Genesis Segment 01 (1:1-2)


It is believed that the actual book of Genesis was first set down in writing by Moses. In Hebrew the book is called בראשׁית bereyshith or “in [the] beginning.” Even though Moses lived c. 1500 BC, and the book of Genesis was written during that time, the Word of God was in existence since before the beginning. The Word was probably transmitted orally until the time when it was written. There is some speculation among textual critics that there may have been another written document from which Moses drew. But if so, it is no longer extant. When he wrote it, Moses was under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, and every word, letter, jot and tittle is in the EXACT order in which God wanted it. There is no error.

Gen 1:1 In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth.

This verse talks about the beginning, that is, the absolute beginning of this world. The Hebrew for “beginning” is reyshith (7225), which means the first in time, place, order or rank. In other words, this is the absolute beginning. The Bible does not tell us how long ago this took place; only that it did. There are those who understand that the world is 6000 years old based on the genealogies of the Bible. There are also those who believe the world to be very old—much older than 6000 years. In fact, many advocate an earth that is millions of years old. Verse 2 will help us to understand more about this.

Gen 1:2 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.

The Spirit of God, or the Holy Spirit, moved gently over the deep waters covering the earth. The word translated “moved upon” is merahepet from rachaph (7363) which literally means to hover softly or to brood. A mother hen broods over her eggs, gently caring for them and keeping the warm and alive. We have similar imagery in this verse. God is brooding over the earth, gently caring for it and keeping it alive. God kept the earth alive to bring mankind into it, which eventually gave us the opportunity to be redeemed by the blood of Jesus. He then prepared Earth for His new creation, man.

There is some speculation among some sects as to the exact meaning of this verse. Those folks say that the first phrase should be read: “And the earth became without form (waste) and void.” The word translated “was” is from the root word, היה, hayah, (Strong’s 1961). In the next few chapters, in every other place the word is used, the various inflections of the word are translated, “became, become, came to pass, come to pass, or let there be.” Thus the supporters of this theory erroneously state that the word here should be rendered ‘became.’ If that were so, then the earth may be very old, and since verse one states that God created heavens and the earth, then this must mean that God destroyed the earth and recreated it. This is the so-called ‘gap theory.’ We do not need to discuss the gap theory here. Information on that theory is widely available through several sources, including the Internet.

There is a big difference between “And the earth was without form, and void” and “And the earth became without form and void.” The implication is that the earth was created at one point in time, period; stop. Then the earth became waste and void. Some think that this thought is borne out by scripture. Their argument is something like this:

The words “without form, and void” are the English equivalent of the Hebrew tohu vabohu, or, according to some transliterations, tohu wabohu, (תהו ובהו). Tohu, (תהו) means “to lay waste” and bohu, (בהו) means “to be empty.” Va, (ו) is the combining form, ‘and’. The phrase tohu vabohu is also used in Jeremiah 4:23-31. There, God details the coming destruction of the world at the end of the age during the Day of the LORD. Since the same phrase is used in Jeremiah, adherents to the gap theory claim Jeremiah was writing about the previous earth before the creation of Genesis 1:2. Of course that is twisting the Scripture by taking it out of context.

Isaiah also gives those adherents another reason to “prove” their theory: (Isa 45:18) “For thus saith the LORD that created the heavens; God himself that formed the earth and made it; he hath established it, he created it not in vain [tohu-empty]; he formed it to be inhabited: I am the LORD; and there is none else.” Again, this is an attempt to prove the theory based on one word that matches Genesis 1:2 and taking it out of context. Some would say that if God did not create the earth empty, but rather to be inhabited, it stands to reason that if the earth became waste and void, then it could not be inhabited. Since it was created to be inhabited, it was not created during the six day creation because it was uninhabited at that time. It was created originally to be inhabited; then for reasons not specified in the Bible, it became uninhabited and waste and void. In other words, the earth was created, and then became waste and void, and then the six-day creation events took place. There are quite a few that teach this idea, but it is an incorrect interpretation of this verse.

Some assert that this interpretation allows for the Earth to be very old. However, let me go on record here. I believe in a young earth and young universe. Of course, the beginning, when God created the heavens and the earth, could have been eons ago. The six days of creation happened a relatively short time ago, that is, somewhere around six thousand years ago, but the creation of earth could have happened at an unknown time. Archaeologists, paleontologists, astronomers, and geologists tell us that the earth is somewhere around three to four billion years old, and I will not argue the fact, for it is fruitless. Many, if not most Paleontologists and archaeologists have an agenda that supports Darwinian or macro-evolution. Therefore their theories are suspect. Additionally, if the earth is indeed very old, that does not mean that Darwinian evolution happened. That would then mean that God created, then destroyed, then recreated. I do not support such an idea. There was no Darwinian evolution and the evidence (or lack of) supports this. Many professional people and scientists are turning to Intelligent Design to describe how the universe came into being. Certainly it is possible, however remote, for the earth to be three to four billion years old, but that is not my belief.

God can do anything He wishes, including making light to be fully set in place over the vast distances of the cosmos all at once. This would give the appearance of light origination many billions of years ago, which is the time it would take for light to reach the earth from the furthest points of space. Yet if God set it in place 6,000 years ago it would only be 6,000 instead of billions of years old. Man’s feeble attempts to explain the universe by allowing it to be of great age, may simply be foolishness to God.

Updated 12-24-2015

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