Lesson 3 w/Answers Before The Beginning Part 1
"In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth." (Genesis 1:1)
A typical bible study of Genesis most would begin with a focus on this verse. It is the most pivotal and most important verse in all the Bible. I say this because if you do not believe that God is our creator, then you will not believe anything else in the Bible. But…what about before God created anything? What was it like before God created everything (and I do mean everything)?
So, before we begin an in–depth study of the book of beginnings, the book of firsts, i.e., the book of Genesis, let’s take a moment to think about what it was like before God created anything. Doing so will give us a much deeper and stronger realization of who God truly is.
What do you think it was like before creation? Do you think everything was dark, or that spirits were simply moving around the like the Northern Lights with no apparent direction or pattern to their movements?
Read the following verses and see what we can discern about God before the moment he created everything.
- What is God? (John 4:24)
- ANSWER: God is Spirit. He is not made of flesh and bones; He is Spirit. From this we know several things: First, we know that flesh and bones, the universe, the angels and demons, i.e., all that was created—physical and spiritual alike—were created out of nothing by a Spirit. We will examine this more later. John 4:24 reminds us of this when it says, "God is Spirit and his worshippers must worship in Spirit and in truth." [NIV] Therefore, the only thing that existed before creation was the triune being of God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit—absolutely nothing else, spirit or physical, existed before God created everything. Remember this as we proceed.
- Who is God? (Isaiah 45:5-6, 1 John 1:5)
- ANSWER 1: God is unique; there is no one like God, and there are no other gods. Before creation, it was God and nothing else.
- ANSWER 2: God is light. Note that 1 John 1:5 states that "God is light and in him there is no darkness at all." We will also discuss this further in this study, but for now, we know from this verse that, prior to God creating anything, there was no darkness, just light—God’s light. (See also 2 Corinthians 4:6, 1 Peter 2:9, and Revelation 21:23-25.)
- Where is God? (Psalm 139:7-10)
- ANSWER: He is everywhere. There is nowhere we can go that God is not present, and before creation he was the only thing present, the only thing that existed.
- If God is spirit and light, and there is no darkness at all, and he is the only thing in
existence prior to creation, what can we discern from this knowledge when we read Genesis 1:2
- ANSWER 1: Something happened when God created the heavens and the earth that created or caused darkness. What could it be? How could it be that a God, the only being that existed and who was nothing but light, suddenly possessed a "deep", and "darkness was over the surface of the deep", and a void and "waters" were all now present? Plus, we are told that the "Spirit of God was hovering over the water". How can this be, where did the darkness come from? What caused it to happen?
- ANSWER 2: For the purposes of our study, I will summarize what many believe relating to the "darkness". Many believe that this indicates the effect of sin, i.e., Satan having been cast down to this new earth causing the darkness. However, this does not align with the description of darkness and light that God created as it is described in Genesis 1:1-3. It clearly tells us that God "created" darkness as well as light—versus darkness simply being an effect of sin. Therefore, we see that God created both light and darkness. He created it because he was creating day and night as a part of His plan of creation. (See Isaiah 45:7.) The light that we have is physical; it can be measured in photons, for example, as can the darkness. It is not the effect of sin. Our light, the light God created, is not the light of God; it is a created light that was made as an integral part of God’s creation. We need both light and darkness in order to survive on this created earth. However, we will someday live in a world illuminated strictly by God’s light—the light that has always existed in God—and we will someday live on a new earth where darkness and night will no longer be needed. In summary, God, in his plan of creation, included the need for light (day) and darkness (night).
- We know that God and Jesus were both involved in the creation process, but God is a triune
being. How do we know that the Holy Spirit was present and active in the creation process as
well? Read Genesis 1:1-2 and note what it conveys to us.
- ANSWER: "the Spirit of God was hovering…" There are also many references in the Bible to God’s "breath" and God’s "Spirit" being active in the heavens and on the earth, both during and following creation.
- When did God create angels, demons, and Satan?
- Job 38:4-7
- ANSWER: The angels were present and a part of God’s creation. He does not give us the details or the timing, but nothing was created that was not created by God; and we know that from the events in the Garden of Eden they were clearly present.
- John 1:3
- Job 38:4-7
- We know that prior to, or in parallel with, the events recorded in Genesis Chapter 1, the spirit
world was also created. Read the following verses and note what they tell us about Satan and the
fallen angels who elected to follow him.
