In the beginning created God the heavens and the earth;
and the earth was without form and empty,
and darkness on the face of the deep;
and the Spirit of God was brooding on the face of the waters.
The above is the word for word translation from "The Interlinear Bible" by J. P. Green except where underlined. We have substituted the translation of "brooding" for "moving gently" which per Strong's is the more basic meaning of Strong's #7363 "rachaph". We prefer the analogy of a brooding hen in that the Lord God created the "egg", or all elements required to develop our miraculous universe, and then in the verses to follow His Spirit is hovering over the surface and guiding the development of our planet into a living ecosystem.
As we will develop further, it is important to note that the surface of the earth is the position from which the Spirit is operating and becomes our reference for all further discussions.
A major question that must be asked is, has he indeed at this time created all of the heavens? We would propose that this must be taken at its face value and that at this time all of the heavens above the earth surface exist, and what is presented in the following verses is the further development of the ecosystem over time. The surface of the earth being in darkness is an indication that the atmosphere is at this point opaque.
Fig1, the planets scaled in size, but not in spacing. Then said God,
Let be light and was light.
And saw God the light that good (it was)
and separated God between the light and the darkness.
And called God the light Day. and the darkness He called Night;
and the evenings and the mornings were time one.
Fig2, a sun flare
The requirement for light to become visible from the reference of the earth's surface is for the atmosphere above the earth to go from opaque to at least a partially translucent condition and rotation of the planet is required for the periodic day and night cycle. If the atmosphere was only partially translucent so that little light would be admitted to the surface, the diffusion of the light would not allow the moon and stars to be visible, and the sun, if visible at all, only as a slightly brighter area in the sky.
Gen_1:3-5. The First Day.
... the earth, the dense accumulation of fogs and vapors which enveloped the chaos had covered the globe with a settled gloom. But by the command of God, light was rendered visible; the thick murky clouds were dispersed, broken, or rarefied, and light diffused over the expanse of waters. The effect is described in the name “day,” which in Hebrew signifies “warmth,” “heat”; while the name “night” signifies a “rolling up,” as night wraps all things in a shady mantle. (Jamieson, Fausset and Brown Commentary)
For a detailed description of the reason for the substitution of "time" for day, evenings for evening, and mornings for morning, read "Days of Genesis" Use the browser "back" function to return to this page.
And said God,
Let be an expanse in the midst of the waters,
and let it (be) dividing between waters (and) the waters.
And made God the expanse,
and He separated between the waters which (were) under the expanse,
and the waters which (were) above the expanse,
and it was so.
And called God the expanse Heavens;
and the evenings and the mornings were a second time.
Fig3, the earth with its clouds and oceans
As the earth's atmosphere is clearing and transmitting more light resulting in more heating of the surface, there would be changes in the nature of the atmosphere. There has been many theories proposed concerning the "waters above", but the fact is, this could just simply be the hydrological cycle forming that we presently have with large amounts of waters contained in clouds at various heights above the earth. A very unique atmosphere for our solar system, no other planet has a atmosphere that is in any way similar to the one on our earth. The forming of the atmosphere of a planet would seem to be controlled by the following conditions.1. Distance from Sun (surface temperature of planet)
2. Mass and radius of planet = surface gravity = gas escape velocity
3. chemical reactions = different molecules are created and destroyed in various environments, higher temperatures mean faster reactions
4. geological activity = amount of outgassing, more activity = more outgassing = thicker atmosphere
5. living organisms = change the composition through their waste products
All of the above factors had to be delicately balanced by the Designer to achieve the marvelous ecosystem that we presently live in.
And said God,
Let be collected the waters under the heavens to place one,
and let appear the dry land; and it was so.
And called God the dry land Earth,
and the collection of the waters He called Seas,
and saw God good (it was).
And said God,
Let sprout the earth tender sprouts (the) herb seeding seed,
(and) tree of fruit producing fruit after its kind,
which it (is) in it on the earth;
and it was so.
