Genesis 1:2 The earth was without form, and void; and darkness was on the face of the deep.....


Jeremiah 4:23 I beheld the earth, and indeed it was without form, and void; And the heavens, they had no light.

The obvious interpretation being that there was no earth, this being before God created it. However, the exact verbiage appears in Jeremiah. Could someone help me out with the terms and interpretation?

  • The earth was barren and cratered
    – R. Emery
    Commented Sep 22, 2022 at 3:10

10 Answers 10


In the process of answering the present question, I am going to unify portions of my answers to two related questions.

A common feature in various 'creation texts' found in the bible, is that creation begins by God splitting or taming chaotic waters before moving on to the creation of land and animals:

  • Genesis 1.2,6-7,9,etc., as 'the deep' and 'the waters', so that the earth was created between 'the waters above' and 'the waters below' when God spoke it so
  • Psalm 74.13, as 'the sea' and 'the waters' (and metaphorically as 'the sea monsters' and 'leviathan'), which God 'divided', 'broke', and 'crushed' as the first act of creation
  • Psalm 104.3,6-9, as 'the waters' and 'the deep', which uncovered the earth when God spoke it so
  • Job 26.8,12, as 'the waters' and 'the sea' (and metaphorically as 'Rahab' the sea 'serpent'), which God 'binds up', 'stilled', 'shattered', and 'pierced'
  • Job 38.8-11, as 'the sea' with its 'proud waves', which God 'prescribed limits' so that it would 'come no farther' over the earth
  • Proverbs 3.19-20, as 'the deep', which God 'broke open' when he 'founded the earth'
  • Proverbs 8.27-29, as 'the deep' and 'the sea', upon which God 'drew a circle' (more below on this 'circle'), and was 'assigned a limit' when God spoke it so

It was typical in ancient Near Eastern cosmologies that the primordial world consisted of water. For example, in the Enuma Elish, before the creation of heaven and earth, there existed only Abzu and Tiamat, the personifications of freshwater and saltwater respectively. It is the mingling of Abzu and Tiamat, freshwater and saltwater, which causes the birth of the gods, who go on to create the material world. Water was also associated with chaos, so creation coming from Abzu and Tiamat is effectively creation out of chaos. (Relatedly, the first thing to exist in Greek mythology was named Chaos, personifying the primordial 'shapeless heap' from which the first deities came to exist.)

Genesis 1 states 'the earth was a formless void and darkness covered the face of the deep, while a wind from God swept over the face of the waters'.

God has not created anything yet, but the primordial world consists of 'the deep' or 'the waters'. This rings clearly as a creation text beginning the way many ancient Near Eastern creation texts did: creation out of water.

[In The Lost World of Genesis One, John Walton] argues the focus of [Genesis 1] is not necessarily on the physical origin of the universe, but of the origin of 'functions' and 'functionaries'. He begins this by clarifying the meaning of 'formless and void' in Genesis 1.2, from the Hebrew tohu va-bohu (תהו ובהו). By following how these two words are used elsewhere in the Hebrew scriptures, Walton notes they are never specifically used for the physical non-existence of the objects they describe, but rather the non-functional quality of those objects. About half of the occasions tohu is used, it describes the desolate nature of the wilderness or a ruined city.

In other words, 'creation' in Genesis 1 comes about through the ordering of disorder and the assigning of function.


The tohu va-bohu of Genesis 1 and Jeremiah 4 is not the pure non-existence of 'creation ex nihilo', but neither is it a previous creation made and brought to ruin in the span between Genesis 1.1 and 1.2 as the 'gap theory' claims. Instead, tohu va-bohu means something like 'desolate and waste', describing the disorderly and functionless chaos.

Genesis 1.2 portrays the original act of creation, when God brings order to the 'desolate and waste' primordial chaos, and assigns function to that which he creates.

Jeremiah 4.23 poetically describes judgment on Jerusalem, which is depicted as a reversal of creation; the world (of Israel) is brought back to a state of 'desolate and waste' disorder: mountains are leveled (4.24), the skies are emptied of birds (4.25), farmland is made barren and cities are emptied of people (4.26), etc.


