I don't know about you, but I have had some odd conversations about this very thing. The conversations sound a lot like this:
- So, when did time begin?
- You mean, God was just hanging out in space and decided to create a universe?
- Was God just bored?
- What do you think He was doing before He had any light?
- Wasn't Jesus enough?
It would appear that this is the short explanation of when time began. Now as to the possibility that God was merely floating out in space, I frankly do not know the answer to that, and to spend any time on the idea just makes my head hurt, so we won't. Sadly, there are many things I, nor you, do not know, but, like Dinosaurs, there is no denying that it/they happened, so we take what we know and understand and do the best we can with it.
While I do not think there is anyone that can legitimately answer most of these questions, they do open some interesting doors of thought about the magnificence of God if you are willing to let the Word speak to your heart.
Let's dive in.
John 1:1 AMP “IN THE beginning [before all time] was the Word (Christ), and the Word was with God, and the Word was God Himself.” [Isaiah. 9:6.]
Before we go one step further, let's see what Isaiah 9:6 adds to this.
“For to us a child is born, to us a son is given: and the government shall be on his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counselor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace.”
You would be right if your initial assumption were that Isaiah was talking about Jesus, the Son. But note that it says, “his name shall be called …, The mighty God, The everlasting Father.”
If we are going to grasp the depth of what John is attempting to say, then we need to try and grasp the idea that John is writing to a Jewish community of believers. In doing that John is trying to make a point about the Messiah and His supremacy; in saying, “the Word was with God, and the Word was God Himself,” does just that.
Many will challenge the idea that the Apostles did anything besides preach to the Gentile world. Let's see if I can alter your thinking. In the book of Acts, Paul and Barnabas are sent to Jerusalem, to address the apostles and elders about a teaching that emphasized the physical act of circumcision: “Unless you are circumcised, according to the custom taught by Moses, you cannot be saved.” (You find this reference in Acts chapter 15) Now I am sure that does not sound like much to many of you, but this an extremely Jewish concept, taught in the Torah. The primary purpose the Apostles and elders in Jerusalem forwarded such an idea was because of their belief that salvation through Jesus, a Jewish Messiah, was a strictly Jewish benefit. Sure, there was room for a few exceptions, and we see that with Peter and his interactions with the Roman Centurion and his family.
The Apostle Peter eventually stood to say something to silence the discussion, agreeing that God had accepted the Gentiles through Peter. Sadly, we do not see Peter taking this good news any further that the Roman Centurion's home. While Foxes Book of Martyrs may point out something historically different, we do not see the Apostles dealing with anyone else but Jews in scripture.
Mind you much time has passed, and John's understanding of this God-man he walked beside has deepened. However, while Jesus was walking with them, they did not grasp who he was. Is it possible that John came to understand who Jesus was based upon what he might have read from the Prophet Isaiah's writings? Anything is possible, and, we cannot exclude the idea just because we do not see it in scripture. We do not see dinosaurs in scripture, but there is no denying that they were here.
We just looked at Isaiah 9:6 where it says, “his name shall be called …, The mighty God, The everlasting Father.” Is it possible that the Holy Spirit saw fit to establish and validate the Son all at once by pointing out that they are one and the same, and yet individual, capable of being the “son” that is given? Absolutely!
The following is what the verse looks like with the Strong's numbers integrated into the passage.
John 1:1 NASB In the beginningG746 was the WordG3056, and the WordG3056 was with GodG2316, and the WordG3056 was GodG2316.
I want to focus on the phrase, "In the beginning.” The variations on translating this are wide:
- The ERV says, “Before the world began, the Word was there.”
If you were to use the Literal version it italicized the word “the” to indicate that it was added for clarity. “In the beginning was the Word,”
- While the ERV implies a time frame, the LITV conveys the process.
When I read from one of the most used translations, the NIV, I get this, “In the beginning was the Word.” “In the beginning was the Word,” strikes me as little more than a statement of fact, but doesn't that present a problem as the mind immediately wants proof.
Since our "Treasury of Scriptural Knowledge" reference of "in beginning" leads to other passages, let's see what they say.
the beginning: Joh_1:2; Gen_1:1; Pro_8:22-31; Eph_3:9; Col_1:17; Heb_1:10, Heb_7:3, Heb_13:8; Rev_1:2, Rev_1:8, Rev_1:11, Rev_2:8, Rev_21:6, Rev_22:13
Genesis 1:1 NET. In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth.
