The God-Shaped Hole

He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set
eternity in the hearts of men, yet they cannot fathom what
God has done from beginning to end.
Ecclesiastes 3:11

The 17th century philosopher and mathematician Blaise Pascal is often quoted as having said, “There is a God-shaped hole in every heart that only God can fill.” In other words, men and women are innately created to be connected to their Creator.

Research shows that this exact quote may be a paraphrase, as Pascal’s writings reveal only this quote with a similar meaning:

“What else does this craving and this helplessness proclaim but that there was once in man a true happiness, of which all that now remains is the empty print and trace? This he tries in vain to fill with everything around him, seeking in things that are not there the help he cannot find in those that are, though none can help, since this infinite abyss can be filled only with an infinite and unchangeable object; in other words, by God Himself.”

But whether we use the term “God-shaped hole,” as so many have, or the term “infinite abyss,” many theologians and philosophers agree that there is an emptiness in the hearts of all men and women that they long to fill, but that can only be adequately filled by belief in God.

Those who attempt to fill this emptiness without God may try to fill it with money, success, sports, food, relationships, family, personal development, pleasure, addictions, or adventure. They may even try to fill it by doing good deeds for others, but in the end, unless God fills it the emptiness is still there.

The reason so many people go through life moving from one unsuccessful attempt to fill the vacuum within to another, is that they are operating on a horizontal basis, looking at the things on earth, rather than on a vertical basis, looking at God.

It’s because God loves us that He created a desire for Him, and Him alone, in our hearts. He knows that something will fill the emptiness, and too often that something may be sin. His plan is for us to be unsatisfied with all the substitutes we use to fill the emptiness inside so that, eventually, and hopefully before we die, we will turn to God to fill us up.

The Bible carefully outlines the path to filling the God-shaped hole in our hearts. It tells us that all have sinned (Romans 3:23) but that God provided a Savior to die for our sins (Romans 5:8). In case we think we are able to save ourselves from sin without a Savior, the Bible tells us (Romans 6:23) that the wages of sin is death but that God has given us the gift of eternal life through Christ Jesus our Lord. We can’t save ourselves, but God can and will save us, and fill up the emptiness inside at the same time.

God loves you and desires to have a personal relationship with you. That’s why He gave you everything you need to fill the God-shaped hole in your heart. Romans 10:9-10 says, That if you confess with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you confess and are saved.

Don’t be satisfied with substitutes for filling up the emptiness inside of you. Let God fill the vacuum that He created in your heart as only He can do.

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Your Turn

Join the conversation by adding your comments below.

What have you tried to fill your God-shaped hole with?


by Nancey Brummette

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Nancy Parker Brummett first led a Bible study in an assisted living setting in 1999 and she and the Lord developed The Hope of Glory in the years that followed. She also journeyed with her mother and mother-in-law through their adventures in aging, and her academic interest in aging led her to receive the Professional Certificate of Gerontology from the University of Colorado in Colorado Springs. The author of four other books, she now focuses her writing and speaking ministries on her passion for older adults and those who care for them. To learn more about Nancy’s life and work or to subscribe to her blog on aging issues, Take My Hand Again, visit her website.

About Be the Light Editor

Martin Wiles is a minister, author, freelance editor, and English teacher who lives in Greenwood, SC. He is the founder of Love Lines from God and is the author of Grits & Grace and God and Grits, Gumbo and Going to Church. He serves as Managing Editor for Christian Devotions (www.christiandevotions.us) and Assistant Editor for Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas. He and his wife are parents of two and grandparents of three.