The phrase interpreted as "without form and void" in the Masoretic Text appears as "invisible and unfinished" in older Hebrew tests, as witnessed by the Septuagint.

Regarding the Masoretic rendering, Professor Marc Avi Brettler comments:

This clause describes things just before the process of creation began. To modern people, the opposite of the created order is “nothing,” that is, a vacuum. To the ancients, the opposite of the created order was something much worse than “nothing.” It was an active, malevolent force we can best term “chaos.” In this verse, chaos is envisioned as a dark, undifferentiated mass of water. In 1.9, God creates the dry land (and the seas, which can exist only when water is bounded by dry land). But in 1.1– 2.3, water itself and darkness, too, are primordial (contrast Isa. 45.7). In the midrash, Bar Kappara upholds the troubling notion that the Torah shows that God created the world out of preexistent material. But other rabbis worry that acknowledging this would cause people to liken God to a king who had built his palace on a garbage dump, thus arrogantly impugning His majesty (Gen. Rab. 1.5). In the ancient Near East, however, to say that a deity had subdued chaos is to give him the highest praise.

The Jewish Study Bible (2nd ed.) (Kindle Locations 3676-3683). Oxford University Press. Kindle Edition.


The two words "tohu and bohu" תֹ֙הוּ֙ וָבֹ֔הוּ signify the chaotic state of the the earth at the start of creation week in Gen 1:2 (see appendix below). Indeed, the passage in Jer 4:23-26 has several strong parallels with Gen 1 as follows:

23 I looked at the earth, and it was formless and void; I looked to the heavens, and they had no light.

24 I looked at the mountains, and behold, they were quaking; all the hills were swaying.

25 I looked, and no man was left; all the birds of the air had fled.

26 I looked, and the fruitful land was a desert. All its cities were torn down before the LORD, before His fierce anger.

Note the following:

  • Jer 4:23 vs Gen 1:2 - the earth was formless and void
  • Jer 4:23 vs Gen 1:3 - the heavens and light
  • Jer 4:25 vs Gen 1:20 - birds of the air/heavens

Thus, it appears that Jer 4 is a prophecy about the predicted doom of Judah which is compared to the undoing of creation. We find this expressly stated in V27 & 28:

For this is what the LORD says: “The whole land will be desolate, but I will not finish its destruction. Therefore the earth will mourn and the heavens above will grow dark. I have spoken, I have planned, and I will not relent or turn back.”

The is the reverse process described in Genesis 1. Therefore, the verse in Jer 4:23 is definitely parallel to Gen 1:2.

APPENDIX - Tohu and Bohu

The two critical words in Gen 1:2 that are used to describe the earth are:

  • תֹּהוּ (tohu) = formless
  • בֹּהוּ (bohu) = empty

With the earth formless and empty, God proceeds to give form and then fill as follows:

Days 1-3 - Forming or more accurately, Separating

  • Day 1 - Light separated from darkness, day separated from night
  • Day 2 - Waters above separated from waters below
  • Day 3 - Dry land separated from seas/waters

Days 4-6 - Filling and Populating

  • Day 4 - lights placed in the firmament of the day and night
  • Day 5 - fish placed in the sea and birds in the heavens
  • Day 6 - animals placed on the land and man created to work the land.

Thus, the progress of the six days of the creation week follows the simple plan of Gen 1:2, forming and filling the formless and empty.

At the conclusion of each day's activity, God pronounces the work (so far) as "good". However, only when the process is complete at the end of the 6th day does God say that it is "very good".

The implication is that at the beginning of the process earth is "formless and empty" - waiting for the rest of the creation process.

The record of creation in gen has been seen by many as a salvation record: God take an earth that is formless and empty (just like the sinner) and when God is finished the creation process (recreation for a sinner) God pronounces the earth, "very good", just like the saved/redeemed sinner.


From my understanding, this is common among creation stories from that region. The earth was effectively useless and unordered. It existed but not as "The Earth" we know now but rather a primordial earth, a proto-earth. The most prominent features being darkness and water. But God brought order and light to the earth by seperating land from sea from sky etc. and gave them functions.

