The Bible points us to the gospel from beginning to end. I mean this literally. Before man ever had a chance to fall in the garden the Bible was already preaching the good news of salvation. In fact, it was at the very beginning of creation itself. We find one example of this in Genesis 1:2-3.
The earth was formless and void, and darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was moving over the surface of the waters. Then God said, “Let there be light”; and there was light.
(Genesis 1:2-3, NASB)
I would like to share with you three ways these beginning verses of the Bible foreshadow the regeneration of man.
1. The sinful state of man
The earth is described as formless, void, and covered in darkness. This description parallels the sinful state of man.
The formless earth is one without shape. It is a picture of chaos. To look at it, one would not be sure exactly what it is or what it is supposed to be. This describes the lost world well.
Man in his sinful state is man without God. And man without God is man without form.
We were designed to mirror the image of God, but the fall twisted and deformed us. This is why the world dwells in uncertainty. Among the lost, no one really knows what they are supposed to be or do. They are lost, trying to figure it all out as they go. They don't know their shape. They are without form.
The void earth is one that is empty. It has no life in it. It holds nothing of value. Lost humanity, likewise, is void. All that gave us life and value we forfeited at the fall.
We were made to walk in relationship with God. That relationship is what made humanity special. Our sin broke that relationship. Now the lost man has no life in him. He is without the only thing that gives him value. He is void.
The earth covered in darkness is an earth without light. Since God is Light (1 John 1:5), this is an earth without the knowledge of God. In the same way the lost are without the knowledge of God. Yes, God is revealed all around them in creation (Romans 1:20), but their hearts are darkened (Romans 1:21). They cannot perceive Him.
2. The work of the Holy Spirit
The Holy Spirit moves over the surface of the waters. Why is this detail important? It shows that the Holy Spirit's presence is necessary in order for the light to be revealed. The Holy Spirit works within the heart of all those whom God will save, opening their eyes to see the truth about Him.
Without the Holy Spirit enabling our blind hearts to see, none of us can know God.
3. The word of God lights up the darkness
God decrees that light should shine into the dark, lifeless earth. At the very sound of His decree, the light springs forth. So it is with our salvation. At the decree of God, through the application of the Holy Spirit, light floods in to the dark heart of man.
Once we were without the knowledge of God, empty, and without form. Now we know Him intimately. Now we have meaning. Now we know our shape.
We know our purpose. We are alive.
Anywhere you see someone turn to Christ for salvation, you see a heart regenerated in the pattern of Genesis 1:2-3.
There is just one more thing to notice. The earth was powerless in this whole thing. It had no power to form and create itself. It was totally reliant on God for this. So it is with every man.
We cannot save ourselves. God must take the initiative to speak life into our darkened hearts.
Amazing grace, indeed! How humbling it is to know that unless God regenerated my heart, I would still be lost, darkened, and without form in this world.
I hope this short look at creation has helped you to see that the gospel truly is revealed throughout Scripture.
This article is adapted from a post in my personal newsletter, The Verse. You can check it out here:
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