In Genesis 2:5 we see this statement just before we see the creation of Adam.
Prior to this in Genesis 1:1-2 we read this...
"In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth. And the earth was without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters."
Now the hebrew term there for "without form and void" is Tohuw Bohuw.
It literally means: confusion, chaos, disorder.
So right off the bat we see this world that was in a state of confusion, meaningless, useless, chaotic, and disorderly. Pagan worship and idolatry ran wild. There was no true knowledge of the God of the bible yet.
We find this exact same phrase in Jeremiah 4:22-23. We read in this chapter about Judah and her wickedness. Now CLEARLY there are people existing at this time, for the passage speaks clearly of people's wickedness. But the same term "Tohuw Bohuw" is used to describe the state of these people who were denying the true God. Here is the passage...
"For My people are foolish, They have not known Me. They are silly children, And they have no understanding. They are wise to do evil, But to do good they have no knowledge.”I beheld the earth, and indeed it was WITHOUT FORM AND VOID (tohuw bohuw); And the heavens, they had no light." Jeremiah 4:22-23
Now, clearly the earth was NOT without people. Clearly this is showing how the people were wicked and there was no order. Clearly it did NOT mean that literally the "heavens did not have any light". But rather it meant that the people had no LIGHT. They had no illumination of God.
But what about the "and there was no man" language used?
Well check out Isaiah 41:27-29...
"The first time I said to Zion, ‘Look, there they are!’ And I will give to Jerusalem one who brings good tidings. For I looked, AND THERE WAS NO MAN; I looked among them, but there was no counselor, Who, when I asked of them, could answer a word. Indeed they are all worthless; Their works are nothing; Their molded images are wind and CONFUSION."
Now again, OF COURSE there are people alive here. The whole context is ABOUT PEOPLE. Yet we see "and there was NO MAN". Why? Because again, there was no ORDER. There was no illumination of God. Guess what that last word for "confusion" is in Hebrew? Yep, it's TOHUW. Meaning, without form and chaotic.
So if the phrase "and there was no man" is used in Isaiah during a time when clearly there was plenty of humans alive, what gives us the right to say Genesis is any different?
Could it be that God saying "there was no man to til the ground" in Genesis actually meant that there was no man to go and spread the truth about the true God? No man to go and plant the seeds about the true God? No man to be a light to the nations?
I think it's very likely that this is the case.
Isaiah 44:9 shows the same thing going on. Tohuw. Showing people making images and worshiping them in confusion.
Thanks for reading guys. If you enjoyed the study please give it a like below and feel free to share as well. God bless.