  • Welcome to Biblical Hermeneutics SE, thanks for contributing! Be sure to take our site tour to learn more about us. We're a little different from other sites. Our community looks for answers to reflect a good degree of research and references. Typically, we like answers that cite scholarly references and/or explain how your interpretation arises from the text. Don't just tell us what you know, tell us how you know it. Commented Jul 29, 2016 at 4:59

This question has been debated vigorously for some time. Many bible scholars of the 19th century believed this showed a gap in time between Genesis 1:1 and 1:2. One of the foremost on this belief was G.H. Pember who wrote a volume called, "Earth's Earliest Ages." But there were many others that thought the same way - that God created the heavens and the earth, and the earth became void. I'm no Hebrew scholar, but Pember says that "became without form" is the proper translation.

His thesis therefore is that after God created things perfectly, something happened to ruin the earth. He then goes on to say that it was Lucifer and his angels who ruled the earth and caused it to become void. According to this view, there is a huge span of time between the first and second verses of Genesis, and then God came in, in verse 3 to recover the situation.

Many Christians now think that Pember's "Gap Theory" was an almost nefarious attempt to try and reconcile the biblical account with the theory of evolution. However, even though "Earth's Earliest Ages" was published in 1884, well after the publication of Darwin's "Origin of Species" in 1859, the theory had been around at least since Scottish theologian Thomas Chalmers proposed it in the previous century.


In Catholic exegesis, "the earth" in Gen 1:1-2 means the physical universe, while "the heavens" in Gen 1:1 means the spiritual realm, i.e. the angels, in contrast with "heaven" in Gen 1:8, which is the physical firmament. I.e., the physical "heaven" of Gen 1:8 is part of "the earth" of Gen 1:1-2.

With that in mind, Gen 1:2 says that the physical universe, when it started to exist, was just empty space, with no structures ("without form"), no matter ("void"), and no radiation ("dark").

If you are not familiar with contemporary cosmology, and specifically with the concept of cosmological inflation, this answer ends right here. Otherwise, you might want to have a look at this answer to a related question in CSE, from the paragraph that starts with "Holding then"....



The earth became “void” (empty) …that is, became void of the knowledge of God. “Void” = they (His people) have not known God….they have no understanding (Jeremiah 4).

The earth became “without form” = without the form of God’s righteousness. His people are wise to do evil, but to do good (the doing of God’s righteousness ) they have no knowledge.

The earth BECAME without form (without God’s righteousness being done) and void of the knowledge of God through His people which should know better. They profess themselves as “wise” but in the very process of that, they become fools.

The nations of the world do not glorify God because of the lack of God’s righteousness and knowledge not found within His own people who supposed to be shining as lights in this world.

“My people is foolish….they have not known Me…” By professing themselves as "wise", they became fools.

No knowledge of God is being preached by our religious leaders as they have no understanding of the Scriptures. The heavens have no light. The Scriptures are closed to their understanding and are not interpreted in the correct, heavenly interpretation of them. “Night” is unto them as there is no understanding of the Scriptures (see Micah 3:6).

Jeremiah 4:22-23 KJV (22) For my people is foolish, they have not known me; they are sottish children, and they have none understanding: they are wise to do evil, but to do good they have no knowledge.

The whole earth became without form and void as His own people have no righteousness and no knowledge of God to show forth in this earth.

(23) I beheld the earth, and, lo, it was without form, and void; and the heavens, and they had no light.

There is none that understands, there is none that truly seek after God as they follow their own ways instead of His. The earth is void of understanding. The workers of iniquity have no knowledge as everyone is gone back…

Psalms 53:2-4 KJV (2) God looked down from heaven upon the children of men, to see if there were any that did understand, that did seek God. (3) Every one of them is gone back: they are altogether become filthy; there is none that doeth good, no, not one. (4) Have the workers of iniquity no knowledge? who eat up my people as they eat bread: they have not called upon God.

