In our study of Genesis chapter one, we look at the beginning of everything that we see around us today. There is much debate about the origin of the world but the only plausible explanation is found in God's Word.
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"In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth." NIV translation
Those ten words are the door to everything in that you must believe in God as the Creator or the rest of His Word has no meaning to you. Creator means that there was nothing and then, through the power of God, there was everything. Although we would like to know more details, God did not consider it important and so did not share the how and why with us.
We can only guess on how long it has been since this event happened and really it does not matter. Between this verse and the next, most Bible scholars believe that a major disaster happened and so the rest of the chapter deals with the renovation of creation after that disaster. Most believe that the rebellion of Satan and the angels happened at this time (see Revelation 12).
"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." NIV translation
When Satan and his angels were cast down to the earth, sin was introduced into God's perfect creation. This introduction of sin made it formless, empty, and dark. The word "hovering" would be better translated as "brooded over". The image of the Spirit of God hovering over His creation makes us feel as if God was not concerned about what had happened but the words "brooded over" shows the sadness at what had happened. The following verses tell us of how God renovated the earth to make it sustain life once again.