First and foremost ….
First and foremost, God established both the heavens and the earth. And the earth was desolate and empty (at first), and it was really empty with a deep darkness covering its surface, and all the while God was holding His breath, brooding over the face of the waters.
And God said: Let light be - and light was.
And God saw it and was pleased that the light was good.
[COMMENT TO READER: The dark emptiness and shadow was covering the face of the earth and God was in some sense holding His breath or in suspense watching what He had worked upon. Think about this. Think about the middle eastern ancient imagery. Think about God as our Father in Heaven. Think about what this means for His creation which He loves dearly. Think of the metaphors that are playfully being used here to tell us about His tenderness to what He has made. It is almost as if God is the One who loves His special creation and He is there brought together under the one canopy of heaven with His beloved (the earth part of the creation) which is itself veiled. Having invited earth and its waters into his tent He puts on the light. The poetic image cannot be stretched too far but it is poetically sensuous.
And God turned back the dark to separate it from the light
and He proclaimed the light to be Day!
and the dark He announced was to be Night!
And there was twilight and there was day-break for the first time!
[COMMENT: already God is revealed as deeply affectionate for his creation alpha to omega, "go" to "whoa".
And God said, There shall be canopy spread out in the midst of the waters, and this shall turn back the waters to separate them from other waters. And He was working on the canopy of waters, spreading out the waters and separating those which were below from those which were spreading out all over, until it was done just right.
And God proclaimed the spreading-out to be Skies/Heavens!
And there was twilight and there was daybreak. For the second time!
[COMMENT: see comment at the end about the two stories that have been recounted here in the 7 chapter book of Genesis One.
And God said, Come now all you waters that are spread-out under the canopy of heaven and come and congregate in one place to let the dry land appear! And it was done just like that. And God proclaimed the dry land to be the Earth/Ground! And the synagogue of waters He proclaimed to be Seas.
And God saw and was pleased that it was all so good!
Then God said: Let the ground flourish with grass and their seeds, with trees and their fruits with their seeds. All this was worked out to order throughout all the earth so that secretly held within any fruit is the seed which would be that of its own type of plant. And it was done just right, just like that! Tender grass came forth from seeds to (give more) seed, whilst trees were to work at giving fruit which grows from seeds within them; all made exactly to order; and God saw and was pleased that it was (so) good.
And there was Twilight, and there was Daybreak for the third time.
And God said, let there be lights in the canopy above, of the heavens/skies, and they are to turn back the night and separate it from the day. And let these lights be for fixed points to remember, let them be for a calendar, a means of regulating feast days, and (the counting of) years. And let them be for lighting in the spread-out canopy of the heavens so that they shine forth upon the earth. And it was done just like that.
[COMMENT: Is this written as a kind of getting up early just before daybreak to see the sunrise kind of story? The light comes but then the bodies in the heavens can only be seen later after the sunrise (i.e. let there be light!) - this apparent disjunction is further confirmation to me that the Genesis One is written to explain to children where everything comes from. It is not fixated on making up a story with everything logically and sequentially in its place, but gains momentum as a story of how God puts everything in His creation in His place in His time.
And God commissioned the two great lights: the Major-General light He installed for the rule over the day-time and the lesser light had the office of ruling over the night and the stars.
[COMMENT: This seems to be a quasi-military imagery. (Yes suh said the sun). (Your wish is my command, my Lord, said the Moon). It is to do with rule and subjugation.
And God ordained them all and installed them in the canopy of the heavens to give light to the earth; to administer and keep watch from their exalted positions during the day and during the night and also as a means of turning back the dark and separating the light from it. And God saw and was pleased that it was so good.
And there was Twilight and there was Daybreak for the fourth time.
And God said, Let the waters well up, and let them abound in creeping-crawling life, and let birds fitted for flight patrol in full view above the earth, through out the entire spread-out canopy of the heavens. And God cared for and hatched the great whales and all the moving creeping animals, large and small, which abound in the waters - all made to order - and every kind of winged and fitted-for-flight bird - also all made to order.
And God saw and was pleased that it was good.
[COMMENT More military imagery.
And God favoured them mightily saying to them, "Go ahead and be fruitful and increase (this now reminds us of Matt 28:19 "In your going into all the world ...") and use up all the waters in the seas to the full - and you birds are to multiply yourselves over all the earth."
And there was Twilight and there was Daybreak for the fifth time.
And God said: "Come forth O earth. Your task is to warrant all manner of living creatures - all made to order; and also all those creeping reptiles and beasts of the earth according to their own special ranks. And it was done just right. And God assembled the beasts of the earth in the way that was right (for them), numbering and ranking them according to their respective divisions, and with all the reptiles of the ground He did likewise. And God saw and was pleased that it was (so) good.
And God said: "Now let us establish our own special concern, one made according to our own specifications, just like us. And let this one subdue the fish of the sea and the winged-flying birds of the skies and the mute-cattle over all the earth and all the creeping things crawling over and upon the face the of the earth.
In this way God established the human as His own special concern. God it was who fashioned him, as celebrated-male and distinctive-female that is how He made them. And it just these terms God favoured them, and said to them, directly and explicitly I might add. "You (too) are to be fruitful and increase and fill the whole earth to the full as you walk around keeping the order for the fish of the sea, the birds of the skies - over everything that lives and creeps upon the earth."
And God said, "I have an order to deliver to you. It's all the vegetation with all their seeds which are upon the face of the earth as well as all the trees which are in it, the seeds that are in their fruit and these shall be for your nourishment, and all the living creatures of the earth and all the birds on the wing in the skies and also all the creeping things upon the earth which have the vitality of life - all of which have green plants to eat.
[COMMENT: Does God speak something like a delivery man from the creational supermarket - knocks on the back door of the human house "Specially ordered delivery for humans from me …. Sign here please …?
And it was done, just like that.
And God maintained watch over all on which He had given so much of His time and effort in His labour. And now it was achieved and completed, just like that.
And there was Twilight, and there was Daybreak, for the sixth time.
So that is (the story of) how the Heavens and the Earth were fully furnished, and how they were set up with all the abundant things with which creation is filled. On the next day, the seventh rest-day, God surveyed and ruled over His work, the work He had done, and He rested on that seventh day from all the many different things He had created to set things up just as they are.
And in so blessing this Sabbath seventh day, God made it a very special occasion indeed. This was because on that day He rested from all His works that He had laboured on, delighting in the special work of His hands.
So then, this is the story of the Heavens and the Earth, how they were established when at the right time God began work on it. God set heaven and earth in its place. And that's how it came about.
[COMMENT: Story telling - have a look at the story telling structure of Genesis - and Chapter One is part of this, the first of a series of stories that help the children of Israel locate themselves in the plan and purposes of the Living God, the God of Abraham and Isaac and Jacob. I wonder. Let us follow the hunch and see if these could themselves be 7 chapters each to be read both at sunrise and sunset for a day so that the entire chapter/book takes a week of reading. They are to be read when one gets up .... and the Chapter headings come at the end of each "day"/chapter. In other words - now that is the signal for "off to work now" when read in the morning and "off to sleep we'll come to the next day tomorrow morning when you wake up" when read at night.