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Don Stewart :: What Was God Doing before He Created the Universe?

Don Stewart
The first verse of Scripture tells us that God created the heavens and the earth. The question arises as to what God was doing before He brought the universe into existence. This question has been a favorite of skeptics. Robert Ingersoll, the famous atheist of the 19th century, wrote:

If God created the universe, there was a time when he commenced to create. Back of that commencement there must have been an eternity. In that eternity what was this God doing? He certainly did not think. There was nothing to think about. He did not remember. Nothing had ever happened. What did he do? Can you imagine anything more absurd that an infinite intelligence in infinite nothing wasting an eternity? (Robert Ingersoll, Some Mistakes of Moses, n.d., p. 57).

No Time Before Creation

Saint Augustine had two answers to those who asked what was God doing before creation. Jokingly he said, God was preparing Hell for people who ask such questions. On a serious level, he noted there was no time before God created and hence the question is meaningless. When God created the heavens and the earth He also created space and time. Before time began there was only eternity. God is a timeless being and time only began with His creation of the universe.

God Not Inactive

Yet, we should not assume that God was inactive prior to creation. The Bible speaks of God loving and planning before the earth was created. Jesus, in His prayer to the Father before His betrayal, said:

Father, I desire that they also whom You gave Me may be with Me where I am, that they may behold My glory which You have given Me; for You loved Me before the foundation of the world (John 17:24).

The Apostle Paul spoke of God's eternal plan:

Just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before Him in love (Ephesians 1:4).

In another place, Paul spoke of the promises of God.

In hope of eternal life which God, who cannot lie, promised before time began (Titus 1:2).

The Trinity

This brings up an interesting question. If the world had not yet been created, then to whom was the promise of eternal life made? The promise was made among the different members of the Trinity (the Father to the Son or to the Holy Spirit) because at this particular point, that is, before the world was created, there was no one else to whom to make the promise. The different members of the Trinity love and communicate with each other. Hence, communication occurred within the Godhead before the creation of man and woman.

Both Before And After

The Scripture, therefore, speaks of God making plans both before the beginning and after the beginning. Before creation there was communication, planning, and love within the members of the Trinity. After creation that communication and love was directed toward humanity.

Summary

With regard to the activities of God before the universe was created we can state the following:

1.The question of God's activity before creation assumes God dwells in time. The Bible say that God has eternally existed and that space and time were created by Him.

2.God, the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit, were not inactive before creating the world. God planned and purposed it before humanity came on the scene. Once we were created, God then directed His love and energies toward us.

3.All we need to know about God is what He has done and what He plans to do in the future. He has revealed this to us in the Bible - the Word of God. The Bible says:

The secret things belong to the Lord our God, but those things which are revealed belong to us and to our children forever, that we may do all the works of this law (Deuteronomy 29:29).



CONTENT DISCLAIMER:

The Blue Letter Bible ministry and the BLB Institute hold to the historical, conservative Christian faith, which includes a firm belief in the inerrancy of Scripture. Since the text and audio content provided by BLB represent a range of evangelical traditions, all of the ideas and principles conveyed in the resource materials are not necessarily affirmed, in total, by this ministry.

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