God is said to create the heaven and the earth in Gen 1:1, and yet he creates “heaven” in 1:6-8 and “dry land” or earth in 1:9-10. Is this a contradiction?

No. There are various ways of explaining this, but the way that makes most sense to me is that what is created is neither heaven in the sense of the sky (which does not appear until the second day, Gen 1:6) nor earth in the sense of dry land (which does not appear until the third day, 1:9). So what is it? We are told its features, or rather, its lack of features: it is “without form, and void,” it is described as “the deep,” which has “waters” that are evidently not gathered-together “seas” (such seas do not appear, with the dry land, until the third day, 1:10). Indeed, the very fact that “waters” need to be separated from “waters” in order to make a “firmament” or expanse, which is only then (second day, 1:8) to be called “heaven” or “sky,” means that the initial “heaven and earth” are very strange and primordial indeed. Hence, to say that God created “the heaven and the earth” is simply to say that God created the universe.It is possible that we should interpret “heaven” here to mean the spiritual dwelling-place of God, but presumably that existed well before the material universe or “earth” in that sense (this is discussed more below).

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