Eternity: Before The Beginning
Eternity may be described as the time before the creation of the heavens and the earth (Genesis 1.1), and the time following the destruction of the heavens and the earth (2 Peter 3.10). Let us consider the period of time prior to the creation in this article. We might ask it this way: What was created before the creation?
God had an eternal purpose.
There are several passages that mention or allude to the eternal purpose of God. It is from these texts that we find the answer to what transpired prior to the creation. First of all, we find that only God existed. Let it then be asked: What was God’s purpose for creating?
We find in Romans 1.20 that God’s existence and his nature are declared in the things that were brought into existence: “For the the invisible things of him since the creation of the world are clearly seen, being perceived through the things that are made, even his everlasting power and divinity.” However, the physical creation does not reveal why God created, nor does it reveal why God created man in his image. Those answers are found only from what God communicated to man (Psalm 25.14; Amos 3.7; Hebrews 1.1-2; 1 Peter 1.10-12).
God created with purpose.
In the entire vast universe, God purpose for life to be on earth alone. Furthermore, out of the entire creation, we find from Hebrews 2.6-7 that man was “crowned with glory and honor” and “set over the works of thy hands” (see also Genesis 1.26,28). Because of this, man can explain the creation as well as his own purpose for existence.
We read in Hebrews 11.3, “By faith we understand that the worlds have been framed by the word of God, so that what is seen hath not been made out of things which appear.” The world for which God purpose eternal life (John 3.16) was not the planet, but humanity — those things made in his image. He calls to us through his word, saying, “Cease from living in sin and be conformed to the image of my Son.” This was his purpose in making us in his image (Romans 8.28-29). For those who will accept this offer of eternal life with an obedient faith (Mark 16.16; Luke 24.47; Acts 2.38; 3.19), eternal life will be their inheritance (Matthew 25.34).
God prepared a kingdom.
“Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world” (Matthew 25.34). It has been stated that “Heaven is a prepared place for a prepared people.” If this be true, then when did God prepare — or rather, purpose — this people? The answer is found in a statement by the apostle Paul in Ephesians 1.4: “…He hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world…that we should be holy and blameless…” These for whom the kingdom of Matthew 25 was prepared are called by a variety of terms in scripture. In Romans 9.22-24, they are referred to as “vessels of mercy.”
Spiritual Blessings. The apostle Paul mentioned this in two of his epistles. “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ” (Ephesians 1.3). “He has saved us and called us with a holy calling, not according to our works, but according to his own purpose and grace, which was given to us in Christ Jesus before time began” (2 Timothy 1.9). Those who will inherit this prepared kingdom are now said to be “in Christ,” wherein are all spiritual blessings (Ephesians 1.3). These are the saved here on earth and their salvation was purposed through Christ prior to the creation (2 Timothy 1.1,9). They are called the “elect of God” (Titus 1.1-2), to whom eternal life was promised. They have received from God adoption as his children (Ephesians 1.5). Again, this was all purposed and planned in association with Jesus’ coming to earth (Romans 8.28-29). For these God prepared a kingdom prior to the creation.
Adoption. There are several spiritual blessings specifically mentioned by Paul in Ephesians 1. All were proposed for man prior to man’s existence. One is adoption as his spiritual children through his only begotten Son, Jesus (Ephesians 1.5-6). Again, in Romans 8.28-29, we read that this adoption was purposed prior to the creation: “And we know that to them that love God all things work together for good, even to them that are called according to his purpose. For whom he foreknew, he also foreordained to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren…” These are the ones who will inherit this prepared kingdom. This “conforming” is accomplished as we continue in obedience to Christ. This is what is meant in the scriptures when we read of God’s eternal purpose, “who hath saved us and called us according to his own purpose…which was given us in Christ Jesus before times eternal” (2Timothy 1.9).