Genesis 1:2 Was there a Long Period of Time Between Verses 1 and 2? Part 1

(Ver 2.1)  This is now Part 3 in the Genesis 1 Bible study series.  If you have not read it from the beginning you should go back and start with “Part 1“.   So far in our study we have not encountered any deep controversial discussions, but then again we have only just now gotten to the 2nd verse in the Bible.  Here is where I believe it begins to potentially change.  I’ve alluded to the fact that many Christians believe that creation took place a short time ago, ranging from 6000 to 10000 years at the most.  I can not disagree with that erroneous belief more strongly than to say there is “No WAY” that can be true based upon a full study of the entire Bible!   While many people like to hang on to a young earth theological theory, because that is what they think the Bible says, I have spent a lot of time looking deeper for the truth in the Bible and I want to discover what God really says happened.  The problem with most young earth Bible teachers is that they do not study the Bible in its completeness allowing God to teach us what else we need to know on the full subject.  So I have spent the time and will try to point you to other verses in the Bible that you need to know about that teaches the earth is much older than 6000 years.  Let’s start by reading the second verse and then continue the lesson:

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.

As you can read in the 2nd verse of Genesis 1, it starts with the statement “And the earth was without form and void…“.  I want to start by saying there are many Hebrew scholars that know the language better than I do.  But, according to some of them that I have listened to, this statement could very easily have been translated as “the earth became formless and void”.  You can see this repeatedly demonstrated by the word usage throughout Genesis 1 and Genesis 2 and many other places in the Old Testament Bible.  The word almost always demonstrates a change from the previous status or state to a new status or state of the given object being described.  In this case in verse 2, the given object is the “earth” and the stated transition is to become formless and void from some other previous state that was not formless or void.  What is the opposite of “formless and void”?  I guess that is what we need to learn today.

This is an incredibly important and informative statement about the condition or state of the planet at that time in the creation of our world and it helps us to establish the reason why God did everything else that He did in the rest of the chapter.  You see, I believe that God gives us the current earth status in verse 2 to differentiate it from from the original earth status from the beginning of creation which was clearly stated to have occurred  in verse 1.  Do you understand that no where in this entire chapter dialog did God ever create the earth by saying “Earth Be” and then the earth was?  This direct omission of creation appears to inform us it did not occur during these 6 stated days of God’s divine work.  Notice how this work took place in Genesis 1.   We will soon observe in the rest of the chapter that whenever God desired to create something that He would speak to the problem area and the the problem area would be bring forth a change, transformation or correction.  This problem of their being no missing earth that was spoken to to cause an earth to be, is a major clue to understanding Genesis 1, did you notice that?  This leads me to believe that the earth was not a problem originally in verse 1 when God says it was created.   What Genesis 1:2 appears to imply, is that there was a potential vast expanse of unstated time in between verses 1 and 2 where something drastic happened to cause the state of the world to become a desolate and uninhabitable planet.  We will soon see verses that will confirm this.  This belief for a  long time has been labeled as the “Gap” theory, but as we continue to study the Bible in more depth, we will discover that God gives us many very important clues that can technically mean nothing else but this gap had to actually occur.

There are several great factual reasons why I do not believe in a young earth theory, but instead of reviewing any scientific evidence and reasoning, let’s just stick with what the Bible says.  You see I am not interested in debating the subject with you and I could really care less about any of your opinions on the subject of when creation occurred.  I only want to know what God has said to us and only that truth will overrule all my opinions and yours.

