I looked at the earth, and it was formless and empty; and at the heavens, and their light was gone. I looked at the mountains, and they were quaking; all the hills were swaying. I looked, and there were no people; every bird in the sky had flown away. I looked, and the fruitful land was a desert; all its towns lay in ruins before the Lord, before his fierce anger. — Jeremiah 4:23-28, NIV.
In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. 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. — Genesis 1:1-2, NIV.
Is the world that we live in, a second creation? I guess it might be!
As Jeremiah listened to the judgment that he had received from God for the adulterous acts Israel and Judah committed, he saw the formless and empty earth that wasn’t spared from God’s fierce anger.
This formless and empty earth was the same vision that God gave Moses in Genesis 1:2. Note, in Genesis 1:2, God did not “create” the earth, per se. It was there. It was merely formless and empty. There was darkness over the waters, and the Spirit of God hovers above it. This was the earth that Jeremiah saw when God proclaimed His judgment against Judah.
Notice that light was gone from the heavens? Notice that there were no flying animals in the sky? Notice that there were no people? Notice that there were towns? Except that, they were all left in ruins? The resemblance of Jeremiah’s account and Moses’ account in Genesis is uncanny.
So there are two possible explanations for this account in Jeremiah:
- Jeremiah’s account is to point to a future event.
- Jeremiah’s account is to point to the first destruction of creation prior to the Genesis creation narrative.
Let’s say if Jeremiah’s account points to a future event, then all aspect of Jeremiah’s account must stand true. But if we were to look further down the text, we find a massive problem with Jeremiah’s narrative if we were to read it as a proclamation of a future event. In Jer 4:25, we learn that “there were no people”. On top of that, we learned that the earth was “formless and empty” (Jer 4:23) while “all of its towns lay in ruins” (Jer 4:26). Now, if this were to point to a future event, then God would not contradict Himself and say “the whole land will be ruined, though I will not destroy it completely” (Jer 4:27).
But let’s say Jeremiah’s account pointed to a past event; an event that existed before the Genesis’ account. Let’s say that this was what happened to the world before the Genesis’ account of creation, then I think this would open the doors to a lot of research. On the one hand, we will see that God did not contradict Himself in verse 27. Well, He destroyed all life on earth and lay every town in ruins. The earth was indeed left to be formless and empty. But He did not destroy the planet. It was there at the beginning in Genesis 1:2… Before “light” was spoken into being.
So the heavens “grew dark” before it completely vanished. Leaving the world in darkness in its formless and empty state. This theory somehow explains why the earth as we know it dates back further than the supposed 6000 years of Biblical history. This might also be why the earliest homo sapiens who existed on earth existed some 300,000 years ago, along with their archaeological findings and whatever have you. Oh, need I mention the dinosaurs?
Though it’s hard to wrap the limited human mind around the concept that God speaks of future events with remembrance of what He did in the past, I still believe that this particular passage is some sort of an appetizer preparing the people of Judah for what was to come next — The destruction that was decreed (Jer 1:14, Jer 4:6) and God will not go back on His words (Jer 4:28).
Now, if the world we live in is the second creation, then I think a lot of questions will arise from this conclusion. Questions like, “how was earth like before us”, “who lived before us”, “how did humans live peacefully with dinosaurs”, “what sins did they commit”, “were they like us”, etc, can be looked into.
But for now, I think I’m keeping to the conclusion that the world we live in was the result of a second creation… Till a better explanation can be found.