Genesis 1 teaches that creation was marked by six significant “days” in the preparation of the earth for habitation. “Day” can mean a period of indefinite duration. We do not know the exact date of creation.
Genesis 1:1 denotes the entire creation period. God spoke the word, and things happened. \ After Genesis 1:1 the focal point of the creation story is the planet earth.
First, Day 1 (Genesis 1:1-5). In this early period the earth would have been quite hot. “Let there be light” (Genesis 1:3b) refers to the appearance of light on earth. This would mean that the clouds covering the earth had now thinned enough for the light of the sun, which had been shinning all along, to penetrate to the earth’s surface. As the earth rotated there would be periods of day and night (Genesis 1:4-5).
Second, Day 2 (Genesis 1:6-8). \The cooling process continued. Day 2 speaks of the atmosphere, the waters under the atmosphere (subterranean waters, streams, lakes, and seas), and the waters above the atmosphere (rain and snow).
On many days, God pronounces the creation “good” (Genesis 1:4, 10, 12, 18, 21, 25). On Day 2, there is no such pronouncement—perhaps because the work of Day 2 (separating waters-above from waters-below) will not be fully concluded until Day 3 (with the gathering together of the waters-below).
Third, Day 3 (Genesis 1:9-13). God separated the oceans from the dry land. Presumably the dry land appeared as the result of volcanic eruptions and the buckling of the earth’s crust. God then created every kind of plant and tree (Genesis 1:11). These creative acts could have taken place over a long period in which grasses could have come first, followed by herbs, followed by fruit trees. All life is dependent on the presence of vegetation.
Fourth, Day 4 (Genesis 1:14-19). The skies cleared sufficiently for the heavenly bodies (created in Genesis 1:1) to become visible. In fact, light had been reaching earth since Day 1. It was through this influence that the vegetation created on Day 3 was enabled to appear and prosper.
Fifth, Day 5 (Genesis 1:20-23). God made fish, all other sea creatures, and birds.
Sixth, Day 6 (Genesis 1:24-31). God created all the animals and then humans. Human is the peak of creation.
We do not learn that the six days of creation were consecutive. Rational and orderly, yes, but not necessarily consecutive. Creation seems to be a very slow development. It is possible that the historical Adam was created over 750,000 years ago (William Lane Craig, Reasonable Faith Org, January 22, 2001). Nobody really knows the correct answer.
Seventh, Day 7 (Genesis 2:1-3). God rested from all the work of creation. The word “rested” (Genesis 2:2) does not mean that God took a nap. The creation is still going on. We are living on Day 7 continuously, since there is no concluding evening-morning formula (Genesis 1:5, 8, 13, 19, 23, 31).
This is God’s world. We praise God for the world, not His creation.