In various Reformed churches, including the CanRC, it is widely held that the first chapters of Genesis are best explained by the teachings of Young-Earth Creationism, according to which the earth is 6-10,000 years old, the days of creation were literal 24-hours days, and the layers of the earth's crust with the fossils they contain were deposited by a universal flood.
Although it is by now almost universally accepted among us, the idea that the interpretation of Young-Earth Creationism is the only acceptable one is comparatively recent. It owes much to the influence of North-American Evangelicalism but differs from the view held on the issue by well-known Reformed theologians of the fairly recent past, both in North America and the Netherlands. I gave a brief description of this Reformed tradition in my two-part series "Klaas Schilder on Creation and Flood" (see sidebar, "collected papers"). In that series I do not attempt to "prove" the correctness or incorrectness of either interpretation. My concern is, rather, to remind Reformed readers of their history, and to invite them to compare the two views.
As it happens, Schilder himself also refrained from taking a position on the issue. In fact, he relativized it, concluding that it was not really worth fighting over. But in view of the fact that already in his day young-earth advocates accused Reformed scholars promoting an older earth of "assailing the authority of Scripture," he defended the opinion of these scholars. He further marshaled a variety of biblical arguments in defence of Abraham Kuyper's suggestion that the Flood may well have been a regional one.