- Genesis 3:1
- ANSWER: "Now the serpent was more crafty than any of the wild animals the LORD God had made. He said to the woman, ’Did God really say, "You must not eat from any tree in the garden"?’" Note that Satan is described as "more crafty" than "the wild animals the LORD God had made." We like to think of Satan as man does—a two horned half–human, half–goat, thing holding a pitch fork. Nothing could be further from this truth. Satan is beautiful (see Ezekiel 28:11-19 below), clever, and as it states in Genesis 3:1 very crafty—and I might add, subtle.
- Isaiah 14:12-15
- ANSWER: "How you have fallen from heaven, O morning star, son of the dawn! You have been cast down to the earth, you who once laid low the nations! You said in your heart, ‘I will ascend to heaven; I will raise my throne above the stars of God; I will sit enthroned on the mount of assembly, on the utmost heights of the sacred mountain. I will ascend above the tops of the clouds; I will make myself like the Most High.’ But you are brought down to the grave, to the depths of the pit." Satan believes that he is mightier than God, his creator, and intends to overthrow God. He believes that in the end, he and his fallen angels, the demons, will prevail over God. If he believes this about God, imagine what he believes about you.
- Ezekiel 28:11-19
- ANSWER: "The word of the LORD came to me: ‘Son of man, take up a lament concerning the king of Tyre and say to him: "This is what the Sovereign LORD says: ‘You were the model of perfection, full of wisdom and perfect in beauty. You were in Eden, the garden of God; every precious stone adorned you: ruby, topaz and emerald, chrysolite, onyx and jasper, sapphire, turquoise and beryl. Your settings and mountings were made of gold; on the day you were created they were prepared. You were anointed as a guardian cherub, for so I ordained you. You were on the holy mount of God; you walked among the fiery stones. You were blameless in your ways from the day you were created till wickedness was found in you. Through your widespread trade you were filled with violence, and you sinned. So I drove you in disgrace from the mount of God, and I expelled you, O guardian cherub, from among the fiery stones. Your heart became proud on account of your beauty, and you corrupted your wisdom because of your splendor. So I threw you to the earth; I made a spectacle of you before kings. By your many sins and dishonest trade you have desecrated your sanctuaries. So I made a fire come out from you, and it consumed you, and I reduced you to ashes on the ground in the sight of all who were watching. All the nations who knew you are appalled at you; you have come to a horrible end and will be no more.’" ’"
- Genesis 3:1
There is a lot packed into the few verses above. Let’s take an item–by–item look at them.
- Satan was created by God and was the model of perfection; he was described as "full of wisdom and beauty." Note that this is not man’s understanding of Satan as mentioned earlier. Satan is actually beautiful and full of wisdom. He knows God, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit personally; he knows the Bible inside out, and he believes he knows that he will in the end be victorious over God.
- He was in Eden, the garden that God created for Adam and Eve to tend.
- He was not only a beautiful creation, he was also adorned with beautiful jewels and gold. It’s an interesting description, given that Satan is a spirit being.
- He was anointed by God to be a guardian angel (cherub)—a "guardian" of God’s Holy Mountain. Imagine Satan given the role of guarding God so that nothing unholy enters in. It is the closest role to serving and worshipping God that an angel can have. We know from our study of "Angels and Demons" that Satan’s pride was so large that he talked other angelic forces into following him, convincing them that he alone had the power to overcome God. These fallen angels we know today as demons.
- In the end, God is victorious, and Satan and his followers—both angelic and human—will all burn for eternity in the Lake of Fire. See Revelation 19:11-21, 20:7-15, and 21:8.
We can also see from these verses that the heavenly realm, the angels, must have been created when God created "the heavens," although the creation of angels is not specifically addressed. The only way that Satan can show up in the Garden of Eden and (through the serpent) tempt Eve is if he existed prior to or at the creation of the things on the earth. We know from our study of angels, and the verses above, that Satan rebelled, determined to place himself above God; and many angels followed him. These fallen angels, called demons, all had to exist before Eve was tempted and seduced by Satan.
Prior to all creation something did exist—God in three persons: God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit. Through Jesus the Christ, all created things came into existence and through Jesus all things are held together. This means that Jesus knew before they (God, as part of the Trinity) created anything that a redeemer, a sacrificial lamb, would be required in order to save what He was creating, and that his son Jesus, would need to take on human form eternally in order to be our Savior. (See, John 1:1-4, John 1:14, John 3:13, John 17:18, John 17:5, John 8:23, and 8:58, for example). It also means that God’s vision of what He was about to create was an eternal one. It did not stop with just the current universe. He is also creating a new heaven and a new earth, an eternal home and purpose for all of us—saved through the sacrifice of his only son Jesus.
The next lesson will address that eternal home and what that creation will be like.
Have a great week, and thanks for studying with us!