“In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. Now the earth was (or possibly became) 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
Here are the four reasons I believe the heavens were already in existence before the six days of Genesis one:
- Darkness is only on the face of the earth in verse two; it isn’t filling the universe. Job 38 describes the earth at some time after it was created as having clouds as its garments and being “wrapped in thick darkness.” (Job 38:9)
- When God says, “Let there be light,” on day one, He was not creating light, He was allowing the light that was already filling the universe to appear on the earth.* Evening and morning on earth are describing a solar day as the clouds dissipate enough at God’s command for light to appear again on the face of the earth.
- The difference between “bara” and “asah.” In Genesis 1:1, God creates the heavens; on the fourth day He only works on them. The word “create” in Hebrew is “bara,” the word used on the fourth day in connection to the stars, sun, and moon is “asah” (often translated “made”). Bara indicates something brand new while asah never involves something new, but rather something preexisting that is being worked on.
- On day four God doesn’t create the heavens, He only works on them by completely removing the cloud cover so they can be seen from the earth. This is similar to the work He does on the earth in day three. He doesn’t create the earth on the third day, He gathers the water so that dry land appears, and then calls the dry land, “earth.” In a similar way, on day four He doesn’t create the heavens, He removes the clouds so the heavens can be seen from the earth.
*Scofield Study Bible: “And God said, Let there be light: and there was light.” Comments: “Neither here nor in verses 14-18 is an original creative act implied. A different word is used. The sense is made to appear; made visible. The sun and moon were created ‘in the beginning.’ The ‘light’ of course came from the sun, but the vapor diffused the light. Later the sun appeared in an unclouded sky.”