And bore the earth tender sprouts (the) herb seeding seed after its kind,
and tree producing fruit which its (is) in it after its kind;
and saw God that (it was) good.
And the evenings and the mornings were a third time.
As per factor 5 above, living organisms are an important part of the development cycle for the atmospheric part of the heavens.
Fig4 , the atmosphere And said God,
Let be luminaries in the expanse of the heavens to divide between the day
and the night and let them be for signs,
and for seasons and for days and years;
and let them be for luminaries in the expanse of the heavens,
to give light on the earth;
and it was so.
And brought forth God, two the luminaries great;
the luminary great for the rule of the day,
and the luminary small for the rule of the night,
and the stars.
And appointed them God in the heavens to give light on the earth,
and to rule over the day and over the night,
and to separate between the light and the darkness;
and saw God that good (it was).
And the evenings and the mornings were a fourth time.
Fig5, the moon -- Fig6, stars and comet
For all the elements of the sky to be fully visible from the surface it is necessary for the atmosphere to complete its development and become in the main part transparent. Except for the frequent cloudy and stormy conditions, of course.Gen_1:14-19. Fourth Day.
let there be lights in the firmament — The atmosphere being completely purified, the sun, moon, and stars were for the first time unveiled in all their glory in the cloudless sky; and they are described as “in the firmament” which to the eye they appear to be, though we know they are really at vast distances from it. (Jamieson, Fausset and Brown Commentary)
The concept of the "greater light to rule the day" and "the lesser light to rule the night" affirms the surface of the earth as the reference point for the creation record. This concept is appropriate only from or within a relatively limited distance from the surface of the earth. From the outer heavens (space) the lesser light becomes only another rather minor planetary object of our solar system which only reflects the light of the sun. From the majority of all other possible reference points in our small solar system the sun rules! From outside our solar system both become rather minor objects of this expansive universe.
Conclusion: By substituting fully acceptable translations for Strong's #6213 'asah", "brought forth" for "made", and Strong's #5414 "nathan", "appointed" for "set", we believe we have a translation that is more in line with the true meaning of the Hebrew Masoretic text. See the Appendix for details, and note that instead of having a very limited leeway for translation, the Hebrew words of interest have a very great range of acceptable English meanings.
Appendix A: Extracts from "The Interlinear Bible" and Strong's "Hebrew and Chaldee Dictionary".
Some Bible scholars of the seventeenth century, wishing to establish the timing of satan's fall and the angels' rebellion, had proposed a narrative gap (hence, a time gap of unspecified duration) between the creation of the universe ("the heavens and the earth" of Genesis 1:1) and the events of the rest of the creation (Genesis 1:3-27). Eighteenth century advocates of this view placed the gap precisely between Genesis 1:1 and Genesis 1:2, suggesting that Earth began, perhaps eons ago, as the abode of angels who ravaged and ruined it when they fell. The Genesis 1:3-27 creation, according to this scenario, could be viewed as a period of "restitution," the word originally attached to the gap hypothesis.
This interpretation of the creation story seemed appealing as a simple, adequate answer to each of the problematic issues. No matter what scientists discovered about the age of the universe or Earth, the historical and scientific integrity of the Bible's creation narrative could be defended. At the same time, whatever geologic (or other) catastrophes scientists might find could be comfortably blamed on the prince of darkness and his minions.
Reformed theologians Chambers and Buckland advocated the gap interpretation, as did a few Catholic scholars during the nineteenth century, with limited acceptance. In the early part of the twentieth century, fundamentalists George Pember and Harry Rimmer popularized the view throughout the American church. The largest contributor to its acceptance, however, was-and perhaps still is-C. I. Scofield, whose widely sold study Bible sanctioned the view.
1) There is NOT ONE Scripture verse that gives the slightest suggestion that the Earth was the abode of "fallen" angels and they ravaged and ruined it!
2) There is NOT ONE Scripture verse that even addresses when the angels including Satan "fell"! There is no mention of angels until Genesis 16:7. Therefore, from studying the Scriptures there is NO WAY of knowing when the angels "fell"! To place their "fall" between Genesis 1:1 and 1:2 is pure speculation!
