Though it is never appropriate to hunt and peck through the Scriptures for isolated proof texts to support positions, “tohu” and “bohu” stand in stark contrast to that which is insisted upon in Isaiah, which is that the Creator God “formed the earth and made it; He established it, He did not create it without order, He formed it to be inhabited” (45:18b). Though this can have the appearance of proof-texting as part of an effort at Scriptural exegesis, it actually falls well in line with a grasp of the overall narrative-based structure of Scripture that reveals the Creator God, pointing readers to that God’s long-held plan to redeem a fallen creation into which disorder was disastrously introduced. This seems to be well within the line of thought suggested by the covenant God’s creation becoming “without shape and empty,” which also suggests some type of catastrophic activity that produced such a state.
Is it proper to here insert an idea of the devil sinning from the beginning? Is it appropriate to here posit the reported fall of Lucifer and his cohorts, as they seem to have entered into a violation of their covenants with the Creator God (sin), with the result of that violation being a world subjected to tohu and bohu? Is it possible that the author of John views the world through this type of cosmology? One should dare not become dogmatic in this area, but this could very well account for the insistence that the devil had been sinning from the beginning.
If this is so, then the creation account of Genesis, which reflects the ordering of the world into a cosmic temple in which the Creator God would rest (which would have fit well within ancient near east mythology and the idea that a temple was the resting place of a god), is the restoration of the world to the state which had been previously established by its Creator, as it had been marred by the first act of covenant unfaithfulness, with this marring carried out by the one now referred to as the devil.
If this is so, then it becomes possible to gain an even better understanding of the role that is given to Adam. Why is Adam created? Why is the one that is called the son of God revealed? First and foremost, it is to bear the image of the Creator God in and to and for His creation, in proper and loving stewardship of the world. That was part and parcel of the covenant that the Creator God is said to have made with Adam, with the mark of that covenant being Adam’s obedience in regards to the trees from which he could and could not partake. Secondly, it is to be in a position to come against and destroy the works of the devil, who, as is revealed in the Genesis account of the activities in the garden, is present in the world.
If this is a reasonable position, then one can see that the author of the letter goes on to write about an ideal situation in which “Everyone who has been fathered by God does not practice sin” (John 3:9a). Sin, as one must remember in an effort to constantly steer away from thinking about sin as “the bad stuff that I do,” is “being unfaithful to the covenant that is designed to bring glory to the Creator God via man’s participation in his role of stewardship of the creation, and thereby falling short of the Creator God’s intention for man as His image-bearer in and to and for this world.”
The author goes on to write that the reason those fathered by the Creator God do not practice sin is “because God’s seed resides in him, and thus he is not able to sin, because he has been fathered by God” (3:9b). This hardly describes Adam, so it should be reiterated that this is an ideal representation, which would then appear to be hyperbolic usage that is designed to point his audience to the uniqueness of the one that is most properly looked to as the Son of God, and to His unbroken faithfulness to God’s covenant.