When a potter takes a lump of clay, which he intends to form into a piece of pottery, it is initially without form – that is, it hasn’t been formed into its intended shape, or form, yet.
Genesis 1 tells us that the original, pristine creation of time, space and matter did not have its intended form right away: “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. And the earth was formless and void, and darkness was over the surface of the deep.”
The words “formless and void” have been the subject of much controversy in recent years. Proponents of the Gap Theory, for instance, would translate this phrase as “ruined, desolate” – a condition, they say, brought about by the fall of Satan. But that is not what this verse is saying.
The word, “formless” is a word that means “meaningless,” or in a figurative sense, it means “worthless.” Actually this word describes something that is without substance or reality – it is formless.
Well, what is meant by this word in Genesis 1:2 is explained to us in Isaiah 45:18 – “He is the God who formed the earth and made it, He established it and did not create it a waste place,” (or, formless), “but formed it to be inhabited.”
Now what Isaiah is saying is that God never intended to leave the initial earth (which He created) a mere lump of clay without any form or purpose. His intention, like the potter, was to form the earth into a special place as a habitation for humanity. That is what the remaining five days of creation were all about. The earth was without form, but God was about to give it form.
Now you know the real meaning of the word.
Say, God doesn’t just start something – He always also finishes it!