1. God created the earth on the first day, and formed the earth on subsequent days by creating various components.
2. There is an order to the Creation that even secular science affirms, although it corrupts some of the details - for instance, the theory (and it is a theory, although a dumb one!) of evolution has the order right, but it errs in its conclusions and timeframe.
3. From the point of Day Six, man is the focus of the Genesis narrative.
As we begin looking at verses 1-2 of Chapter Two, one thing sticks out that we see in verse 2 - "and He rested on the seventh day from all His work which He had done." Upon first reading this, the reader wonders, "why did God rest - does He tire?" I mean, this does seem odd considering the attributes of God, and one of them is that He is not bound by limitations that we have as human beings. So, what does this mean, that "God rested?" First, it must be understood that God doesn't weary - as noted, He transcends the physical limitations that we are subject to. Second, when we look at what the Church Fathers had to say, one thing that sticks out here is St. Ephrem (Mor Aprem) notes when he wrote in one of his works that God gives the rest for the benefit of Creation, not as a result of creating. It is further noted in the various writings of Patristic authors that the "rest" is a picture of the Resurrection of Christ, so that means that we again have this Christocentric allegory in the literal reading of Genesis, which in itself again affirms the purpose of the Scripture narrative is to point us to Christ. In the Letter of Barnabas, the author notes this "rest" symbolizes new beginnings - just as the original Creation was a new beginning in a real sense, the Resurrection of Jesus is a new beginning in a spiritual dimension, as we do become new creations in Christ when He saves us (II Corinthians 5:17). It is also worth saying that the Fathers also affirmed that although Scripture says God "rested," His governance continues - Chrysostom notes that "work" is the maintenance of created things. And, as St. Bede the Venerable notes, the lesson for us is that a work that is "good" which is done in life will lead to an eternal rest for us. (References to the Church Fathers here taken from Andrew Louth and Thomas C. Oden, ed. Ancient Christian Commentary on Scripture - Old Testament I: Genesis 1-11. Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 2001. pp. 45-46)
A few centuries after the Church Fathers, St. Lawrence of Brindisi also addressed this in his commentary on Genesis when he reaffirms what we have just concluded in that God's "rest" doesn't denote weariness, but rather is just a practical statement of fact which says essentially that God's "rest" was just a cessation from creative activity (Toth and Warkulwicz, St Lawrence of Brindisi: On Creation and the Fall. Mount Jackson, VA: The Kolbe Center for the Study of Creation, 2009. pp. 99-100). This could be a foreshadowing of the Sabbath too, although the Sabbatarian system would not be formally enacted until the time of the Exodus. God therefore completed His work and didn't add new work at that point - the power of the Creator therefore is again for the maintenance of the created.
As we read on in verse 3, there are two actions God does here:
1. He blessed: Blessing adds goodness to the created endeavor, and His blessing is another way of saying "it is good."
2. He sanctified: The Creation was made holy by God Himself.
And, here is something interesting - St. Ambrose postulates in his writings, notably in his Hexamaeron, that the timing of Creation took place in the spring of the year (Louth and Oden, p. 46). This is contested by Archbishop Ussher, who sets the first day of Creation at October 23, 4004 BC on the Julian calendar, and on September 21st of the same year on the Gregorian calendar, which would set the Creation by that reckoning during what would later be the Day of Atonement on the Jewish cycle (James Ussher, The Annals of the World. Originally published in 1658 and edited, revised and updated by Larry and Marion Pierce. Green Forest, AR: Master Books, 2003. p. 17). Although Ussher makes a good case for timing the Creation at what is essentially the start of the Jewish calendar, to be honest I don't think personally that the original date of Creation was that precise, and St. Ambrose's postulation of a spring setting for Creation is more feasible in lieu of Church tradition. The reason for this is simple too - the spring is generally thought of as a time of new life "springing forth" from a dead earth, and therefore marks the beginning of generation of life (or regeneration in the seasonal cycle). Although honestly we cannot know the exact day and time of Creation, and probably will not know those details until we pass onto our eternal reward one day, it in no way subtracts from the fact that Genesis contains the literal truth of God's creative act. Therefore, being the author of Genesis (traditionally held by the Church to be Moses) didn't specify a date (let's face it - neither the Julian nor Gregorian calendar systems existed at the time of the Creation!) it is not to be the focus of the narrative. We know God created the universe, and the reality of that ties into the overall theme of Holy Scripture and the narrative of salvation history it conveys to us.
As we proceed onto verses 4-6, what we first of all see is something St. Chrysostom in his Homilies on Genesis notes as being the earth in compliance with the Lord's direction and spoken word (Logos) and the focus Chrysostom has here is on the generation of the plant life. God's Logos produced plant life, and those plants were endowed with fertility before even the creation of the sun. This is sort of a summary as well of what was covered in Genesis 1, with some detail added. But, how were these plants sustained before the natural processes of sunlight, precipitation, etc. This passage gives some insight into how God sustained life while He was yet forming the details of the earth.