There is none that does good, no, not even one. The earth became without form (without doing God’s righteousness…without the form of godliness) and void of the knowledge of God for there is none that understands.

Romans 3:10-13 KJV (10) As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one: (11) There is none that understandeth, there is none that seeketh after God.

They (His people) are all gone out of the Way of righteousness. They are together BECOME unprofitable. The earth became without form…. without the form of God’s righteousness…. and without His knowledge as His people all together have become unprofitable.

(12) They are all gone out of the way, they are together become unprofitable; there is none that doeth good, no, not one.

There is no knowledge of God in their preaching also as their tongues use deceit instead. There is no understanding of the Scriptures as they wrest the Scriptures to their own destruction as they deceitfully handle the Scriptures for their own unjust gain…preaching things that they should not be for money’s sake. The heavens have no light as there is no true understanding of the Scriptures.

(13) Their throat is an open sepulchre; with their tongues they have used deceit; the poison of asps is under their lips:

The same meaning of “void” (being void of the knowledge of God) applies to Genesis 1 also.

God created the heavens and the earth……and so all mankind is without excuse because the invisible qualities of God are manifest in the visible universe that is clearly seen by all. The invisible things of God are clearly seen being understood by the things that are made from the creation of the world.

Genesis 1:1-3 KJV (1) In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth.

Man is without excuse as we can all SEE His invisible attributes in the visible creation.

But mankind did not like to retain the knowledge of God. When they knew God, they glorified Him not as God, neither were they thankful but became vain in their imaginations (discussions, debates) and their foolish heart (singular) was darkened. (Romans ch 1).

Darkness was upon the face of the deep. Professing themselves as wise, they became fools.

The earth became without form and void and darkness was upon the face of the deep…darkness in the heart of man all together.

(2) 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.

But the Spirit of God moved upon the Face (Jesus Christ) of the waters. Man needs to have the knowledge of God taught to him via the heavenly interpretation of the Scriptures (the many waters of the voices of the biblical saints) through His Son Jesus Christ who speaks in the Voice of many waters…interpreting the eyewitnesses’ testimonies in the Scriptures.

Man did not retain the knowledge of God via the seeing of the visible universe.

And so man must HEAR that true knowledge now as we hear the Voice of the Son of God who comes to give us an understanding so that we may KNOW Him who is true.

The first thing we learn from the Beginning (His Son Jesus Christ who is the Beginning) is that “God is light”…and in Him is no darkness. “Let there be light” = He (God) is light.

This is the Saying of life…the Saying of eternal life: God is light.

This is in response to the earth becoming without form and void of God’s knowledge and the heart of mankind being darkened. The Son of God comes to open up our minds to the Scriptures so that we may know Him who is true. He delivers us from the kingdom of darkness....from the power of Satan... unto His kingdom of light...the power of God.

Man is to hear His knowledge and do His righteousness … and be found walking in the light with Him (and there was light). We respond to the light that shines in the heart with light….with His righteousness (and not be found defending our own works of “righteousness” which do not save the flesh of anyone).

(3) And God said, Let there be light: and there was light.

The Son of God is come and gives us an understanding so that we know Him that is true. We walk in the light with Him by doing His righteousness when we hear the knowledge of God presented to us by the voice of the Son. Those who are born of God will not sin…will not speak evil against what one hears and against those whom He sends to speak His words of life and spirit.

1 John 5:18-20 KJV (18) We know that whosoever is born of God sinneth not; but he that is begotten of God keepeth himself, and that wicked one toucheth him not. (19) And we know that we are of God, and the whole world lieth in wickedness.

We are to hear the Word of truth and know that it is from the true God and be found walking with Him in light... in His righteousness and in His knowledge…. unto eternal life in this earth.

(20) And we know that the Son of God is come, and hath given us an understanding, that we may know him that is true, and we are in him that is true, even in his Son Jesus Christ. This is the true God, and eternal life.

The Word of life…the Saying of life…is that “God is light” which is found in Genesis 1:3 (And God said “let there be light”…that is, the statement that “He is light”).

