Sunday: Without Form and Void
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“In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. The earth was

Image © Educational Concepts from GoodSalt.com

Image © Educational Concepts from GoodSalt.com

without form, and void; and darkness was on the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God was hovering over the face of the waters” (Gen. 1:12, NKJV).What do these verses reveal about the earth before the Lord began creating life on it?

The Bible starts with the story of Creation, and the Creation story starts with a statement that God is Creator. It then describes the condition of the world when God began to prepare it for occupancy. When the story begins, the planet is already here but unformed, unfilled, dark, and wet. The succeeding verses describe how God first formed the world into an inhabitable place and then filled it with living creatures. The text does not tell us exactly when the rocks and water of the earth came into existence, only that the world had not always been suitable for life. The world became fit for living creatures only because God acted to make it so.

What does Isaiah 45:18 teach us about God’s intention at Creation?

When the earth was first brought into existence, it was unsuitable for life. The Bible says nothing about the time period between the original creation of the rocks and water and the creation of the environment and the creatures. Some scholars think it might have been immediately; others that it may have been after a long period of time.

The simple fact is, we don’t know, nor does it really matter. Whatever the case, the material of the earth was created by God and then, at the time of His choosing, He created a suitable environment for life. The crucial point is that the Lord, who was not dependent upon preexisting matter, used matter that He had at some point already created, something that in its “primeval” state was tohu vabohu (“without form and void”). Then, afterwards, through the power of His word, He created our inhabitable world.

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Sunday: Without Form and Void — 60 Comments

  1. If God created the Sun and Moon in the middle of the creation week, what was the initial light God created on Day One of the creation week?

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    • I am confused as to what earth ("the earth was without form and void") was there initially and what earth was created ("in the beginning God created the heavens and the earth")?. Please can someone assist out my clouded mind.

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      • The Earth In Genesis 1:2 is the one created at the beginning. This means that the Earth God created at the beginning was without form and void that the reason why the week of creation God dealt with giving the form and creatures. The Earth created at the beginning I understand it as the container which was empty and the week of creation has been there to fill the empty Earth.

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      • Saying the earth is without form and void is another of saying I have a boat I am going to build but right now it has no form cause I have yet built it and without void cause it is not there but yet I say I have a boat it is in my mind or planning it is like to have a living soul you have to have a body and the breath of life to have a living soul the subject here is the earth it was said first because it is what the Lord is addressing the earth so when the Bible states the earth was without form or void it plainly means its not there.

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        • dear Robin, i bet to differ from your point about 'without form and void'. this is because if 'void' means not there at all, then how could it have been filled with water. i strongly believe that God created it in the very beginning - Gen. 1:1 - and at a point in time came back to it in its state of 'without form and void' and gave it form and substance.

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      • The initial came from God himself. In Revelation there will be no need for these types of light, again God himself will be the Light in The New Jerusalem (Read Revelaion)

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      • As a sculptor would obtain a large block of marble or an artist stretch a blank canvas, God initially seems to have made the "heavens and the earth". Then came to each world and filled in the details. This is the simple version of what I understand Genesis 1 to be telling us. If we look at the larger planets of our solar system, they seem to fit the description of earth before God said "Let there be light". Jupiter is a large liquid sphere with a very small solid(?) core and an outer layer of gas/fumes. Very deep with no dry land. Only when our questions are answered by God Himself will we know the exact details, that are now trivial compared to the knowledge we need of God's justice and mercy, righteousness and peace. These have met together on our sinful world for all creation to witness, that sin and rebellion might never rise again. Soon the "trivial" matters will be revealed more fully. (no, these matters of true science are not trivia, but compared to our present need, appear trivial for the moment. It's like trying to figure out how the fire got started so you would know who to blame, while your sleeping family are in danger of losing their lives!)

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      • That's a wise question....my two cents on this subject is that the Lord creates something from nothing...remember the story of the Israelites being slaves for 400 years in Egypt? Well, they were reduced to absolutely nothing in their thinking and their faith and that was the time God re-created them into Kings of their own land (of course, with 40 years of boot-camp in the desert to transform them first). The truth is that there's nothing new under the sun, what was, is and what is will be. He loves to create new things from the formless and the void!

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    • Paul I would like to suggest the sun as a ball of gases was created in the beginning. Then before He added form to the earth He created light by igniting those gases. On day 4 He assigned the sun, moon and stars a specific purpose of measuring time. I believe the Hebrew will bear me out in this thought.

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      • I would tend to agree with Barry on this. Without writing an essay on the subject, but give a little food for thought; In Job when the meetings in heaven took place and Satan commented he had been walking earth (paraphrased), how could he have returned to heaven AFTER he had been kicked out and banned, so to speak? Not only once but twice? This post as well as Raul Esperante's comments fit so well when considering the earth was without form and void...of course it is only an opinion and has not been validated. I was just following a line of reckoning and reaching a logical conclusion.

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    • Good question! someday we will find the answer, because God revelead thinks like this for us, what is impossible be guided whithout revelation. Perhaps the light was the photon´s creation: the light´s particle.

