Which did God create first—man or the animals?
Genesis1:25-26 And God made the beast of the earth according to its kind, cattle according to its kind, and everything that creeps on the earth according to its kind. And God saw that it was good. Then God said, “Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness; let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over the cattle, over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.”
Genesis2:19 Out of the ground the LORD God formed every beast of the field and every bird of the air, and brought them to Adam to see what he would call them. And whatever Adam called each living creature, that was its name.
Some people have thought that the creation accounts in Genesis 1 and 2 contradict each other. For example, Genesis 1 describes animals being created before Adam, while Genesis 2:19 could be read as if Adam had been created before the animals. But the Bible never contradicts itself, because it was inspired by God. Genesis 2:19 doesn’t mean that God created Adam first and then the animals. The correct chronological (day-to-day) sequence of events is stated in chapter 1 but not in chapter 2. The content of chapter 2 is a complement and supplement to chapter 1. God means for us to combine the content of the two chapters to get a more complete picture of what happened and why.
When did God create the angels?
Job38:4,6-7 “Where were you when I [God] laid the foundations of the earth? Tell Me, if you have understanding… “To what were its foundations fastened? Or who laid its cornerstone, when the morning stars sang together, and all the sons of God shouted for joy?”
In this context, “stars” and “sons of God” refer to angels (Job 1:6; Isaiah 14:12-13; Revelation 1:20). They had to be created before the earth was created, because they were celebrating at the time of earth’s creation. What about the demons? The demons were originally angels. When they later rebelled against God and became evil, they became known as demons. They are led by Satan.
How can we know if the “days” in Genesis 1 are 24 hours in length?
Genesis 1:5 God called the light Day, and the darkness He called Night. So the evening and the morning were the first day.
Exodus 20:11 For in six days the LORD made the heavens and the earth, the sea, and all that is in them, and rested the seventh day. Therefore the LORD blessed the Sabbath day and hallowed it.
First, Genesis 1:5 defines a day as consisting of a daylight portion and a dark portion. It also defines a day as being composed of an evening and a morning. (Stating “evening” before “morning” is consistent with the rest of the Bible, which defines a day as beginning with sundown.)
Exodus 20:11 obviously means literal 24-hour days, not eras of thousands or millions of years.
Furthermore, biological interdependence (including countless examples of a symbiotic relationship between two life-forms) necessitates plants and animals being created at approximately the same time. For example, plants were created on the third day, while insects were created on the sixth day. Flowering plants require pollinators (insects, including bees) to carry out pollination, which is essential to the production of fruit and seeds, which are necessary for reproduction. These plants would not have survived beyond one growing season without pollination.
How could there be light on the first day when the sun, moon and stars were not created until the fourth day?
Genesis 1:2-3 The earth was without form, and void; and darkness was on the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God was hovering over the face of the waters. Then God said, “Let there be light”; and there was light.
Genesis 1:14-18 Then God said, “Let there be lights in the firmament of the heavens to divide the day from the night; and let them be for signs and seasons, and for days and years; and let them be for lights in the firmament of the heavens to give light on the earth”; and it was so. Then God made two great lights: the greater light to rule the day, and the lesser light to rule the night. He made the stars also. God set them in the firmament of the heavens to give light on the earth, and to rule over the day and over the night, and to divide the light from the darkness. And God saw that it was good.
The Bible never contradicts itself, although we humans often lack total understanding of it. The sun had to exist long before the creation week described in Genesis 1. The solar light and heat would have been necessary for the existence of the flora and fauna during the age of dinosaurs. In Genesis 1:16, the Hebrew word translated “made” (asah) can be translated several different ways, including “had made,” “appointed,” and “set.” We can’t be sure which translation conveys the exact meaning that God intended.
To reconcile these scriptures, here is one logical explanation: The earth was in darkness apparently because of a thick cover of fog and clouds, which is implied in Genesis 1:6-7. By clearing away some of the cloud cover on the first day, God let the light shine through to the earth. Apparently, on the fourth day, the atmosphere was cleared even more, so the sun, moon and stars were visible and humanity could use them to mark seasons, days and years.
Here are additional details from a sidebar on this question from Vertical Thought magazine:
“It’s important to understand that of all the galaxies and planets God created, it is the earth that is the focus of God’s greatest creative works, and therefore the events of the six-day account are described from the perspective of the earth itself, specifically from the vantage point of its surface (where all life-forms will be brought into existence). R.K. Harrison’s Introduction to the Old Testament says: ‘In explaining this phenomenon it must first be noted that the standpoint of the first chapter of Genesis is an ideal geocentric one, as though the writer were actually upon the earth at that time and in a position to record the developing phases of created life as he experienced them. From such a standpoint the heavenly bodies would only become visible when the dense cloud-covering of the earth had dispersed to a large extent’ (p. 554)…
“Now we come to the fourth day: ‘Then God said, “Let there be lights in the firmament of the heavens to divide the day from the night”‘ (verse 14). On this day the atmosphere is further cleared so that from the observation point of the earth’s surface, the sun, moon and stars are now clearly distinguishable in the sky. ‘Let there be’ is not a statement of the initial creation, but a statement of appearance. This passage tells us that these celestial objects were allowed to be visible so that they could serve people as markers of signs, seasons, days and years.”
What happened on the seventh day of creation?
Genesis 2:2-3 And on the seventh day God ended His work which He had done, and He rested on the seventh day from all His work which He had done. Then God blessed the seventh day and sanctified it, because in it He rested from all His work which God had created and made.
Mark 2:27 And He [Jesus] said to them, “The Sabbath was made for man, and not man for the Sabbath.”
God “sanctified” the seventh day by resting on it. Sanctify means “to set something apart as sacred or holy.” In doing this, God made the seventh day of every week, throughout time, a weekly holy day. Later on, it became known specifically as the “Sabbath” (Exodus 16:23-30). Since God defines a day as extending from sundown to sundown, the Sabbath extends from Friday sundown to Saturday sundown. He made it for the benefit of “man”—all humanity—not just for the Jews, as some people claim. It is a day for all humanity to worship our Creator and celebrate His creation (Exodus 20:8-11).
The weekly cycle of seven days has continued ever since. Sabbath keepers, including the Jews, have not been confused about which day is the seventh day, just as Sunday-keeping churches are not confused about which day is the first day of the week.