1 John 1:5-8 KJV (5) This then is the message which we have heard of him, and declare unto you, that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all.

Walking in darkness = walking without His righteousness (without the form of godliness) and without His knowledge (void of understanding). We currently live in the divisions of men in their “churches” and fight and war with each other over their many different handwritings of church ordinances/dogmas which serves the sin.

(6) If we say that we have fellowship with him, and walk in darkness, we lie, and do not the truth: (7) But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin. (8) If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us.

The earth became without the form of His righteousness and void of understanding as we ourselves also were foolish, disobedient, living in envy, hating one another in our churches of men….the divisions of fleshly-minded men. We were “children of wrath”….God’s wrath…just like the rest of the world that does not proclaim they know God.

Titus 3:3-8 KJV (3) For we ourselves also were sometimes foolish, disobedient, deceived, serving divers lusts and pleasures, living in malice and envy, hateful, and hating one another.

But the Spirit of God moves upon the Face (Jesus Christ our Savior) of the waters. His kindness and love “appears”…that is, SHINES upon…toward man who has been living and walking in “darkness”.

(4) But after that the kindness and love of God our Saviour toward man appeared,

It is not our own supposed “works of righteousness” that we have done. The keeping of the doctrines and commandments of men do not save us.

But it is according to His mercy does He save us….by the bath of regeneration (of which Genesis ch 1 is a parable of) and the renewing of the Holy Spirit which He sheds on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Savior (the Spirt of God moves upon the Face of the waters). Men of God speak as they are moved by His Spirit.

(5) Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost; (6) Which he shed on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Saviour;

We are justified by His grace so that we should be made heirs according to the hope of eternal life. This eternal life is in the here-and-now and not in the “hereafter”.

(7) That being justified by his grace, we should be made heirs according to the hope of eternal life. (8) This is a faithful saying, and these things I will that thou affirm constantly, that they which have believed in God might be careful to maintain good works. These things are good and profitable unto men.

He begets us AGAIN unto a “LIVING” hope and not a dying hope that men are currently preaching (we have to “die and go to Heaven” according to their preaching of their covenant with death and agreement with the grave when Jesus already died for us and is alive now so that we might live with Him). We hear and receive the Word of God spoken in Christ in truth and sincerity...as opposed to the word of men who privately interpret the Scriptures to their own destruction.

1 Peter 1:3-5 KJV (3) Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, which according to his abundant mercy hath begotten us again unto a lively hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead,

Jesus Christ is in Heaven and is incorruptible and undefiled and is not fading away. We inherit His eternal life that He is experiencing in Heaven in this earth. As He lives, we live here and we are to be His many “infallible proofs” in this earth that He is indeed alive now and forever more.

(4) To an inheritance incorruptible, and undefiled, and that fadeth not away, reserved in heaven for you, (5) Who are kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.

The Son of God comes to give us an understanding. He comes to give us the knowledge of God. We shall hear His word as He interprets the Scriptures to our hearing ears….and those who will believe on Him has everlasting life now…..

John 5:24-29 KJV (24) Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that heareth my word, and believeth on him that sent me, hath everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation; but is passed from death unto life.

The “dead”….the dead in trespasses and sins….shall hear the voice of the Son of God and they that shall hear LIVE….

(25) Verily, verily, I say unto you, The hour is coming, and now is, when the dead shall hear the voice of the Son of God: and they that hear shall live. (26) For as the Father hath life in himself; so hath he given to the Son to have life in himself; (27) And hath given him authority to execute judgment also, because he is the Son of man. (28) Marvel not at this: for the hour is coming, in the which all that are in the graves shall hear his voice,

Some will come forth and do good towards the hearing of His voice unto the resurrection of life…..and some will do evil towards what He has to say.

(29) And shall come forth; they that have done good, unto the resurrection of life; and they that have done evil, unto the resurrection of damnation.

God divided the light from the darkness. We (the children of light…of the Day) are to be separate from those who will continue to walk in darkness.

Do not be unequally yoked together in the churches of those who will not believe in what they hear for what in common does believers have with the unbelievers….what communion does light have with those who continue to abide in darkness? (See 2nd Cor. 6:14).