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      • the story in Job about satan going for a meeting in heaven and his casting out in Revelation are very interesting. note that although satan had been cast out from heaven, he was not totally banished. he still had access to heaven until Jesus victory on the cross - then the last glimpse of sympathy for satan was utterly gone and was finally banished from heaven.

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    • Light is just visible energy. The very manifestation of the presence of God, who is a consuming fire, would have been enough to produce light. It is possible as well for God to have made spoken 'energy' into existence, which would have given light, the way energy in a bulb, or super-heated metal gives light. Did He then incorporate this energy into the stars and sun of our solar system? Possible. I don't want to over-speculate. I think the vital point to note here, is that the sun is not the beginning of creation; so Sunday is not the sun's day. Nor is the sun responsible for lighting our universe initially: God is. This text is a blow to sun worhshippers, if nothing else. In heaven the rest will be made clear. Hope I was able to help

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      • I like your statement that Sunday is not "the suns day" and the fact that the sun was not created on Sunday reiterates that point.

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    • Some ideas from a scientist who has looked at this subject for many years:

      1) the light of the first day: we really don;t know what it was, and theologians don't agree and scientists either. Actually it's not important. Light is a form of energy anyway, whether we see it or not. Some suggest that God created the light on the first day but it couldn't be seen because clouds covered the earth. It's possible, and the Bible text is neutral about it. For John, truth and Jesus are light (John 1). Creation scientists don't have a particular problem with this issue.

      2) the earth was without form and void. This has to do with the Hebrew mentality: for them the desert was something like that too, because deserts are barren of life (we know that's not scientifically true, but is true in the general sense compared to the abundant life occurring in other environments). So for the Hebrew, the original earth before creation was barren of life, thus void and without form. Also remember that there were no continents, and the Hebrews were also not good friends of large oceanic expanses (e.g the Mediterranean). the expression is a way to say that the planet was a uniform body of water (at least the visible part of it) and no life existed on it.

      3) meaning of days: almost all Hebrew scholars and theologians agree that the days of Genesis were what we know today as days, that is, periods of 24 hours, contiguous and continuous. So Moses was referring to a literal week of 6+1 days. The problem is that some scholars say that EVEN THOUGH those are 24-hour days, they DO NOT REPRESENT literal days, but thousands or millions of years. They do so DESPITE the overwhelming Scriptural evidence for literal days. Other choose to say that the literal days were days of "Revelation", when Moses received the revealed truth, but that the actual periods were much longer in the kind of evolution periods. All these interpretations are foreign tot he text. One can come up with whatever interpretations one wants, but the text is clear about the length of time and its implications.

      4) the GAP theory: how long between day one and day two or three? Some say that God created the entire universe within the creation week. Other say there is gap between day one and day two, a gap perhaps of thousands or millions of years. Both interpretations are valid, although the gap hypothesis would male more sense considering the light of stars that takes long time to arrive, and other astronomical issues. Also, EG White talks about the great controversy in heaven, which apparently started before creations, and also she speaks about other worlds that have not sinned were there when God created this planet. Finally there are several references in the book of Job about that.

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      • On the subject of light, we know that there were evenings and mornings before the sun was actually created, and that on the first day God said "let there be light". It is true that light is energy. It is also true that God is light... wherever He is there is Light, but if God said "let there be light", then it must have been something that wasn't there before He said it, so we couldn't equate it with the ever present Light of God. There must be another answer. The next question is, what was the point of the light on the first day, when the sun, moon, and stars would later be created and be the source of light for the earth and those dwelling on it? Did God need light to see what He was doing? Of course not. But we know that there are other beings in the universe, even besides the angels, and I can't help but think that the creation of this world was not something God did in secret. I imagine He wanted the entire universe to rejoice the the creation of this new world, and light was needed for them to see what was happening. (This is pure speculation, but is there a better answer?)

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        • Joyce, I agree with you. If the light created on Day1 refers to God, then God would have to create Himself which does not make much sense, does it. Another notion is that God created light rays, and this is what the Hebrew term (אור) {or} in Gn1:3-5 means. As to your question regarding the purpose of creating light rays on Day1, before sources of light (מאור) {meor} in Gen 1:14-16 were to be created on Day4, I have the following opinion. If God were to create billions of stars that are billions of years away from our planet, how could Adam and Eve see them if the new stars were to generate their own light rays that would need to travel to the earth for billions of years? On Day1 God created star light that people see, and on Day4 He created stars in places where we see the light coming from. The notion that angels needed light to observe what God did during the creation week would imply that they did not see anything before this time.

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    • i believe this does not refer to another light but just that before creation there was complete darkness.it can also mean that the presence of the spirit of God lighted up the atmosphere.

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  2. In the Message translation it says that God spoke, 'Lights! Come out'. perhaps this helps a little - if you notice images from space the sun is powerful but it isn't the 'light' of the universe is it -it was made for planet earth - so the light God says in Gen 1:1 perhaps refers to a bigger light but not not necessarily as powerful as the sun is to earth.