What does it mean to be “formless” and “void”?  These are actually very important words that help us to confirm what has transpired up until this point in time.  The Hebrew word (H8414) translated as “without form” means to “lie waste”, “a desolation”, “desert”, “wilderness” and “empty place”.  Doesn’t sound very good does it?  The Hebrew word (H922) translated as “void” is a word that means “an undistinguishable ruin” and “emptiness”.  All of these synonymous terms describe an uninhabitable environment after an implied destruction not do they conform to the creation event that was clearly mentioned in verse 1.  This would mean that something must have occurred to cause the earth to become uninhabitable.  I know you can very easily reason away my logic saying God is just transitioning creation from a formless blob of mass to make it inhabitable.  However, I believe that by reading just the first part of this verse and studying the definitions of the words, we can conclude that something catastrophic occurred to cause this situation or state of all matter on the earth to fail and I’ll try to explain why I said that next.

Here is a valuable lesson that will help you with correct Bible interpretation.  No single verse, single phrase or single word in the Bible is “an island” and stands alone by itself.  In other words there are no isolated or independent verses of scriptures in the Bible.  The Bible is ONE BOOK by ONE AUTHOR and He says more than ONE THING in it about the same subjects. We must learn to use the entire Bible to interpret any single verse in the Bible and when we do this by researching the subjects and the words that we find to look for them in other places and this helps us to define them or explain them.  Here is an important fact.  God is the b best Commentator of His own Work.  God explains every problem and issue somewhere else in the Bible to resolve our potential conflicts.  God through His infinite foreknowledge anticipated our every question in His Word and placed them scattered randomly though out the book for us to find like a puzzle solving word search game.    God chose every word in the Bible with great precision, on purpose and by His divine sovereign design.  For example, if we search the Bible for occurrences of the Hebrew word H8414, which is translated as “without form” we will find a very key verse in Isaiah that will shed tremendous light on the subject of what has happened in Genesis 1:2.

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, he formed it to be inhabited: I am the LORD; and there is none else.

You see in Isaiah 45:18, it specifically says that God does not create anything that is “without form”.  I know the word was translated as “vain” in this verse, but it is the exact same Hebrew word and refers to the same state.  So if we are smart just a little bit, we can see clearly that in Genesis 1:1 that when God created the heavens and the earth that it had to have been in an inhabitable state when it was first created in verse 1.  You see God is giving us all a direct commentary on verse 1 of Genesis 1 here in Isaiah.  We only found this verse by searching for God’s usage of the same Hebrew word.   Since God is again speaking of the creation of heaven and earth we know it has direct association and meaning to our study subject.  People who are not thinking correctly try to explain this verse in Isaiah away as being a Genesis 1 transitional phase of the creation account in Genesis 1.  You see because Genesis 1 ends in an inhabitable form, they have reasoned that it first started uninhabitable and then became inhabitable by God’s design.  They have further reasoned that Isaiah is stating the overall summary account of the end of Genesis 1 and that Genesis 1 is the detailed account of how it became this way.  However that logic has some great flaws in its reasoning.

I want to stop here and ask those that believe in a young earth, “Which came first the chicken or the egg?”   Did God create a formless blob of cells and then He spoke to these cells for them to become a chicken or did God create the fully formed chicken that laid the egg that became another chicken?  You see you have to believe in a evolutionary transition  if you believe in a Genesis 1:1 lifeless and formless entity evolving, transitioning or becoming a life form supportable type of truth.  You are trying to mix apples and oranges teaching that you do not believe in evolution but yet embrace an evolutionary concept of lifeless substances becoming life substances and that is clearly an inconsistent approach to correct Bible interpretation.  You see I am forced to believe in a Genesis 1:1 life supporting planet as being a fully formed, inhabitable earth because I also believe in a God that created a fully formed chicken and not a transitional blob of cells that became the chicken.  You of course can believe whatever you like and remain mixed up and inconsistent.

In verse 2 of Genesis 1 it says the earth was now  or became”without form” and “void” and I believe based upon the Biblical evidence in Isaiah that this represents a change of state from the original matural creation state where it was inhabitable.  To deny this is to say that God was not able to create the final product and was forced to create it within phased limitations.  Therefore, we can logically determine that based upon Isaiah 45:18 that something or someone destroyed the original creation inhabitable planet and made it or caused it to become a place of utter destruction.  The only person in the Bible that qualifies for this type of destruction to God’s creation is Satan in my opinion.  Satan is the one that Jesus described in John 10:10 as the thief who had come to “kill”, “steal” and to “destroy”.  That fits the description of Genesis 1:2 very well.

