In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth. The earth was without form and void, and darkness was over the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God was hovering over the face of the waters. And God said, “Let there be light,” and there was light. (Genesis 1:1-3)
We believe in God the Father almighty, maker of heaven and earth. We believe in the Holy Spirit, the person who brooded over the waters in the beginning. We believe in the Son of God, the Word by whom all things were made, who for us men and for our salvation came down from heaven…and was made man. In short, we believe in the one Creator, who is three distinct, fully-divine persons. We believe in, and we must believe in, the Holy Trinity, for this is God’s revelation to us.
Strangely, the original earth started as formless, void and dark. When the Father rendered it no longer formless, void and dark, man was created to be lord of this world. Sadly, when Adam then rebelled against the Creator, the earth in a devilish way reverted to a formless, void and dark condition. Through Jeremiah God speaks of this when He describes His wayward people thus: They are ‘wise’—in doing evil! But how to do good they know not. I looked on the earth, and behold, it was without form and void; and to the heavens, and they had no light (Jer. 4:22f). But then comes the Son of God, taking upon himself this horrible darkness of mankind’s curse, and once again—when the Son bursts from the tomb—the Father speaks, “Let there be light!” So the light of love and life-eternal burst forth upon—yes even from—the formless and void earth. Yet, sadly, the darkened souls of men could not comprehend it.
Nonetheless, empty, void and darkened individuals need to receive and even begin to realize this light. With God all things are possible. The Son, because of His death and resurrection, is authorized as a man to accomplish this task of distributing the salvation He earned. He employs His limitless authority to create the Sacrament of Holy Baptism, commissioning His Church to make disciples by baptizing in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. Though it is appropriate for us to invoke any single person of the Godhead, yet whenever there is a Baptism the Holy Trinity is uniquely invoked.
Consistent with the original creation, once again the Spirit must brood over the face of the waters. Such Spirit-brooding gives new birth to those who dwell in darkness and in the shadow of death. The Lord Jesus had prophesied this wondrous watery new birth, explaining that we must be born of water and the Spirit. Appropriately on the Christian Pentecost, the forgiven, foremost Apostle lovingly commanded, Repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit (Acts 2:38). And the former persecuting Apostle explains, He saved us, not because of works done by us in righteousness, but according to his own mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewal of the Holy Spirit (Titus 3:5). The Spirit is thus observed again to be brooding, now brooding over the waters of Holy Baptism.
As the Spirit broods over the waters of every Baptism, He establishes each baptized person as a new creation—for if anyone is in Christ he is a new creation. In these waters He takes a formless person and gives the form of Christ. He takes a void (empty) person and gives the fullness of Himself—the Spirit of Christ. He takes a person who naturally dwells in the darkness of Satan’s domain and that person hears the Father exclaim, “Let there be light,” and there is light. In short, the Son of God—sent by the Father and conceived by the Holy Spirit in the womb of the Blessed Virgin—has ordained Holy Baptism to bestow the gifts He earned at the cross and the empty tomb, so that spiritually formless, empty and dark people are blessed with a new beginning. And behold it is very good.