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  3. Gen 1:1 is very clear and unambigious. The earth in verse 1 is the same earth that God created. It did not exist prior to God creating the heavens and the earth. The creation story does not teach a pre-existing earth before God created the heavens and the earthy. Reference to the earth being without form and void is reference the same earth or the one and only earth that God created together with the heavens. I do not see the reference to the earth in verse 1 as reference to any other pre-esting earth and it will be unsafe to speculate that.

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  4. Paul and Joster, you two came up with difficult questions to be answered. I guess I'm not qualified to give a precise opinion about it, but let me try.
    The text says that "there was darkness on the face of the deep", so God activated the forms of light that we see today in places there is no sun, but there are several forms of the light. Some fish that dwell the deepest parts of the oceans, they glow in the dark just like the fireflies do. in addiction, God doesn't work in the dark. He sort of turned the lights on to help all creatures of all worlds to see the great spectacle of his creation. I'm sure there are more to talk about this yet it's clear to me that God should lighten it all up before starting to work.
    As to Joster, I'd say what confuses me a little is not "what earth?", but "what heavens?". Also why heavens in the plural? How many heavens are being talkded about here? Why heavens should be created prior to the earth?
    Joster, God first created the matter out of nothing, which He called earth, later God used the matter to give shape to the earth. It is as if you first created the planks, wooden boards, beams, rafts, battens, slats, floorboards, nails and all the carpentry material necessary to build a house. While they are pilled up on the ground, they are "without form and void", but when you put up the house they have now the form you can call house. So, first the matter next comes the planet and eventually beings to live there. That's what God made.
    I hope I could have helped brothers in Christ!

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    • Gods brightness lit up everything as it will in heaven, in heaven there will be no sun. Will be no need of the sun, for light. There will be no night. God will be the light, is the light. Our earthly minds can not comprehend making something from nothing. Trust me when God was here making the earth his brightness would have been 7 fold brighter then our sun is today now that is bright and if Gods Brightness is greater then Jesus then it may have been millions of millions times brighter then we can ever imagine.

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  5. yes, this earth had to have been Created by God with all the ground-work He

    did in the first three days. there is no way that what we have today just

    sprouted-up on its own. however, we are living in a period of extended

    Judgement by the Grace of God.

    i also wonder if this matter being without form and void covered by water,

    which we call home, was originally intended for. ( as well as the rest of

    the planets in our solar system )

    after the war which raged in Heaven between Michael & Lucifer, the Devil was

    cast-down to this in the form of a serpent to crawl upon the dirt. also, is

    this why the Beast shall rise-up out of the sea during the End Times.

    i just want to be a part of the 144 K so that i may ask Him, personally.

    ( along with everyone that is Resting in Jesus )

    Revelation 21 describe the City of Heaven as 12,000 Furlongs ( long, wide,

    and high..), and walls the a thickness of 144 Cubits.

    1 FURLONG = 660 FEET

    1 MILE = 5280 FEET

    1 CUBIT = ( about 18 INCHES )

    THE MATH :

    12,000 x 12,000 x 12,000 DIVIDED BY 5,280 = 327,272,727.272 CUBIC MILES

    with walls ( 144 x 1.8 " = 216 FEET THICK )

    in My Father's house there are many mansions!

    this sounds like there is going to be enough space in Heaven for every

    human that ever, and will, live! the problem is...do we want to go.

    two will be working in the field..one will be taken-up while the other

    will remain...

    how many can we allow Holy Spirit to Help us bring with us, God Willing...

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  6. Paul- I looove that God made the sun later in the week as He did. :) It I such a non-human method! You and I would have thought, "we'll you HAVE to have a sun to have light, so we have to make it ahead of the plants for the sake of the plants." =D our God created our natural laws (like gravity) but is not restricted by them. (Jesus ascended to heaven, contrary to the law of gravity, but yet allowed it to hold Him on this surface prior to that point during His human stay on this earth.)

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  7. Hi All. I have a question about today's lesson. Some of the paragraphs imply how there is a debate about the time period for creation on the earth i.e. "The text does not tell us exactly when the rocks and water of the earth came into existence ...... The Bible says nothing about the time period between the original creation of the rocks and water....".
    Are we all not certain that God created everything in 6 days? Exodus 20 v 11 very clearly says "For in six days the Lord made heaven and earth, the sea and all that in them is, and rested the seventh day: wherefore the Lord blessed the Sabbath day and hallowed it".
    I believe our lessons are supposed to emphasise our belief in a literal 6 day creation for our planet and somehow the lesson today seemed to just put that aside and imply we cannot be sure or do not even need to be sure about the time as long as we know its God who did it!

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    • The question of really how many days, as we understand days, did it take God to create the earth is certainly valid. And we really can't know without a doubt, I don't think, because of what we read in 2 Peter 3:8 - With the Lord a day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years are like a day. God is not restricted to our laws of time as we know them. So really, we could debate the issue forever, but the bottom line is, scripture tells us He created the earth and all in it in 6 days, whether they be days as we know them or as He does.

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  8. hi Exbiso.. Genesis 1:1 says "In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth"
    I think "the beginning" was not included in the six days creation. The planet was already there just like other neighboring planet. I just wonder why God choose the planet earth to make it habitable. Why not the biggest one, Jupiter!

