by Glenn Stanton
Where do we come from?
This is not an everyday question like, “Where did all the doughnuts go?” or “What are we doing for vacation this year?” It’s not just a curiosity question. It’s a searching, aching question.
The typical understanding of Christian worldview starts with Creation. With the beginning, right? But we must actually start earlier than that to get the fuller picture of where we came from. We must recognize that there was something there in God’s story before Creation – before Genesis 1:1!
How can that be? Well, let’s see.
The Other Beginning: Pre-Creation Reality
In considering the beginning, it is most important to recognize that Scripture gives us two seemingly different “In the beginning(s).”
Do you know what they are? (Hint: One is in the Old Testament. The other is in the New Testament.)
The first is the one that most of us know, the first words of the Bible which we just examined: “In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth.”
The second is central to the Christian story – the precise point that distinguishes it from Christianity’s Jewish roots:
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through him, and without him was not anything made that was made. (John 1:1-3)
This John 1:1 “In the beginning” introduces and historically precedes the Genesis 1:1 “In the beginning”; it tells us about what was there before the creation of the world. John tells us about pre-creation.
Jesus Tells Us So
Rarely in Scripture do we get the glorious opportunity given us in John 17, where God the Son spends deeply personal, intimate and passion-filled time talking to God the Father. We are given the honor of eavesdropping on two members of the Holy Trinity in dialogue.
In this prayer to the Father, Jesus the Son says two things of particular interest to us here:
And now, Father, glorify me in your own presence with the glory that I had with You before the world existed. …
Father, I desire that they also, whom you have given me, may be with me where I am, to see my glory that you have given me because you loved me before the foundation of the world.” (John 17:5, 24)
Before the Foundation of the World
Before Genesis 1:1, there was something tremendous going on. Reality wasn’t static. It wasn’t dark. It wasn’t cold. It wasn’t empty. The world was all those things, as Genesis 1 tells us. But John 1 tells us that ultimate reality was not. Before Genesis 1:1, there was glory. There was love.
J.I. Packer, in his book Christianity: The True Humanism, explains:
Before the Creation ever appeared, God who is both singular and plural, unique and triune, solitary and social, existed and rejoiced in love – the love of the Father for the Son and the Son for the Father, love in which the Holy Spirit was and is somehow agent, the issuer, and sharer, all in one.
C.S. Lewis in Mere Christianity makes this universe-changing observation:
God is love, and that love works through men – especially through the whole community of Christians. But this spirit of love is, from all eternity, a love going on between the Father and Son.
Therefore, in the Christian worldview, we come from the Triune God – a single source that is, at the same time, a loving, passionate, intimate community of Father, Son and Holy Spirit. And each of us is made in that very image. It is why we are made for others. and it is what makes Genesis 2:18 so deeply true.
Learn more about God’s irreplaceable design in The Family Project® – a 12-session DVD curriculum that explores why God’s plan for families matters today. Take your small group on a life-changing journey to strengthen and encourage families! Get The Family Project® curriculum today.
Glenn Stanton is the director of global family formation studies at Focus on the Family, and the co-author/co-creator of The Family Project, as well as the co-author (w/Leon Wirth) of The Family Project book.