The earth was without form and void, and darkness was over the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God was hovering over the face of the waters.
“The earth was without form and void” – what in the world does that mean? How can we have an earth that exists, but has no form?
The Hebrew term for “without form and void” is tohuw wa bohuw , which means that the earth was completely desolate, uninhabitable, a complete wasteland, useless, completely empty
There is a minority of people who believe that this term tohuw wa bohuw means “but the earth had become empty and void”…meaning that at one time in the past, after God created the earth… it wasn’t.
They attribute the fall of Satan, and Satan being cast down to earth, as the cause of the earth becoming this wasteland. This is where the idea that the earth lay in ruins for a long time, billions of years perhaps, comes in.
This is called the Gap Theory. And it theorizes a very large “Gap” in time between when God created the earth, and when Satan fell and turned it into a wasteland, until God once again renews the earth, and does what Satan cannot, which is to create.
My belief is that this may be an attempt to marry the long ages of the universe that science tells us there has been, with scripture.
But most commentators agree that there is no reason to interpret tohuw wa bohuw as meaning “but the earth had become ”. Therefore, I stick with “and the earth was empty and void, and darkness was over the face of the deep”
“Darkness over the face of the deep” Wait, I thought God had already created the heavens and the earth in V1? How can there be darkness if the universe, which is full of light, was already created? And what is “the deep”?
V1 is a summary statement. An introduction. V2 will now provide more details into the account of God’s creation.
As for the deep, there is now strong scientific evidence that earth began as a water world. So what would be in mind here are deep waters. So what is described is in essence, a dark, water world. Which happens to be exactly the way scientists believe the earth started off…a lifeless, dark, water world
Interesting, Psalm 104:5-6 speaking of the earth- You covered it with the deep as with a garment; the waters stood above the mountains.
Until….the spirit of God began hovering over the waters, the face of the deep.
The word “hovering” portrays an image of an eagle/hen brooding over her eggs in the nest. She protects them, incubates them, she covers them with her wings. This is the image that the Hebrew conveys in the spirit of God hovering over the waters
And this will lead us into the next session, where we will begin to take a look at the creation days
The creation week is the source of all sorts of conjecture, disagreement, and even outright disbelief
If you think that I am going to do a quick superficial reading of the creation week narrative, and just hit the highlights that you are so familiar with, and not expose you to some various perspectives and interpretations, you would be very mistaken!:)
Because it is very important to Biblical credibility that we correctly interpret the early part of Genesis. The book of genesis is where many nonbelievers and skeptics have major hang-ups and problems with the Bible. It is where they mostly attack the credibility of the Bible.
So we need to be able to offer credible, rational, answers to these challenges.
And the creation week seems to take on more than its fair share of challenges
Also, it is very important to our own Christian walks to understand that even the first chapters in Genesis provide valuable insight into God’s creation and plan of salvation
1 Peter 3:15 commands us, doesn’t suggest, but commands us, to always be prepared to give a reason, a defense, an explanation for the reason for the hope we have.
We can study the Bible all we want, but if we are not learning more about God, if we are not asking the “so what” questions, and how that applies to Christ, then we are wasting our time.
How is what we are studying pointing us towards Jesus Christ? That is the backdrop on which we need to study scripture.
My goal is to encourage believers in Jesus Christ. Both to encourage current believers in their faith, and to help their faith grow stronger, but also to encourage those who have not yet believed to take a serious, fresh look at the truth claims of the Bible.
And for all of us, remember, and some of us may need to keep this in mind next study, is that the only barrier to truth is the assumption that you already have it.