NOW THE EARTH WAS FORMLESS AND EMPTY, DARKNESS WAS OVER THE SURFACE OF THE DEEP, AND THE SPIRIT OF GOD WAS HOVERING OVER THE WATERS. (NIV)
We now move from the total picture that God created the entire universe in Verse 1 and God focuses in on Earth in Verse 2.
There are many different views on when all of these things occured. Lets take a few moments and look at the 3 most popular theories.
SIX LITERAL DAYS:
This is the traditional view that God created all things in six literal 24 hour periods.
THE GAP THEORY:
In between Verse 1 and Verse 2 could be thousands, millions, or billions of years.
In this view the original Earth was beautiful and "became" ruined (formless and empty) by satan and the rebel angels (demons) and was later repaired (re-created) by God in six 24 hour periods.
The Gap Theory says the Earth is "old" but has been "re-created" a relatively short time period ago.
LONG DAY THEORY:
This theory says that God created all things in Verse 1 thousands, millions, or billions of years ago. (Remember scientists say the Earth is older than 4.5 billion years old).
In verse 2 God focuses in on Earth because the conditions are right to "begin" its construction.
In this view the Earth did not "become" formless and empty but this was the condition it was in when God first created the universe.
The Hebrew verb "haya" is sometimes translated "became" instead of "was" in some Bible translations. However, this word is not followed by the Hebrew preposition "la". Only the combination of "haya" + "la" would make the translation "to become". So, the most accurate translation is "was", NOW THE EARTH WAS FORMLESS AND EMPTY... The Earth did not "become" formless and empty but the Earth "was" formless and empty.
Scintists do confirm that this was the initial conditions of the Earth in the beginning. They say the Earth was totally under water and complete darkness enveloped the planet because clouds from the cooling surface covered the surface.
Then when God began each "day" of creation, they were not six literal 24 hour periods but rather six indefinite periods of time. The Hebrew word for day does not have to be translated a 24 hour period.
The Hebrew vocabulary is 1,000 times smaller than the English language so the Hebrew word for "day" "Yom", could mean a 12 hour period, 24 hour period, or any indefinite period of time. In the English language we can say day, years, decade, epic, era, etc.
The Earth was created in six "yom" time periods rather than six 24 hour days.
Regardless of which view you hold, it is clear that there is no better explanation to the existence of the universe than God creating it. There are only two views a person can take: 1) We are created and designed by an intelligent creator
2) We happened purely by evolutionary chance.
The Earth may be young (Six Literal Day Theory) or it may be old (The Gap Theory or Long Day Theory) and it doesn't matter which view you take, the important thing to remember is that the EVIDENCE clearly shows that "evolution" could not have happened!
Also see in Verse 2 that the perspective has changed. Verse 1 looks down from the starry heavens onto all of Creation. Verse 2 looks up from the surface of the Earth to the darkness. The stars could not be seen. Light did not reach the surface of the Earth.
This distinction will be important in the next few verses because the Traditional view has been to see all of creation from the perspective of the heavens looking down on the Earth rather than seeing creation from its surface. This has caused much conflict between science and those who hold the Traditional creationist viewpoint.
God's Spirit was hovering over the "waters" preparing Earth for Life.
Read more articles by Tom Phelps or search for articles on the same topic or others.
You are not staying with your intended focus in this article; you argue the "days" issue, when the number of days it took has not even been mentioned in the first two verses, and you had said you were going to do an in-depth study of each verse. While you do finally get to it, I believe the "days" debate should have been left at least until verse 5. Also, did you realize that the first "day" was after the earth was created, but before God began to give it form? It sort of makes the issue about how long it took to create the earth moot. Your points on "was" versus "became" in verse 2 are very good, and I would have rated this higher had you stayed with that, and any other issues raised by the translation of the verse itself.