The Hebrew creation myth describes a world view completely fitting what you would expect of Bronze Age people.
The original Hebrew opens with: "in the beginning, god created the sky and land" (heaven and earth is a mistranslation).
Yahweh places a barrier between the land and the sky, perceived as an ocean, in order to stop the water from falling. I should mention that the word "sky"-"shamaaim" in Hebrew, literally means – "water above".
Yahweh continues to plant trees and grass, but only later creates the sun, moon and all stars of the universe. It is obvious that the ancient peoples had no concept of astronomy, and thought that stars were just "pretty shiny things" that could indeed be created AFTER plants.
The biblical creation myth is a Bronze Age attempt to answer questions about the universe using existing tools of the time. More importantly, the creation myth, Noah's ark, the tower of Babylon and the garden of Eden - are actually compilations of borrowed bits from the ancient legends of the peoples living in Bronze Age Mesopotamia:
Notably the Enûma Eliš creation story, Epic of Gilgamesh, Akkadian epic of Atra-Hasis, the Sumerian "Enmerkar and the Lord of Aratta", and others .
The stories described in genesis are really Sumerian and Babylonian myths, which have been slightly altered, meshed together, and attributed to the hebrew god- Yahweh.
From what we know, Yahweh started out as one of many gods in the Canaanite pantheon of gods, headed by the god "El", also known as 'Elyon'.
Elyon makes a direct appearance in the bible, in Genesis 14. There, Abrhamam assists a priest of the god Elyon – " And Melchizedek king of Salem brought forth bread and wine; and he was priest of God Elion."
It should be mentioned that Elion is often mistranslated in English to "most high", blurring the fact that Elion was the name of the head of the Canaanite pantheon.
It seems that the earliest transcript we have of the bible, also viewes Yahweh as one of many under Elyon. The dead sea scrolls version of Deuteronomy 32, known as the oldest version of the text, says the following:
"When Elion gave to the nations their inheritance, when He separated the children of men, He set the borders of the peoples according to the number of his god children."
Psalms 82 also depicts Yahweh as one of many in the Canaanite pantheon:
"God (yahweh) standeth in the congregation of El; in the midst of the (other) Gods, He judgeth…. (God says): Ye are all gods, and all of you are sons of Elion."
Yahweh was the territorial god of the Israelites, equal among others in Mesopotamia. Genesis 31: Lavan and Jacob sign a pact in witness of the "God of Abraham and god of Nehor." – thus Jaboc views Yahweh as a territorial god, and recognizes the authority of other gods.
Of course, as a territorial god, Yahweh has his own privileges amongst the jewish people:
"Whosoever curseth his God shall bear his sin, And he that blasphemeth the name of Yahweh, he shall surely be put to death."(Leviticus 24) – the bible recognizes other gods, and makes a differentiation in sinfulness when cursing Yahweh or other gods.
Inscriptions found in Kuntillet Ajrud - north-eastern Sainai, dating to the ninth century BC, depict Yahweh as a half calf, half human deity, along with his WIFE- Ashera. Relevant Wikipedia article with sources: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kuntillet_Ajrud
It is known that the ancient Hebrews worshipped many gods, as the Old Testament itself frequently says. The greater part of the Old Testament narrative deals with the people of Israel following other gods, and being punished for it. On one occasion, the Israelites are accused of worshipping the god Baal, culminating in the execution of 400 baal prophets by the prophet Eliyahu. (kings 1:18)
More importantly, the depiction of Yahweh found in Kuntillet Ajrud, as a half calf deity, has led scholars, such as Israeli Professors Avigdor Shanaan and Yair Zakovitz, to the conclusion that a theological division existed between the kingdom of Judea- which viewed Yahweh as a figureless deity, and the kingdom of Israel, which viewed him as a calf deity. It appears that among other reasons, the tearing of the kingdom occurred around this theological question.
Clues to this are found in kings 1: chapter 12, when Yerobaam, king of Israel, places a statue of a calf in his temple and declares that this is the god of Israel who led them out of Egypt.
It is also suggested the whole "golden calf in the desert" story was actually invented by the composers of the bible, who viewed Yahweh as a figureless deity, in order to make it clear to all that Yahweh was NOT the half bull god, as claimed by king yerobaam, and the inscription in kuntilat ajrud. It can also be noted that having lived 200 years in Egypt, the Israelites must have been exposed to the practice of Bull worshipping (the Egyptian god Ephis), which was apparently wide spread- as discovered in the excavations at the Egyptian city of Mof.
The jews living in Egypt were apparently accustomed to worshipping many gods, as is derived from when Moses asks Yahweh "what is your name?" when first speaking with him. (Exodus 3) Later, Moses fights Pharos's priests, who invoke the power of their gods and turn staffs into alligators. Other gods are most definitely real, and powerful.
Even the ten commandments recognize the existence of other gods – " you shall have no other gods before me." Not- "there are no other gods"- but rather, I am number one, fitting a jealous territorial god.
Yahweh is described as god who when desiring- wears human form. He creates man in his own image, he takes human form and fights with Jacob (Genesis 32), appears in human form to Joshua in Jericho (Joshua 5). Moses saw god as a burning bush, but when he went up to mount Sinai with the elders of the Hebrew people, they reportedly saw god in the flesh:
" and they saw the God of Israel; and there was under His feet the like of a paved work of sapphire stone, and the like of the very heaven for clearness." (Exodus 24).
Also, Yahweh walks through Jewish barracks in order to watch over them, but is severely disgusted by uncovered feces (Deuteronomy 23).
Yahweh also seems very similar to the gods of ancient Greece in that he argues with humans as among equals (as he does with Abraham bargaining for Sodom, or with moses bargaining for the lives of the jews who built the golden calf), and even fears them as equals (god fears the tower of Babylon, and fears Adam eating from the tree of life- lest he become like him.)
Yahweh demands sacrifice. He wants menstruating women to slaughter two doves each month, he wants regular sacrifices on holidays and other important personal events. He even demands human sacrifice. Yahweh stops Abraham at the last minute, but doesn't intervene when Yiftah sacrifices his daughter (judges 11: 40-34). Yahweh even had a house – the temple at Jerusalem, which was his physical home on earth.
Another aspect of Yahweh's original Judaism was the absolute lack of an afterlife, heaven, hell, or Satan. Scores are settled here and now, and in case they aren't, the punishment passes to your kids. Hence the phrase – Sins of the father. The biblical narrative describes the "pact" between the people of Israel and God as – "land for servitude". The jews will keep god's 613 commandments (such as the Sabbath, kosher foods, annihilation of certain peoples, infant genital mutilation, etc…), and in return insure their independence in the land of Israel. Thus, the ultimate punishment the jews can and do suffer in the bible is- loss of independence.