“Now the earth was formless and empty, darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was hovering over the waters.”
There the earth sat, spinning in a the infinite void. But not the earth as we know it today, for at this time it was “formless and empty”. It was covered in darkness. There was no light. It was just a giant rock floating in space. Had there been passersby, they would have found nothing beautiful or particularly fulfilling about the view. And yet, today when we view the earth from space, we see that it is one of the most beautiful things in the universe. The colors and life; it’s truly marvelous.
God enjoys taking things that aren’t beautiful and making them so. Paul writes in 1 Corinthians 1:27 that “God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise.” And the weak things he used to shame the strong. Nothing in this universe finds its purpose outside of him; and without him, neither can it find beauty or happiness or joy or love. This chapter doesn’t only tell us about the creation of the world at the dawn of time. It also speaks of man. Before God says “let there be light”, we are formless and empty. We’re covered in darkness. We have no way to make sense of the void that surrounds us outside of Christ. Our powers of volition will only carry us so far. For us to truly live up to what God desires for us, we must allow his light to come streaming in.
As a young man, I had spent a lot of time trying to get rid of bad habits and sins. I tried everything to rid myself of them but was powerless. It wasn’t until I accepted Christ’s light and dominion in my life that those habits disappeared. The minute that we let God take complete control, the things we’ve been trying to will for ourselves will happen naturally. “Unless the LORD builds the house, its builders labor in vain.” (Psalms 127:1) We can only attempt things but without God, nothing will get truly done.
Finally, notice that while this formless mass is floating in space, God’s spirit hovers above the waters. Surrounded by darkness; God is there: hovering over us and preparing us for the day on which we relinquish control. Without the Sprirt’s involvement, there will be no change. For before the light was ever “turned on”, the spirit was already there. Waiting for the response that was to come. The Spirit waits for us all.