Genesis 1:1 In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. 2 And the earth was waste and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep: and the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters.
Genesis 1:2 describes the world after God had created matter (1:1) but hadn’t organized it yet. At that time it was described as waste, void, and a dark deep pit. But as we look into the Hebrew words  used here it adds clarity..
The word waste in Hebrew is “Tohu” which means, “waste, empty; (of speech) useless, confused (emphasis added) . It’s found elsewhere in the Old Testament translated as something empty that doesn’t have power , a wilderness or wasted city , or emptiness that’s created because of attack .
So the world before God began forming it was a wilderness or something with no strength of it’s own…it was empty.
The word for void is “Bohu” which means “a desolation associated with chaos .” Interestingly this word is only found once in the Bible, and it’s paired with “Tohu” there as well.
Jeremiah 4:23 I looked on the earth, and behold, it was without form and void; and to the heavens, and they had no light. (emphasis added)
Put these two words together and the world is described as an empty (destroyed and without power) chaos.
“Okay well thanks for the Hebrew lesson John, now what in the world does that have to do with the existence of God?”
Just this…Apart from God our lives are filled with emptiness (tohu), and chaos (bohu).
Every individual is born with a desire for something deeper. As we grow older this means finding a source of strength or identity outside of ourselves. This longing was created by God, because He wants to have a relationship with us. Therefore the only thing that can possibly fill this desire is Him.
Like many of you I try to meet this desire with many things other than God because my heart wants to have control. At first they would bring happiness but it’s only short-term. Soon I found myself unsatisfied (empty) and frantically searching for something that could bring happiness (chaos).
Author Matt Papa describes our emptiness and chaos this way:
The triune God is the only thing large enough and interesting enough to bear the weight of glory, and ultimately worship. Anything else will break your heart. Papa, Matt (2014–10–28). Look and Live: Behold the Soul-Thrilling, Sin-Destroying Glory of Christ (p. 33). Baker Publishing Group.
In other words the only thing that can bear the weight of our need is God, everything else will crumble.
There are many proofs for the existence of God, but perhaps the greatest is that we are never truly satisfied apart from a relationship with Him.
- the copies of the original manuscripts we have are written in Hebrew. ↩
- GK H9332 | S H8414 …whO;t tohu 20x
n.m. formless, waste, empty; (of speech) useless, confused, vain. ± NIV | ESV | HCSB | NRSV | JPS | NKJV | KJV ↩
- 1Sam. 12:21, Is. 29:21 ↩
- Deuteronomy 32:10, Isaiah 24:10 ↩
- Isaiah 34:11 ↩
- GK H983 | S H922 …whO;b bohu 3x
n.m. emptiness, desolation, a void associated with chaos; “empty and void” is a state of total chaos.
± NIV | ESV | HCSB | NRSV | JPS | NKJV | KJV ↩