"The earth was without form, and void; and darkness was on the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God was hovering over the face of the waters" (Gen. 1:2). From this point on, the earth becomes the main focus of the narrative (since such is the dwelling place of mankind). More detail will be provided regarding the creation of the earth but not the heavens, since it is unimportant to Moses' message. To describe Earth as "without form and void" simply means that it was empty and formless at that point. It had not yet been perfected as an appropriate home for mankind, but God's Holy Spirit was present to tend to that matter. Among other things, the Spirit adorned the heavens during creation (cf. Job 26:13).
Some, due to evolutionary influences and a desire to harmonize the Scriptures with modern science, have imagined a large chronological gap between Genesis 1:1 and 1:2. They speculate that the Earth was created eons ago and that life existed for millions or billions of years, wherein the bulk of our current fossil record was formed in the Earth's strata. Then, due to the planet supposedly becoming a wasteland, they affirm that God recreated our present Earth from that original world. Supposedly, this large gap of time explains the geological evidence that the Earth must be billions of years old. They argue that Genesis 1:2ff really describes the re-creation of our planet, not its initial creation.
Friends, can this theory be adequately supported with the evidence? No! This chronological gap simply does not exist. It cannot be substantiated contextually or linguistically according to Hebrew scholars, and Exodus 20:11 is clear that God made everything in six literal days (the ones we read about in Genesis 1). Such precludes the possibility of there being two separate periods of creation and re-creation. Genesis 1:2 describes the Earth as it was being made initially and as it was in the process of being perfected by deity to sustain plant and animal life. Could God have created the Earth in one moment fully mature with water, land, mountains, plants, animals, etc.? Of course He could have, but He chose to do it differently, as Genesis 1 indicates.
Let us not be guilty of twisting the Biblical text into whatever we want it to say. Rather, let us examine the evidence objectively and let it guide us to the truth. For more information pertaining to the age of the Earth, please study our archived lessons from 01/12/05 & 01/13/05.