“There is no place in Hebrew thought for material being evil in itself. Whereas pagan cosmologies depicted the primal matter as threatening, Gen 1:31 confirms that all of God’s created order is “very good.” An ascetic lifestyle predicated upon the notion of an evil body or material world is inconsistent with the Old Testament’s affirmation of the goodness of God’s world, its beauty, and the joy it brings the heart (e.g., Ps 104:15, Eccl 3:12-13, Jer 31:10-14). It is thus an insult to the “Creator of Heaven and earth” (Gen 14:19, 22). Gnosticism taught that the material world was inherently evil. But Paul opposed such heterodoxy at Ephesus by appealing to God’s “good” creation as evidence that all foods were lawful (1 Tim 4:4; also Rom 14:14). Christian tradition recognizes that the material world is distorted by the aftermath of human sin, but it also affirms that it was not always so; the “earth” remains the salvific object of God’s desires, and for the Christian, it is subject to the eschatological dominion of the “new creation” entered by faith.”
Ken Matthews, Commentary on Genesis 1:2 in Genesis 1:1-11:26 NAC (Nashville: B&H, 1996), 146-147.