“There is a God-shaped vacuum in the heart of every person, and it can never be filled by any created thing. It can only be filled by God, made known through Jesus Christ.”
– Blaise Pascal
This quote is thrown around in Christianity today often, and for years I rejected the idea. It grated against me because of my conviction of the overwhelming greatness, the immeasurable weight, the vastness of God. He is everywhere and in all things. He is sovereign, supreme, creator of the universe – and aware of everything that has happened, is happening and will happen in all of creation.
How, then, can a created, finite, mortal creature have a void of the magnitude of God within himself? It is impossible. There is no place where God is not present and a vacuum that mirrors the magnitude of God is as unfathomable and immeasurable as the reality of God Himself.
That being said, to assume that we have any worth or merit apart from God is the downfall of western culture. There is nothing good in and of our created selves. Apart from God, we are dead (Eph 2.1). We can do nothing that honors God apart from the Holy Spirit living and working in us (John 15.5). And as we try to find meaning and purpose in life there is nothingness. As Solomon says, “Vanity of vanities” is the entirety of our existence apart from serving and knowing God: everything is meaningless (Ecc 1.2, 12.8). And not only that, but we are by default headed to eternity in Hell because we are sinners and separated from God (Rom 5.8, 6.23).
Therefore, while I think we do God a disservice by saying that the void within me is the size of God, the reality is true that apart from Him there is no meaning or satisfaction in life. He holds all things together (Heb 1.3), and He gives all of life its meaning. Therefore the emptiness that is experienced by all of humanity is only satiated in the experience of knowing God personally and experiencing His salvation. Jesus said that He came that we might have life and have it abundantly (John 10.10). Perhaps Augustine states it best in his confessions:
You have made us for yourself, O Lord, and our hearts are restless until they rest in you.
– Augustine of Hippo