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  9. I firmly believe in creation as written in the bible, 6 literal days. God created the earth in 6 days. The bible gives no indication of any GAP period. As Christians God expects us to believe His inspired scriptures as written in Exodus 20:11 “For in six days the Lord made the heavens and the earth, the sea, and all that is in them, and rested the seventh day. Therefore the Lord blessed the Sabbath day and hallowed it.” I don't believe in the GAP period between the original creation and the 6 day period establishing life on earth, this contradicts what is written through-out the bible. Here's a link that further emphasis on this matter: http://www.bibelschule.info/streaming/Frank-M.-Hasel---Ellen-G.-White-and-Creationism---How-to-Deal-with-Her-Statements-on-Creation-and-Evolution_24083.pdf

    May God Bless us all.

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    • I believe human language (Moses') and interpretations distorted the supposely a near accurate account of the creation. Anyway, I am banking on Heb 11:1 for my conviction regardless of how limited my brain understands the topic.

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  10. according to isaiah 45:8 God is the creator, He formed the earth, He created it for a purpose and He is the only one who created, formed and made the heavens and earth.

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  11. Don’t let it confuse you. In the beginning He created heaven and earth. He simply created it, but it hadn’t taken shape. Think of it like this, clay was created, but it was just that, clay. It wasn’t shaped into any kind of form or art, it was just clay. So, in the beginning God created the heavens and the earth just like the clay was created, and it was without form and void, just like the clay. Later, just like clay is formed into a work of art, God formed the earth into an inhabitable earth. I hope that makes more since to you.

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  12. Yes I do believe and agree that being Seventh Day Adventist we should stand on our name and believe that God tells us in the bible that it was 6 literal days of creation and rested on the 7th day.

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  13. The 6 days creation is limited to the earth you and me live in. Let us remember that God cannot be restricted by our thinking. There are other worlds that are unfallen and the bible dosent tell us hoe those worlds were created or made. Now to ask God as to why being on the earth than jupiter is to questions His wisdom. God's wisdom is unsearchable, No finite man can entirely comprehend and exhaust the mind of God. In beginning refers to the beginning of the existence of the earth we live in. It does not say that God in the beginning created the matter and the the earth. What is revealed to us is what the all wise God intended us to know. What is not revealed remains a mystery to us. We need to wait until we are saved and have an opportunity to ask Him all the questions that seem to not have answers now. Deut.29:29 is very clear on this.

    The devil has beclouded our minds with theories of this world thus we lose sight of the truth as plainly as revealed in His word.
    Let us take God at His word and avoid additions and subtraction.
    May the good Lord give us insight to understand more of His word. Lord is in the business of saving souls, therefore He would not give us something were "supposing" becomes the order of the day. His will will not lead us where His safety and protection isn't there.

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  14. The question of whether or not there was an unorganized and empty earth in existence for a long time before God proceeded with preparing the earth for life and crated life in six days has been discussed for a very long time. It is a fascinating question, but there seem to be no final answers. It is one of the details that the Bible does not address directly, but there are some indirect inferences. The question also relates to the age of the universe, the solar system, and how long life has been on earth.

    The basis for the question focuses on Genesis 1:1-2. Do these two verses describe the first acts of creation week, or do they describe a dark, earth covered with water that existed here long before creation week. Some believe that these two verses describe the earth as first formed on day one of creation week, while others point out that God’s creative activity for that account does not begin until verse 3, when God first speaks and said “Let there be light.” Some point out that in the Ten Commandments (Exodus 20:11) God states that He created the seas during creation week, but others point out that the statement in the Ten Commandments refers the third day of creation week (Genesis 1:9-12) when God only gathers the waters together and dry land appears. Furthermore, there is no mention of God specifically creating water in the Genesis account, implying that the water was on earth before creation week.

    Three verses in the Bible (Psalms 24:2; Psalms 136:6; 2Peter 3:5) seem to suggest that creation was from an originally wet earth, and Job 38:9 suggests an original dark earth, which fits with the idea of an original dark earth of Genesis 1:2. Of course, as Job points out God was the creator of that original dark earth, but it could have been much earlier. Whether or not there was an original empty dark earth here before creation week, does not affect the fact that God prepared the earth and created life I six days. The seventh day Sabbath is a memorial of those astonishing six days.

    I personally lean towards the idea that there was a dark wet empty earth before the events of creation week, but I am not sure. That idea does help to explain some of the very old radiometric dates we find in rocks, and also their minerals could have been transferred to younger rocks during the great Genesis Flood giving them older dates. For more discussion of some of the Bible texts associated with creation week, see Discussion No. 7 on my webpage: www.sciencesandscriptures.com

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  15. We believe and the Bible confirms the everything God creates is "very good" Gen 1:31. The Bible also says and we "know that everything God does will endure forever; nothing can be added to it and nothing taken from it." Eccl. 3:14. In other words, whatever God creates is PERFECT! However, I really don't get it why, in the first place, God created a place that "was without form, and void" and then shaped it to be a habitable place.

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  16. I have found answer for my own question. I praise the Holy Spirit for guiding me to find answer for this question. The earth that "was without form and void" was like Adam without the breath of God. Thank you Holy Spirit for revealing this to me.

