On the first “day,” the collision of a large asteroid or planet changed the atmosphere from opaque to translucent. The Earth was enveloped in a large cloud of debris. Over the eons the debris in the atmosphere dissipated and went from translucent to transparent.
14 And God said, "Let there be lights in the dome of the sky to separate the day from the night; and let them be for signs and for seasons and for days and years, 15 and let them be lights in the dome of the sky to give light upon the earth." And it was so. 16 God made the two great lights -- the greater light to rule the day and the lesser light to rule the night -- and the stars. 17 God set them in the dome of the sky to give light upon the earth, 18 to rule over the day and over the night, and to separate the light from the darkness. And God saw that it was good. 19 And there was evening and there was morning, the fourth day.
I think this is one of the most misunderstood passages in the story. The heavenly objects became visible on the Earth. Nothing was created or formed on this day. As the sky became transparent, the Sun, Moon, and stars would have become visible for the first time. Verses 16 through 18 are a parenthetical statement. Hebrew does not have the verb tenses we do, but if we read “made” in the past tense we see that the passage is addressing why God made the Sun and Moon, not when. The sun and moon had existed long before. Now they are visible.
The evolutionary timeline goes something like this.
1.0 billion years ago – Plant life appeared in the form of algae.
600 million years ago (mya) - Sponges, Jellyfish, and aquatic multicelluar animals began to appear
500 mya - There was rapid changes 600-500 million years and by 505 million years ago, there were aquatic vertebrates.
475 mya – Plant life began to appear on land.
450 mya – Anthropods, the first land animals appeared.
420 mya – Plants with spores appear on land
365 mya – Insects appear on land.
256 mya – Mammal-like reptiles appear.
250-65 mya- Age of dinosaurs.
55 mya – Earliest primates appear.
50 mya – Earliest ancestors of many of modern day animals begin to appear
5 mya – Human ancestors speciate from chimps.
150 thousand years ago (kya) – Most distant common female human ancestor based on mitochondrial DNA.
100 kya – First anatomically modern humans appear.
60 kya - Most distant common male ancestor based on Y chromosome.
20 And God said, "Let the waters bring forth swarms of living creatures, and let birds fly above the earth across the dome of the sky." 21 So God created the great sea monsters and every living creature that moves, of every kind, with which the waters swarm, and every winged bird of every kind. And God saw that it was good. 22 God blessed them, saying, "Be fruitful and multiply and fill the waters in the seas, and let birds multiply on the earth." 23 And there was evening and there was morning, the fifth day.
Day three talked about the beginning of plant life. On day five we see “swarms of living creatures” (sheres nephesh) and “birds” (op). Sheres refers to teams of small an/or minute animals. Usually means insects, amphibians, and reptiles. Nephesh usually means “soulish creatures.”
Verse 21 uses the word “created,” which is from the Hebrew bara. This is the second time the term is used in the story. The first was in verse 1 concerning the creation of the universe. Bara usually means an act special to God, as in creating out of nothing. Hugh Ross believes something unique happened with the creation of nephesh. These creatures exhibit emotions, passion, and will. Nephesh comes from the a root word that means breathing. God “specially” created creatures with the breath of life.
So what about the dinosaurs? Again, who is the audience and what is the purpose of the story? The Hebrews would have been clueless about dinosaurs and the inclusion of them would only have distracted from the author’s story. This wasn't a scientific inventory.