Hi Miriam, firstly and I am sure it is just a typo, but the fall of Adam and Eve was more like 7,000 years ago. If only 2,200 years ago, we are into roughly the Maccabean period history of Israel with Christ’s coming on the horizon.
Anyway I digress. This question of yours is similar to another on another thread, but the question there was dealing about light, that in verse 3 and the lights in verse 14 of Gen 1. I will say here as I said there with regards to questions around the Genesis account, there are multiple opinions and you might find yourself even more confused and wished you never asked the question. Again, as said in the other thread I believe this is where Christian charity needs to play out and where we differ in opinions we will have to say that we will have to agree to disagree.
Saying that that doesn’t mean we avoid the difficult questions and yours is one of them and I will posit my thoughts over my studying of this topic and it will be up to you if it compels you to further study on the matter.
If according to reckoning based on Bible chronology, the race of Adam did not appear on this earth until about 6-7 thousand years ago; but modern geology has shown beyond doubt that the earth existed immense ages before then. How are we to account, then, for the vast period of the earth’s existence before the time when according to the Bible, the Adamic race first appeared.
It is supposed by many that the words “without form, and void,” in Gen 1:2 describe the first condition of the earth after its creation, and that the six days of chapter 1 are therefore six successive stages of the original creative process, but is that the case?
If we say there is no break between the first two verses of Genesis, and the words, “without form and void,” in verse 2, describe the first condition of the earth at its creation, back beyond all geological ages, then of course, the only way we can fit in the vast expanse of time between creation of the earth and the rather recent appearance of man is to say that the six days of Genesis 1 were six great ages of time, and that man appeared somewhere in the sixth age.
But this lands us in huge difficulties when trying to reconcile what we know of science to Scripture. I do not have the time to go into all the difficulties, but to avoid all what could be said, I am a firm believer that the six days mentioned in Genesis 1 are just that, six days of a 24 hour period with the clear start in verse 3 when it says after God’s first command “there was evening and morning” and repeated thereafter in each subsequent day.
The first lesson in Biblical interpretation is that when there are clearly made literal statements the reader should accept it as that. If symbolism is intended the symbolism is clear, ie:“his eyes were like flaming fire”, then the Bible becomes its own interpreter and the answer can be found therein.
So then if we are to accept the plain words of Scripture, yet at the same time avoid the disagreement with established geological facts we have to accept that Gen 1:2 does not describe the original state of the earth at its creation. Genesis and geology are reconciled when we see that between verses 1 and 2 there is a gap sufficient to cover all geological ages, and that the six days describes in the Gen 1 account are not referring to original creation but the reconstruction of earth after some cataclysmic event to allow it to become the habitation of man.
The question is, how do we establish that fact? This is where original language is useful. The Hebrew word for create is “bara”. It is used three time in Gen 1. Verse 1, creation of all matter in the dateless past, verse 21, the creation of the new animal order (day 5), and verse 27, the creation of man (day 6). Bara means a creative act by God in all its perfection, which then denies infinite becoming, man didn’t evolve into man, but God created him a perfect man in the image of God. Therefore if ‘bara’ means a perfect creative act by God, how is the earth without form and void in verse 2? The words used there are the Hebrew words ‘bohu’ and ‘tohu’, confusion and emptiness. These are the same words used by Isaiah when he is talking about the coming judgement of Israel and what will become of them when that judgment is executed, Isa 34:11. This then begs the question how did confusion and emptiness enter into God’s perfection? Again the correct interpretation of verse 2 is not that the earth “was” without form and void but the earth “became” without form and void." Therefore theologians using Isaiah as a guideline, allude to a cataclysmic judgement on what was original creation, and the fossil findings of living creatures and other vegetable matter in the many strata’s of the earth’s crust are the evidence of what was on the earth in what is called the Pre-Adamite age. Therefore all we have in Genesis 1:1-2 is a record of original creation somewhere in the timeless past, a judgement in verse 2 at some time in the timeless past, and that in a moment in time, since that judgement, and roughly according to Bible chronology about 7,000 years ago God started a process over six days to restore the earth for the habitation of man as we know him. This then, as stated, reconciles how we account for the fossil record of creatures that predate the existence of Adam and the human race as we know it. Now the argument can be expounded further with other evidences, but I will leave that to you to study and I hopefully given you enough to whet your appetite for that.
Now I am sure there are other questions as to what exactly was there before, and why did God judge it? The Bible is relatively silent on it, but there are indications in the Old Testament that it had to do with judgement over the rebellion of Satan and a third of the angelic host. Isa 14:9-17, Jer 4:23-7, Ezk 28:12-18. It is said 'the language here transcends any merely local or temporal limits."
What we also cannot forget is that the Bible also teaches us spiritual lessons in all that it reports. So what do we learn from this account. As stated, the word ‘bara’ is only used three times, original creation, animal order and man. We know it means God’s creates in perfection.
We see in original creation that the world is perfect v1, but there is a judgement over a rebellion and the world is plunged into darkness, chaos and emptiness v2. It remains in that state until God speaks over 7,000 years ago and says “let there be light.” With that command we see God begin His work of restoration of his original creation to become the habitation for perfect Man. The six days describe a new beginning but not the first beginning.
What do we see of Man? He is ‘bara’ created in perfection. He sins and judgement falls. The inner world of his heart falls in darkness, chaos and confusion. It continues in that state until the day comes when He (Christ) comes and says “I am the light of the world” and when Men accept that light into their hearts, God begins the restorative work of Men’s hearts, so that their hearts can become the habitation of God. “…“If anyone loves me, he will keep my word, and my Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our home with him.” John 14:23. Adam describes our first beginning, Christ gives us our new beginning through new birth by the Holy Spirit of God.