~ The Earth BECAME formless and void!

Genesis 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.”

“But the earth was in disarray, and empty; and spiritual darkness was upon the face of the demonic realm.”

I am guilty of having read this verse too superficially. Dr. Missler discusses the “Gap Theory”, a concept first proposed Thomas Chalmers in 1814, based on a reinterpretation of the Hebrew in Genesis 1:2. Missler shared this view, but made it clear he was not necessarily endorsing it. At first I took the idea on board, but upon reading the notes in Mum’s Hebrew-Greek study Bible was duly corrected. A discussion with my mother later this afternoon gave me the insight I was looking for.

The Gap Theory

I previously assumed that when God created the heaven and the earth (Genesis 1:1) he simply created a ball of unformed and empty mass, and then proceeded to give it form and order in Days 1-6 (Genesis 1:3-31). It is true the Earth we know today was formed in the “creation week”, but is this the entire history of the origin of our world?

The “Gap Theory”, suggests the angels were created “in the beginning” (Genesis 1:1), rather than during or after the creation week, and that Satan and his angelic (demonic) followers fell prior to Genesis 1:2. Chalmers grounds this theory in the reinterpretation of words used in Genesis 1:2, and their relationship with other passages of scripture.

And the earth was without form, and void;

and darkness was upon the face of the deep.

The word for “was” – hayah – is the same word used in Genesis 19:26 where Lot’s wife was (hayah) turned into a pillar of salt. The implication is that the word hayah is not simply descriptive, but is active. Furthermore, the word “vav” for “and” can also be read as “but” depending on the context. In the Septuagint it has actually been translated this way. Thus Genesis 1:2 could, or should, read;

“But the earth became (or “had become”) without form, and void”.

“Without form, and void” has been translated from the Hebrew phrase “tohu vav bohu“. The words tohu and bohu are also found in Isaiah 34:11, but is there interpreted differently;

Isaiah 34:11 “But the cormorant and the bittern shall possess it; the owl also and the raven shall dwell in it: and he shall stretch out upon it the line of confusion (tohu) and the stones of emptiness (bohu).”

Thus “tohu” can also mean “confused“, and “bohu” can mean “empty”. “Confused” and “without form” share in common a lack of order, in a place where there should be order. Perhaps, then, the text could be read as follows; “But the earth was in disarray, and empty“.

Jeremiah 4:23-26 also uses the phrase “tohu vav bohu“, as follows:

“I beheld the earth, and, lo, it was without form (tohu), and void (bohu); and the heavens, and they had no light. I beheld the mountains, and, lo, they trembled, and all the hills moved lightly. I beheld, and, lo, there was no man, and all the birds of the heavens were fled. I beheld, and, lo, the fruitful place was a wilderness, and all the cities thereof were broken down at the presence of the Lord, and by his fierce anger.”

You will notice that this verse describes the Earth as it would have been at the time of Genesis 1:2;
1. The Earth is described as “formless and void” (or “in disarray and empty”)
2. There was no man
3. There were no birds

What is interesting, though, is that it refers to cities, and what’s more it seems these cities had received judgment from The Lord – “all the cities thereof were broken down (in disarray) at the presence of the Lord, and by his fierce anger”. Perhaps these cities represented the homes of the angels who had fallen.

The word “choshek” has been interpreted as “darkness“, and when we read it we assume this is a natural darkness (i.e. before the creation of natural light), but the word “choshek” is also used in Exodus 10:21 to describe the darkness The Lord brought upon Egypt, which was so dark it could be felt. The word “tehown” has been translated as “the deep“, but is in fact the same word (Greek abussos – abyss) used to refer to the home of demons and evil spirits, the place from which the anti-Christ emerges.

Thus, again, Genesis 1:2 could be read

But the earth was in disarray, and empty; and spiritual darkness was upon the face of the demonic realm.”

Problems & Solutions

My Mum’s Hebrew-Greek study Bible, however, shows the Gap Theory to be flawed. Connsider the words of Exodus 20:11;

“For in six days the LORD made the heavens and the earth, the sea, and all that is in them”

Further, in Job 38:4-7 The Lord asks Job;

“Where were you when I laid the earth’s foundation?
Tell me, if you understand.
Who marked off its dimensions? Surely you know!
Who stretched a measuring line across it?
On what were its footings set,
or who laid its cornerstone-
while the morning stars sang together
and all the angels shouted for joy

It is clear, then, that the angels were created before “the beginning”, and that Genesis 1 is not a history of the origins of the entire cosmos, but just of our world – the “physical realm”. Nonetheless, I believe the reinterpretation of Genesis 1:2 above still has relevance.

Consider this; “Christ came to redeem us of our sin, so that we could qualify for eternal life in heaven, in the presence of God”. A classic evangelism line that we all believe. Now consider this, if Satan and his followers have rebelled against The Lord, then they have sinned. They can no longer be in his presence and thus they have “fallen from the sky like lightning”. Where did they land when they fell?

The Lord cast Satan and his followers into a hell from which he withdrew his presence. “The earth was in disarray, and empty; and spiritual darkness was upon the face of the [demonic realm]” – does this not sound like a description of what Hell could be like? It would seem to me, and my Mum, that The Lord created Earth and withdrew his presence from it, but then upon this he created the Earth we know, as is described in Days one to six. Thus Satan and his followers live in the deep, the abyss, the demonic realm, “underneath” the good but fallen creation we inhabit.

source: http://ajchesswasbibleblog.blogspot.com/2005/06/genesis-12_20.html