With Darrell Nichols
Third in a series of studies on some key verses in the Bible
The earth was without form and void, and darkness was over the face of the deep.
And the Spirit of God was hovering over the face of the waters.
There is an abundance of descriptive words in the second verse of Genesis, chapter one. Additionally, there are at least three things absent in the verse that we might normally think should be there. Let’s take a quick look at what is absent?
An absence of landscape
First, there is the absence of landscape. “The earth was without form…” Notice the words, “without form.” The whole earth was covered in water at this time. A world entirely covered with water means there is no landscape, only a watery surface stretching all the way to the horizon. With the absence of land, “without form” clearly becomes a good descriptive phrase.
An absence of life
“The earth was without form and void.” The next descriptive word is “void.” What does ‘void” mean? The word is a reference to something being empty. The world was empty—empty of life. Imagine yourself on a small boat somewhere far from land, so far from land that all you see in any direction is water. As you look at the watery surface around you, imagine there being no life of any kind above or below the surface. (Technically, not even you would be there, but we’re just trying to illustrate a point!) Not only is there an absence of human life. There is no life of any kind! Completely empty. Totally void. That’s how Genesis 1:2 describes how the earth was at that time. But something else is missing in describing this segment of creation.
“And darkness was over the face of the deep.” The next word is darkness, which is simply an absence of light. As described in the Scriptures, early earth was a dark place. Totally void of light. Had you and I been there, we would not have been able to see our hands in front of our faces. We could not have seen each other! It was pitch black. Complete and utter darkness. Have you noticed there is nothing in this verse about darkness being created? Darkness does not have to be created. Again, darkness is simply an absence of light. There is no light, therefore, it is dark! Picture being inside a closed bank vault. If someone turns off the lights for only a second, the inside of the vault becomes pitch black! When the lights are turned back on, the darkness instantly dissolves. Here’s a deep thought—consider it carefully. Without at least a little bit of light, the place where you are reading this blog would be totally and completely dark. It’d be dark everywhere…except where light is! Why? Because darkness is the absence of light, and light absorbs the darkness. Darkness and light can never co-exist. (So much more could be said on the topic of light vs. darkness, but we must move on.)
To wrap up our quick study of verse two, let’s break down its final few statements.
“And darkness was over the face of the deep.” What does “over the face of the deep” mean? The word “deep,” as used here, is a large and “deep” body of water, like an ocean. Now notice what God was doing.
“And the Spirit of God was hovering over the face of the waters.” In Genesis 1:2, the words “deep” and “waters” refer to the same thing. In Hebrew, the words are synonymous. That is, they mean the same. They are two different words in English also. And again, both have the same meaning.
“The Spirit of God was hovering over…” The “Spirit of God,” of course, is the third member of the Trinity. He is God the Holy Spirit. He is described as hovering over the waters, which connotes being totally in charge. He is in control of all that is happening—the source of all that is happening!
In another upcoming blog, we will check out what’s absent in verse two but present in verse three. We’ll see a need in one verse be provided in the next verse. We’ll get to it.
Keep looking up!
He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @_nichols_dimes