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.

(Genesis 1:2, ESV)

Pick up a commentary on Genesis — practically any modern commentary will do — and read the author’s comments on Genesis 1:2. Does the author claim that “chaos” was present on the first day of creation? If so, he or she is wrong.

Now pick up any modern translation of the Bible, and notice the absence of the word “chaos.” Here are a few examples of the phrase in question from several translations:

KJV: without form, and void

ASV: waste and void

ESV: without form and void

HCSB: formless and empty

NASB: formless and void

NIV: formless and empty

NKJV: without form, and void

NRSV: a formless void

RV: waste and void

The Hebrew phrase being translated is tohu wabohu. Your commentary might mention that this phrase is an example of a literary device called a hendiadys, which is merely a fancy word for a phrase which repeats the same idea with two or three similar words. We use this technique when we say, “It’s freezing cold outside.” The phrase “freezing cold” is using two similar words to underscore the fact that the temperature is on the low side today; this, in case you’ve always wondered, is called a hendiadys.

This blog isn’t a good forum for delving into the technicalities of this phrase; if you’re interested in more information on where the phrase is used in the Old Testament, for example, pick up a copy of my book. I’m more concerned here with the simple notion of inserting chaos into the beginning of God’s creation work in Genesis 1.

The big question is this: Why do modern commentators habitually claim that there was chaos present during the time of creation? The answer is this: The notion of chaos is vitally important to the Gnostic scheme of creation, and the so-called “higher critics” are hell-bent on inserting it into Genesis. Gnosticism claims that there were two beings involved in creating the universe, not one (as Genesis teaches). This concept of struggle between two entities is called dualism, and is reflected in many false religions today, such as in the yin/yang notion of Eastern religions. But the Bible resoundingly rejects such dualistic ideas, making it abundantly clear that the God of creation exists outside all creation — including the creation of angelic beings, such as Lucifer once was. God did not wrestle or struggle against any other entity when He created all things, simply because there was no other entity in existence — only God Himself. (We are not told when God created the angelic orders, nor when Lucifer committed his sin of pride and was cast out of heaven. It is possible that God created the angels prior to creating time and space; it is equally possible that they were created on day 1 around the same moment when God created the unshaped globe. I am not quibbling over the existence of angels here, but underscoring the fact that the angelic orders were not involved in the creation work.)

Satan was not struggling against God in the work of creation, and there was no chaos present in God’s creative work. Genesis 1:2 tells us that the earth was “void,” empty on the first day when God created it. The Hebrew phrase tohu wabohu is used by Moses to underscore the fact that there was nothing present at creation except God, and Moses is opening his account of creation after God has created an empty, unshaped globe which we now call earth. (To claim that the globe was already there is merely another form of dualism.) An empty object, however, cannot contain chaos, simply because chaos requires at least two forces working in contention with one another.

The higher critics have an agenda when they claim that tohu wabohu means “chaos.” They are not interested in rightly dividing the Word of Truth; they are interested solely in forcing the teachings of evolution into Scripture — and evolution requires chaos, it requires a struggle between two contradictory forces: life and death. If death did not exist, there could be no evolution, because the religion of Darwin claims that a species evolves in order to survive. Modern Bible scholars want to convince us that the word “day” in Genesis 1 means “a long period of time,” thus introducing the possibility that modern science is correct in claiming that the world is millions and billions and zillions of years old, opening the door to adding evolution into God’s creative work. But in order to pull off that sleight of hand trick, they first need to introduce the presence of death into creation — before the introduction of Adam and sin — and so they insist that there was chaos on the first day.

There was no chaos present during the week of creation. It was Adam who introduced chaos and struggle and death into the world, not God and not Lucifer. Satan, of course, is the agent of these evil forces, but it was Adam who gave him permission to do his wicked work. By disobeying God, Adam chose to submit himself — and all creation along with him — to the devil.

This is the first of many sleight-of-hand tricks used today by Pharaoh’s Magicians. We will consider many more in future posts.

 

 

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