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  17. To me the discussion over when God created the universe and earth is a minor issue that we will no doubt get answers to when we get to Heaven. Meanwhile we need to see the thrust of the Genesis narrative which is to establish our relationship to God and explain why we are in the pickle we are in.

    Our relationship is established by the fact that, "It is He who has made us, and not we ourselves; We are His people and the sheep of His pasture" (Ps. 100:3 NKJV). It is also established by realizing that God has absolute power that can create something out of nothing by a word (or a thought) when He wants and how He wants. He is absolutely sovereign. This sets the whole reason why we worship Him, because He is the one and only creator who made us (Isa 45:5-6).

    We also see in Genesis that when God made everything He made it good and very good. There was nothing wrong with the original creation until sin entered the picture. Therefore God is not the reason why we have problems - sin is. At the time Genesis was written God's people were in slavery, not because God put them there but because of what sin has done and how it affects the choices people make.

    I believe if we keep these reasons for the book of Genesis in mind then all the other issues pale into insignificance and become secondary to what God wants us to understand concerning the controversy.

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  18. The first two verses of Genesis chapter 1, I understand to be a part of the first day of the seven-day week of creation. There was no need for the “gap theory” in Christianity until the end of the eighteenth century when the new science of geology came on the scene.

    Wikipedia records, “Gap creationism (also known as ruin-restoration creationism, restoration creationism, or "The Gap Theory") is a form of old Earth creationism that posits that the six-day creation, as described in the Book of Genesis, involved literal 24-hour days, but that there was a gap of time between two distinct creations in the first and the second verses of Genesis, explaining many scientific observations, including the age of the Earth.[1][2][3] It differs from day-age creationism, which posits that the 'days' of creation were much longer periods (of thousands or millions of years), and from young Earth creationism, which although it agrees concerning the six literal 24-hour days of creation, does not posit any gap of time.”

    This is a nice description from Wikipedia of the “gap theory” of creation. The next paragraphs about its origin and brief history are very revealing as to the human intellectual need for this “gap theory”.

    “Gap creationism became increasingly attractive near the end of the eighteenth century and first half of the nineteenth century, because the newly established science of geology had determined that the Earth was far older than a literal interpretation of Genesis and the Bible-based Flood geology would allow. Gap creation allowed religious geologists (who composed the majority of the geological community at the time) to reconcile their faith in the Bible with the new authority of science. According to the doctrine of natural theology, science was in this period considered a second revelation, God's word in nature as well as in Scripture, so the two could not contradict each other.[4]
    Gap creationism was popularized by Thomas Chalmers,[5] a professor at the University of Edinburgh, founder of the Free Church of Scotland, and author of one of the Bridgewater Treatises, who attributed it to 17th century Dutch Arminian theologian Simon Episcopius. Other early proponents included Oxford University geology professor and fellow Bridgewater author William Buckland, Sharon Turner and Edward Hitchcock.[4]
    It gained widespread attention when a "second creative act"[6] was discussed prominently in the reference notes for Genesis in the influential 1917 Scofield Reference Bible.[4]”

    The inferences of the geological sciences influenced the need to reinterpret the first few verses of Genesis. Is this reinterpretation a more accurate theology or is it bending scripture to accommodate scientific inferences that could be wrong. The Bible and nature have the same Author and there is no conflict of accurate scientific observations of nature and nature’s laws with Biblical truth. The findings of the geologic and fossil sciences are not the problem. The wrong inferences based on naturalistic processes alone without accepting the catastrophist concept of the Noachian flood is a major cause for the conclusion of the old age of the earth (billions of years). The radioactive dating system with the assumption of uniformitarian process is another major contributor to an old earth belief. This inference that the world is indeed billions of years old necessitates that the first two verses or at least the first verse of Genesis 1 be excluded from the creation week in an attempt to harmonize science with scripture.

    If we take all that the Bible has to say about how and how long it took God to create this world and if we understood the limitations of the radioactive dating system, we would not be confused by the inferences of science which I believe are not correct nor see the need for the “gap theory”. We need to remember that God created the earth not in an “infant” state but in a “mature” highly developed state. We also need to remember that God told us to remember to keep the Sabbath holy because, “in six days the LORD made the heavens and the earth, the seas, and all that is in them, and rested the seventh day.” Ex. 20:11.
    Let us ask ourselves two questions.1) Are “the heavens and the earth” in Genesis 1:1 the same structures or matter that God called “the heavens and earth” in Exodus 20:11? 2) Are the six days in Exodus 20:11 the same period of time as the first six days of creation as Genesis 1? If the answer to both is “yes, yes” then the case is proven and closed.

    However, this case can be strengthened by other Biblical evidence. We may have a hard time wrapping our mind around the power of our heavenly Father in creation. The Psalmist tried to help us when he said, “Great is our Lord and mighty in power; his understanding has no limit. Ps 147:5, NIV. Regarding God’s action in the seven days of the creation week the Psalmist declares, “By the word of the LORD the heavens were made, and all the host of them by the breath of His mouth. For He spoke and it was done; He commanded, and it stood fast.” Vs. 6 so the Psalmist adds, “Let all the earth fear the LORD; let all the inhabitants of the world stand in awe of Him.” Vs. 8. And, “the LORD brings the counsel of the nations to nothing; He makes the plans of the peoples of no effect. The counsel of the LORD stands forever.” Vs. 10.

