The earth hath existed waste and void.Gen 1:2
God started with an empty, waste creation. In it he formed earth, heaven with all its stars and planets and black holes, plants, animals, and finally man. And he set man into a garden.
The garden – paradise from Persian pardes – was very defined in its borders. Man was given the command to fill the earth.
It seems as if everything around the garden was still waste and void. As a matter of fact, wherever man has gone lately – moon, Mars, the solar system – so far everything has been waste and void.
Other translations for tohu wa bohu are desert and empty, unfurnished and empty.
Nothing there. Waiting for something. Empty. As I said in my last installment, a void has to be filled. If it is filled in an uncontrolled matter, this might lead to an implosion or explosion of anything forcefully taking up the space of emptiness.
So, what happened?
God built an universe for man and sustained it in an empty and void state, desert, waiting to be filled. And he built man after his own image as a co-creator, aware of himself and his surroundings, with the assignment to fill the earth.
Fill it with what?
We find the answer in Matthew 6.
Your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.Mat 6:10
We were to fill it with the Kingdom, as representatives, as sent ones, as apostles of God.
God is life. Where God is, life abounds. Where he is not, life is not present. God still sustains this universe, he still holds together everything, as the bible tells us. Yet he delegated the task of filling it with the Kingdom to man, and he is not going to take this assignment away from man. Thus, he sustains the universe in its created state before the assignment: waste and void, desert and empty.
Obviously, something happened when man rebelled against the assignment. A destructive force in enmity of life came in. A counter-kingdom. The absence of life and awareness.
Again in my last blog entry I called life and awareness, especially self-awareness, the basic and foundational elements of our being, the raison-d’être for this universe. Unawareness and death – as we commonly call the absence of life – therefore are the counter-forces of the Kingdom.
One could say that within the Kingdom, life abounds, and we are aware of ourselves and everything else, including the King of kings, Jesus Christ, the source of life. The counter-kingdom is void of life and meaning, as meaning can only come from self-awareness and awareness of God and others. At the borders of both Kingdoms, there is partial life – existence – and partial awareness. But there is also decay and destruction, and at the end, death.
This is true for man, and it is true for the whole universe. But it is not the plan. It is not the goal of God. Neither you nor this earth and heaven, nor the universe we live in is doomed for destruction.
I earlier said that God would never take away the assignment from man to fill the earth with his kingdom. He found a much more faithful way to help. Faithful to his assignment to man, faithful to his bible in which he says that he does not regret his gifts and does not take them back.
God gave us the gift of responsibility for the universe, for creation. He gave us the gift of being co-creators with him. He never took it back – we still have it. Well, we fully have it again after we let go of it in paradise.
So how did he do it?
God became man. He became man in Jesus Christ, showing us how it is done, paying the price for our rebellion, and taking back what the devil stole.
How it is done: bring life in every situation where it is lacking. Let limbs grow, eyes see, lame walk, oppressed and depressed be set free. And teach them how to sustain life. And bring back awareness. Self-awareness in the identity of being a son of God. Awareness of others in the command to love not only your neighbor, but also your enemy. And awareness of the Father in heaven, telling us that if we have seen Jesus, we have seen the Father.
He payed the price: at the cross, he died. He let go of life and awareness. Jesus cried out at the cross: my God, my God, why have you deserted me. He at the cross lost awareness of the Father’s presence.
But in his resurrection he took back among other things the gift given to mankind of being co-creators, the assignment to fill the earth with the Kingdom, and restored our awareness of ourselves and the Father.
When Jesus was resurrected, there was nothing left in the tomb. Jesus got his resurrection body, and it seems to be made of the same material as his earthly body, the very same atoms that is. God reused his creation to make a new one. We all, when we accept what Jesus has done for us, become a new creation, reusing the old, renewing the old, but not a mere refurbishing as in having a new paint job done. Renewing as in making everything new.
So, here we are. Back in the Kingdom, where life abounds and awareness flourishes. Back in the beginning, yet so much more. And now?
Well, now we take up the assignment again. Bring meaning to the void, fill the emptiness, let the desert bloom, turn waste into life.
All at once? No. God gave a manageable bit of his universe to Adam and Eve in form of the Garden, and only as they multiplied they were to fill the whole earth. God did not empty the promised land from the enemies of Israel at once, for they had to grow in strength and numbers to sustain the promised land. God does not expect us to do it all in one day. But steadily going forward, we are to fill the earth, the world, the universe with his Kingdom.
To live and to be aware means to take up the assignment of co-creator. Let’s go.
What about you?