In the opening line of the Book of Genesis, it says that in the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. While some hold the view that this statement is a summary of the six literal days of creation, there are others including myself who would disagree. Genesis 1:1 and 1:2 follow a chronological order, and an event clearly seems to have happened between the two verses when Scripture is used to interpret Scripture.
In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. (Genesis 1:1, NASB)
The earth was formless and void, and darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was moving over the surface of the waters. (Genesis 1:2, NASB)
The Hebrew words ‘tohu wa bohu’ are found in the Hebrew manuscripts in place of ‘formless and void.’ When comparing the usage of the words ‘tohu’ and ‘bohu’ in Isaiah 34:11, we can see that it refers to desolation and emptiness.
But pelican and hedgehog will possess it, And owl and raven will dwell in it; And He will stretch over it the line of desolation And the plumb line of emptiness. (Isaiah 34:11, NASB)
Many of the expository and exegetical commentaries on Isaiah 34:11 (Link), recognize that the phrases ‘line of desolation’ and ‘plumb line of emptiness’ refer to the implements of a builder which were naturally used when a partial destruction was contemplated. Elsewhere in the Bible, it also refers to the destruction of cities such as in 2 Kings 21:13, Lamentations 2:8, and Amos 7:7-9.
‘I will stretch over Jerusalem the line of Samaria and the plummet of the house of Ahab, and I will wipe Jerusalem as one wipes a dish, wiping it and turning it upside down. (2 Kings 21:13, NASB)
The LORD determined to destroy The wall of the daughter of Zion. He has stretched out a line, He has not restrained His hand from destroying, And He has caused rampart and wall to lament; They have languished together. (Lamentations 2:8, NASB)
Thus he shewed me: and, behold, the Lord stood upon a wall made by a plumbline, with a plumbline in his hand. And the Lord said unto me, Amos, what seest thou? And I said, A plumbline. Then said the Lord, Behold, I will set a plumbline in the midst of my people Israel: I will not again pass by them any more: And the high places of Isaac shall be desolate, and the sanctuaries of Israel shall be laid waste; and I will rise against the house of Jeroboam with the sword. (Amos 7:7-9, KJV)
As seen, ‘tohu’ and ‘bohu’ are clearly utlilized within the context of destruction as it pertains to the judgement of God. Therefore, it does not make sense for there to be desolation and emptiness in the process of God creating the world, unless some destruction occurred between Genesis 1:1 and 1:2 as a judgement of God.
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. (Isaiah 45:18, KJV)
In this verse, God makes it clear that He did not create the heavens in vain, and that He formed the earth to be inhabited. The NASB translation mentions that He did not create it as a waste place. Something must have happened between Genesis 1:1 and 1:2 that caused it to become formless and void.
I believe that a universal flood occurred between the two verses that filled the heavens and the earth with water as an act of judgement in response to the angels who rejected God. In Job 38:4-7 we see that angels were created prior to the earth, and we know that Satan was already fallen when he tempted Adam and Eve in the garden, so the fallen angels must have rebelled against God sometime in-between.
Where wast thou when I laid the foundations of the earth? declare, if thou hast understanding. Who hath laid the measures thereof, if thou knowest? or who hath stretched the line upon it? Whereupon are the foundations thereof fastened? or who laid the corner stone thereof; When the morning stars sang together, and all the sons of God shouted for joy? (Job 38:4-7, KJV)
In Jeremiah 4:23-28 we see a literary allusion to what happened.
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. For thus hath the LORD said, The whole land shall be desolate; yet will I not make a full end. 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 4:23-28, KJV)
Looking at more literary allusions, such as in Isaiah 14:13-32, we can see that angels like the star of the morning or Lucifer fell and made the world like a wilderness. God’s testing of the angels is related to the desolation and emptiness of Genesis 1:2 because Jeremiah 4:23-28 alludes to Genesis 1:2 and talks about the same wilderness-like situation.
How art thou fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning! how art thou cut down to the ground, which didst weaken the nations! For thou hast said in thine heart, I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God: I will sit also upon the mount of the congregation, in the sides of the north: I will ascend above the heights of the clouds; I will be like the most High. Yet thou shalt be brought down to hell, to the sides of the pit. They that see thee shall narrowly look upon thee, and consider thee, saying, Is this the man that made the earth to tremble, that did shake kingdoms; That made the world as a wilderness, and destroyed the cities thereof; that opened not the house of his prisoners? (Isaiah 14:12-32, KJV)
Furthermore, the anointed cherub in Ezekiel 28:13-15 was in a place called Eden until the day iniquity was found in him. This Eden was presumably on the earth God created in Genesis 1:1, because the anointed Cherub would have fallen around the same time as a Satan fell.
