Gen 1:2 ESV – The earth was without form and void, and darkness was over the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God was hovering over the face of the waters.
The earth here is still the word land or literal earth. This isn’t all of creation, although it is easily possible everything was in this state of existence. However this says directly the earth.
Yahweh speaks the Jeremiah about this event much later and says it almost exactly. Whether it is referencing creation, or the state of things during the unfaithfulness of Judah and her idolatry, or the future result of things.
Jer 4:23 NKJV – I beheld the earth, and indeed [it was] without form, and void; and the heavens, they [had] no light.
Without form/void: This is interesting as well because the alternative interpretations of the word bring tremendous color to the basic idea.
Form: Not only does this have a context for empty or even nothing, it is also confusion, chaos, unreality, even vanity. This is also a word than can apply to idols and that they are empty and unreal.
Void: This is the more direct and simple. Emptiness, void, waste.
Darkness: literal darkness, but also obscurity and secret place. There are references to Yahweh dwelling and living in darkness (Ex 20:19-21, Deut 4:11-12, Deut 5:22), and this is a different word than being used in the passage Gen 1:2, but it is an intriguing concept here that as the children of Israel drew near to Yahweh on the mountain, it was in darkness that Yah was working, yet almost hiding Yahs work. The Holy of Holies was essentially dark, yet it was the Presence.
Spirit: This is the literal person, not just a description of someTHING, but someONE. However the descriptions of the actions of the Ruach are a LOT like wind, breath, rapid movement, ecstatic behavior, emotion. This just cant seem to be a passive, woozy, ethereal vapor, but a literal, intention, active agent.
Hovering: To grow soft, relax. Translated shake, move, flutter. In a lexicon it even describes this as “to be moved or affected” as well as “with the feeling of tender love, to cherish”.
Face of the deep: This is fairly clear but it is such a weird way to say this. The word face is literally face of things, surface of the ground, or the presence or person. The deep is abyss, and is almost always water except for its use for grave. This is implying water, yet its so hard to imagine any application where literal water (H2O) is collected in an area of space without something holding it there with enough gravity.
Then we see the reality that the Spirit was hovering over the face of the waters. Therefore we have to (actually we don’t but Im speaking figuratively) assume the face of the deep, which is obscured by darkness, or perhaps even hid, is the same thing as the waters. The Spirit is hovering, fluttering, brooding. I have seen translations sy the Spirit was blowing on the waters.
There is something there, but it is obscured, hidden in darkness, and there are apparently no other lights. This is a work in the dark. Just like the womb. There is activity and yet nothing is visible, but something is there.
Ive heard of and read of the perspective that this was a second work, that something had already been there (either by Gap Theory, or similar ideas), and we see in Job 38:4-7 that the angelic beings were already there at least partially. I think it is safe to think about this verse as the description of the Earth, possibly our Solar System, and maybe the universe in some way (no visible light means no stars of the darkness was CAUSED by Yah to hide things and the darkness worked comprehensively despite where you were in it).
There was a plan, and there was an underlying structure somehow, yet the whole focus of this information is US, our planet, our life, our experience as beings with physical reference. And it hints at other things without expressly stating them.