If Gen 2, portrays God creating things that were already created in chap 1 (i.e. humans, plants), then why state, in 2:2, that God finished and rested from his work of creation? I believe this tension can be relieved if we take 1:1-2:3 as paradigmatic. The heading of Gen 2:4 may lend support for this reading by the initial usage of the toledot formula (generation of, story of, history of). A paraphrase of the heading in Gen 2:4 would be: This is the story of what happened to the heavens and the earth. In essence, 1:1-2:3 presents to the reader God’s creative agenda for the heavens and the earth and 2:4 begins telling the story of what happened to the implementation of that agenda.
The goal of the agenda is the divine rest of the seventh day. In the ancient Near East, divine rest is associated with rule and temple. The ancients understood rest to connote uncontested rule not repose or sleep as we would. They also understood that gods rested or ruled from their temples (cf. John Watlton, Genesis). The creative agenda is about the construction of God’s cosmic temple where he will be enthroned. According to the agenda, God tasks humanity to complete his cosmic temple by conquering all that contests his rule. In the context, the unproductive and uninhabitable state of the earth (connotes death, cf. Jer 4:22-28; David Tsumura, The Earth and the Waters in Genesis 1) stands in opposition to God’s creation. Therefore, God commands humanity to subdue the earth by means of procreation (life conquering death) and exercise of dominion that displays God’s other-oriented rule (not self-oriented, tyrannical or oppressive).
As the story of what happened to the heavens and the earth unfolds, humanity fails to complete the task assigned them in the creational agenda. Death was not conquered (an evident fact to former slaves who were under oppression in Egypt). However, God still decides to work through humanity to conquer death and establish his rule (cf. Seth, Noah, Abraham, Israel, Jesus and his bride). Thus, the seventh day and God’s rest (his uncontested rule of life) is yet to come.