I have two small children. For my house this means lots of chaos. It feels like a never ending battle bringing order to the house. It feels like after 5 minutes of the children being awake or coming home the house is in complete chaos.
The Bible starts with a picture of utter chaos. For the early Israelites, the picture painted in Gen 1:2 is one of fear coming out of chaos. The first thing is the darkness. Today it is hard to be outside and in complete darkness. There are lights everywhere but for the early Israelite, the darkness represented danger. There were also sorts of animals or people that could attack you from the dark without being seen.
The second thing is deep waters. The Israelites weren’t comfortable with deep water. Think about Jesus’ disciples. Some of them were fishermen, brought up with the water, but when a storm comes, they suddenly fear for their lives (Lk 8:22-24). And this is the ones who were the most comfortable with water. In fact, for this reason, in Rev 21:1 the picture of the new earth is one without sea!
To go with this darkness and deep waters is the fact that the earth is without form. There is nothing firm to which you can stand or even hold. How terrifying is that picture?
(I wonder, if you were going to start a religious book, is this the first picture you would paint? Why does God start with this story?)
By the end of this first story in Gen 1, God has turned this frightening chaos into a beautiful picture of order. From the midst of terrifying disorder, God creates a safe environment in which people can live. The chaos isn’t just removed, it is brought into order. The big picture message of this story is that the God of this book (the bible) can bring order from any mess that we might find ourselves in. He may not do it instantly or in the way we want, but he has the ability and the desire to help us bring order into our lives - especially when the disorder is caused by sin.
Whenever I see the chaos created by my children, it always makes me think of the God who can bring order to Chaos. It makes me wonder, what other chaos has been created in my life? Have I invited God into that Chaos? Have I looked to find his way to bring some order into the chaos?