The statement is comparable to what John said, and every Jewish reader would have had the loud tone of their teaching Rabbi in their head, as their mind turned back to Genesis and the Torah. This was the beginning of history, their story, and their knowledge of the Holy begins here.
Here, though, the word is Hebrew: רֵאשִׁית / rê'shı̂yth / ray-sheeth'. From the same as H7218; the first, in place, time, order or rank (specifically a firstfruit): - beginning, chief (-est), first (-fruits, part, time), principal thing.
Strong's points us to the origin or base word H7218 – רֹאשׁ / rô'sh / roshe. From an unused root apparently meaning to shake; the head (as most easily shaken), whether literally or figuratively.
Based upon the Hebrew I see that I could have also said,
- The first thing -
- The order of things -
- The principal thing (this opens another line of thinking in me.)
- And finally, I might have said, the chief thing.(There again, another line of thinking, which contains the idea that multiple things were to be done.) Since God knows the end of a matter before it ever starts, then He was aware that putting an end to mutiny such as Satan's, had to come. I suppose He could have done all that without us mucking it up, but here we are, and, we are a part of the plan.
The phrase, in the beginning, indicates a process. That means creation could have been an aspect of the process.
I briefly touched upon the Hebrew word rê'shı̂yth, but what about the Greek word for beginning, the place where we started?
"In the beginning."
In the Greek, the word is: ἀρχή / archē / ar-khay'. From G756; (properly abstract) a commencement, or (concrete) chief (in various applications of order, time, place or rank): - beginning, corner, (at the) first (estate), magistrate, power, principality, principle, rule.
Once again we have the idea of a process, which opens the door to other things.
The TSK references continue with:
Colossians 1:17 NASB He is before all things, and in Him all things hold together.
Suggesting that Jesus was right there in the nothingness before creation.
Ephesians 3:9 NASB and to bring to light what is the administration of the mystery which for ages has been hidden in God who created all things;
Since we have pointed out that the Word was God - “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.” (John 1:1 MKJV) Then, when we look at Ephesians 3:9 we can understand that God and Jesus are considered one and the same.
I will finish this portion by adding verses two and three to the mix.
John 1:1-3 MKJV, In the beginning, was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2) He was in the beginning with God. 3) All things came into being through Him, and without Him not even one thing came into being that has come into being.
Allow me to point something out, “and without Him, not even one thing came into being that has come into being.” That happens to include you. For a variety of reasons the question has come up lately and asks, are you comfortable with your relationship with the Father? For me, the answer is an immediate yes, but then my mindset tends to look at this as speaking about His love for me. I know He loves me. This statement on my part is not a boast; this came out of times of stress and pain where I cried out to God. It developed the kind of trust that one builds when someone sticks by you, especially when you do not think you deserve it. It does not, however, always override the negativity in my head, a negativity which comes from a lifetime of abuse in which co-dependency was unwittingly taught - I hope that was the case.
For a variety of reasons a question has come up lately and asks, are you comfortable with your relationship with the Father? For me, the answer is an immediate yes, but then my mindset tends to look at this as speaking about His love for me. I know He loves me. This statement on my part is not a boast; this came out of times of stress and pain where I cried out to God. It developed the kind of trust that one builds when someone sticks by you, especially when you do not think you deserve it. It does not, however, always override the negativity in my head, a negativity which comes from a lifetime of abuse in which co-dependency was unwittingly taught - I hope that was the case.
An acquaintance recently made a comment about perpetrators who were getting minuscule sentences, while the abuse they inflicted stays with the victims for their lifetime. Understanding what I am about to say requires you to think outside the box. Perpetrators may not be criminal in their actions because, in some cases, they are only using words as their weapon. However, the damage haunts you forever. I deal with effects of that very thing to this day, holding memories of abuses inflicted by others as far back as elementary school – we are talking about a time frame that extends beyond fifty years. My fiancee does not understand, but then, neither do I most times. Though I wish it could just go away, the only hope I have is in the peace I obtain through my relationship with Jesus Christ.