, we have no words to capture something like that, it is something that happened only once, and it defies the normal laws of the universe (that is the point of it), so it will always be described in insufficient ways, it will never be literal because we have no words and letters (where the word literal comes from) to describe it. That does not make it any less true. Have you tried explaining in words your love for your wife? It is very difficult and you will only be able to get an approximation, because love is much more than words can describe. There are things beyond words. Belief in 'literal' descriptions is another way of elevating ourselves and our products above God. We are so in love with our inventions (in this case, language) that we think they can capture the world that God created, but not only that, God himself. That is pure hubris - and of course it leads to aberrant understandings and then to loss of faith. But that's only because it is expected to provide something that cannot be provided: a purely human understanding of God's mystery.
God does have the view from above, the complete view, but He chose to give us a map using a human tool, language. It does not however mean that the map can be confused with the view from above. And so when we read the Bible, for example Genesis 1:1 «In the beginning God created heaven, and earth
» we can have only an approximate idea of what it means. While some descriptions in the Bible, especially with regards to the historical comings and goings of Israel and the nations they come into contact with both in the Old and the New Testament, are precise and easy to understand, such monumental and supernatural events as Creation, the Fall, the Incarnation or Resurrection of Christ must necessarily remain mysterious, because they are speaking of events that can never be understood purely from a human view, and hence a purely human construction such as language can never provide an entirely satisfactory description and must resort, by necessity, to poetic language.
Like the question of whether it was 6 days or not is ridiculous. Of course it was 6 days, that's what it says. A totally different question is if the duration of those days is the same as ours. From my readings it seems to me that the world was totally different both when created, then after the fall, and then again after the flood. So we have no idea how long the days were - were they 24 hours? And if so, what are hours or days for a being such as God? Does it even matter? More importantly, God can create instantly and this is what is described, actually, so the more important question is not how many days, or how long they were, but what the days MEAN. But again, to begin to think of it, you have to discard all the materialistic notions that you've been indoctrinated with since first grade (maybe before).
Similarly with the resurrection, what does it MEAN? We have never died, so we don't know the first part of it, at least not fully. We also don't know exactly what happens to the soul after death. But even if we did, we are not talking of an ordinary soul, but Christ's soul. So how do we even begin to understand what the resurrection was?
We don't. It's a mystery. Yet, the story is true, Christ resurrected. Just because we can't fully understand or describe monumental events like these, that does not mean they are not true - in the same way you cannot understand or describe fully your love for your wife. But also it doesn't mean things are literally as described, because they cannot even begin to be described properly with human words.