We are to come out from among them and be separate as God divided the light from the darkness in the Beginning.

Genesis 1:4-5 KJV (4) And God saw the light, that it was good: and God divided the light from the darkness.

And the “evening and the morning” were Day 1.

(5) And God called the light Day, and the darkness he called Night. And the evening and the morning were the first day.

The “evening and the morning” describes the condition of the heart.

The Light …the morning….shines in a “dark place” of our hearts…that is, the evening of our hearts.

The Light...the day... breaks forth in our once darkened hearts (the evening) as we hear His voice and by this dawning within our very own hearts, we know that this is His Son of God whom we are to hear.

The “day star”…the bright and morning star…arises in our hearts progressively from Day 1 all the way to Day 7 where there is no more “evening”. His knowledge (of which we should grow in by our continued hearing of it) will dispel all darkness until there is no more darkness….like the light of 7 days.

2 Peter 1:19-20 KJV (19) We have also a more sure word of prophecy; whereunto ye do well that ye take heed, as unto a light that shineth in a dark place, until the day dawn, and the day star arise in your hearts: (20) Knowing this first, that no prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation.

We are to “grow” in grace and in the knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ and not be led away with the error of the wicked who are wresting the Scriptures to their own destruction from this earth. The wicked will contend what they hear and behave badly thinking that they are doing the "right" thing by speaking evil of it.

2 Peter 3:16-18 KJV (16) As also in all his epistles, speaking in them of these things; in which are some things hard to be understood, which they that are unlearned and unstable wrest, as they do also the other scriptures, unto their own destruction. (17) Ye therefore, beloved, seeing ye know these things before, beware lest ye also, being led away with the error of the wicked, fall from your own stedfastness.

To Him glory now and “forever”…that is, to the Day of the age (eternity)…the 7th Day where there will be no more death, nor sorrow, nor pain.

(18) But grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. To him be glory both now and for ever. Amen.


While Jeremiah 4:23-27 had a former fulfillment, of sorts, in the destruction of Judah by Babylon, the language describing destruction of the entire planet could well have a future, latter fulfillment as described in Matthew 24:21-22, where Jesus summed up the Great Tribulation with "if those days had not been shortened, no flesh would be saved (alive)".


The Masoretic Text is explicit that the meaning in both verses is parallel. For example, the following image provides an explicit cross-reference to Jer 4:23 in the immediate (con)text. The following image comes from the Codex Leningradensis depicting the first column of the first verses of Genesis, Chapter 1.

enter image description here

The rabbis, who had keen minds for memorizing Scripture, and who had seen this phrase והנה תהו written in the margin of Gen 1:2, would have understood the reference to Jer 4:23, where the phrase occurs. In other words, the Masoretes did not have chapters and verses, which were invented by medieval Christians, but literal catch phrases such as והנה תהו in order to identify a passage such as Jer 4:23. It was as if someone had written "JEREMIAH 4:23" in bold letters right next to Gen 1:2.

The placement then of Jer 4:23 in the immediate margin area (the "small Massorah") is rare in the Masoretic Text. That is, the typical place for providing cross-references to other verses is at the top or bottom margins of the leaves of the codex, or even the end of the book(s) in question (the "large Massorah"). The placement of the cross-reference in the immediate margin seems to provide the reader an immediate (and BOLD) context for understanding Gen 1:2, such as judgment, which is the context of Jer 4:23.

Was there then a "gap" between Gen 1:1 and Gen 1:2, wherein judgment occurred, which had precipitated the appearance of "תֹהוּ וָבֹהוּ" in both Gen 1:2 and Jer 4:23? By their explicit reference to Jer 4:23, the Masoretes suggest something went wrong between Gen 1:1 and Gen 1:2.