3) Examination of the Masoretic Hebrew Text indicates that verse 1:1 is a part of "day one". In addition to the repeated "evening and morning were the ___ day" phrases, in the Hebrew Text there are special spacings and the Hebrew break character "phe" after each "day", after verses of Genesis 1:5, 1:8, 1:13, 1:18, and 1:23. There is NO indications of a break in the Hebrew text after verse 1:1!
4) Scholars supporting the "gap" theory argue that Genesis 1:2 can be translated "the earth became formless and void" overlooking a critical distinction in the use of the verb hayâ ( to be ) in the Hebrew text. In the beginning of verse 2, hayâ appears without the Hebrew preposition le. The combination of hayâ + le is the form that is translated as "became". An example of this combination is found in Genesis 2:7, appropriately translated, "man became a living being."
5) Supporters of the "gap" theory also claim that the Hebrew verb bara ( create ) used in Genesis 1:1 refers to a brand new creation whereas the verbs asah ( to do) and hayâ ( to be ) used in Genesis 1:3-27 refer only to reconstruction, not creation, losing sight of the fact that bara appears in both Genesis 1:21 and 1:27. The claim also is inconsistent with the lexical definitions for asah ( to do ) and hayâ ( to be ) which in no way demand, or even imply, a reconstruction.
6) To defend their translation of Genesis 1:2 as "the earth became formless and void," gap proponents claim that the phrase tohû wabohû carries a negative or pejorative connotation wherever it appears in the Bible. On this basis, they substitute "deformed" for "formless" and "uninhabitable" for "empty." Justification for such substitutions is difficult to sustain. In Hebrew tohû and bohû obviously are meant to be alliterative synonyms, each complementing the meaning of the other. Thus, both words convey the idea of formlessness and emptiness. The second term, bohû, occurs only three times in the Old Testament: Genesis 1:2, Isaiah 34:11, and Jeremiah 4:23. In each instance, it refers to something's being empty, whether not yet filled or unfillable. Then, the crux of gap theorists' argument rests on the first term, tohû. They assert that Genesis 1:2 must be translated as "the earth became formless and empty" (sometime after its creation) because Isaiah 45:18 says, "[God] did not create the earth tohû." Unless God built a new creation on the wreckage of the ruined one, these verses, they argue, represent a contradiction. However, the second part of Isaiah 45:18 gives clarification, removing the contradiction. It says that God "formed it [the earth] to be inhabited," implying that the tohû of the earth was merely a starting place, not God's ultimate intent. He had a plan, worked out in advance (see Proverbs 8:22-31, Ephesians 2:10, 2 Timothy 1:9), to transform and prepare the earth for human habitation. Thus the tohû wabohû of Genesis 1:2 indicates that the biosphere of the Earth had not yet been formed.
7) Some gap theorists continue on in verse two of the first chapter of Genesis and interpret the word "darkness" to describe an evil or ungodly condition. This, however, is a meaning forced upon the word by the theory and not apparent from the text. Proceeding on to verse five finds the darkness receiving a name, "Night", and there had been a dividing of light from the darkness by God. There is nothing in the text that would indicate that it is other than a physical darkness and physical light of God's creation. As Psalm 104:20, declares "Thou (God) makest darkness, and it is night: . . . " and then goes on in verse 24, still in context, to declare "O Lord, how manifold are thy works, in wisdom hast thou made then all" (KJV). The reference, of course, is to physical darkness or nighttime, and no evil connotation is implied. To say that an evil condition exists in Genesis 1:2 because of physical darkness is giving a meaning to the word not found elsewhere in the creation story.
8) The gap theorists also point to Genesis 1:28 of the King James Version which says, "Be fruitful and multiply, and replenish the earth,", this "replenish" they say implies that the earth was previously occupied and that the newly created mankind were to refill the earth. But, mala is a primary Hebrew root word having a basic meaning of "to fill" and does not imply a "refilling".
There is no Biblical basis for the creation "Gap" theory !