2 And the earth was without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters.
To define without form, and void we cross-reference to Jeremiah 4 to see how the Holy Spirit guided that prophet to define the phrase.
Jeremiah 4:23 I beheld the earth, and, lo, it was without form, and void; and the heavens, and they had no light. 24 I beheld the mountains, and, lo, they trembled, and all the hills moved lightly. 25 I beheld, and, lo, there was no man, and all the birds of the heavens were fled.
In a statement on an unrelated subject in Jeremiah we find the definition of without form, and void as being structurally fluid and uninhabited without light. Perhaps it was molten rock, who can say? We do know that God’s intention was for it to be inhabited.
Isaiah 45:18 For thus saith the LORD that created the heavens; God himself that formed the earth and made it; he hath established it, he created it not in vain, he formed it to be inhabited: I am the LORD; and there is none else.
There is a belief that there is a gap between verses one and two that allows for long ages of time or for a brief period of time where the earth was inhabited by someone or something. We do not have enough evidence in the text to discuss this possibility which didn’t become popular until the early 1800’s, But I call those who believe in the authority of the King James Bible to note that the phrase is And the earth was without form, and void not, “And the earth became without form, and void.” In addition, how could there be death before Adam’s time?
Romans 5:12 Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned:
There are some commentators who insist that animal life died in this period but mankind had not been created yet. However…
Romans 8:22 For we know that the whole creation groaneth and travaileth in pain together until now.
1Corinthians 15:21 For since by man came death, by man came also the resurrection of the dead.
When I get to the word replenish I will be forced to discuss this possibility further.
The word darkness will be used in a spiritual sense later in the Bible as it is used in a physical sense here. The face of the deep is a reference to the fact that this earth is encased on water and the face of references the surface. The sea or ocean as a distinct body of water separated from land has not been formed yet. In Job 38 the phrase is used in an argument God makes to Job about things on earth to things in the furthest reaches of outer space.
Water is present in the universe. In the Orion Nebula alone enough water is produced, scientists estimate, to fill the earth’s oceans every 24 minutes.(4) This water is not necessarily the same kind of life-giving water we have on earth, though.(5) Even if they are guessing wrong about the amount the evidence still remains that there appears to be a great deal of water out there.
The Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters. Moved upon shows movement on something as in Genesis 7:21 and the face of the waters is the surface of the waters as in Genesis 7:18.
The Spirit of God is one agency by which God works in His creation. There is named the Spirit of God here and elsewhere as well as the Spirit of Christ.
Romans 8:9 But ye are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you. Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his.
1Peter 1:11 Searching what, or what manner of time the Spirit of Christ which was in them did signify, when it testified beforehand the sufferings of Christ, and the glory that should follow.
This is the Holy Ghost as a person with the Spirit being Himself in operation.
Luke 4:1 And Jesus being full of the Holy Ghost returned from Jordan, and was led by the Spirit into the wilderness,
John 1:33 And I knew him not: but he that sent me to baptize with water, the same said unto me, Upon whom thou shalt see the Spirit descending, and remaining on him, the same is he which baptizeth with the Holy Ghost.
John 7:39 (But this spake he of the Spirit, which they that believe on him should receive: for the Holy Ghost was not yet given; because that Jesus was not yet glorified.)
Acts 2:4 And they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance.
1Corinthians 12:3 Wherefore I give you to understand, that no man speaking by the Spirit of God calleth Jesus accursed: and that no man can say that Jesus is the Lord, but by the Holy Ghost.
When the Holy Spirit’s operative work is spoken of the impersonal pronoun it can be used.
Romans 8:16 The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God:..26 Likewise the Spirit also helpeth our infirmities: for we know not what we should pray for as we ought: but the Spirit itself maketh intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered.
But as a third part of God the Holy Ghost is referred to as he.
John 14:26 But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you.
(4) Frank D. Roylance, “Astronomers Observe Water Forming in the Orion Nebula,” The Tech – Online Edition, Volume 118, Issue 19, April 14, 1998. http://tech.mit.edu/V118/N19/dorion.19w.html
(5) Justine Alford, “Water on Rosetta’s Comet Different to Water on Earth,” IFL Science, December 11, 2014. http://www.iflscience.com/space/rosetta-data-suggests-water-earth-probably-didnt-come-comets