DIG: How does this account of creation compare to the first one (1:1 to 2:3)? What differences do you see? What similarities? Why two accounts?
This is the written account of the heavens and the earth when they were created, in the day that the LORD God made the earth and the heavens (NKJ). The word for day (yom) is used without a number attached to it. Consequently, it can be used for a period of time, in this case all seven days of the creation week. However, with a number, it would mean a twenty-four hour day (see http://creation.com/how-old-is-the-earth).
Here we have the first use of the compound name ADONAI, God instead of merely God in the first chapter. In Chapters 2 and 3 the name Lord God occurs 19 times, except in the story of the temptation where only the name Elohim appears. Adonai, God appears only one more time (Exodus 9:30) in the entire Torah. In fact, it appears only 20 more times in the entire TANAKH, mostly in the books of Samuel, Kings, and Chronicles. Whenever God wanted to make a special revelation of Himself, He used tetragrammaton YHVH, which actually means the name. Today, Jews around the world use either Ha’Shem, a more formal name like father used by the ultra-orthodox, or the more intimate name ADONAI, something like daddy. It comes from the Hebrew verb havah, meaning to be or being. Throughout this commentary I have chosen to use ADONAI.This word is almost exactly like the Hebrew verb, chavah, meaning to live or life. The word Elohim may be said to express the general idea of greatness and creative power.41
Therefore, in these next several chapters the compound name ADONAI, God is especially appropriate. For He will make a special revelation of Himself and show His creative power as He fashions the garden of Eden,creates Adam and Eve, deals with the issue of sin and death in the world, and foreshadows an acceptable covering for that sin.