Three ages are spoken of in 2 Peter 6, 7, 13; concerning the “world… the heavens and the earth.”
1. Peter refers to “the world that then was” as seen in Gen 1:2 and here. 2 Peter 3:6 Whereby the world THAT THEN WAS, being OVERFLOWED WITH WATER, PERISHED (apollymi, destroyed fully):
This refers to the prehistoric time past, before the Adamic creation. This could not refer to Noah’s flood since his animals and family survived to replenish the earth (Gen 9:1). Thus, there’s been two great floods noted in the Bible – there was this pre-Adamic flood and Noah’s post-Adamic flood.
2. The “heavens and the earth which are now” are seen in the recreation account of Genesis 1:3-2:25 and referred to here. 2Peter 3:7 But the heavens and the earth, which ARE NOW, by the same word are kept in store, reserved unto fire against the day of judgment and perdition of ungodly men. This refers to the current age in which we live today.
3. The “new heavens and new earth” will come to be at the end of the ages. (2 Peter 3:13; Isaiah 65:17; Isaiah 66:22-24; Rev. 21-22) 2 Peter 3:13 Nevertheless we, according to his promise, look for new heavens and a new earth, wherein dwelleth righteousness. This is the consummation of the ages.
In this installment we are discussing “THE WORLD (kosmos, orderly arrangement) THAT THEN WAS” before Adam. We know that man as we know him by the Biblical account is about 6,000 years old. The age of the world is unknown but scientifically proven to be at least millions of years old. Where did the proven fossils and evidence of the so-called cave-men, dinosaurs, wooly mammoths, and other prehistoric creatures come from, and where did they go… according to the Bible?
When we open to the second verse of the Bible, Genesis 1:2, we are met with a description of an earth that is in ruin, without life, uninhabited, and under total darkness. In Genesis 1:1-1:2 (below) we see that “the heavens and the earth” were created; but we see that the earth had become devastated, and covered by a flood of water. The earth is referred to as under “the deep” while “the Spirit of God moved (rahap, brooded) upon the face of the waters,” as if it was about to bring forth life.
“In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth. 2 And THE EARTH WAS (Gk. haya, BECAME) WITHOUT FORM (Heb. tohu, VAIN, DESOLATE), and void (Heb. bohu, EMPTY WASTE); and DARKNESS (was) upon the face of THE DEEP. And the Spirit of God moved (Heb. rahap, brooded) upon the face of THE WATERS.” (Genesis 1:1-2 KJV emphasis added)
Genesis 1:1 records the actual creation of “the heavens and the earth.” Genesis 1:2 reveals that the original dry land of the earth was made into a chaotic empty waste and flooded, through what appears to be a catastrophe that destroyed all life in “the world that then was.” Genesis gives us no explanation as to how these conditions came to pass. This was long before the Adamic creation.
Genesis 1:1-2 (above) is similar to Isaiah 45:18 (below), but we note the word “NOT” stands out.
“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 (TOHU, DESOLATION), He formed it TO BE INHABITED: I am the LORD; and there is none else.” (Isaiah 45:18)
Gen 1:2 says the earth’s condition at creation had become “WITHOUT FORM” (Heb. tohu, meaning, a VAIN, chaotic empty waste) and darkness was upon the face of the deep”… while Isaiah 45:18 says; “he (God) created it (earth) NOT in VAIN (tohu, desolate), HE FORMED IT TO BE INHABITED.” This difference can only lead us to believe a catastrophe had occurred on earth after its original creation of Genesis 1:1 and before Genesis 1:2, causing the earth had become un-inhabitable.
The word “was” in KJV Bible phrase “the earth was without form (tohu, desolate, Genesis 1:2) actually means “became desolate.” “Was” is the Hebrew: hayah, meaning became. The words “become” or “became” imply “a change of state for what formerly was.” In the KJV the same Hebrew “hayah” is also translated “became” 67 times, “becamest” 505 times; “become” 66 times; “come to pass” 131 times; and “be” in the sense of “become.”
So, what caused the original earth’s inhabitable state of being to BECOME…UNINHABITABLE?
To answer this we need to employ the Biblical study device of “types and antitypes.” By this, a historical Biblical happening may be a “type” or prefigure of a later event. Example: Abraham offering Isaac is actual historical Biblical fact and yet also this event is a “type” that “prefigures” God the Father actually offering His Son, Jesus Christ, on the cross for the sins of the world.
Thus, Scripture may refer to something that is an actual historical happening and yet be prophetic at the very same time. I view Jeremiah 4:23-26, Ezekiel 28, Isaiah 14:12-17, and other key references that will be cited in this series as being both historical of the earth, its characters and its events, and yet be prophetic of the world to come, future events, and characters such as Anti-Christ and Lucifer, at the very same time. This is an accepted hermeneutic, a method of Biblical interpretation.
