Question: Hello again. I have an important question concerning the first earth age. A lot of people say (Gen 1:1) is referring to the creation of the following verses up to (Gen 2:1) where it says thus heavens and earth created... I don't know if I explained that well, basically they say (Gen 1:1) is saying God created the heaven and earth and then (Gen 1:2-31) is recapping that first creation.
What can be said about that? Thank you.
Answer: Thank you for the question Kevin.
It is commonly taught, the 7 days of creation from Genesis 1:2-31 are summed up in Genesis 1:1. It is also taught Genesis 2 sums up Genesis 1. I have to tie in this thought so you fully understand where the line of thinking comes from behind your question.
Now if any of those beliefs were true, they would create a lot of contradictions in the Bible. Moreover, they would disturb the creation order in Genesis 1 from that in Genesis 2. Specifically, plants came before man in Genesis 1, but we have the reverse order in Genesis 2.
Alright, now let’s dive in and I will explain.
Many Bible Scholars state Genesis 1 and 2 each explain a different version of creation, with each version written by a separate author. They call it the P account (Genesis 1) and J account (Genesis 2) of Genesis. There is no proof of this theory.
Many, including myself, strongly reject such teachings. I believe the first five books (Torah) of the Bible were written by Moses with inspiration from God, and any other writings/knowledge that may have been passed down to him.
If the P account and J account (theory) were true, it would make God's Word a lie, and something I personally would not believe in. In fact, the P and J accounts are the basis for the beliefs that you have described.
Now let’s address your Genesis 1:1 question about creation.
Turn your Bible with me to,
In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth.
I believe this verse covers the beginning of creation, not a summary or recap of Genesis 1:2-31.
Why do I say that?
Let’s have the next verse.
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.
Notice the difference here?
In Genesis 1:1 we are told, “In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth”. In Genesis 1:2 we are told, “The earth was without form, and void”.
Now have you ever read anywhere in the entire Bible where God did not create something correctly the first time around?
I mean, that’s what Genesis 1:2 is saying at face value in English. That God created the earth “without form, and void”. So if Genesis 1:2 is a summary of Genesis 1:1, then God created some big mess and called it earth.
Personally, I don’t buy it.
In fact, if you look up the word “without form” you will find it means,
“A desolation” and “a worthless thing”.
Moreover, the word “void” means,
An undistinguishable ruin.
So then, are we really to believe,
‘In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth a worthless undistinguishable ruin?’
Come on, that would be like a contractor building a house that was an absolute ruin. Only to start over and rebuild it correctly the second time around.
Now, do you remember I said this common belief contradicts the Bible?
I think the point above proves that, but we actually have another Scripture that disproves this common teaching of creation.
Turn over with me to,
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.
Ironically enough, this word “vain” is the same exact Hebrew word translated as “without form” in Genesis 1:2. That proves the point, God did not create the earth a ‘desolate’ and “worthless thing”.
So then, Isaiah 45:18 and Genesis 1:1 both explain God created the heaven and earth habitable. However, Genesis 1:2 is certainly not in agreement with both of these Scriptures.
So does the Bible contradict itself then?
Not if you understand the word “was” in Genesis 1:2 should be translated “became”.
Then it brings it all together for us, the text would then properly state,
And the earth “became” without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep.
Now we have no contradiction at all.
The fact of the matter is, God did not create the earth a disaster and play clean up. Instead, God ‘formed the earth to be inhabited’ as Isaiah 45:18 declares.
I mean, it cannot be both ways right?
God could not create the earth a disaster, and at the same time it be a habitable place.
So you might be wondering...
Since God created the earth “habitable”, then why did it become a “an undistinguishable ruin”.
That would open up another can of worms that deals with The Fall Of Satan.
So there we have it.
Now the same Bible teachers telling us Genesis 1:1 summarizes Genesis 1:2-31, are the same ones telling us we all came from Adam and Eve. They are the same folks who explain, Genesis 2 summarizes Genesis 1.
This creates even more contradictions in the Bible.
Personally, I believe the Bible explains that mankind, all of the races were created on the Sixth Day of Creation, not Adam and Eve, (see: Did We All Come From Adam And Eve?).
From the linked study, it seems Biblically impossible. Then we have human biology to contend with. I mean it’s impossible for one single pure race of people to produce other races of people, who then create a new race of people.
Now let me throw in one other idea here.
Bear with me, but it’s to show you the logic of the summarization crowd, no disrespect.
On the Third Day of Creation, we are told God created all of the plants on earth.
And the earth brought forth grass, and herb yielding seed after his kind, and the tree yielding fruit, whose seed was in itself, after his kind: and God saw that it was good.Genesis 1:12
There we have it, no doubt about it. God created all vegetation on the Third Day of Creation.
Now we all know, on the Sixth Day of Creation God created mankind, (Genesis 1:26-27).
So we have plants before man...
Now if we flip over to Genesis 2:1, 4, these verses indicate God was done with His Creation.
Then we have,
And every plant of the field before it was in the earth, and every herb of the field before it grew: for the LORD God had not caused it to rain upon the earth, and there was not a man to till the ground.
Now many scholars will tell you, this verse is just summarizing Genesis 1:11-12. They claim, the reason there were no plants yet, was due to there being no rain, and no man to till the ground.
However, does earth need man to till the ground to make plants grow?
Not a chance.
Stop picking the weeds in your yard for a few weeks and tell me if they stop growing.
And the LORD God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul.
Okay, so here we are.
No plants on earth according to the summary folks, but here we have the first man, Adam.
What happens next?
And the LORD God planted a garden eastward in Eden; and there he put the man whom he had formed.
Now we have plants which becomes the Garden of Eden.
So now we see, Adam comes before plants in Genesis 2. However, in Genesis 1 during the 7 Days of Creation, we have plants created on Day Three and man created on Day Six.
That creates a contradiction.
Yet, if we understand Genesis 2 simply discusses the creation of a separate and specific Garden, for the specific man Adam to live in and maintain...
Well then, we have no contradiction do we?
I wanted to point this out to show you how we have to be careful with our Biblical beliefs. Sometimes we get so caught up in a belief, that we forget what it means for the rest of the Bible.
So how about we summarize this study.
This all helps us understand, Genesis 1:1 records the creation of the heavens and earth which became “without form, and void” due to the Fall of Satan. That led to the destruction of “the world that then was” as 2 Peter 3:6 explains.
Sometime after that event, God established the 7 Days of Creation which brought about “the heavens and the earth which are now”, (2 Peter 3:7).
For a deep dive on this subject, please read, In The Beginning: The World That Was.