Perchance I should start with so importantly reminding you that the whole theme of literal creation did not necessarily exist as a fact derived from any source that can be trusted without any doubt. How we know that the universe was created was handed down to us by our grandfathers and our ancestors. Basically, the thing about the theme of literal creation is that--very much like all other ideas and beliefs of the ancient times--it has been with humanity so much as a traditionally derived opinion and not as a matter of fact. Then, not unlike all other traditions, beliefs and practices of the ancient times the details in this theme should not necessarily be thought as giving us infallible information. In fact, not unlike all other traditions of the past age, the ancient conception of the created universe has well shown to be inconsistent with recently established facts. We all know how the ancients conceived of the universe as consisting of a flat earth covered with a dome-shaped sky around which there are masses of waters. The sun, the moon and the stars are confined to this dome. Though, we all know how as of late science has dramatically shifted our outlook about the nature and structure of the cosmos. Nowadays we think totally differently about the universe.
But with the Genesis creation record we are not necessarily supposed to think that it's that supposed factual and infallible record of the subject of creation. We are not necessarily dealing with a text that was intended to be read strictly literally. The one issue at the outset is the question of who authored this story. It is very important to know the write of a story and what inspired him before going into the difficult business of understanding the writing. Every one knows that to read Plato or Aristotle you must first be briefed about the political environment of their times.
However, with the author of Genesis, there is no such luxury. The thing basically is that the first eleven chapters of the Bible whence the creation story is found has remained a mystery to scholars for ages up to this moment once the question of who wrote them is raised. Then, there is the second issue about these chapters namely that much of what they seem to discuss is also found in other texts and mythical systems of the ancient era. The theme of creation is almost ubiquitous among all cultures of the world. The story of the flood, the trees of knowledge & of life and that of man, woman and a snake in the garden are all found elsewhere. What have puzzled scholars is what the original source of these themes is. Is there any original source from which all other stories were taken? Did other cultures steal the myths of one group? Did the Hebrew writers of the book of Genesis plagiarize the mythical stories of other cultures or vice versa?
In short, the idea of creation is actually not any God-given fact which any caring God diligently dictated to Moses. No, that's not that way. That God recounted the story to Moses is a popular idea invented by Christians to cover the fact that the author of the Genesis creation myth is categorically unknown.
Note that in this article I am not intending to refute the idea of a literal creation. I am not intending to say God did not create anything. What I am refuting here is that this idea is not a fact. That is to say, it is not based on any source of information that can be trusted at face value. The popular appeal to Genesis for use as the source of this theme is just improvisation. But once we hijack Genesis to answer certain questions which this book is not discussing then we must understand that we are misleading ourselves. Secondly, we are obviously running the risk of corrupting its intended meaning. As of now, no one can tell with any amount of certainty what Genesis was intended for. The fact that the author of the creation myth is unknown means that how we are to read this story is as well not categorically known. There still remains the question of how this story was to be read because there are no instructions on how to read this narrative.
Nonetheless, we all know how the Genesis story has remained problematical once handled literally. Therefore, once this text turns out to be problematical when read literally, then we still have the last obligation to question our propensity to handle it as a literal text. But once there are no instructions on how we should read Genesis creation story and once this account turns out to be problematical when read the one way then we can’t help but attempt alternative readings.
So, given that the biblical theme of creation not unlike all other myths of its times more often poses difficulty once we attempt to read it strictly literally, an observation may be that this story is not intended to give us any historically accurate information. It might have been not supposed to be read literally. Whoever wrote the creation narrative and for whatever reason, the fact remains he may have intended this story to mean something else.