In Genesis 1:1 “In the beginning” refers to the beginning of the work God undertook with respect to the creation of all things.
John 1:1 “In the beginning was the word and the word was with God and the word was God” This refers to the fact that there was never a time when Jesus did not exist and was not with God (John 17:5, 24).
“And now, O Father, glorify thou me with thine own self with the glory which I had with thee before the world was.” John 17:5
“Father, I will that they also, whom thou hast given me, be with me where I am; that they may behold my glory, which thou hast given me: for thou lovedst me before the foundation of the world.” John 17:24
“Thus saith the Lord the King of Israel, and his redeemer the Lord of hosts; I am the first, and I am the last; and beside me there is no God.” Isaiah 44:6
Genesis 1:1–2 states, “In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth. 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.”
There is something called the gap theory, the view that God created a fully functional earth with all animals, including the dinosaurs and other creatures we know only from the fossil record. Then, the theory goes, something happened to destroy the earth completely—most likely the fall of Satan to earth—so that the planet became without form and void. At this point, God started all over again, recreating the earth in its paradise form as further described in Genesis. The gap theory, which is distinct from theistic evolution and the day-age theory, is also called old-earth creationism, gap creationism, and the ruin-reconstruction theory.
In young-earth creationism, Genesis 1:1 is seen as a summary of the complete chapter 1 in the Hebrew storytelling form. God created the heavens and the earth. Then verse 2 begins a detailed breakdown of the step-by-step process that verse 1 summarizes. However, the statement that “the earth was formless and empty, [and] darkness was over the surface of the deep” Genesis 1:2 can be puzzling. The idea that God created a useless and shapeless earth is an uncomfortable position for some conservative theologians, and this leads them to the gap theory, or an old-earth perspective.
According to conservative proponents of the gap theory, Genesis 1:1 describes the original creation of God—perfect in every way. Then, between verses 1 and 2, Satan rebelled in heaven and was cast out. Satan’s sin “ruined” the original creation; that is, his rebellion brought about its destruction and eventual death, and the earth was reduced to its “formless and empty” state, ready for the “re-construction.” The length of time involved—the size of the “gap”—is not specified but could have lasted millions of years.
Satan fell before Adam did; otherwise, there would have been no temptation in the garden. Young-earth creationists say that Satan fell sometime after Genesis 1:31. Gap creationists say that Satan fell between Genesis 1:1 and 2.
One difficulty of the gap theory is that it requires that creation suffer death and destruction before Adam’s fall. “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:” Romans 5:12
The gap theory counters by positing two worlds. Satan’s sin brought death to the original creation, whatever that was like; and Adam’s sin brought death to the re-creation, the realm of mankind. Through Adam’s sin, evil entered our world and the realm of man was cursed. But rebellion already existed outside the realm of mankind (in the spiritual realm), since Satan and his angels had already fallen (Isaiah 14:12–14; Ezekiel 28:12–18). Sin could not enter the realm of man until man chose it. And Satan, via the serpent, successfully tempted man to make that choice.
Objections to the gap theory include the idea that, if something important had occurred between Genesis 1:1 and 2, God would have told us so, rather than leave us to speculate in ignorance. Also, Genesis 1:31 says God declared His creation to be “very good”—a statement difficult to square with the theory that evil already existed because of Satan’s fall in the “gap.” With this in mind God Himself is the author of evil as well as choice. Without choice and something to chose from, love cannot be tested. And God gave this choice to Angels as well as man.
“I form the light, and create darkness: I make peace, and create evil: I the Lord do all these things.”Isaiah 45:7
It is possible to hold to a literal, six-day creation week and still hold to the gap theory—the gap theory does not require evolution to be true, since the gap falls before the events of Day One in Genesis 1:3. And that’s why some conservative scholars do believe the gap theory.
However, many of those who hold to the gap theory do so in order to reconcile old-earth, evolutionary theories with the book of Genesis. But it seems to be a strained reconciliation. The plain reading of Genesis 1 does not at all intimate a length of time between the first two verses. Genesis 1:1 tells us that God created the heavens and the earth. Genesis 1:2 informs us that, when He first created the earth, it was formless, empty, and dark; it was unfinished and uninhabited. The rest of Genesis 1 relates how God completed the formless, empty, and dark earth by filling it with life, beauty, and goodness.
The phrase “word of God” appears often in the Bible and can have a slightly different meaning depending on context and the Hebrew or Greek word used. John 1:1 says, “In the beginning was the Word. And the Word was with God and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God.” Here, Word is a title of the Lord Jesus. The term translated “Word” is logos, which basically means “the expression of a thought.” Logoscan be thought of as the total message of God to man (Acts 11:1; 1 Thessalonians 2:13). Jesus embodied that total message, and that is why He is called the “Logos,” or “Word,” of God (Colossians 1:19; 2:9).
Logos is also used many times when referring to the written message of God (John 17:17; 1 Timothy 4:5; Revelation 1:2; Colossians 1:25). “For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any twoedged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.” Hebrews 4:12
Jesus showed a link between the written Word of God and Himself, in that He is the subject of the written Word: “Search the scriptures; for in them ye think ye have eternal life: and they are they which testify of me.” John 5:39
Another Greek word used for “word” is rhema. Rhema refers to the actual spoken/written words of God (Hebrews 6:5). When Jesus was being tempted by Satan, He answered, “Man does not live by bread alone, but by every word [rhema] that proceeds from the mouth of God” Matthew 4:4. We are told in Ephesians 6:17 to “take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word [rhema] of God.” Jesus demonstrated we need the actual recorded words of God to overcome Satan’s attacks.
The phrase “word of God” means more than the printed words on a page. God is a communicator and has been speaking into the human realm since the beginning. He speaks through His creation (Psalm 19:1), through ancient prophets (Hosea 12:10; Hebrews 1:1), through the Holy Spirit (John 16:13; Acts 16:6), through Scripture (Hebrews 4:12), and through the Person of His Son, Jesus the Christ (John 14:9). We can learn to know God better by seeking to hear Him in every way that He speaks.