1 In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.
2 But the earth became waste and emptiness, and darkness was on the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was brooding upon the surface of the waters.
18 For thus says Jehovah, / Who created the heavens— / He is the God / Who formed the earth and made it; / He established it; / He did not create it waste, / But He formed it to be inhabited: / I am Jehovah and there is no one else;
13 But you, you said in your heart: / I will ascend to heaven; / Above the stars of God / I will exalt my throne. / And I will sit upon the mount of assembly / In the uttermost parts of the north.
14 I will ascend above the heights of the clouds; / I will make myself like the Most High.
17 Your heart was lifted up because of your beauty; you corrupted your wisdom by reason of your brightness. I cast you to the ground…
1 Peter 5:
5 In like manner, younger men, be subject to elders; and all of you gird yourselves with humility toward one another, because God resists the proud but gives grace to the humble.
“In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth, and the earth became waste and empty.” The Concordant Version of Genesis translates the verse this way: “Yet the earth became a chaos and vacant.” The Concordant Version does not say “and”; it says “yet.” “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. Yet the earth became a chaos and vacant.” A chaos is a mess. The earth became a chaos—waste and vacant. We may render this phrase as either “a chaos and vacant” or “waste and empty.” Something happened between verse 1 and verse 2 which caused the earth to become waste and empty.
The Origin of Satan
Satan was an angel created by God before He created the earth. The book of Job (38:4-7) tells us that when God laid the measure of the foundation of the earth, the sons of God (the angels) shouted for joy. This proves that God created the angels before He created the earth. From Ezekiel 28 we see that Satan was not only one of the angels, but the highest archangel, the head of all the angels.
Ezekiel 28 describes Satan’s position in the universe before his rebellion and corruption. This whole chapter seems to speak about the king of Tyre. But verse 13 says, “Thou hast been in Eden the garden of God.” If we read the context, we can see that this was not the Eden in which Adam was put. This Eden was not on the earth, but in the heavens, on the holy mountain of God.
“The service of thy tabrets and of thy pipes was prepared with thee in the day thou wast created” (Heb.). In the ancient times, musical instruments such as tambourines and pipes were for kings (Dan. 3:5; 6:18). This indicates that Satan was a king, holding the highest position in that universe. This was why even the Lord Jesus called him “the ruler of this world” (John 12:31). The Apostle also calls him “the ruler of the authority of the air” (Eph. 2:2). Luke 4:5-6 also confirms this. “And he led Him up and showed Him all the kingdoms of the inhabited earth in a moment of time. And the Devil said to Him, To You I will give all this authority and their glory, because to me it has been delivered, and to whomever I want I give it.” Was this a lie? If it was a lie the Lord Jesus surely would have rebuked Satan. Since the Lord did not rebuke him, it must be a fact. Satan, the Devil, told the Lord that all the kingdoms of the world and all their glory had been delivered to him. Satan also said, “to whomever I want I give it.” When did God deliver all of this to Satan? This was definitely something pre-Adamic, before the world of Adam. By reading the full revelation of the Bible, we can realize that God did appoint Satan the head of that universe, and that God had delivered all created things in the heaven and on the earth into his hand. So he became “the ruler of this world.”
Beside Ezekiel 28, Isaiah 14:12 also helps us to see Satan’s origin. It tells us that Satan was the “Daystar [for Lucifer according to Hebrew], son of the morning.” Just as the daystar is the leading one among the stars, so Satan must be the head of all the angels. The title “son of the morning” shows that he was there early, in the morning of the universe. Thus, Satan, from the earliest days of the universe, was the head of the angels, bright as the daystar.
Satan’s origin was wonderful. He was God’s anointed cherub, the one closest to God, holding the highest position in God’s creation. He had not only the kingship, but also the priesthood, the very position that we, God’s redeemed people, have forever (Rev. 5:9-10; 20:4-6). But he was deprived of his position and offices when he rebelled against God.
