The World “Before” Creation

Genesis 1:2 does a masterful job at describing the world “before” creation. What we mean is that it attempts to speak of what the status of the world is apart from the divine activity. This is, ontologically, an absurd statement, similar to speaking about “how thick is a one sided door?” There is a deception involved in even asking the question, as though we were implying that is was meaningful to talk about a one-sided door, or the world apart from the divine activity.

Given this caveat, what is the world like before the divine activity?

“and the earth was without form and void, and darkness was upon the face of the deep”

Form: The Hebrew word mimics the ancient usage- it means “type” or “species” (1sa. 28:14, Eze 8:10) This sense of “form” has fallen out of use in modern English- as in “what form of animals live there?”

Void: A term used most often in a legal context: marriages are declared void, for example, but it seems more often to mean “lacking” as a sort of thing. “Men void of understanding” are sorts of men that are characterized by ignorance, as opposed to a student or learner, who is also ignorant, but does not have ignorance as a permanent trait.

Deep: The word first means the depths of the ocean, but it comes to mean those things that are beyond comprehension: Job 12:22, Psalms 36:6.

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