Why would God need to hide an almost random and remote verse somewhere else in the Bible within a major prophet named Isaiah (45:18) in the Old Testament that speaks to us clearly about creation and teaches us a new perspective on the things that we suspected, but yet we did not see in the original writings of Moses in Genesis?   Why did we have to go and search to find this reference if the verse was truly connected to what was written in Genesis 1?  Why did God not just plainly tell us the whole factual truth at the beginning of the Bible?  Why does God do things like this to spread out information?   To me that is truly a mystery, yet God does this by His divine sovereign choice and by His intelligent design of His written Word.  I have suspected that God has hidden this information in the Bible for a couple of reasons.  First, so that we could learn to search for His truth in the word as it says in Proverbs 25:2.  Then second so that He could reveal what was hidden to us at the appropriate time.  Third, I believe that God has hidden the truth in His word to allow any human the right to believe in a lie.  If God would have placed every truth in clear understandable words, no man would have any right to believe anything else.  I strongly believe that we must use the Bible to interpret the Bible, if we don’t, we are merely standing on our own opinions and those aren’t worth anything are they? 


I want to take you to some additional verses found in the Psalms that gives us major insight into the works of God’s hand during creation.  I would recommend that you read the whole chapter but for time sake I will not attempt to teach every verse found there.   Start reading in verse 1 and see God describing His majesty and glory as being first and foremost above all else.   Notice very plainly the order of mention because this reflects what occurred during creation in Genesis 1:1 to the end of the chapter.   The chapter begins with only a description of God the Creator with no other beings that are mentioned to be equal to Him or even in existence.  In verse 4 God suddenly mentions the angels as being created spirits.  Then notice in verse 5 God declares that He laid the foundations of the earth so that it would never be removed but only after the mention of angelic creation that was clearly stated before this fact.  I am trying to make a point that angels existed before the earth existed.  What I want you to see is that now here in verse 5 of Psalms 104 these words correspond to verse 1 of Genesis 1 and that we can now be in sync with the same creation event being described in both from two different points of view.  The stated order is God always existed, then came the angels and then the earth was created afterwards.  Verse 6 is where I want to begin teaching since it is certainly about Genesis 1:2:

  • Psa 104:6  Thou coveredst it with the deep as with a garment: the waters stood above the mountains. (KJV)
  • Psa 104:6  You have covered the deep as with a robe; the waters stood above the mountains.  (LITV)

I just gave you two translations of this verse .  One is the KJV and the other is the Literal Bible translation.  The Hebrew word (H3680) that was translated as “coveredst”  or “covered” literally means to conceal, hide, cover or clothe an object.  We can determine from the statement that the object being covered was the earth.   I then want you to notice that this is a past tense statement declaring it to be a finished work of God.  Yet we clearly look around us today and see the mountains not covered, don’t we?   Then I want you to understand that in order for God to cover the mountains they must first have been uncovered!   Uh oh!  We are learning critical informed details that transpired in Genesis 1:2.  What this description is teaching us is like when I make my bed.  I can take my bedspread and cover the sheets and the mattress and they suddenly disappear because of the layer of covering.  At night I can turn the covers back to reveal the bed and get into it and that is what is being revealed by God in this verse that occurred and in the verses that are about to come.  Let’s read the next verse:

  • Psa 104:7  At thy rebuke they fled; at the voice of thy thunder they hasted away.

