Genesis 1:2 The earth was without form, and void; and darkness was on the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God was hovering over the face of the waters.
Here in the second verse of the Bible we read some interesting things. The first thing we notice is that the earth was without form and void and it was dark. Why is this the case? Is this just the first stage of creation or did something happen between verse 1 and 2? The truth is that we don’t know the answer to those questions. We do know what we read in Isaiah 45:18. “For thus says the Lord, Who created the heavens, Who is God, Who formed the earth and made it, Who has established it, Who did not create it in vain, Who formed it to be inhabited: ‘I am the Lord, and there is no other.'”
This passage tells us very clearly that God did not make create the earth in vain. He made it to be inhabited. As of verse 2 of Genesis, it is not inhabited and therefore there is work to be done.
Some people quote Jeremiah 4:23 which says, “I beheld the earth, and indeed it was without form, and void; And the heavens, they had no light.” Jeremiah goes on to describe the reason for giving this description of the earth. There has apparently been some form of judgment which has caused massive destruction.
In my opinion there is no reason to attribute this description of events to the period between Genesis 1:1 and 1:2. It could be, but I don’t think there is any reason that it must be. Jeremiah’s description in its entirety sounds like a future judgment on God’s people Israel. He sees the destruction as so devastating that he uses the same description as the condition of the world was during its creation.
Most of the time when people attempt to explain Genesis 1:2 as a judgment, the reason is often in order to provide more time for fossils to form and other events that presumably have taken place over extremely long periods of time. The problem is that even if we were to grant the long ages needed for geologic and evolutionary events to take place, it is evident from the rest of the description of creation that the order of events does not remotely match the order posited by those who believe in evolution.
So let’s just take this description for what it is, a statement of the condition of the earth right after God created it.