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God created the earth and the earth was without form

Discussion in 'Creation & Theistic Evolution' started by FreeGrace2, May 13, 2021.

  1. Carl Emerson

    Carl Emerson Well-Known Member

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    This is a matter of definition - you have raised a question that is purely semantic and unlikely to yield fruitful exchange.

    In normal language an object can be formless until worked into a desired shape.

    You could mount the same fruitless argument with the word void.

    You could maybe try harder to find a subject of fruitful discussion...
     
  2. coffee4u

    coffee4u Well-Known Member

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    The word 'tohu' is translated into the English Bible as 'formless' if you look at the Hebrew tohu can mean formlessness, confusion, unreality and or emptiness depending on the context of the surrounding text.

    At the very start of Gods creative process the earth was pitch black due to no light and at this point it was either a ball of water or a core covered deeply by water.
    2 Peter 3:5
    But they deliberately forget that long ago by God's word the heavens came into being and the earth was formed out of water and by water.


    While it was water/covered in water it was without any land form on the surface since there was no land. So it was indeed formless. God did not create the land forms until day 3.
    9 And God said, “Let the water under the sky be gathered to one place, and let dry ground appear.” And it was so.
    13 And there was evening, and there was morning—the third day.


    It could also be referring to the simple fact that it was empty of life since life was not created until the fifth day.
     
  3. coffee4u

    coffee4u Well-Known Member

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    Ah I see, you are here to simply argue.

    Yes a solid shape does indeed have the shape of being round, but if you as an artist planned to create a bust of a person you might call the smooth surface you prepared as being formless because you are referring to the shapes of the nose and mouth and eyes that you plan but have yet to make upon the surface.

    The Bible text is simply referring to the fact that there were no land features as yet and/or that it was empty of life.
     
  4. FreeGrace2

    FreeGrace2 Senior Veteran

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    FreeGrace2 said:
    I think we can get the real story just from Scripture, as my posts reflect.
    OK, if you think I have made errors, please advise.

    ps: Augustine didn't have biblehub.com to help him. :)

    It is legitimate to accept a translation that conflicts and contradicts another verse?? I don't agree.

    As I've been pointing out, there is no such thing as "formless matter".

    ALL matter has a form or shape. Even blobs have a shape. So he was just trying to wriggle out of a bad translation, since God cannot create a formless object.

    No more than He can create a square hole. Or a square sphere.

    If you think otherwise, please advise.
     
  5. FreeGrace2

    FreeGrace2 Senior Veteran

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    I believe it is not "purely semantic". It's words that have meaning. And a consistent meaning.

    No, even a "blob" has a shape. As in, "shaped like a blob".

    No, that word indicates being empty.

    If you aren't interested in this thread, that's ok.
     
  6. FreeGrace2

    FreeGrace2 Senior Veteran

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    Here's the catch: there is no context for v.2, except v.1. And given all the evidence I've pointed out, several things are clear:

    1. No object can be "formless". That isn't possible.
    2. Septuagint translates "and" as "But", showing a conjunction of contrast, not continuation.
    3. if God did create the earth "tohu" in v.2, then Isa 45:18 says the opposite: that God did not create the earth tohu. So you have a contradiction in Scripture.
    4. Even if a formless object (earth) is possible, where in the chapter did God address that formlessness and fix it? No where.

    The whole thing is fixed by accepting the translations of the key words in v.2 as found elsewhere in the OT.

    And that shows that something did happen to earth and it BECAME an uninhabitable (void) wasteland (tohu).

    In space, all liquids form a perfect sphere. So you are back to square 1.

    No, it was not. See above. Liquids in space form a perfect sphere.

    No. Land was under water in v.2. And land is a solid object and has shape.

    Being "empty of life" refers to the word after "tohu", being wabohu. You still aren't addressing the problem of "formless", which is impossible for liquids or solids.

    So, whatever Moses was saying, he wasn't saying that God created the earth formless. Not possible.
     
  7. Paul4JC

    Paul4JC It is for freedom that Christ has set us free

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    You have a verse for that? Where does it say "planet" in Genesis 1? You're adding to the text.
     
