The Earth Becomes “Without Form and Void,” Part 1

Genesis 1:2, part 1  

The earth was without form, and void; and darkness was on the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God was hovering over the face of the waters.

The second verse of Genesis introduces us to the condition of the earth at some point after the creation. Most read this verse and assume that it describes the state of the earth as God originally created it in verse 1. This idea would have us believe that God created a world completely in darkness without any substance and order. The words “without form” and “void” are translations of the Hebrew words tohu and bohu. Tohu and bohu are often paired together in the Old Testament and portray a “place of chaos, formlessness, emptiness, a wasteland” (Brown-Driver-Briggs Lexicon).

The idea that God created the earth as the wasteland of darkness described in this verse contradicts God’s nature and character revealed elsewhere in the Bible. Deuteronomy 32:4 shows us that God’s “work is perfect.” In 1 Corinthians 14:33 Paul tells us that “God is not the author of confusion.” In 1 John 1:5 John reveals that “God is light and in Him is no darkness at all.”

Perfection and a complete lack of confusion and darkness define God and everything that God directly creates. This is the opposite of the state of tohu and bohu we find in Genesis 1:2. In fact, Isaiah wrote authoritatively that God “did not create it [earth] in vain [tohu], who formed it to be inhabited” (Isaiah 45:18).

So if the Bible teaches that God would not have created the earth “without form and void,” how do we explain Genesis 1:2 saying the earth existed in this state after the creation?

Read tomorrow’s Daily Bible Verse Blog post for the surprising answer.

Tomorrow on the Daily Bible Verse Blog: “The Earth Becomes ‘Without Form and Void,’ Part 2.”

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