Thus, in Jeremiah 4:23-26 we get another glimpse of what occurred pre-historically, some time between Genesis 1:1 and 2. Verse 23 parallels Gen 1:2, then verses 24-26 add more surprising details. This tells us the devastation came “by His (the Lord’s) fierce anger” (v26).
“I beheld the earth, and, lo, it was without form, and void; and the heavens, and they had no light. 24I 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. 26 I beheld, and, lo, the fruitful place was a wilderness, and all the cities (encampments) thereof were broken down at the presence of the LORD, and BY HIS FIERCE ANGER.” (Jeremiah 4:23-26)
As seen earlier, “was” means “became” or “came to be” or “become,” so this is how Jeremiah 4:23-26 should read. “I beheld the earth, and, lo, it was (hayah, became) without form, and void (Heb. tohu va bohu, meaning, chaotic empty waste); and the heavens, and they had NO LIGHT. 24I beheld the mountains, and, lo, they trembled, and all the hills moved lightly. 25I beheld, and, lo, there was (came to be) no man, and all the birds of the heavens were fled. 26I beheld, and, lo, the fruitful place was (become) a wilderness, and all the cities (encampments) thereof were BROKEN DOWN AT THE PRESENCE OF THE LORD, AND BY HIS FIERCE ANGER.” (Jeremiah 4:23-26)
If the earth “became without form,” and a “wilderness” and “uninhabited by man,” then it must have originally had a form that was orderly. We will see that it was inhabited by manlike beings and that before Adam there was a social system on earth that was destroyed because of the Lord’s fierce anger.
These verses in Job seem to agree with Jeremiah, also explaining why “darkness” covered the earth at the time of Gen 1:2. Job 9:5-7 (God) removeth the mountains and they know not: which overturneth them IN HIS ANGER. 6 Which shaketh the earth out of her place, and the pillars thereof tremble. 7 Which commandeth THE SUN, AND IT RISETH NOT; and sealeth up the stars.
From the above verse we can understand how it is that paleontologists today have found the fossil remains of all kinds of prehistoric creatures. They’ve found the frozen carcasses of wooly mammoths with fresh flowers in their mouths – there was no “sunlight,” so the earth quickly froze. This confirms what caused of the ice-age of our earth’s history. Whatever creatures existed on earth at that time, all of them perished. No physical life of any kind can exist without the light of the sun.
Taken together, all these verses we’ve considered clearly seem to describe a judgment that came upon the earth before Genesis 1:2 – the mountains trembled, there was total darkness, there was no man, the hills were moved, and the encampments were broken down at “the presence of the Lord… and by His fierce anger.” Now contrast what we’ve seen of a prehistoric devastation on earth with this delightful account of the scene at the very time of the earth’s original creation.
Job 38:4-7 Where wast thou (Job) when I (God) laid the foundations of the earth? declare, if thou hast understanding. 5 Who hath laid the measures thereof, if thou knowest? or who hath stretched the line upon it? 6 Whereupon are the foundations thereof fastened? or who laid the corner stone thereof; 7 When the morning stars (the angelic host) sang together, and all the sons of God (the angels) shouted for joy?
There were no humans present at the moment of the earth’s original creation, only angels. Job 1:6; 2:1; 38:7. Psalms 29:1; 89:6, et al)
Conclusion: We may conclude that the Genesis 1:2 account of chaos, emptiness, darkness, and waters covering the earth, describes a judged “earth,” occurring long before the Adamic creation.
Some modernists and humanist use the Biblical truth of the time gap between Genesis 1:1 and 1:2 to allow time for their pet theory of the evolution of creatures and man to occur. I do not present this Biblical explanation of the Genesis 1:1-1:2 gap and pre-Noahic judgment by flood to make a way to reason for the evolution of man to have occurred. That would conflict with the clear Biblical record of the literal creation account of the living creatures and man as recorded in Genesis from Genesis 1:3 – 2:25. We must view Scripture in the context of the whole written word of God.
I am, however, pointing to what the Bible has to say about “the world (kosmos, the orderly arrangement) that then was” (2Peter 3:5) – that is, the world that existed before the Genesis recreation account that begins in Genesis 1:3. I do believe in the literal Genesis 6-day account of the re-creation of the world and Adam as given therein. All the living creatures and man were clearly created whole, as recorded in Scripture and as we see them today.
When we consider the Biblical record as noted herein in conjunction with what scientist, anthropologists and paleontologist have found and proven, we see that the Biblical record has consistently been proven to be accurate. Though this installment is not an exhaustive presentation, I do believe it is sufficiently adequate to say the following.
- There must have been a well-created inhabitable original “world that then was” (2Peter 3:5), from the moment of its original creation by God.
- The original earth became inhabited by living creatures of some sort and then all “perished” as they suffered under the judgment of God by flood with a darkened sun and stars.
- This was a time long before “the heavens and the earth which are now” (2Peter 3:7), before creature life and man were created as we now know them.