"Without Form, and void"
This portion of verse two has become, in the last fifteen years or so, a stumbling block for many. The problem starts when some Bible teachers try to change the word "was" to "became", and try to teach that there are millions (if not billions) of years between verses one and two.
What these teachers say is that God created the heavens and the earth and then somewhere between verses one and two there was a universal disaster that destroyed God's creation and thus the Earth "became" formless and void. This belief is called "the gap theory".
This teaching became popular among those who try to reconcile a belief in evolution with some form of creation belief.
Now, it is true that the word "haw-yaw'" which is translated "was" in the KJV and many other versions, could also be translated "became". In fact, of the 1162 times haw-yaw is used in the KJV, it is translated "became" 66 times. So, it is true that the earth could have "became" formless and void. However, one of the first rules in studying the Bible is to always look at the context of the verse in question. To interpret a word or verse correctly, you must look at what is written before and after it... as well as what is written about the same subject throughout the Bible.
In verse one, we see God creating the heaven (only one heaven) and the Earth. This creation is said to have been "in the beginning" before anything else.
Now, let us look at the last part of verse two. In this portion of the verse we see God's Spirit moving upon His creation.
Then in verse three and following we see God "forming" His creation and adding things to the empty Earth.
There is nothing in this portion of Scripture to suggest that there is a large period of time between verses one and two, or that there was any type of universal destruction that took place between these verses. In fact, there is a logical flow of information starting at verse one (God created the heaven and earth), progressing into verse two (He had not formed or added anything to His creation yet), the last part of verse two (God moves over His creation), and continues through the rest of the chapter, where God adds things to His creation, and shapes it the way He wants.
Secondly, there are no other verses in Scripture that teach a supposed "gap" or that God created another Earth prior to this one. Now, as I have said in prior studies, we don't know when "in the beginning" was. We don't know what God was doing before He created this Heaven and Earth, and, we don't know if God created other worlds or not. We can not discount the possibility because God has always been and will always be. Our Scriptures were written for us, and for our relationship with God. It was not written to tell us everything God has ever done. But, just because there is a possibility that God has created other worlds in the past, we can not try to make a doctrine out of it from Scripture, because Scripture simply does not teach it... and neither does this portion of Scripture.
The conclusion to this study is this: There is no gap between verses one and two of Genesis. It is not implied in the context of this portion of Scripture, nor is it taught in any other portion of the Bible. Simply put, the first part of verse two tells us that the heaven and earth, which were created in verse one, had not been formed yet, nor had God added anything to it yet....it was, simply, "without form and void".
Answer the questions below. If you miss a question, go back and study that portion of the class and then retake the test. Once you have received a 100% you may proceed to the next class. You DO NOT have to submit this test for grading. Only the final test will be submitted.