Most books dealing with the proper interpretation of Genesis 1 attempt to do one of two things: show how Genesis 1 cannot be reconciled with modern science, or show how Genesis 1 can be reconciled with modern science. Some try to show that Genesis presents us with a young universe, while others try to show that Genesis presents us with an old universe. Either way, it is presumed that Genesis 1 intends to present us with a scientific description of how God created (order, duration, etc.).
In their new book, In the Beginning…We Misunderstood: Interpreting Genesis 1 in Its Original Context, coauthors Johnny Miller and John Soden argue that this presumption is false, and concordism is a misguided hermeneutical approach to Genesis 1. Discussions over the meaning of Genesis should not be driven by scientific questions, but by literary questions. Our interpretation of Genesis should not be determined by our views about science, but by the text itself. Why even think that God meant to provide a scientific description of creation? The most important question to ask is what Moses meant when he wrote the creation account, how his readers would have understood it, and what practical impact it would have for them given their unique historical situation. How did it prepare them for the theology and religious practices they were familiar with in Egypt, as well as those they would encounter in Canaan?