One of the points we here over and over again by those who oppose the consideration of the theory of evolution on biblical grounds is that we are constrained by the literal interpretation of the Genesis account. I thought therefore it would be good to set forth just what the literal account in Genesis actually is, and show that hardly anybody feels constrained to accept it today, because it calls for a pre-Copernican view of the way the cosmos was created and a pre-Darwinian view of the way life was created. There was nothing, and then God created the formless and void earth; we are also introduced to the waters. Note the first reference is to the heavens and the earth, and then the next reference is to the waters only. Where is the earth? Not specified. The waters, however, are to be identified at this stage with the heavens. There isn't anything else. There is nothing really to distinguish location; there is only the water. Water, of course, is shapeless and adapts itself to whatever shape it's container has. Before there is anything to give it shape, all is undefined. Here nothing is done to the earth or the water; instead, we simply have the creation of light. It is light alone, no source is created; the source is God Himself. We also have the first day taking place; the Hebrews always counted the beginning of the darkness as the beginning of a day and this they trace back to this very beginning narration of the creation itself. Here we have a seperation of the waters. The waters are seperated between that are below the firmament and those that are above the expanse. The expanse is a solid dome that creates a space where there isn't any water. It is our sky. The light comes again, just as before, divinely created by God for the occasion as before. The fact that it is solid is shown first from the derivation of the word and second by how it functions to hold back the water above it. It is pictured as capable of having "windows" in it in later references. The waters above the dome continue to be identified with the heavens that are the abode of God. On the third day, we have form finally given to the earth. The location of the earth turns out to be under the dome of the sky. God causes dry land to finally appear under the expanse, and sets boundaries for where the seas and land shall be. All the plants are caused to grow out of the ground. There is no real problem about light without the sun, because God is still simply causing the light to come on schedule by His direct action. At this time, now, we have the waters under the earth, the earth, the great dome of the sky providing the space for dry land to exist, and the waters that are above the earth. And vegetation. Concerning the earth, Peter wrote: In Peter's interpretation of this day, it would appear that the very water itself is what became dry land in this process. Now we have the lights put into the expanse of the sky. The two great lights, which are the sun and moon of course; and also the stars. These lights now take over the formation of night and day. Seasons are also announced, although of course we'll have to wait for a whole year to unfold to see the seasons come and go in their turns. There is an obvious parallel between day one and day four. Day one saw the creation of light; day four sees the creation of the objects that now give us light. It is unfortunate to see some who claim to be literal interpreters of the Bible spoil the beautiful symmetries here by insisting that some stars were created back on day one. That would be impossible anyway since there was no firmamant to even hold the stars until day two. And on day five, the pattern continues. Where day two saw the separation of the waters below from the waters above, day four sees the waters populated. The space created by the raising up of the expanse is also filled with flying creatures. The final day of creation sees the land - that same land that on day three was made solid and of definate form - even with its living creatures as well. And then we have the culmination of the creation, still in the same day: Man is created, the last of the animals, the only one made in God's own image. God pronounces it all very good. Nothing eats meat yet. That doesn't happen until after the flood of Noah. On the seventh day God rests from His labors. The day is blessed because it gave God rest. Now this is the literal story of creation from Genesis. As for the literal statements concerning the nature of space, nobody believes that part is literally true today. We find ourselves unable to believe there is a solid dome over our heads that holds back the waters above. We find ourselves unable to believe that the bottom of the dome, which would have to be a disk shape, is all there is of the earth. We find ourselves unable to believe that the earth is suspended over waters under the earth. The biblical writers believed all that to be literally true: In addition to the biblical references cited there are extra-biblical writings that describe the world and universe along that line, enough to confirm what the ancients believed. We have the book of Enoch, for example, which was lost in the original text, but we have the syriac translation and a web search will get you an english translation of that. The Apochraphal book of 2 Esdras chapter 6 summarizes creation consistently with the literal interpretation as we outlined it here. But today, we do not believe there is a solid dome over our heads that holds back the waters above the expanse of the sky. We do not believe the sun and moon and stars are luminaries stuck on the underside of said dome. We believe that instead of being a flat disk shape under a dome the earth is a sphere. We believe that the Sun and Stars are great spheres in their own rights. We have all left off from believing the literal story of Genesis. Is this narrative from Genesis that we no longer literally believe worthless? Something to be tossed aside, with no lesson for us today? God forbid! Today we call the writing inspired. We take from it the lesson that God is creator of all. We take from it that God has a plan. We take from it that we are created in the image of God. All this we are assured in our hearts to be true by the Spirit of God as we read, even as we realize the cosmology is a pre-scientific cosmology, and cannot possibly be literally true.