Thou hast been in Eden the garden of God; every precious stone was thy covering, the sardius, topaz, and the diamond, the beryl, the onyx, and the jasper, the sapphire, the emerald, and the carbuncle, and gold: the workmanship of thy tabrets and of thy pipes was prepared in thee in the day that thou wast created. Thou art the anointed cherub that covereth; and I have set thee so: thou wast upon the holy mountain of God; thou hast walked up and down in the midst of the stones of fire. Thou wast perfect in thy ways from the day that thou wast created, till iniquity was found in thee. (Ezekiel 28:13-15, KJV)
Satan most probably did not fall in the same garden as Adam and Eve because Jesus in John 8:44 said that Satan was a murderer from the beginning. The beginning refers to sometime between the beginning of time and the beginning of creation.
You are of your father the devil, and you want to do the desires of your father. He was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the truth because there is no truth in him. Whenever he speaks a lie, he speaks from his own nature, for he is a liar and the father of lies. (John 8:44, NASB)
John 1:1-2 talks about how the beginning refers to the beginning of time when God began to create through the Word. In 1 Peter 1:20 and Titus 1:2 we see that we have had the hope of eternal life from before the beginning of time because of the Lamb who was foreordained to be slain before the foundation of the world.
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. (John 1:1-2, NASB)
For He was foreknown before the foundation of the world, but has appeared in these last times for the sake of you. (1 Peter 1:20, NASB)
in the hope of eternal life, which God, who does not lie, promised before the beginning of time, (Titus 1:2, NIV)
Mark 10:6 talks about how God created them male and female from the beginning of creation, which connects with Genesis 1:27.
But from the beginning of the creation God made them male and female. (Mark 10:6, KJV)
God created man in His own image, in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them. (Genesis 1:27, NASB)
From Mark 10:6 we see that the beginning can also refer to creation of man, however I do not think Satan became a murderer at that point because God said that everything was very good after the sixth literal day of creation as we see in Genesis 1:31. Furthermore, if Satan fell after God finished His creation and rested, the idea that Satan was a murderer from the beginning falls apart.
God saw all that He had made, and behold, it was very good. And there was evening and there was morning, the sixth day. (Genesis 1:31, NASB)
Interestingly, God does not say that anything was good on the second literal day of creation. Perhaps this is because God made the waters above the firmament or expanse as a sea of separation to contain Satan and the fallen angels. Satan was cast out of the third heaven when he fell, but he still had access to the third heaven in order to report to God. At Calvary he lost that access and fell as lightning. Rev 12 does not describe a future event, as I had previously thought, but the same event wherein he was cast down to the earth.
The beginning is also referred to in Matthew 19:8 when Jesus talks about divorce and marriage. This verse simply means that God had a specific plan for marriage even from the beginning of creation which refers to the creation of man.
He said to them, “Because of your hardness of heart Moses permitted you to divorce your wives; but from the beginning it has not been this way. (Matthew 19:8, NASB)
As a young earth creationist with a tremendous amount of respect for ministries like Answers in Genesis, there is something I need to point out. First, my belief in the gap between Genesis 1:1 and 1:2 is not in order to accommodate secular historical science, and second, it in no way compromises the Gospel by putting death before the fall; in contrast with many forms of old earth creationism.
In terms of the age of the earth, while I do not know how much time elapsed between the beginning of time in Genesis 1:1 and the six literal days of creation, I see no reason for it to be a long time. Either way, I believe the six literal days of creation happened approximately 6000 years ago.
In terms of death before the fall, there is no reason to believe that the universal flood between Genesis 1:1 and 1:2 caused any death because the Bible does not tell us that any form of life existed at that point in time, only that there was heavens and the earth. However, it is possible that life existed on that point in time and that the fall of the angels brought death into that world. In any case, we can be confident that death entered into our current world as a result of Adam’s fall like the Bible plainly teaches in Romans 5:12. As such, I am sure that the fossil record is a result of the global flood of Noah’s time found in Genesis 7.
Therefore, just as through one man sin entered into the world, and death through sin, and so death spread to all men, because all sinned– (Romans 5:12, NASB)
2 Peter 3:5 interestingly prefaces comments about the global flood of Noah’ time and the coming judgement by fire, and it mentions how the heavens existed long ago and how the earth was formed out of water and by water. This is exactly what happened after Genesis 1:2 where the Spirit of God moved upon the surface of the waters.
For when they maintain this, it escapes their notice that by the word of God the heavens existed long ago and the earth was formed out of water and by water, (2 Peter 3:5, NASB)