    If God can by the power of His word bring worlds immediately into existence we need not put billions of years between Genesis 1:1 and Genesis 1:3. By faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God, so that the things which are seen were not made of things which are visible. Heb 11:3. God is able, by the unique power of His Word to create something without having to use pre-existing matter or energy. He determines the number of the stars and calls them each by name. Ps 147:4, NIV. Yet we need to understand that combined with His infinite power is the tender care of a loving heavenly Father for, “He heals the brokenhearted, and binds up their wounds.” Ps 147:3, NIV

    Consider these next few verses.

    "You, LORD , in the beginning laid the foundation of the earth, and the heavens are the work of Your hands. Heb 1:10, NKJV

    "Where were you when I laid the foundations of the earth? … When I made the clouds its garment, and thick darkness its swaddling band.” Job 38:4, 9.

    "Have you not read that He who made them at the beginning 'made them male and female.’” Matt 19:4-5, NKJV

    The time of “in the beginning” includes the time when God laid the foundation of the world and when He covered the earth with darkness as with a swaddling band. It is also included by Jesus as the time when Adam and Eve were created. All this is included in the six literal creation days.

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    • Dear James,
      I trust you realize that suggestions that God may have created the matter of the earth in an amorphous form some time before He said, "Let there be light" is very different from the Gap Theory.

      In contrast to the Gap Theory, what Dr. Ariel Roth explained is a difference of opinion between young-earth creationists who believe in a literal 6-day week for the recent creation of this planet and life on it.

      The biblical evidence is not totally conclusive, and there is no point in arguing about it.

      It is best to recognize that we do not know for sure and not impose our own opinions on others. Instead "let us pursue the things which make for peace and the things by which one may edify another." Ro. 14:19

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      • Thank you Inge for helping me be more accurate about the "Gap Theory" The "gap" I was thinking about was the "soft gap" concept Dr. Roth mentioned. I am sorry if I sounded argumentative. It is a weakness of mine. I am sincerely trying to harmonize the creation story in Genesis 1 with the other passages of the Bible and to understand God's power in creation and His loving care for us His creatures.

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        • Thanks for the reply, Jim.

          It still seems to me that the "soft-gap concept" that Dr Roth mentioned is not worth opposing as a Bible-believer, because it does not conflict with anything in the Bible that I know of.

          And the entry from the Wikipedia that you cited actually describes the hard-gap theory (also known as ruin-restoration creationism) which is quite different from what Dr Roth terms the "soft gap concept." Hence the confusion.

          The soft-gap concept does not include a belief in "ruin and restoration" or multiple creations. It only suggests that, since the creation account of Genesis appears to focus on this world, God may have created the matter of the planet and placed it in its proper position in space some time previously. The text seems to allow for that possibility.

          By contrast, the "gap theory" described in the Wikipedia (which was the only gap theory with which I was familiar, before Dr Roth mentioned a soft-gap concept), appears to conflict with the biblical teaching that death on this planet was the result of human sin. (Also see http://www.thegaptheory.com/) It also seems to suggest all sorts of other concepts about God not in harmony with a straight-forward reading of the biblical text.

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  19. We need to keep in mind that there are two gap theories. The one James discusses is called the "hard gap." It postulates that there was abundant life in the past (as seen in the fossil record) on earth long before the events of creation week. The other one called the "soft gap" suggest an "empty" (void) wet dark earth without any life for an extended period before God creates life during creation week. In the soft gap model the fossil record was the result of the astonishing Genesis Flood. Furthermore, you could not have the life of the fossil record without light for photosynthesis. The soft gap fits better with Genesis than the hard gap.

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  20. I hope Dr. Roth doesn't mind but I think his website answers a lot of the questions concerning the Christian position dealing with the age of life on this planet including geologic processes during that time. His website is http://www.sciencesandscriptures.com

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  21. I find this very true as James asks this questions:
    Let us ask ourselves two questions.1) Are “the heavens and the earth” in Genesis 1:1 the same structures or matter that God called “the heavens and earth” in Exodus 20:11? 2) Are the six days in Exodus 20:11 the same period of time as the first six days of creation as Genesis 1? If the answer to both is “yes, yes” then the case is proven and closed.
    “All things were made through Him, and without Him nothing was made that was made.” (NKJV) John 1:3. And, Heb 11:3 “By faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God, so that the things which are seen were not made of things which are visible.”
    I am convinced that I serve God who created everything from nothing for a purpose. He has told me in Ex 20:8-11 "Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy. Six days you shall labor and do all your work, but the seventh day is the Sabbath of the LORD your God. In it you shall do no work: you, nor your son, nor your daughter, nor your male servant, nor your female servant, nor your cattle, nor your stranger who is within your gates. For in six days the LORD made the heavens and the earth, the sea, and all that is in them, and rested the seventh day. Therefore the LORD blessed the Sabbath day and hallowed it.
    And in
    Ge 1:1-2 ¶ In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.The earth was without form, and void; and darkness was on the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God was hovering over the face of the waters.
    God bless all.

