“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.” (Genesis 1:2)
One of the questions concerning creation has to do with age. Just how old is this universe? How old is the planet upon which we live? Those adhering to the theory of evolution advocate for billions of years for the formation of our universe and our earth. Among Christians, there are many who also believe that the universe is ancient, dating back billions of years.
One explanation offered Biblically for an ancient universe is called the “Gap Theory.” According to that theory, there is a gap of time between Verses one and two of Genesis 1. The prophet Jeremiah wrote the following words, “I beheld the earth, and, lo, it was without form, and void; and the heavens, and they had no light. I beheld the mountains, and, lo, they trembled, and all the hills moved lightly. I beheld, and, lo, there was no man, and all the birds of the heavens were fled.” (Jeremiah 4:23-25) Those adhering to the gap theory believe that the earth was indeed created by God, but was made “without form and void” as a result of Divine judgment. Thus, according to this theory, there was a long span of time between Verse 1 and Verse 2 in the first chapter of Genesis.
Others believe that our universe is not billions of years old, and that the earth’s creation only dates back thousands of years. The gap theory accommodates geological evidence that dictates long spans of time necessary for various formations of earth. Those adhering to a younger creation believe that when God created the heaven and the earth, that He spoke them into being instantly by His infinite power, and that His creation appeared fully developed. One way of understanding this is to consider the creation of Adam. On the day God created the first man, He created him as a fully developed male. Adam was not first created as a fetus in the womb, beginning a path of development that would eventually result in him being an adult male. On the very day that God created him, Adam was a man capable of reasoning and communication. He had the ability to perform tasks assigned him by his Creator. To believe in a young earth is to believe that God created all that is in this universe in fully developed form, and that billions of years were not necessary in that creation. Either explanation of creation acknowledges the wisdom and power of God, but I adhere to the belief in our universe being thousands, rather than billions of years old.
“...and the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters.” The creation of water is one of the important things that sets earth apart from other planets we have been able to study through scientific examination. The importance of water to life is well known and easily understood, and can be seen in the fact that water covers approximately 71 percent of the earth’s surface. That balance of the waters of the seas and oceans of the world, and the fresh water of rivers and streams enables and sustains life on our planet. Life cannot exist without water.
This brings great meaning to the words of the Lord Jesus spoken to the woman at the well in Samaria. See John 4:1-29. The woman had gone to the well that day to draw water, but she met there the One who could give her the spiritual “water of life.” And, just as water that God created is essential for life in this world, the spiritual “water of life” is essential for spiritual life that is in Christ. In John 7, Jesus addressed this when He said, “If any man thirst, let him come unto me, and drink. He that believeth on me, as the scripture hath said, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water.” He wasn’t speaking of the water that we need to sustain our physical existence, “But this spake he of the Spirit, which they that believe on him should receive: for the Holy Ghost was not yet given; because that Jesus was not yet glorified.” (See John 7:37-39) That dear lady was spiritually dead in trespasses and sins, (Ephesians 2:1) and was in need of the spiritual water that is a “well of water springing up into everlasting life.” This is that spiritual water that is available to all through the death, burial and resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ.