Where Was God Before the Beginning?

God o' Music, Steve Snodgrass, CC BY 2.0
God o' Music, Steve Snodgrass, CC BY 2.0

Many religions are based on the notion that there is a "creator" that transcends space and time. It is not my intention to refute that notion. I’m not a religious person, but that doesn’t stop me from having an open mind.

I always try to analyze things in an effort to make sense of contradictions.

One such contradiction that always bothered me is trying to understand where God was before the Big Bang. An easy way out is to say that God created the universe.

Everyone is entitled to his or her opinion and belief. The purpose of this article is not to argue with beliefs, but to suggest something to think about.

As I investigate this question, I peruse thoughts of scientific study, taking into account the Big Bang as the start of the universe, analyzing the theory of time, and associating the notion of parallel universes.

In the end, I’ll leave the question unanswered because I admit I simply do not know. As I said, I'm just giving you something else to think about.


Did God Create Time?

St. Augustine
St. Augustine | Source

St. Augustine, a theologian in the 4th century, gave a lot of thought to where God may have been before the universe was created. He considered the idea that if God did indeed exist, he created time.

But if that were so, then without time, there was no “before” in the period prior to the Big bang. So there would have been no place where God could have existed.

Even Albert Einstein came to a similar conclusion. According to his theory of relativity, time slows down with increased mass. If the mass of entire universe existed in a space smaller than a subatomic particle, as it had prior to the Big bang, then time would have effectively been at a standstill.{1}

Without the passage of time, God would have had an eternity to do His creative work. But that still leaves me with wondering where He was.


What is the Origin of God?

According to Genesis 1.1, “In the beginning, God created the heavens and the Earth.

But who created God? From where did He originate?

Various religions have different solutions, such as claiming that gods beget other gods. Christianity simply claims that God has always existed.

If God was always around then I wonder, "What was God doing before the beginning?"

A better question is, "What was the beginning?"

If one describes the beginning as the time between “the existence of nothing” and “the existence of everything” then where was God during the existence of nothing?

If He, Himself, was non-existent, then from where did He originate? What did He originate from?

More importantly, when did He come into being?

Before the beginning?

That's impossible because the definition of “beginning” implies that nothing existed before that time.

After the beginning?

That can't be so either. Because we're saying that He created the heavens and the earth in the beginning. He had to be there already.

The only option left is to say that He came into being at the same exact instant that the universe began. That should satisfy our inquiring minds.

But wait a minute. He created the heavens and the earth. Doesn’t that mean that He created the Universe? So I’m having a problem conceiving of the instant of time that separates nothing from everything.

What happened in that moment? How long did that “moment” last?

The limitations of the concept of time need to be considered. Time may have boundaries. It’s restricted between a beginning and an end. Or is it?


Oscillating Universe

Big Bang > Expansion > Contraction > Black Hole > Then Big Bang Again

Time may be cyclic. And Big Bangs repeat to start over again.
Time may be cyclic. And Big Bangs repeat to start over again. | Source

I have my own theory: The Big Bang was not the beginning. Time may be cyclic. The universe may be oscillating between existence and nothing.

We know that the present universe has been expanding ever since the last big bang. Eventually the gravitational pull of all the galaxies will overpower the expansion and the universe will start falling in on itself again. Eventually it contracts into a black hole, which ultimately will explode as another big bang.

Now for an interesting question: If what I just described is the way it is, then does each cycle become an exact repetition of the prior cycle? Or do things turn out differently?

In other words, does time repeat? If so, is there just one specific course of events similar to replaying a movie over and over again?

If this were so, then this means we have no choice in our lives. We are just following a preplanned scenario of the universe.

Of course there’s another theory. This thing we call “existence” may have many alternate realities occurring simultaneously. Each reality may be following different paths. There may even be an infinite number of realities. God would have been busy creating numerous complex scenarios to observe and discover which works best.

But that still doesn’t explain who is and what is beyond.


If God created a complex universe, wouldn't it take an even more complex entity to have created God?

— Richard Deem {2}

What's beyond the universe?

So what's outside the universe? We tend to think of the universe as “everything.” As it keeps expanding, its boundaries separate it from everything that’s beyond.

Oops! Did you catch that? Isn't what I just said a contradiction in terms?

If I claim that there is something beyond the universe, then that which is within the universe cannot be everything. Can it?

As thinking human beings with our limited vision, we need to have a frame of reference. But that limits our ability to comprehend reality. Scientists once believed that the earth was the center of the universe. Then it was thought that the Milky Way represented the entire universe.

As technology provides a means to look farther into space, we acquire a better understanding of what's out there. But we will forever create a limited frame of reference, which is unfortunate.

We can't think outside the box as long as we are in it. We can only guess, and speculate, and dream up our own thoughts and ideas. Even Einstein realized the limitations of our own comprehension.


I prefer an attitude of humility corresponding to the weakness of our intellectual understanding of nature and of our own being.

— Albert Einstein {3}


I have to admit that it humbles me, too, when I realize that I can't conceive of anything that is not physical or perceptible. So I'll leave it at that. And I welcome your opinion.

Everything I discussed here can be disputed when one assumes that God is not physical and therefore cannot be controlled by the laws of physics or subjected to the restrictions of time.


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© 2015 Glenn Stok

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29 comments

DzyMsLizzy profile image

DzyMsLizzy 16 months ago from Oakley, CA

Good job. I'm not a believer, so I'm always questioning everything. It's my motto. LOL

What you say falls somewhat into line with my humorous hub on the topic of the universe..titled "How the Universe Works." That article is pretty much all silly nonsense and a spoof of everything, yet I see similarities with your reasonings.

Voted up, funny useful and interesting.


Larry Fields profile image

Larry Fields 16 months ago from Northern California

Hi Glenn. I take it that this is the place for unbridled speculation.

I am not areligious scholar. That said, my understanding is that Genesis does not talk about God as THE creator. Instead, we have the Elohim, who are plural. By the way, Elohim is a very beautiful word.

If you want to believe that God is a general contractor, then the Elohim could be his subcontractors.

Or it could be that some Elohim committee created God, the universe, and everything. And yes, that includes, "A Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy."

Then the question becomes: Who created the Elohim?


Glenn Stok profile image

Glenn Stok 16 months ago from Long Island, NY Author

DzyMsLizzy - Seems as if the two of us think alike. I'm going to check out you hub. Sounds interesting. I enjoy being given alternate ways of looking at things. Even if done as a spoof.


Glenn Stok profile image

Glenn Stok 16 months ago from Long Island, NY Author

Larry Fields - You sure took it one step further. I'm curious now to examine that question.


Country-Sunshine profile image

Country-Sunshine 16 months ago from Texas

I have often asked the same question of "If God made the universe, who made God?" No one seems to have the answer to this, and we will probably never know. I do like your cyclic theory, although for me, it still doesn't answer the question!


Glenn Stok profile image

Glenn Stok 16 months ago from Long Island, NY Author

Country-Sunshine - Right. It doesn't answer the question. That's why I admitted that right up front. Putting aside beliefs and theories, there probably is no answer. Thanks for reading and for your comment.


chefsref profile image

chefsref 16 months ago from Citra Florida

Hey Glen

Excellent Hub, makes me want to join the Flat Earth Society!

I like the idea of a cyclic universe, everything we see has cycles thus it seems logical that the universe would cycle too.

As far as where God was before he created the universe, I think we lack the equipment to understand some of the most profound questions. Like extra dimensions; can we imagine something existing in more than three dimensions? I don't think so but maybe God exists in another dimension.

On the other hand Steven Hawkings says that the mathematics show that God was not necessary to create the universe.


Asa2141 profile image

Asa2141 16 months ago from Boise

Interesting article Mr. Glenn!

When I was little, I sometimes wondered: 'what was God doing before He created everything?' Then I would think, 'Man! He must have been boooored! Maybe he created me just because he wanted something to do.'

In my opinion, all of these questions - what was God doing before He created the universe and so on - are ultimately unanswerable because we are humans with limited understanding.

I will disagree with you on two points, however. First, I don't believe in the Big Bang, I believe in a Big Creation you could say, but not a Big Bang. Now, I'm not a scientist, but, to me, the idea of this entire, beautiful universe exploding into existence from a dot the size of a pinhead takes more faith than I can muster. Beside, where did the pinhead of matter come from?

Second, to me, the idea that God cannot be created seems perfectly logical. God is eternal as it says throughout the Bible. If God had to be created, he would - by very definition - cease to be....well....God!

I can honestly say, I've never read a more gracious article questioning the idea of God. Thanks for the read.


Glenn Stok profile image

Glenn Stok 16 months ago from Long Island, NY Author

chefsref - Very good explanation. It's true that we can't visualize dimensions greater than ours. The book "Flatland" goes into detail on that. We have enough trouble perceiving the fourth dimension as we can't see time. We are only aware of the passage of time. So you bring up an interesting point. If there is a God, He may be in a much higher dimension.


Glenn Stok profile image

Glenn Stok 16 months ago from Long Island, NY Author

Asa2141 - You are so right that it's impossible to answer these questions with our limited knowledge. As for your disagreement about the big bang, I agree that it's only a theory. But I can explain how the universe can fit in the size of a pinhead.

It is known that all matter is mostly space. Matter is made up of atoms. Atoms have a nucleus with electrons revolving around the nucleus, similar to planets revolving around the sun. There is mostly empty space between the nucleus and the electrons. Just as there is mostly empty space between our sun and the planets of our solar system. So if you take all that into consideration, it's easier to comprehend how the entire universe can be squashed into a pinhead or black hole as we know it. But the energy remains, and eventually causes a Big Bang all over again. Hence the cyclic nature I discussed in the hub. We more or less have proof of this already since we can see how everything is moving away from everything else.

As for your second disagreement, I'm not arguing the point that if He exists he is eternal. But that makes the question even more meaningful. The Bible leaves the question unanswered by saying He is eternal. Eternal means He was always in existence. So where was He before the beginning? I couldn't answer it either.

Thanks for your thoughtful and intelligent comment. It really makes one think things through.


Jodah profile image

Jodah 16 months ago from Queensland Australia

Much food for thought here Glenn. Good article. Here's a thought, what if there is something outside the universe? The universe itself is so immense that we can't even comprehend anything outside it or larger. Perhaps God exists in that place.


Glenn Stok profile image

Glenn Stok 16 months ago from Long Island, NY Author

Jodah - That's kind of what I was talking about with existence in an alternate reality. It is a plausable explanation of where He is now. But where do you suppose He was before the beginning? That's the unanswered question in my hub.


Jodah profile image

Jodah 16 months ago from Queensland Australia

Perhaps God was the beginning...it's like asking what came first, the chicken or the egg?


Phyllis Doyle profile image

Phyllis Doyle 16 months ago from High desert of Nevada.

That is what I believe, Jodah, that God was the beginning.

Glenn, I published my version if you want to take a look see. Chaos the Void - Before the Beginning. A lot of your questions really inspired me to delve deeper into my own thoughts, which lead me to where God was before the Beginning.

I am really enjoying this sharing of thoughts, because each one sparks another.


MizBejabbers profile image

MizBejabbers 16 months ago

It leads to the question, "who is God," or better yet, "what is God?" Is there one God or are there many gods? Maybe our universe was made by a committee. I can go along with your thinking, but then my mind starts blanking out, like when I had too much to drink. Come to think of it, it makes me want a drink, and I don't drink anymore!

Seriously, "they" say that time only exists in dense matter (like my head), so does time exist only in our dimensional plane? Are there many dense universes out there where time exists? One question leads to another and I'm starting to get a headache. Congratulations on a fine brain-tickling article. Next time pick a deeper subject, will you? Voted up++


Glenn Stok profile image

Glenn Stok 16 months ago from Long Island, NY Author

Phyllis Doyle - I just read your version of answering the question. You sure did a lot of research and you introduced interesting thoughts to ponder.

It's always uplifting to read other viewpoints. Little by little, maybe the answers to the age old questions will emerge.

I recommend your hub for anyone who wants to ponder this further. I left you a lengthy reply comment in your hub. Oh, and thanks for the kind words. You truly are special.


