Chris Heard beat me to the punch in coming back to John Walton’s thesis that Gen 1 recounts the dedication of the universe and the assignment of functions to its components over a seven day period, whereas the coming-into-being of the universe and its components is not recounted. Chris does a fine job of pointing out why the thesis is improbable. I look forward to his promised post on ברא, in which he will almost certainly improve on my cursory treatment of that verb in a previous post. For John Walton’s detailed rejoinder to that post, go here.
Like Chris, I also want to emphasize that Walton makes a number of excellent points.
For example, it is true that the coming-into-being of some things is not recounted in Gen 1. In particular, the coming-into-being of a formless earth, of the darkness, and of the waters of the deep (1:2) is not recounted. It is also true that in Gen 1 God assigns a function to every named component of the universe in relation to other named components of the whole.
Still, as I see it, Gen 1 clearly tells of God (1) making things and (2) putting them where they belong (3) for an assigned purpose. As far as the verbs ברא ‘create’ and עשה ‘make’ are concerned, it seems to me that Walton misconstrues their import in Gen 1. To be sure, he is certainly right that verbs like ברא or עשה do not necessarily refer to manufacture. For example, עשה in Ps 104:4 refers to the assignment of a function, not manufacture:
עשה מלאכיו רוחות
Who makes the winds his messengers
But I think it is wrong to suggest that the aforesaid verbs refer to the assignment of a function in Gen 1 except in the case of זכר ונקבה ברא אתם ‘male and female he made them’ in Gen 1:27, where the assignment of function alone may be in view - I would never have contemplated that possibility if I had not read Walton, so I owe the insight to him. I still think it’s close to absurd to think that ויברא אלהים את התנינם הגדלים means something other than ‘God made the great sea-monsters’ (Gen 1:21), but I will leave that example alone in this post.
In my view, a decisive argument in favor of the conclusion that Gen 1 tells of God making things and putting them where they belong in view of their intended function is that that event series, expressed with the verb sequence עשה ‘make’ and נתן ‘put (something in a place)’ in Gen 1:16-17, is expressed repeatedly via the same verb sequence in the instructions having to do with the construction of the Tabernacle (not its dedication) recounted in Exodus. Key passages include Exod 25:17, 21; 25:23, 30; 26:31, 32; 27:1, 5. Cf. 37:12, 13. Likewise, after many chapters in which Bezalel is reported to have made (עשה) the components of the Tabernacle (Ex 36-39), including the table (37:10), it is Moses who puts the table in its proper place (נתן) (40:22). Moses is commanded to ‘consecrate’ (קדש) the altar (40:10) on a separate and final occasion. Somewhat similarly, God ‘consecrated’ קדש) ) the seventh day on which he ceased to make things any longer (Gen 2:3). Just as God ‘finished the work’ (the verb is כלה) on the seventh day according to Gen 2:2, on a day subsequent to the act of making per se, Moses ‘finished the work’ (Ex 40:33) (the verb, once again, is כלה).
The conclusion is difficult to avoid: both Gen 1:1-2:3 and Exodus 36-40 describe the making of and installation of components, as well as the fact that an entire task, on a separate occasion, was properly finished, and in that sequence.
Chris suggests that John Walton’s thesis should read as follows: “Genesis  is not primarily interested in the material structures that allow the functions to operate.” I would put it slightly differently: Gen 1 is not interested in material structures and their coming into being apart from the functions they are assigned. Once the עשה plus נתן sequences in Exodus 25-27 are compared with the same sequence in Gen 1:16-17, it seems clear that Gen 1 tells indeed of God making things and putting them where they belong, in the process of assigning said things a function in the greater whole.
John H. Walton, Genesis (NIV Application Commentary; Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2001); “Genesis and Cosmology” (lecture, 2003, go here); Ancient Near Eastern Thought and the Old Testament (Grand Rapids: Baker, 2006)