In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth. The earth was formless and empty, and darkness was over the face of the deep, and the Spirit of God was hovering over the waters. And God said, “Let there be light,” and there was light (Genesis 1:1-3).
We live in a world marred by chaos. It’s a truth reinforced by headline after headline, bombing after bombing, shooting after shooting. Violence appears to be
more lethal than ever. Hatred appears to be more entrenched than ever. Turmoil appears to be more unruly than ever. We all wonder, “What is going on these days?”
Yet the biblical worldview teaches us this isn’t a new problem. In fact, it’s as old as the human race. While some of the forms chaos takes may change, the fundamental nature of chaos remains the same. Chaos follows in the wake of sin and always brings formlessness, emptiness, darkness, and lifelessness—a reversal of God’s creative project. God is not to blame, we are.
After creating everything out of nothing (creatio ex nihilo), the Triune God’s next sovereign act was to bring order out of the raw, disordered elements of the universe. The Lord God Almighty spoke into existence a realm that was inhabitable and life-giving for plants, fish, birds, animals of all kinds, and—ultimately—human beings created in his own image (Genesis 1:1-27). Formlessness gave way to beauty, emptiness gave way to excellence, darkness gave way to light, and lifelessness gave way to life—all to the glory of God!
What is more, God gave our ancestors the freedom to enjoy his presence inside the boundaries of what he declared to be good and right (Genesis 2:15-17). Instead of fulfilling their divinely-assigned task to extend the Creator’s rule to the ends of the earth, however, our ancestors abdicated their privileges by doing what seemed good and right in their own eyes. Consequently, they faced God’s just judgment: “Cursed is the ground because of you…” (Genesis 3:17b). Like our ancestors, we’ve all “sinned and fallen short of God’s glory” (Romans 3:23), and like our ancestors we live “east of Eden,” where we face the daily ravages of chaos.
Some will dismiss this worldview as hopelessly antiquated mythology. But I believe we cannot fully understand ourselves or our world without it. “For God who
said, ‘Let light shine from darkness,’ has made his light shine in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ” (2 Corinthians 4:6). Far from abandoning his creation, God sent his Son into the chaos in order to triumph over the chaos. Jesus suffered the disfiguring of formlessness, the abyss of emptiness, the desertion of darkness, and the agony of death—all so that sinners might see the light of God’s glory once again. Be encouraged, God’s light is not hidden. We just need to know where to look.