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  22. God is real. His very words are a living sword for Life. How powerful and marvelous to see and hear God created something out of nothing. No one can ever do that. But Only God can do it. In life we may say we are nothing but We must know we our God is the Great Creater on through his words we are his.

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  23. I read a book on Genesis 1:1-2 some years ago and it is what has resurfaced in this quarter’s lesson. I need more clarification.The word “was” in Genesis 1:2 I read could also be translated as “became”. The conclusion was that there was a gap between Genesis 1:1 and 1:2. Thus, in the beginning as in Genesis 1:1, God created the heaven and earth, then after a period of time, it became “without form and void” (tohu and bohu).

    One reason why it became tohu and bohu was due to to the sins of the angels or satan who once occupies this earth. But we do not know the length of time between Genesis 1:1 and 1:2. The scietifuc explanation that this earth is millions of years old could be true but we do not know. The Hebrew word translated “vain” in Isaiah is the same “tohu and bohu” used in Genesis 1:2.

    So what Isaiah 45:18 is saying is that it was not God who created the world to be “tohu and bohu”. So the explanation that the sins of the angels which affected the whole creation could be true. Therefore the six days creation was God renewing what he has already created.

    In conclusion, the six days creation is correct but was after God has previously created the earth where the Lucifer was ruling as stated in Ezekiel 28 and Isaiah 14.

    Any comments and clarification.

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    • William, the book you read explained what Dr Ariel Roth called "the hard gap theory." Even though people dreamed this up to attempt to reconcile the Bible and science, it is really inconsistent with the biblical record.

      If we would believe the "hard gap theory," there was plenty of death and destruction before man ever sinned. Yet the Genesis record tells us that death is the result of sin. God created man to live, not die. Only disobedience brought death.

      I'd also like to suggest that we cannot hang so much weight on the weak hook of the meaning of a single word in Hebrew. Although I'm not a Hebrew scholar, I understand that the meaning of Hebrew words is far more influenced by context than English words. And we all know English words that can mean very different things in different contexts. So we cannot establish the precise meaning of a single word without context, and we cannot use the meaning of the word to prove the meaning of the context.

      Further, I believe that the prophetic/symbolic references in Ezekiel 28:1-19 and Isaiah 14:4-21, which we interpret as referring to the fallen angel, Lucifer, do not give us any reason to believe in a hard-gap theory. They easily fit into the belief that Lucifer lived in heaven and lost his lofty position because of pride and self-exaltation. Some day, after the millennium, he will be no more.

      I believe it is possible for the rocks of the earth to have an age that goes back farther than the first day of creation week. It is also quite possible that the dating of rocks, while somewhat reliable for comparative dates is not at all reliable for absolute dates. Rock layers have been re-dated more than once to fit changing theories. And modern rocks with known ages have been dated to be millions and even billions of years old. (Some examples: http://www.creationwiki.org/Radiometric_dating_problems, http://biblicalgeology.net/2006/The-dating-game.html)

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  24. The problem of the "earth" in Genesis comes from the Hebrew word "eretz," which typically means "the land." When translated into English, it is usually translated "earth." We tend to think of "earth" as referring to our planet, but even in English, "earth" can also refer to the soil. It is this ambiguity of meaning of "eretz" that is at the base of the question under discussion here. Genesis 1:1 can be translated "In the beginning God made the land and the sky." It can also be translated as "In the beginning God made the planet and the sky." Likewise, Exodus 20:11 can be translated "in six days God made the sky and the land, the sea and all that is in them." The fact that the land and sea are both mentioned suggests that "eretz" in this verse is referring to the dry land rather than to the planet, while the sea is referring to the watery oceans. In Genesis 1:8, God gives the name "heaven" to the material that separated the water below from the water above, which seems to refer to the atmosphere. Thus, Exodus 20:11 can be understood as referring to the creation of our planetary surface and atmosphere. It can also be understood as referring to creation of the entire solar system. It can also be understood as referring to the entire universe. The point is that different people can understand the same text in different ways because the key words have more than one meaning. My own preferred interpretation has changed over time, and at present, I like the interpretation that the entire solar system was created during the six days. But I am not able to disprove some other interpretations. Sunday's lesson is not to try to tell anyone their interpretation needs to change - but to make the case that others may see things a bit differently, based on a careful study of the actual text. We will find out more when we reach the kingdom, meanwhile, we live by faith.

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  25. Question What do these verses reval about the earth before the Lord began creating life on it? When I think of darkness, I think of sin. EPH 5:8-11 says: For you were once darkness, but now you are the light of the Lord. Walk as children of light. (for the friit of the Spirit is in all goodness, righteousness and truth). Finding out what is acceptable to the Lord. And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather expose them.

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  26. The hard gap theory I was referring to does not refer to plenty of death and destruction before man ever sinned. Man was actually created on the sixth day as the Bible says.