  8. FreeGrace2

    FreeGrace2 Senior Veteran

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    FreeGrace2 said:
    But..... even a "blob" has a shape/form. Haven't you ever heard "It looked like a blob.

    Like I said, every object has a form or shape.

    Or, can you explain how a solid object can have no shape or form. Even in your example, you described shape. (blob)
    Where do you see that? I am pointing out where posters are NOT addressing the core issue here.

    Sure, as in earth and balls. But indeed EVERY solid object has a form.

    This looks like trying to get into the mind of Moses. Let's just deal with the words he wrote. It's not difficult, esp since we have biblehub.com to help.

    Without seeing the land surface (because it was all covered with water) means the whole "ball of wax" would have taken the shape of a perfect sphere, as all liquids do in space. And earth is in space.

    As for "empty of life", that's the next word. Not in discussion.

    Not to argue, of course. :)
     
  9. FreeGrace2

    FreeGrace2 Senior Veteran

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    OK, then who did create the planets, because there are a number of them rotating around our sun. And they have been named.

    So who created them??
     
  10. Paul4JC

    Paul4JC It is for freedom that Christ has set us free

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    I don't want to take your thread off-topic so will not push this further. Yet, you did not answer my question. Genesis 1 right?
     
  11. public hermit

    public hermit social troglodyte Supporter

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    Lol, nice!

    He's very explicit in agreeing with you that matter is never found unformed. The issue is not his translation, whether one is looking at the Hebrew or the Greek (LXX) it amounts to pretty much the same thing: formlessness, emptiness, chaos. The issue is how to interpret it. Augustine was working with a particular metaphysical framework for understanding created beings as a hylomorphic compounds of form and matter. Perhaps you reject that we are both form and matter?

    I think for Augustine, prime matter is the link between ex nihilo and the creature. At any rate, I wouldn't go so far as to say God couldn't create formless matter. We would not be able to form a conception of what formless matter would be, for sure, but I don't know that we can say God couldn't create such. Creation is contingent on the will of the Creator, not on what is possible for us to conceptualize.
     
  12. Paul4JC

    Paul4JC It is for freedom that Christ has set us free

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  13. BeyondET

    BeyondET Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Anyone who can see atoms on the atomic level with a unaided eye would be quite the superhuman.
     
  14. coffee4u

    coffee4u Well-Known Member

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    There is no catch except the one you are inventing.

    Who said the verse was talking about the overall shape, you?

    It is saying there were no land forms upon it yet.
    Are you claiming that land has no form to it?

    Genesis was not written in Greek but Hebrew. While the Septuagint may have used 'But' this is a translation done in the third century BC. The Hebrew text does not use 'but'.

    Only if you take Isaiah 45:18 completely out of context would you think that.
    Isaiah is not giving you the steps of creation. God is telling them that he did not create the world to be a wasteland but to be full.
    It says in the Hebrew that:
    He established (cho·vn·nah,)
    it [and] did not create (ve·ra·'ah)

    it a waste place, (to·hu)
    [but] formed (ye·tza·rah
    it to be inhabited),(la·she·vet)
    The same way someone who makes pottery might say they created this plate to be used not left in the cupboard. They are not talking about the steps it took to create the plate but showing off the finished product. No doubt the plate started off as a lump. It is quite normal to say "A shapeless lump of clay" but does the person mean the clay literally has no shape at all? Of course not, they mean it has not yet been shaped by their hands so it is 'shapeless'.


    Formless meaning no mountains, valleys, coast lines. There can't be any to start with as it was water that the spirit was hovering over.
    Genesis 1:9 is about God creating form.
    9 Then God said, “Let the waters under the heavens be gathered together into one place, and let the dry land appear”; and it was so. 10 And God called the dry land Earth, and the gathering together of the waters He called Seas. And God saw that it was good.

    Where elsewhere?
    Also this is the first indication, the precedent.

    precedent
    noun
    An earlier event or action that is regarded as an example or guide to be considered in subsequent similar circumstances.

    If anything the meaning is established here and should be taken forward, not read elsewhere and taken back.

