Day One: God creates light. Notice that God merely speaks, and light begins to exist. This brings a huge difference into the creation. I like this quotation from the NIV Study Bible comment on verse 3:
"Light is necessary for making God's creative works visible and life possible.
Here are some verses which the commentary notes offer in support of this idea of 'creation by God's spoken word':
"By the word of the LORD were the heavens made,
Oh, now we are going to have to discuss the 'my goodness, she is taking the bible literally' viewpoint, which would [they think] mean that I have abandoned all of my intellectual properties or become 'fanatical', or worse. Well, as to 'literalness', I do appreciate the fact that sometimes the Scriptures make use of literary devices. For example, when Jesus says 'I am the door,' he is not intending for us to believe that he has hinges. Rather, the intent in that passage of Scripture is to indicate that Jesus is the way/access for us to get to heaven. However, this passage in Genesis gives no indication that we are to read these verses in some 'other' manner. Therefore, it seems that we should probably read the words in Genesis 1 with the normal understanding of them -- a day means a day -- unless we find some actual indication that we should not do so.
Let me give you an example of when we are not to take a passage literally. In Solomon's Song of Songs, Solomon is extolling the beauty of his beloved wife, and he says these things about the woman:
"Your teeth are like a flock of sheep just shorn, coming up from the washing." (chapter 4, verse 2)
"Your neck is like the tower of David, built with elegance; on it hang a thousand shields,..." (chapter 4, verse 4)
At times, there may be things which the Scripture says which we do not understand, or which seem unbelievable or impossible. That should really not be all that surprising to us, unless we are arrogant enough to assume that we know everything, or have enough information to understand every single aspect of our world. I think that it is fascinating, however, that there is not one single thing which the Scriptures say which has conclusively been proven incorrect. Sometimes there are incidents which the unbeliever seizes upon and says, "Aha, look, here is a mistake!", but in time it is always proven that the skeptic, not the Scripture, is wrong. Let me give one example of that:
In Luke 2:1-2, it speaks of a census which Caesar Augustus issued, where he called for a census to be taken of the entire Roman world. Verse 2 of that passage says: