As I said last week, the creation takes place over several days. The breakdown of the creation into individual steps shows off the great organization involved. No other creation story I’ve come across (and I’ve read a lot of them) is as organized as that as the Genesis story. Each day is broken down with separate creative steps that move everything forward.
More importantly, there is a refinement process at work. God takes what he worked on the day before to create something new, to make it new and improved. From the initial chaotic waters of comes sky and land. Then there is land and sea. Then come plants. Then the sun and the moon rule over day and night. Then come the fish and fowl. Then we get creatures on the land.
All of these individual steps are necessary, and they must happen in this precise order. The work of each previous day must be done to support the creation of the current day, just as the creation of the current day will support that of the following. Plants cannot exist without day and night, nor can they exist without water, land, and sky. Likewise the fish and fowl need the sky and water. The animals upon the land need land and vegetation. Each day’s work is used to further create, and used to create something more complex and refined than what came before.
Many creation myths have an aspect of this idea, taking the raw material of chaos and organizing it into creation. They even will refine elements of creation into something better. The Norse, Chinese, and Greek creation myths have variations on this process, but never has it been done so eloquently, and with such deliberate organization, as is done in Genesis.
This reveals important ideas about the nature of the cosmos, God, and people, who try to create order (and explanations) out of the chaos around. This is especially telling in the Biblical story when we finally come to the creation of mankind.
But that will come next week.