    The only other time God directly talks about how he created is in Exodus 20:11
    For in six days the LORD made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that in them is, and rested the seventh day: wherefore the LORD blessed the sabbath day, and hallowed it.

    And again in

    Exodus 31:17
    It is a sign between Me and the sons of Israel forever; for in six days the Lord made heaven and earth, but on the seventh day He ceased from labor, and was refreshed.”


    No it does not.

    What is your point here really? Why do you want this world to be a remake?

    Now you are trying to bring in science. Which is it, the Bible or science?

    Who cares? We are talking about the steps God used in creating the earth not about science. God creating is a supernatural event.

    You don't know that.

    2 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.

    There may have been no land under the water at that point.

    2 Peter 3:5
    But they deliberately forget that long ago by God's word the heavens came into being and the earth was formed out of water and by water.
    To start with it was just water.

    There is no problem with formless since it is referring to the land shapes of which there were none.

    Of course it is, it's referencing that there were no land forms.
     
    Last edited: May 13, 2021
  15. FreeGrace2

    FreeGrace2 Senior Veteran

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    This is what you posted:
    You have a verse for that? Where does it say "planet" in Genesis 1? You're adding to the text.

    When people ask for specific wording, I lose interest because even the word "Trinity" isn't found in the Bible, yet it teaches clearly that "God" includes the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. In fact, there are verses for each member of the Godhead being described as God.

    So I think your question about the word "planet" isn't a relevant question. However, when we read the word "earth" in the Bible, we can be sure that is referring to the sphere you live on.

    So, what's the point about not having the word "planet" in Genesis 1?
     
  16. FreeGrace2

    FreeGrace2 Senior Veteran

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    Thanks.

    Of course human beings, and everything on earth is matter, and that all matter has form. My question for the YEC is how could God "create the earth formless", as v.2 says. Those who want to hold to that translation need to face the issue created by the very wording.

    They reject a time gap, even given the compelling evidence and facts for it, so they must face the issue of how anything of matter can be formless.

    Do you believe that God can create a square hole? Or a cubed sphere?

    If yes, then you believe that God is inconsistent.

    I just gave 2 examples of what God cannot do. Because God isn't inconsistent.

    Like sin, God cannot sin, or He would be totally inconsistent with His character.

    While that is certainly true, Gen 1:1 and 2 aren't difficult verses to "conceptualize". The wording is straightforward.

    My digging into the original Hebrew reveals the better rendering of v.2 is:

    But, the earth became an uninhabitable wasteland.

    Given that, we know the earth was never "formless" at all. In fact, it couldn't have been.

    So there is no need to conceptualize.

    I think the YEC have to stretch pretty far to reject a time gap between the verses but accept without thinking that the earth was "formless" at creation.

    Makes no sense to me.
     
  17. FreeGrace2

    FreeGrace2 Senior Veteran

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    Good question. No one knows for sure, but some believe that since Satan had access to the Garden of Eden before he rebelled (Ezek 28) after he rebelled he used earth as his "headquarters" and basically trashed the earth. What goes along with this theory (since we have evidence from Scripture) is that there were huge animals on earth at that time, but all were destroyed when God finally packed the earth in ice (there is proof of the earth being packed in ice).

    So, v.2 begins the process of restoration of earth, beginning with melting the ice pack to get to the land.

    Anyway, that's the theory. When I get to heaven, that's one of the things I will be quite curious as to what occurred in the time gap.
     
  18. eleos1954

    eleos1954 God is Love Supporter

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    Hebrew

    tohu: formlessness, confusion, unreality, emptiness
    Original Word: תֹּהוּ
    Part of Speech: Noun Masculine
    Transliteration: tohu
    Phonetic Spelling: (to'-hoo)
    Definition: formlessness, confusion, unreality, emptiness
    NAS Exhaustive Concordance
    Word Origin
    from an unused word
    Definition
    formlessness, confusion, unreality, emptiness
    NASB Translation
    chaos (1), confusion (1), desolation (1), emptiness (1), empty space (1), formless (2), futile (2), futile things (1), meaningless (2), meaningless arguments (1), nothing (2), waste (3), waste place (2).

