Evolutionists and creationists attack each other with all the hostility of rival religionists. That is because they represent essentially rival religious world views. This article may not soothe the hostility but does offer some alternative viewpoints on the issues.
I have shown elsewhere that the imagery introduced in the biblical creation narrative is used in describing both the development of the nation of Israel and the development of the individual born-again believer. The Bible describes all three as creation processes. Furthermore, the imagery appears in roughly the same order in each of these three creation processes. That suggests the order in which events occur in the Genesis creation narrative is determined more by spiritual considerations than historical ones.
The appearance of the sun on the fourth day of creation seems anomalous historically. But note also that the sun will feature, according to the last book of the Bible, in the fourth of seven stages in the demolition of this world. In the warm-up trumpet disasters of Revelation the fourth one involves a degrading of a third of the sun, moon and stars. (8:12) In the big-time seven last plagues the fourth one is aimed specifically at the sun. (16:8,9) The fourth day, fourth trumpet and fourth plague may run in parallel for other than chronological reasons.
Incidentally, if for any reason the earth comes to a crashing end some time in this current millennium, then on the basis of Bishop Ussher's chronology the earth's history would last about 7000 years or so. If in God's sight a day is like a thousand years (Psalm 90:4) then to Him earth's history would be like seven days. And Jesus, the Sun of Righteousness, would have appeared on the fourth day, as did our sun in the creation story.
I have also demonstrated (at least to my satisfaction) in another "elsewhere" that the use of numbers in specifying time frames on other biblical matters is also more focused on the spiritual significance of the numbers used than on chronological accuracy. At least in one case the biblical time data is clearly wrong historically. If that applies to Genesis 1 then the focus there is on the spiritual significance of the number seven and the spiritual matter of establishing the six day work, one day rest ethic. And under the slippery approach to biblical time I am promoting the Bible could still imply an overall time frame of 7000 years for earth's history even if that turns out to be not entirely accurate.
Could God in good conscience tell us He made air, land and sea and their living contents in six days and rested on the seventh when it was only days in His time-frame, not ours? Up to you to decide, but I believe God's rest of the seventh day hasn't even ended yet (as implied in Hebrews 4:1-11) while man's Sabbath, as specified in the Ten Commandments (Exodus 20:8-11), was only 24 hours long. If God's rest of the seventh day is extremely long it would suggest His six working days were similarly extended.
Numerous commentators have noted that Genesis 2 seems to give an alternative view of what happened on the sixth day, presenting the activities as processes rather than fiat creation. Apart from everything else that happened on that day Adam had to find names for all the animals, which implies he had to conjure up a language as part of the process. The all-important work of producing the first woman Eve that required Adam to be anaesthetized was another lengthy process for that day. If creation involved processes on day 6 then processes may also have been involved on the other days as well.
Some like to argue that if the days of creation are long periods then there are problems for those plants that require insects to pollinate them because plants appeared on day 3 but there were no insects until day 5. The problem disappears if it is accepted that the order of events in the creation narrative is determined by spiritual rather than chronological considerations.
But doesn't the repeated evening-morning mantra in Genesis 1 teach plainly that 24 hour days are meant? Maybe! But 2300 evening-mornings in the book of Daniel reach right down to the "time of the end", which culminates in the resurrection. (Daniel 8:14,17; 11:40;12:1-4) The general resurrection hasn't happened yet, so 2300 evening - mornings could represent about 2500 years, and rising.
This article should not be construed as an attempt to make the theory of evolution palatable to believers. I have shown elsewhere that that theory is just not credible. It still has the same problems Darwin acknowledged in his day. He expected future discoveries would solve the problems. It hasn't happened.