What does Genesis 1:2 mean?
ESV: 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.
NIV: Now the earth was formless and empty, darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was hovering over the waters.
NASB: And the earth was a formless and desolate emptiness, and darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was hovering over the surface of the waters.
CSB: Now the earth was formless and empty, darkness covered the surface of the watery depths, and the Spirit of God was hovering over the surface of the waters.
NLT: The earth was formless and empty, and darkness covered the deep waters. And the Spirit of God was hovering over the surface of the waters.
KJV: 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.
NKJV: 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.
Verse Commentary:
Genesis 1:1 announced that God created everything: "the heavens and the earth." Verse 2 begins to describe the process of that creation.

According to this text, the earth was empty and literally in chaos. The Hebrew words used here are tōhu and bōhu, translated as "formless" and "void." Segments of Bible scholarship disagree about whether this "formlessness" was the state of the earth immediately after the initial creation, or the result of some events between Genesis 1:1 and Genesis 1:2. In either case, at this point in the story, the earth is covered with deep waters. A darkness was over the surface, and the Spirit of God was over the waters.

Why darkness? Light will not be created until the following verse. There can be only darkness at this point. Still, God's Spirit is moving in this darkness. God is preparing to speak, to act with great power to bring order and light to this chaos.
Verse Context:
Genesis 1:1–13 describes the first three days of creation. These follow a common pattern. First, God speaks, then He creates, then names His creation, then declares that creation ''good.'' Finally, the day is numbered. Each of these first three days prepares creation for what God will create in the second three days. Day one creates light, night and day, preparing for the sun and moon on day four. Day two creates the oceans, preparing for sea creatures on day five. Day three creates land and plants, preparing for animals and humans on day six.
Chapter Summary:
Genesis 1 is nothing less than a bare-bones claim that God created the universe. Setting all of the debates on models and interpretations aside, the chapter undeniably insists on one thing: God means to be known as the Creator of all things. Written in the original Hebrew language according to a rigid, poetic structure, the chapter unfolds in a series of patterns and revelations. For those who believe these words, our response should be nothing less than to worship our Maker.
Chapter Context:
Genesis 1 is the first chapter of what came to be known as the Pentateuch: the first five books of the Bible. Likely written by Moses, Genesis 1 begins the story of God and His relationship with His people Israel. The role of God as Creator is not only important for setting up His work in later chapters, but also in His supremacy and authority for all of the other words of the Scriptures. God intends first to be known to all peoples as the Creator of all things—from sun, moon, and stars, to human life itself. And as the Creator, He is owed worship by all He has made, including and especially human beings
Book Summary:
The book of Genesis establishes fundamental truths about God. Among these are His role as the Creator, His holiness, His hatred of sin, His love for mankind, and His willingness to provide for our redemption. We learn not only where mankind has come from, but why the world is in its present form. The book also presents the establishment of Israel, God's chosen people. Many of the principles given in other parts of Scripture depend on the basic ideas presented here in the book of Genesis. Within the framework of the Bible, Genesis explains the bare-bones history of the universe leading up to the captivity of Israel in Egypt, setting the stage for the book of Exodus.
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