The Rebellion of Satan
Satan rebelled against God because of pride in his heart. Ezekiel 28:17 says that his heart was lifted up because of his beauty, that he corrupted his wisdom by reason of his brightness. He was “full of wisdom and perfect in beauty”; he “sealed up the sum,” (Ezek. 28:12) meaning that he had the full measure of completeness and was short of nothing. But he gazed on his beauty and was proud. He looked at his brightness and became corrupted. To look at what God has made us and forget God Himself always tempts us to be proud. Pride was the cause of Satan’s rebellion. So, the Apostle would never allow “a novice” to be an elder in the church, “lest being blinded with pride he fall into the judgment of the Devil” (1 Tim. 3:6). All the natural virtues and attributes, and all the spiritual gifts can be utilized by the Devil to make us proud. The proud Devil is still prowling about on the earth, seeking the proud ones whom he may devour (1 Pet. 5:8). The only way to “resist” him is to “humble” ourselves, to gird ourselves with humility because “God resists the proud, but gives grace to the humble” (1 Pet. 5:9, 5-6). The Lord Jesus is a good example in this matter. Satan exalted himself, but the Lord Jesus “humbled Himself” (Phil. 2:8). Thus, the Lord overcame Satan, and Satan had nothing in Him (John 14:30).
The purpose of Satan’s rebellion was to exalt himself to be equal with God. In Isaiah 14:13-14 we find that five times Satan said “I will,” at the time of his rebellion. “I will ascend..I will exalt my throne..I will sit also upon the mount..I will ascend above the heights of the clouds; I will be like the most High.” Satan wanted to be equal with God. That was the purpose of his rebellion against God.
Ambition for position was the motivation of every rebellion recorded in the Bible. The rebellion at Babel (Gen. 11:4), the rebellion of Dathan, Abiram, and the two hundred and fifty princes of the Israelites (Num. 16:1-3), and the rebellion of Absalom (2 Sam. 15:10-12), were all because of the evil ambition for position. But the Lord Jesus “emptied Himself, taking the form of a slave…Wherefore also God highly exalted Him and bestowed on Him the name which is above every name” (Phil. 2:7, 9).
The Judgment by God
Satan’s rebellion brought in God’s judgment. God cannot tolerate any rebellion among His creatures. Immediately after Satan’s rebellion, God declared His judgment on him. “Iniquity was found in thee. By the multitude of thy slander …thou hast sinned: therefore I will cast thee as profane out of the mountain of God: and I will destroy thee, O covering cherub, from the midst of the stones of fire. Thine heart was lifted up…thou hast corrupted thy wisdom…I will cast thee to the ground….Thou hast defiled thy sanctuaries by the multitude of thine iniquities…” (Ezek. 28:15-18). “Thou shalt be brought down to hell, to the sides of the pit” (Isa. 14:15).
The heavens and the earth surely were defiled by Satan’s rebellion. God rebuked Satan, “Thou hast defiled thy sanctuaries” (Ezek. 28:18). So, the heavens and the earth were also judged by God. Job 9:5-7 says that God overturned the mountains in His anger, shook the earth out of its place, commanded the sun not to rise, and sealed the stars. When did God do this? We cannot find a record of such an event in human history. It must have happened before the Adamic world, at the time God judged the heavens and the earth due to the rebellion of Satan and his followers. Because of God’s judgment, the heavens did not shine. The earth was covered by darkness. The fact that the earth, after being judged by God, was buried under the deep water proves that God must have judged the earth by flooding it with water. So, “the earth became waste and empty,” buried under deep water, and covered with darkness (Gen. 1:2).
Isaiah 45:18 tells us, “God created the earth not a waste” (Heb.). Job 38:4-7 shows that God created the earth in good order. It says that when God “laid the foundations of the earth,” “laid the measures thereof,” and “stretched the line upon it,” “the morning stars sang together, and all the sons of God [the angels] shouted for joy.” When God laid the foundations of the earth, He laid the measure upon it and stretched the line upon it. This means that He created it in good order. So, when the morning stars saw it, they were excited and sang, and when all the angels saw it, they shouted for joy. When did this happen? It must have happened in Genesis 1:1, not in Genesis 1:2. How could the morning stars sing and the angels shout for joy when the earth became waste and empty?
Whenever these two words “waste” and “empty” are used together in the Old Testament, they always denote a result of judgment. We see this in Jeremiah 4:23 (“without form, and void” should be “waste and empty,” Heb.), in Isaiah 24:1, and in Isaiah 34:11 (“confusion” should be “a waste,” Heb.). Whatever has been judged by God becomes waste and empty. The earth became waste and empty because it was judged by God.
Life Study of Genesis, Msg. 2, W. Lee