but even if…

Genesis 1:2 – A surprising revelation

P.S. Yes, I’m breaking form by putting my postscript at the top. If you want to skip the head and go straight to the heart of the matter, scroll on down to the bottom… that’s all you really need to know.  :) anj


So far, from Genesis 1:1, I’ve concluded…

There is a God  (Elohim, divine being)*
who, in the beginning  (place in time/space, the first),
created  (shaped, formed, fashioned, chose)
the heavens  (which includes everything beyond earth)
and the earth  (land—anything other than heaven and the highest heavens).
*words in parenthesis are taken from the Hebrew or a paraphrase clarification from my personal understanding.

Now, moving at break-neck speed, let’s look at Genesis 1:2:
And the earth
was (to fall out, come to pass, become, be)
formless (in a state of: confusion, unreality, chaos, desolation, futility, meaninglessness, nothing, waste)
and void, (empty)

It’s always been a bit curious to me that the creation account focuses so heavily on the creation of the earth, which is such a speck in the universe. However, as the dwelling place of man and where most of the action of the Bible takes place, I can understand why this would be. As hinted in the last post, the biblical description of time may not always what we assume. If we take “the heavens” to include the universe, one might suppose the universe existed first, which seems to fall in line with current scientific theory. Next, we come to another curiousity. In Genesis 1:2, the verb translated as “was” hints at the possibility that the earth existed at some previous point as something else, but at this point in time had fallen out or become an empty wasteland. Consider some of these verbs in reference to the creation:

  • Of old You founded the earth, And the heavens are the work of Your hands. – Psalm 102:25 –
    Founded definition: to establish, found, fix.
  • By faith we understand that the worlds were prepared by the word of God, so that what is seen was not made out of things which are visible. – Hebrews 11:3 –
    Prepared definition: (a) I fit (join) together; met: I compact together, (b) act. and mid: I prepare, perfect, for his (its) full destination or use, bring into its proper condition (whether for the first time, or after a lapse). To complete, prepare.
  • The God who made the world and all things in it, since He is Lord of heaven and earth… – Acts 17:24 –
    Made definition: (a) I make, manufacture, construct, (b) I do, act, cause.
  • Worthy are You, our Lord and our God, to receive glory and honor and power; for You created all things, and because of Your will they existed, and were created. – Revelation 4:11 –
    Create definition: I create, form, shape, make, always of God. properly, create, which applies only to God who alone can make what was “not there before” (Latin, ex nihilo, out of nothing, J.Thayer); figuratively to begin (“found”), especially what is habitable or useful.

In my mind, we begin to see a picture here that seems to fall in line with current scientific theory. Perhaps the earth was not habitable for humans – like the rest of the universe as we know it – but God repurposed it, specifically with us in mind.

From Wikipedia: The age of Earth is approximately one-third of the age of the universe…Volcanic outgassing probably created the primordial atmosphere, but it contained almost no oxygen and would have been toxic to humans and most modern life. Much of the Earth was molten because of extreme volcanism and frequent collisions with other bodies… Over time, the planet cooled and formed a solid crust, allowing liquid water to exist on the surface. 


I am no scientist. While all of this is fascinating to me, it begins to hurt my brain a little. And this is when I pull back and ask God if it matters that I understand. Sometimes the only value in seeking these answers is that it shows a heart that wants to better know God and His ways. If we are trying to answer these questions merely to satisfy ourselves, it may be better to abort mission. To be honest, I’ve been considering doing just that with this study of Genesis. I’m feeling that I’m getting so bogged down in dissection, that I’m missing the bigger picture. There has to be a balance of the tension between truth and humble awe. I believe it is at the crux of the two that we experience revelation.

And so I sit at His feet and ask, “Lord, what do You want me to know about Genesis 1:2?”  His answer is often the same when I pose a question like this. It somehow always comes as a surprise, and it never fails to bring a smile to my face and bring everything into focus.

When I think of the Lord of the universe forming a wee planet, with the precise conditions necessary for humans – for me – to sustain life… it suddenly becomes very personal and not at all heady, but quite hearty. :) Yes, His answer makes perfect sense.

“Lord, what do You want me to know about Genesis 1:2?”

His answer, whether I ask Him who, what, when, why or how is simply and beautifully this…

“I love you.”



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