“The earth was formless and void, and darkness was over the surface of the deep…” Gen. 1:2(a)
This verse has been translated several different ways. The words “formless”, “void”, and “empty” are quite common in popular English translations, however some Hebrew translations employ words such as “chaos”, “unformed”, “bewilderment”, even the phrase “waste and wild”. Rashi tells us that this phrase means “astonishment and bafflement”, with the implication that the person seeing the emptiness is astonished at it.
This begins to paint a bit of a different picture. These words all describe a life in confusion, a life that seems empty, a life that is, for the most part, a chaotic mess. Unfortunately we are unable to mend what is most broken in our own souls.
We are no longer merely talking about the creation of the earth; rather, we are seeing a reflection of a person’s life before God has done His work in them. The creation story itself is about new creation, and just as God shapes and handcrafts the earth, so He performs His creative work in us – making all sorts of good things within us. And just as He does with creation, ultimately He declares us good in the end, once He has had His way.
And what lies at the end of the creation process? The same thing that is also at the end of His creation process within us: a Sabbath rest.