24 And God said, "Let the earth bring forth living creatures of every kind: cattle and creeping things and wild animals of the earth of every kind." And it was so. 25 God made the wild animals of the earth of every kind, and the cattle of every kind, and everything that creeps upon the ground of every kind. And God saw that it was good.
chayya nephesh = living creature
behema = cattle
remes = creeping things
chayya = wild animals
Both chayya and behema refer to a variety long-legged landed quadruped mammals. Chayya are the wild animals that can not be tamed and behema refers to those that can be domesticated. In this context, remes means short-legged land mammals like rodents, hares, and armadillos.
These animals were the late comers according to scientists but this is not a comprehensive list. So why were these animals selected? Because these are the animals that would have the most impact on human existence. Again, who was the audience?
26 Then God said, "Let us make humankind in our image, according to our likeness; and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the birds of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the wild animals of the earth, and over every creeping thing that creeps upon the earth."
27 So God created humankind in his image,
in the image of God he created them;
male and female he created them.
28 God blessed them, and God said to them, "Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth and subdue it; and have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the air and over every living thing that moves upon the earth." 29 God said, "See, I have given you every plant yielding seed that is upon the face of all the earth, and every tree with seed in its fruit; you shall have them for food. 30 And to every beast of the earth, and to every bird of the air, and to everything that creeps on the earth, everything that has the breath of life, I have given every green plant for food." And it was so. 31 God saw everything that he had made, and indeed, it was very good. And there was evening and there was morning, the sixth day.
Verse 27 says God “created” humanity. This is the third time the Hebrew bara is used, indicating something done uniquely by God. With the creation of humanity, God brought creation to its apex. The whole story points toward God readying the Earth for humanity and then placing humanity as caretaker over what God has created. It isn’t clear from the story if God literally formed a man out of nothing or altered some living beings into Adam and Eve, but it is clear that something very unique occurred.
2:1 Thus the heavens and the earth were finished, and all their multitude. 2 And on the seventh day God finished the work that he had done, and he rested on the seventh day from all the work that he had done. 3 So God blessed the seventh day and hallowed it, because on it God rested from all the work that he had done in creation.
4 These are the generations of the heavens and the earth when they were created.
The astonishing thing about Genesis 1, when we compare it to science, is not its “errors.” When we account for the metaphorical aspects of the story and the nature of the intended audience, we see that it is a very accurate (not precise or comprehensive) description of the sequence of scientific events that have occurred. How did the writer of the Genesis story, writing millennia ago, manage to get the specifics of the Genesis story in just the right sequence with what scientists have uncovered in only the past few decades? There is nothing in the way the story is written to preclude evolution except for the uncertain meaning of bara with regard to the creation of nephesh and humainty. The question of evolution can not be answered from the Bible.
The scientist who are making these Bible affirming discoveries are the very scientists that many fault as anti-God and anti-Bible! Fundamentalists miss this because they are convinced that they can’t allow for non-literal days. Liberals miss this because they have closed their minds to the stories having any historical merit.
There weren't seven literal days or even seven equally long eras. I suspect that the author of the story divided the story as he did as a literary tool to reinforce the idea of the Sabbath. This is part of the poetic nature of the story. The story emphasizes God’s magnificent provision for us and his desire for us to enjoy relationship with him as co-creators in his world.
Time to look briefly at the second creation story.