Genesis 1:1-2

“In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth. And the earth was without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters.”

Some skeptics have attempted to discredit the Bible by asserting that this passage places the original creation of earth as having occurred approximately 6,000 years ago. These critics then point to scientific evidence, which clearly indicates that the earth has existed for billions of years, as “proof” that Scripture is in error. But are verses one and two of Genesis 1 both speaking of the original creation?

The Hebrew word translated “was” in verse two is hayah. According to Strong’s Hebrew and Greek Dictionary, this word may also be translated as “became.” This would indicate the passing of time between the event described in verse one, and the condition that later came to characterize earth as noted in verse two.

Isaiah 45:18 sheds more light on the subject: “For thus says the Lord that created the heavens; God Himself that formed the earth and made it; He has established it, He created it not in vain, He formed it to be inhabited: I am the Lord; and there is none else.” The word translated “in vain” here, the Hebrew tohu, is the same word rendered as “without form” in Genesis 1:2. This decayed state, described in verse two, had not been the earth’s condition in the original creation (verse 1)—God did not create the earth “without form”! The Bible states that God is not the “author of confusion” (I Cor. 14:33), and that His word does not return to Him “void” (Isa. 55:11). Therefore, there must be, and is, a time “gap” of unknown length between verses one and two.

The state of chaos that came to engulf the planet at some point in this time gap was the result of Satan’s rebellion—when the archangel Lucifer became the devil—as this fallen being had previously been in a position of rulership on Earth, with authority over a third of the angels (Isaiah 14:12-15; Rev. 12:4). Also notice the reaction of the angels when God created the earth: “…the morning stars sang together, and all the sons of God shouted for joy” (Job 38:7). Would the angels (“morning stars,” “sons of God”) have shouted for joy if God had initially created the earth “without form and void”?

Genesis 1:1 clearly refers to the original creation of the earth, while verse two begins the inspired record of the re-creation of a ruined surface—a kind of “rebuild” process that made the planet habitable for mankind. This is confirmed by Psalm 104:30: “You send forth Your spirit, they are created: and You renew the face of the earth.”

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