  • 1
    Note: the Masoretes did not mix-and-match like-spelled and like-pointed words with varying meanings. An example is יַצִּיב, which appears in Joshua 6:26 (in Hebrew) and Daniel 2:8 (in Aramaic). Both words have different meanings, but are spelled exactly the same, and have the same vowel pointing, but the Masoretes were very careful not to connect them with a "2" (ב), but with a "1" (ל), which indicates that each word only occurs once in the Masoretic Text. In other words, words with different meanings are not mixed together by association by the Masoretes even though they look the same.
    – Joseph
    Commented Aug 16, 2016 at 2:58

Yes it's the right context. Let's go to Gen 1:1 and see what we are up against.

Genesis 1: 1, and the creation account, isn't about a point in time but about UTILITY. Follow me here, on the mystery of 'the heavens' and 'the earth' that are both formless and desolate or void by the time Jeremiah sees them, which state the heavens werent in Genesis 1 but only the earth.

1-Gen 1:1 in hebrew has no article 'the' 2- the word incorrectly put as 'beginning' is actually 'Head' or 'a chief'. 3-Also the word is plural. Jacob uses it in Gen 49:3 putting it as firstfruits referring to Reuben his firstborn. So it was an interpretation and NOT a translation. And if you care to look in Sirach 24:25, you note that the context of the same word points to sentient beings and not inanimate objects as the sun and the planets.

So then Gen 1:1, ACTUALLY says; By(in) the heads or chiefs or firstfruits, God created the heavens & the earth, which heavens and earth in Gen 1:1 refers primarily to their hosts, and down the verses allocating them into their abodes. Genesis 1 then isn't about planetary bodies, the inconsistencies particularly about creation of light also help to highlight that fact. 'In the beginnings' isnt about time, even though that was an aspect, but it's about UTILITY, that is, by these 'chiefs' or 'heads' or firstfruits, GOD created the heavens and the earth. Ref John 1:1, Isaiah 51:16, Proverbs 8:23 etc Its the same allegory that God uses on Abraham saying that 'in your seed' shall all nations be blessed', Also verse like Deuteronomy 30:19 refer to the hosts in these two realms, not to inanimate objects.

Note that in Gen 1:2, that darkness was ONLY on the face of the deep. A face is a denotation of a smaller or junior, or representation of the senior or larger 'parent'. eg Christ is the face of the Father. So that face isnt all the EARTH neither is the deep all encompass all the earth, because the light that 'was and will be' created was ONLY contextual to 'face of the deep' that needed that light. When these terms come up., if you are familiar with the symbolism, you know aren't talking about planetary bodies, but about sentient beings that are capable of Good and Evil or disorderliness, which two cases are symbolised as Light and Darkness respectively. But God qualifies what He means by the metaphors of light and darkness in the Isaiah 45:7--I form the light, and create darkness:(or plainly) I make peace, and create evil: I the LORD do all these things So the 'lights' or heavenly beings denoted as 'heavens' created in Gen 1:14-1:15 were charged to be over the affairs of the earth's face in darkness and which needed a sort of guidance, this denoted as giving light. These are the 'heavens' that were created to give light in Gen 1:14.

But after thousands of years Jeremiah in chap 4:23 is given a glimpse of them, also denoted as perpetual hills, they had become wayward as the entity denoted as the earth that had darkness on the face of it. These are the principalities that Paul writes about and with whom children of GOD wrestle, but after whose ways all the ungodly walk.

I hope that sheds more light on these mysterious 'the heavens' and 'the earth', formless and desolate or void.

  • What evidence can you present for all your claims of mistranslations?
    – curiousdannii
    Commented Aug 10, 2016 at 7:42
  • @curiousdannii Translation of vs 1 is wrong, so the interpretation is wrong. The account hinges on the first 2 verses.You only have to look at what Gen 1:1 really says in Hebrew and on the basis of which ONLY, the true interpretation makes the current translation to fall apart, atleast about 'creation'. E.g, explain why after calling light to be there still is a need for other 'lights' in Gen 1:14? Or why 'rule/ dominion,' that strictly refers to a senior having charge over a junior, is used on the 2 great lights in Genesis 1:16? Or the waters that are aren't called, but appear suddenly?
    – Witness
    Commented Aug 10, 2016 at 8:52

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