(Genesis 1:1-2) Without Form and Void

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Genesis 1:1-2 In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth. 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.

The gap theorists have a hard time believing the earth started out on Day 1 as
void and without form before God began fashioning it in six days. They believe it was created fully fashioned in verse 1 and then BECAME void and without form (tohu-va-bohu) because of a judgment pronounced upon the world, supposedly at Satan’s rebellion.

Here is their most often cited passage used in an attempt to prove their theory:

Isaiah 45:18 For thus saith the LORD that created the heavens; God himself that formed the earth and made it; he hath established it, he created it not in vain, he formed it to be inhabited: I am the LORD; and there is none else.

The Hebrew word for
vain is “tohu”. That’s part of the phrase used in Genesis 1:2. So they say, “See, look it says right there! ‘God did not created the earth tohu, so it must have become that way”. On the surface it seems that’s the case, but not if we read the entire 45th chapter of Isaiah IN CONTEXT.

When we do we find out this verse has nothing to do with
how God created the earth but why He created the earth.

Simply put, God didn’t create the earth for the purpose of it remaining empty and lifeless (tohu), He created the earth to be inhabited by man.

Now when we go back and read what was going on in Isaiah 45 we discover that God was talking about restoring His people rather than destroying them, He was pleading with the inhabitants of the earth to
look unto Him and be saved (Isaiah 45:23). In other words God was saying, “Look, I created the earth to be inhabited by mankind, I created it for you. It was never my intention for it to remain empty (tohu). So please don’t make me destroy you from off the face of the earth!”

Isaiah 45:18 has nothing whatsoever to do with some hidden key to the understanding of a mysterious gap between Genesis 1:1-2. It’s just not there.


The next place a gap theorist will go to try and prove that there was another world existing before Genesis 1:2, before the creation of Adam and Eve, is found in the book of Jeremiah.

Jeremiah 4:23-26 I beheld the earth, and, lo, it was without form, and void; 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.

To the gap theorist these verses seal the deal.

I mean when you cut out and paste together Genesis 1:2, Isaiah 45:18, and Jeremiah 4:23-26 it looks like an iron glad case for the gap theory. Genesis 1:2 uses the phase “tohu-va-bohu”, then we see in Isaiah 45:18 that God says He did not create the earth in “tohu”, and then Jeremiah 4:23-26 uses the same phrase “tohu-va-bohu” in connection with cities being destroyed. Looks like God created the earth in Genesis 1:1 and it became void and without form in Genesis 1:2!

EXCEPT for the fact that every one of these verses used to support the gap theory are ripped entirely out of context.

If we simply just go onto the next verse in Jeremiah 4 we discover that verses 23-26 refer to a FUTURE destruction of cities and not sometime in the distant PAST. Check it out:

Jeremiah 4:27 For thus hath the LORD said, The whole land shall be desolate; yet will I not make a full end.

So when God said,
“I beheld the earth and lo it was without form and void…and all the cities were broken down at the presence of the LORD” He was giving a prophetic proclamation of a coming judgment. Judgment upon who? Well, when we read the entire 4th chapter we find that God was foretelling the coming of the Babylonian army who was going to destroy the cities of Judah and Jerusalem. It’s not talking about some supposed cities that existed before Genesis 1:2. CONTEXT, CONTEXT, CONTEXT.


I won’t quote the entire 4th chapter of Jeremiah, you can read it on your own, but I’ll highlight a few verses to help give context to verses 23-26 that the gap theorists have tried to use as evidence. Here they are:

Jeremiah 4:5   Declare ye in Judah, and publish in Jerusalem; and say, Blow ye the trumpet in the land: cry, gather together, and say, Assemble yourselves, and let us go into the defenced cities.

Jeremiah 4:6   Set up the standard toward Zion: retire, stay not: for
I will bring evil from the north, and a great destruction.

Jeremiah 4:7   The lion is come up from his thicket, and the destroyer of the Gentiles is on his way; he is gone forth from his place
to make thy land desolate; and thy cities shall be laid waste, without an inhabitant.

Jeremiah 4:16   Make ye mention to the nations; behold, publish against Jerusalem, that watchers come from a far country, and give out their voice against the
cities of Judah.

Jeremiah 4:20   Destruction upon destruction is cried; for
the whole land is spoiled: suddenly are my tents spoiled, and my curtains in a moment.

Jeremiah 4:28   For this
shall the earth mourn, and the heavens above be black: because I have spoken it, I have purposed it, and will not repent, neither will I turn back from it.

Jeremiah 4:29   The
whole city shall flee for the noise of the horsemen and bowmen; they shall go into thickets, and climb up upon the rocks: every city shall be forsaken, and not a man dwell therein.

Jeremiah 4:30   And
when thou art spoiled, what wilt thou do? Though thou clothest thyself with crimson, though thou deckest thee with ornaments of gold, though thou rentest thy face with painting, in vain shalt thou make thyself fair; thy lovers will despise thee, they will seek thy life.

The same context of the coming judgment upon the cities of Judah and Jerusalem continues on past into the 6th chapter.

Jeremiah 6:8   Be thou instructed, O Jerusalem, lest my soul depart from thee; lest I make thee desolate, a land not inhabited.

I hope by now there is no doubt on your mind that the destruction mentioned in Jeremiah 4:23-26 was still YET FUTURE at the time of Jeremiah’s prophecy.


There is nothing difficult at all about God creating the earth formless and then fashioning it into a completely formed earth over a 6 day period. That’s natural, that’s the way everything works in nature. Things start out formless and then God forms them. For example: In Genesis 2:7 it says
the LORD God formed man of the dust of the ground. God started out with formless matter, dirt, and then formed it into a man.

Think of it like this. When the earth was void and without form and water covered the face of the earth it was sort of like a womb (Babies are completely submerged in water until the day they are born). On Day 3 the dry land came out of the womb when God said, “
Let the waters under the heaven be gathered together unto one place, and let the dry land appear”. In a sense, the earth was born when this happened! And then fully developed over the next few days with vegetation and trees.

An overview would look like this.

1. Earth conceived and placed in a womb (thou-va-bohu)
2. Earth comes out of the womb (waters)
3. Earth becomes fully developed

Here is our video to go along with this post: Genesis 1:1-2 | Without Form and Void

If you are interested, here is a good debate on
Young Earth vs. Gap Theory

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