    Isn't talking about it's physical shape .... is talking about it's condition .... ie a empty wasteland
     
  19. FreeGrace2

    FreeGrace2 Senior Veteran

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    FreeGrace2 said:
    Here's the catch: there is no context for v.2, except v.1. And given all the evidence I've pointed out, several things are clear:
    If you could put down your coffee mug for a bit, maybe you can point out where I am wrong. Thanks.

    If "shape" and "form" don't mean the same thing, please educate the thread. Thanks.

    No it is not saying anything like that. The traditional rendering clearly says "and the earth was without form". So you tell us what that really means.

    My whole point is that ALL matter has form and shape, even irregular shapes, or forms.

    No kidding, Capt Obvious.

    For your information, Hebrew doesn't have words for "and" and "but". Only 1 conjunction. And I believe the Hebrew scholars who translated the Hebrew into Greek (Septuagint) knew their Hebrew FAR BETTER than any scholar in the past century. So I give way more weight to the LXX than any English translation on that point. You're free to believe whatever you want to.


    A phrase that is the DIRECT OPPOSITE of the SAME PHRASE (and words) in another verse isn't about context. It is about the very meaning of the words in the phrase.

    You're just cowering behind "context" to avoid having to deal with the blatant contradiction. That's all.


    lol. There are no "steps" of creation. God simply spoke the universe into existence.

    Psa 33-
    8 Let all the earth fear the LORD;
    let all the people of the world revere him.
    9 For he spoke, and it came to be;
    he commanded, and it stood firm
    .


    Thank you. That is exactly MY POINT!!

    Gen 1:2 as accepted says, "and the earth was (created) tohu (without form).
    Isa 45:18 clearly says "God did not create the eartrh tohu (a wasteland).

    Of course it was to be inhabited, and we have the evidence from Ezek 28 that Satan before his rebellion was in the Garden of Eden.


    It's just as easy and common to say a "blob of clay". Means the same thing.

    And we all know that a blob is a description of an irregular shape.


    Word games aren't for me. Meaning is. And "form" and "shape" are synonymous, or at least interchangeable.

    So again, the earth, a form or shape, cannot be without form.

    You are inserting eisegesis.

    Even liquids have shape in space. We call it a perfect sphere.

    Neither of these verses addresses God creating form or shape to earth.

    In fact, again, ALL matter has form and shape, if you think they are different.

    But, prove me wrong with examples.

    I said:
    "And that shows that something did happen to earth and it BECAME an uninhabitable (void) wasteland (tohu)."
    I have shown it from biblehub.com by comparing the key words in v.2 with the exact form of the word used elsewhere.

    If you don't believe me, do the research yourself.

    What makes you think this is about what I want? You're not thinking very deep.

    What I want is to KNOW the truth of Scripture. v.2 cannot be true as written because all matter has form.

    The exact form of 'hayah' translated "was" is translated as either "become" or "became" almost 60% of the time in the OT, while it was translated only 6% of the time as "was". So go figure. And that included v.2.

    I said:
    "In space, all liquids form a perfect sphere. So you are back to square 1."
    Are you allergic to facts? Ask any astronaut about liquids in space. Or google it yourself.

    Psa 33:8,9 refutes your opinion about God taking "steps" in creating earth.

    I SAID:
    "Land was under water in v.2. And land is a solid object and has shape."
    Which sentence are you having trouble with? I'm not sure.

    Now it's my turn. You don't know that. You have absolutely NO IDEA what Moses was referring to. The text is clear. The earth. Which contains both land and water.

    Your opinion is all wet. :)

    Did you interview Moses or something?

    Moses wrote "but the earth became tohu". He was clearly speaking of the globe we call planet earth.

    You are just guessing. But you don't have to. Just read and accept the very words he wrote.
     
  20. FreeGrace2

    FreeGrace2 Senior Veteran

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    My point exactly! Thanks. God did NOT create the earth as an empty wasteland.

    Isa 45:18 says exactly that.
     
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