    If you put the book I read aside, the Sunday lesson, talks about a gap theory. It says “the material of the earth was created by God, and then, at the time of his choosing, He created a suitable environment for life. The gap between Genesis 1:1-2 and when the six days creation actually started could be thousands or millions of years. According to the lesson we do not know the answer. I therefore asserted that scientific dating may be correct, it does not mean that they may be wrong in some of their dating.

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    • Hi William,

      Thank you for your reply. I did not understand clearly what your book said. However, after a second reading, I'm guessing that the lesson author and editors would not agree with the suggestion that

      there was a gap between Genesis 1:1 and 1:2. Thus, in the beginning as in Genesis 1:1, God created the heaven and earth, then after a period of time, it became “without form and void” (tohu and bohu).

      The suggestion is only that the matter may have been created earlier as some sort of watery mass, "unformed, unfilled, dark, and wet." The Genesis account tells us how God formed this material (which He created) into the perfect pre-Flood world with myriads of life forms, including man. I believe that there's no theory implied of God previously creating this earth, and Satan and his angels undoing that creation. In fact, the statement that the planet was "tohu vabohu" in its "primeval" state would appear to specifically deny that hypothesis.

      But perhaps the lesson author, Dr Jim Gibson, will speak for himself.

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      • The "hard gap" theory is the theory that the fossil record was produced before the six-day creation in Genesis. The primary explanation is that Satan rebelled against God and either transferred some living organisms from elsewhere or was in charge of an earlier creation on this earth. (Not that Satan could create life, but he could corrupt life created by God.) According to this "hard gap" theory the fossil record is the result of warfare between Satan and God, or perhaps just Satan's corruption of a previously good creation. Then, according to the theory, God stepped in and destroyed Satan's work and re-created a perfect world as in Genesis 1. This theory was popular in the 1800s and early 1900s, but has few adherents today. There is no textual basis for it, despite some attempts to re-word Genesis 1:2 to read "the earth BECAME without form and void." However, this translation (BECAME) is not valid. So from a biblical perspective, this theory has no support at all and is purely conjectural. From a scientific point, the theory would predict the existence of a layer of destruction. The fossils below this layer should be different from those above this layer. Unfortunately for the theory, there is no such layer. Fossil distributions overlap stratigraphically, although there are some fossil horizons, such as the Cretaceous-Tertiary boundary, where a large proportion of the fossil types are abruptly replaced by other fossil types. The lesson does not advocate this theory. Instead, it recognizes the ambiguity over whether the uninhabited world existed for only a moment before light was added, or whether it existed for some extended period of time before the light in Day 1.

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        • Thanks for your comment. I understand very clearly what the lesson advocate. I want to understand the Hebrew word which was translated "was" in Genesis 1:1. In what various ways is that word used in the Bible. The reason why people says it should have been translated "became" is that they refer to Genesis 19:26 and says that same word was translated "became".

          Can you please throw more light on this?

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  27. Brethren we are so loaded with scientific knowledge to the extent we attempt explaining God's ex nihilo creation from a scientific perspective. Lets guard against presumptiously explaining away matters of faith.

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  28. Hello and greetings to all,

    Has anyone tried to understand the darkness that was wrapped around the world before light was created. In Isa. 45:7 God says He creates darkness. Could it be that the darkness before the light of day one of creation was a created thing not just the absence of light.

    The book of Job says that when God wrapped the earth in darkness as a swaddling band after He laid its foundations. A swaddling band is wrapped around a baby for warmth, comfort and protection. If darkness was a swaddling for the earth at creation it must have had some specific purpose.

    If God were present where earth was at creation why was there no light if God is light? Could Ps. 18:9-11 be a description of God's reaction to Jesus on the cross.

    "He bowed the heavens also,
    and came down with darkness under His feet.
    And He rode upon a cherub, and flew;
    He flew upon the wings of the wind.
    He made darkness His secret place;
    His canopy around Him was dark waters
    And thick clouds of the skies." Ps. 18:9-11,NKJV,

    In the ninth plague in Egypt before the Exodus involved thick darkness in Egypt for three whole days while there was light a few miles away for the people of God.

    Ex 10:21-23, NKJV
    "Then the Lord said to Moses, "Stretch out your hand toward heaven, that there may be darkness over the land of Egypt, darkness which may even be felt." So Moses stretched out his hand toward heaven, and there was thick darkness in all the land of Egypt three days. They did not see one another; nor did anyone rise from his place for three days. But all the children of Israel had light in their dwellings.

    God creates darkness for His own purposes. The darkness in Egypt was a supernatural darkness as was the darkness at the crucifixion of Jesus. Ellen White makes the observation in Desire of Ages that God was present in the darkness next to His Son."

    Perhaps we don't fully understand "darkness." I am open for help on this topic.

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  29. God's word is His word. Who are we to question it? Remember Eve as she delved into a discussion with Satan over this same issue (what did God say or not say). Let' us not allow others (scientist/science/man's worldly EDUCATION and thoughts/or traditions) blur our vision as to who GOD is (or) deceive us out of the arc of safety....P.S.: be careful of your sources...Saul went to to witch for his revelations.....are we doing the same

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