Theologians have often wrestled with the somewhat enigmatic opening to the book of Genesis. This booklet explores a new construction of Eden's chronology that better meshes with creationism.
A possible problem while trying to understand any single verse in the Old Testament is the fact that the Hebrew language can sometimes be a bit vague. Sometimes a verse can legitimately be read several different ways or have several different meanings. This has indeed posed a difficulty when it comes to the Bible's opening statement, "In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth." The problem here isn't solely the oft-debated question of it being either an independent statement or a dependent clause leading in to the next verse; the cumulative quandary is understanding just what the statement means from any vantage point. Is it describing the creation of the universe or is it just a title, relating what will happen throughout the rest of the chapter? And then we come to verse two, which is even more troubling....
The earth was formless and void [Or a waste and emptiness], and darkness was over the surface of [Lit face of ] the deep, and the Spirit of God was moving [Or hovering] over the surface of [Lit face of] the waters.
Is this the heavens and the earth that were created in the first verse? If so, then why were there no actual habitable heavens created until day two (verses 6-7)? Or, if the first verse was just a descriptive title of what was going to happen, then where did all this stuff come from to begin with? The ambiguities and mild questions regarding these two verses have led many imaginative theologians to propose a "gap" theory, whereby past ages fit between the two verses. Ergo, the heavens and earth were created in verse one, yet eventually Satan ruined them and they were destroyed. After this everything was "formless and void," and God started creating again. This theory has held sway with many ever since old-Earth geology became very popular a few centuries ago.