One of the priorities for followers of Jesus should be that we not allow ourselves to be stained by the world.
James 1:27 Pure and undefiled religion in the sight of our God and Father is this: … to keep oneself unstained by the world.
One area where we need to be very vigilant is the Creation vs. Evolution debate. The world advocates very strongly for evolution and treats creationism as foolishness; thus, there is pressure on Christians to conform to evolution. If we give in to that pressure and start making the Bible conform to evolution, then we are allowing ourselves to be stained by the world. Genesis 1:2 is a specific verse that requires some vigilance to make sure we aren’t being stained by the world. Let’s look at the verse and see what it actually says, and then I will explain what we need to be vigilant about.
Read Genesis 1:1 and notice the two things that God created first.
Gen. 1:1 In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.
Now read Genesis 1:2. This verse describes what the earth was like at the moment God created it.
Gen. 1:2 The earth was formless and void, and darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was moving over the surface of the waters.
When the earth was first created it was formless, void, and dark. Formless means the earth did not have any land features such as continents, mountains, valleys, hills, rivers, lakes, or streams. Void means the earth did not have any plants, animals, or people on it. Dark means there was no light on the earth. The reason this verse is here is to set the stage for the rest of Genesis 1. God spent the rest of creation week giving form to the earth, filling it, and lighting it.
Here is another way to look at it. When a painter starts a painting, the first thing he does is prepare a blank canvas to work on. That is what God was doing in Genesis 1:1-2. God created the heavens and the earth, and that was the blank canvas upon which He performed the rest of His creative work.
Now let’s talk about what we need to be vigilant about. I have heard some people teach that formless and void means there was a long period of chaos on the earth that lasted thousands or millions of years. In other words, there was a long period of time between Genesis 1:1 and 1:3. The problem with this idea is that the Bible doesn’t say that. Genesis 1:2 does not say anything about length of time at all, it simply describes what the earth was like at the moment God created it, before He performed the rest of His creative acts. Adding millions of years is adding something to the text that isn’t there.
Here’s a question to ponder. Why would anyone advocate that Genesis 1:2 spanned a long period of time? Is there really a good reason to believe this, or is this merely a way to make the Bible conform to evolution? Evolution claims that the earth is billions of years old. If you add up the numbers in the Bible, you come to the conclusion that the earth is about 6,100 years old. Adding a long period of time in the middle of Genesis 1:2 is a way to bring the Bible closer to the idea that the earth is billions of years old. Is there really a good reason to bring the Bible closer to the idea that the earth is billions of years old, or is this an example of giving in to pressure and allowing ourselves to be stained by the world?
The Bible gives some very clear teaching about the origins and age of the earth. People who follow Jesus should hold strongly to the truth presented in the Bible, regardless of what the world and evolutionists have to say, especially since the world and evolutionists treat the Bible as foolishness. Genesis 1:2 is one of many verses that requires vigilance to make sure that what we believe and are being taught is true, and not an attempt to make the Bible conform to the world.
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“Scripture quotations taken from the NASB.”