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A state of complete disorder or confusion. The first stage of creation where, having brought something out of nothing, God had not yet brought order to the universe. This primeval chaos, often symbolised by surging waters, threatens to disrupt God’s order at any time. God sometimes allows a return to chaos as judgment.

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God creates order out of chaos

God creates something out of nothing

Genesis 1:1–2 ESV
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.
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God brings order to his creation

Isaiah 45:12 ESV
I made the earth and created man on it; it was my hands that stretched out the heavens, and I commanded all their host.
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Chaos threatens God’s order

Life and order in creation must be sustained by God

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The raging sea as a symbol of chaos

The raging sea is a frequent symbol of the chaos from which the world was created and to which it could return. Yet those whose confidence is in the God who brought order out of chaos have nothing to fear;
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Threatening nations are likened to the raging seas as bringers of chaos

Isaiah 17:12–13 ESV
Ah, the thunder of many peoples; they thunder like the thundering of the sea! Ah, the roar of nations; they roar like the roaring of mighty waters! The nations roar like the roaring of many waters, but he will rebuke them, and they will flee far away, chased like chaff on the mountains before the wind and whirling dust before the storm.
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Spiritual and political chaos

A period of anarchy, when no spiritual or political authority was recognised in Israel;
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God uses chaos as a judgment

Isaiah 34:11 ESV
But the hawk and the porcupine shall possess it, the owl and the raven shall dwell in it. He shall stretch the line of confusion over it, and the plumb line of emptiness.
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Floodwaters as a symbol of the chaos of judgment

Jonah 2:3 ESV
For you cast me into the deep, into the heart of the seas, and the flood surrounded me; all your waves and your billows passed over me.
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Panic and destruction characterise the chaos that follows judgment

Zechariah 14:13 ESV
And on that day a great panic from the Lord shall fall on them, so that each will seize the hand of another, and the hand of the one will be raised against the hand of the other.
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