Glenn Stok profile image

Glenn Stok 16 months ago from Long Island, NY Author

MizBejabbers - I do get your humor. It's a good way to lighten things up on such as deep subject. Thanks for the vote up and thanks for being a new follower.


FlourishAnyway profile image

FlourishAnyway 16 months ago from USA

I like the cyclic idea you present. I have pondered this question myself and am unsure and like your style of reasoning.


Glenn Stok profile image

Glenn Stok 16 months ago from Long Island, NY Author

FlourishAnyway - Thanks for stopping by and for your feedback on the idea I presented. The cyclic idea is one solution to the difficult hypothesis of considering a beginning and an end.


Jackie Lynnley profile image

Jackie Lynnley 16 months ago from The Beautiful South

I think God would expect us to have questions because he does give us free will (that is why there are good and bad) and there is no predestination I don't believe just a God who knows all and foretells some of it for our benefit.

The Bible says a day to God is like a thousand years to us. I compare it to like us looking at ants in their universe; it is the same one as ours but they don't realize that I am sure. It must be very puzzling to them but they are too busy trying to survive to question much, much like humans once were I suppose. lol


Glenn Stok profile image

Glenn Stok 16 months ago from Long Island, NY Author

Jackie Lynnley - That's a good analogy you described with the ants. Thanks for your comment.


misterhollywood profile image

misterhollywood 16 months ago from Hollywood, CA

What a thought provoking and fun hub. It certainly made me think. What if God is time itself in a way that is beyond our awareness?

I voted you up!


Glenn Stok profile image

Glenn Stok 16 months ago from Long Island, NY Author

misterhollywood - Thanks for your comment. "Thought provoking" is what I was up to. There is probably a lot that is beyond our awareness.


Phyllis Doyle profile image

Phyllis Doyle 16 months ago from High desert of Nevada.

Glenn, came back to read again. Your mind just blows my mind. Some of the comments you are getting are awesome. "Thought provoking" indeed. I often thought the same as Jackie's analogy with the ants and MrH's thought about "God being time itself beyond our awareness" - what a concept, that, too blows my mind.


Glenn Stok profile image

Glenn Stok 16 months ago from Long Island, NY Author

Phyllis Doyle - Thanks for coming back to check out the comments this hub is getting. I hope others check out the comments too because I also find them to be very thought provoking and meaningful. I appreciate all my readers. They definitely are adding a well-rounded view to this hub with their comments.


newjerusalem profile image

newjerusalem 14 months ago from India

Your hub, indeed, is a thought-provoking one. Well, the answer for this question is beyond the comprehension of human mind. Basically, the matter concerning God is a matter of faith -- as none can understand about him through human intelligence. A very few people know God by their experience while others know him through his written word. After living in the spiritual line for some years I understand that God is what according to his word. He said to Moses, "I am that I am" when Moses asked about his identity. He is now as He was in the beginning and before the beginning . Although he preexistence before the beginning is mysterious we can only believe this fact. What we know now about God is partial and the full knowledge will be in Eternity. Just I shared my views.

But, you've given a good thought to ponder in a very polite manner.


Glenn Stok profile image

Glenn Stok 14 months ago from Long Island, NY Author

newjerusalem - Thanks for sharing your views and for your kind comments.


Andy Lee Lawson profile image

Andy Lee Lawson 12 months ago from Knoxville, TN

I believe it was Carl Sagan who offered as his opinion that enough is understood about the universe to no longer need a "God of the gaps". I think that you, however, are presenting God as a catalyst to the beginning of a process that is understood by modern cosmology. Of course, it raises as many, perhaps more, questions than it answers. But, generating useful questions is the whole point of science and drives the effort of humanity. Excellent presentation of ideas. I aspire to be as articulate and thoughtful as you.


Glenn Stok profile image

Glenn Stok 12 months ago from Long Island, NY Author

Andy Lee Lawson - That was indeed my intention, to give my readers food for thought so they come up with questions. You picked up on that very well. As for answers, I'd be the first to admit that I have none. I don't think the answers will ever be known. Not within our lifetime anyway. Questions are good. As you said, it "drives the effort of humanity." Thank you for your enlightened comment.

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