Land emerges as a prominent theological theme in Scripture from the very first chapter. The Hebrew term אֶרֶץ occurs in Genesis 1 more times than it occurs in most other chapters of the Hebrew Bible. Only four chapters surpass Genesis 1 in number of occurrences (Gen 41 [27x]; Gen 47 [22x], Lev 26 [23x]; Jer 51 [22x]), and only three equal it (Lev 25, Num 14; Jer 44).
The very first verse of Genesis, and thus of the Bible, declares that God created the heavens and the earth [אֶרֶץ], and verse 2 focuses the reader’s attention on the earth. In these opening verses אֶרֶץ clearly refers to the entire globe: the world, the earth. In verse 9 a second sense is clarified. אֶרֶץ may also mean “dry land” as opposed to the oceans. Both these senses occur throughout the chapter, the context revealing which is in view.
The chapter climaxes with the creation of man. Here the narrative slows down, poetic lines are introduced to emphasize the significance of the creation of man in the image of God. In this climatic part of Genesis 1, the land theme remains prominent. Repeatedly in these verses mankind is given dominion over the earth [אֶרֶץ] and over the animals and plants on the earth. Craig Bartholomew comments, “It is important to note that the whole point of Genesis 1 is to present the earth as the context for human habitation, for implacement. The earth is one of the major actors in the narrative, but so too is the human, and one of the motifs of the narrative is how humans are to interact with the earth.” The creation blessing indicates that a significant aspect of this interaction can be described in kingdom terminology.
 Craig G. Bartholomew, Where Mortals Dwell: A Christian View of Place for Today (Grand Rapids: Baker, 2011), 10.