Question:

Does Genesis 1:1-2 mean God created the earth without a shape and later gave it the current shape?


Answer:

"In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. 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" (Genesis 1:1-2).

The words translated "without form, and void" literally mean "confusion and emptiness," as they are so translated in Isaiah 34:11. But "without form" is a good translation of the term in this usage. Notice that God also called it "waters" at the end of verse two.

Verse 1 tells us that God, being the initial cause, created (brought into being that which did not exist previously) three things: time (the beginning), heavens (space), and the earth (matter). These three things was in complete chaos (total entropy) and could serve no purpose (empty). The point about darkness is that energy had not be imposed on the shapeless matter when it was first created, but the Spirit of God was ready to change that.

"Then God said, "Let there be light"; and there was light. And God saw the light, that it was good; and God divided the light from the darkness. God called the light Day, and the darkness He called Night. So the evening and the morning were the first day." (Genesis 1:3-5).

God then endowed energy into His creation by the power of His Word. Matter was energized and gave forth light. God separated the energized matter from the dark matter and that constituted the first day.

"Then God said, "Let there be a firmament in the midst of the waters, and let it divide the waters from the waters." Thus God made the firmament, and divided the waters which were under the firmament from the waters which were above the firmament; and it was so. And God called the firmament Heaven. So the evening and the morning were the second day" (Genesis 1:6-8).

The creation story then focuses on the part of the universe that we eventually call the earth. On the second day God caused a separation that we call the atmosphere (the firmament). Moisture in the atmosphere (clouds) were separated from the waters below the atmosphere.

On the third day the liquid (waters) under the atmosphere were further divided causing the appearance of solids (land) as opposed to the liquids (the waters of the sea, but also the molten rock beneath the surface of the world).

Then on the fourth day God focused on the remainder of the universe and gathered the materials to form the sun, moon and stars.

So, yes, God created from nothing His materials and then formed them over the next six days into the universe and the world we know as earth.