Here in this verse there is a direct connect with the subject from the previous verse.  The primary subject of the last verse was the waters that covered, but here God says it was by His rebuke of them that they fled away.  What exactly is a rebuke?  I seriously want you to consider that question before you jump out with an answer.    According to the dictionary a rebuke represents a verbal expression of sharp disapproval or criticism.   Now I want you to think again using God’s commentary on the Genesis 1:2 creation event.   Why would God need to rebuke the waters if it was not how He wanted it in the beginning?  Did God make a mistake at the beginning to have the earth covered by waters?   Would God have created a state of chaos that needed to be rebuked?   Why wouldn’t an all knowing God just have created it right the first time?   Wow, those are great questions.   Perhaps the next few verses will help you find the answers:

  • Psa 104:8  They go up by the mountains; they go down by the valleys unto the place which thou hast founded for them.

This is a description of what occurred in verse 9 of Genesis 1 at the beginning of day 3 of creation and we are technically getting ahead in the Bible study of the rest of the chapter but that is what occurs many times in deep Bible study.   What I am doing is trying to teach you that if you want to find the truth that you are going to have to search for it.  Quit reading one chapter in Genesis 1 and think that you know everything that you need to know.  These are great verses that I am giving to you and I hope that you are seeing what they say.  I think I am only going to give you one more verse in this chapter even though there are others that are applicable to what we need to learn.  Please read carefully verse 9:

  • Psa 104:9  Thou hast set a bound that they may not pass over; that they turn not again to cover the earth.
  • Psa 104:9  You have set a boundary that they may not pass over; they shall not return to cover the earth.

I once more gave you two translations of the same verse from the KJV and the LITV for comparison.   What does this verse say?   Can you read?    What does the term “pass over” mean?  Is that not a transitional statement of before and after?  If the waters passed over the mountains then the mountains were not covered to begin with!   What does the term “again” mean?   What does the term “return” mean?   Both of these translations tell us that the water was not there and then it was there and now it is again not there and will never return again.  Uh oh again!    I mean this teaches us something that is ignored or not known by most Christians.   Did you learn anything from it?  Do you believe God?  Learn to put 2 and 2 together correctly and see how that they consistently make 4 every time.

Let me end this Bible lesson on Genesis 1:2 with another question.   If the “earth” was created in Genesis 1:1 and that Hebrew word translated as “earth” literally means dry land why was the earth’s dry inhatibable land now covered with water completely in verse 2 being totally destroyed and uninhabitable?  I think that is an outstanding relevant question that many Bible teachers ignore or fail to ponder.  I believe the original Hebrew language has demonstrated that the earth was there in the beginning and then changed states to become the formless and void condition that we have observed.  This is clearly what God is revealing in His own commentary on the event that we just read in Psalm 104.   What we need to know next is why did this happen and how did this happen?   Only by attempting to learn can we discover the truth.  The greatest enemy to us knowing the truth is when we believe that we already possess it.  Thanks for studying the Bible with me and we will continue our lesson on Genesis 1:2 in the next lesson.

If you would like to continue to read in the Genesis 1 series you may proceed to “Part 4“. 

About agapegeek

Using the Bible to understand the Bible! Advanced Bible study for mature Chrisitians who want to grow.

Posted on October 10, 2009, in Bible Study, Chapter 1, Genesis and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 3 Comments.

  1. Did you forget a reference? (the random and remote verse that you mentioned?) I would like to say that I just discovered your blog and I am really enjoying your thinking process. I hope to walk through at least Genesis as I think so many Christians have embarrassed ourselves by our childish thinking on the creation process and the greater prophetic picture it was meant to be. Then again, we are a bride in preparation, and I did rather a lot of embarrassing things as a childish young bride…;)


  2. I was reviewing Archive October 2009 using Emphasized Bible. In Genesis 1:2 it says the earth had become waste and wild and in the footnotes talks about “as if there was a previous overthrow”. I accept this view that there is a gap between Genesis 1:1 and Genesis 1:2. I just can’t run away with it yet, until I get a clearer understanding about the light in 1:3 and that in 1:14.


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