There appears to have been a pre-existing earth prior to Genesis 1:2 for two reasons:
- There is an apparent allusion in the Old Testament that the events at creation (Genesis 1) appear associated with the events of Jeremiah 4, which concern the judgment of the Land of Israel, which will result in a similar desolation of the earth similar to the description of Genesis 1:2.
- There is an apparent allusion in the New Testament that the events at creation (Genesis 1) appear associated with the flood (Genesis 6), which are then associated with the ultimate destruction of the world by fire. These associations stem from the judgment of God upon the world.
The Apparent Old Testament Concept
The Masoretic Text also connects the "waste and void" from Genesis 1 to Jeremiah 4. The following image comes from the first folio (page) of Scripture from the Leningrad Codex, which begins the Book of Genesis.
Please click on the image to enlarge.
The green box on the left is the phrase "waste and void" and the green box on the right is the margin note that this phrase occurs two times in Scripture. The box in red are the two Hebrew words "lo, waste," which come from the judgment passage of Jeremiah 4:23, since the only place in Hebrew Scripture where those two words occur together was Jeremiah 4:23, which we can verify with modern Bible software. (The Masoretic editors had no system of writing Bible verses as abbreviations the way we do today, and so they used short phrases that only the most erudite scholars would identify and understand in their day.) What is very unusual here is that the Masoretic editors rarely, if ever, annotated the corresponding verses in the side margins of the codex (where there was little space), but instead made their verse notations at the top and bottom margins (and appendix) of the codex. What this tells us is that the editors placed an emphasis on this correlation that the "waste and void" in Genesis 1 was parallel to the "waste and void" in Jeremiah 4, which speaks of the divine judgment of the land. As noted in another post, the Masoretic editors never correlated words with other words when the meanings were different (notwithstanding that the vowel points and letters could be the same). So the Masoretic editors saw something bad between Genesis 1:1 and Genesis 1:2, since the same phrase in Jeremiah 4 was bad (divine judgment on the Land of Israel).
The Apparent New Testament Concept
There is strong suggestion in the New Testament that there are three judgments when worldwide destruction of the earth occurs: once in Genesis 1, once in Genesis 6, and once at the end of time. These three judgments point to three times when the world was judged.
2 Pet 3:4-7 (NASB)
4 and saying, “Where is the promise of His coming? For ever since the fathers fell asleep, all continues just as it was from the beginning of creation.” 5 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 (Genesis 1), 6 through which the world at that time was destroyed, being flooded with water (Genesis 6). 7 But by His word the present heavens and earth are being reserved for fire, kept for the day of judgment and destruction of ungodly men (eschatological end of the world).
(emphasis bold comments added in parentheses)
Peter describes all three together in the context of judgment. In other words, there is the suggestion of a pre-existing world, which was created in Genesis 1:1. At Genesis 1:2 this pre-existing world was destroyed and the world formed out of water, and so the subsequent seven days of creation became, then, a re-creating of the world for habitation by men and other animals. The Sabbath Rest on the seventh day followed, which would be re-inaugurated later when Egypt was judged and Israel was saved at the Exodus. So here we see the idea of the Sabbath Rest as something that follows divine judgment and the salvation that follows.
The above discussion above provides pause for consideration that there was a pre-existing earth that was judged between Genesis 1:1 and Genesis 1:2. This divine judgment implies therefore a pre-historic earth had existed at that time, which was first created when God created the heavens and the earth in Genesis 1:1.