Where Was God Before the Creation of Heaven and Earth?
Many religions suggest that there is a creator of life and the universe. This article is not meant to argue with beliefs, but to discuss alternative views of physical concepts applied to philosophical theology.
Where Was God Before the Beginning?
I always try to analyze things 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.
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. I'm just giving you something else to think about. Everyone is entitled to his or her opinion and belief.
Everything I discuss here can be disputed when one assumes that God is not a physical being, and therefore cannot be controlled by the laws of physics or subjected to the restrictions of time.
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 period between the existence of nothing and everything, then where was God during the existence of nothing?
If He, Himself, was non-existent, then from where did He originate?
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 correct either, because we're saying that He created the heavens and the Earth in the beginning. Therefore, He had to be there already.
The only option left is to say that He came into being at the same instant that the universe began. That should satisfy our inquiring minds.
But wait a minute. God 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 at that moment? How long did that “moment” last?
To answer that question, we need to consider the limitations of time. Time may have boundaries. Time is restricted to being between a beginning and an end. Or is it?
Did God Create Time?
St. Augustine, a theologian in the 4th century, gave a lot of thought to where God may have been before creating the universe. He considered the idea that if God did indeed exist, he created time.
But if that were so, without time, there was no “before” in the period before 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 the entire universe existed in a space smaller than a subatomic particle, as scientists describe it 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! However, that still leaves me wondering where He was. It contradicts the reasoning I just described.
The Universe Might Be Oscillating
I have a theory that could solve the contradiction:
The Big Bang was not the beginning. Time may be cyclic. The universe may be oscillating between existence and non-existence.
Big Bang > Expansion > Contraction > Black Hole > Then Big Bang Again
We know that the universe has been expanding ever since the last big bang. That expansion is measurable with present technology. Eventually, the gravitational pull of all the galaxies will overpower the expansion (based on the law of diminishing returns), and the universe will start falling in on itself again. Finally, 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 each time it repeats?
In other words, does time repeat precisely the same way? 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 script of the universe.
There is another theory. The state of “existence” may have many alternate realities that simultaneously occur. Each reality may be following different paths. There may even be an infinite number of realities. God might have been busy creating numerous complex scenarios to observe and discover which works best.
But I keep coming up with more questions. Even if God created many versions of the universe, it's still questionable what is beyond all that. Is there a Super-God out there?
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 have 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 thoughts and ideas. Even Einstein realized the limitations of our 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
Thinking Outside the Box
The remainder of this article, although somewhat technical, is to tie all the pieces of the puzzle together with ontological categories.
Imagine How Things Would Be If We Didn't Have Gravity!
- If there were no gravity, drinking a glass of water would be impossible. The water wouldn't stay in the glass. It would just float out into space.
- When you brush your teeth and gargle, the mouthwash will float out of your mouth. Messy!
- When you come home and drop your keys on the table, they float away. (Maybe that's why you can’t find your keys).
- You hang a picture on the wall, but it doesn't stay put. Without gravity, it just floats off the nail.
- You sit in a chair reading this article on your laptop or tablet, but you don't feel the pull of gravity holding you down, and you end up floating out of the chair. (Don’t you just hate it when that happens?)
Okay, enough of the examples. You get the idea.
Did God Create Gravity?
The force of gravitational attraction is proportional to the mass of the objects. However, if there are no objects before creation, gravity wouldn’t exist. So what came first?
We take the law of gravity for granted. We usually don't think about it, but the laws of physics are based on the natural laws of gravity—keeping our world and everything in it, in its place.
I tend to take things a step further in my thoughts. That brings me to imagine what went on in God's mind. Was gravity something that He realized was necessary to hold the universe together in a non-chaotic condition? Or was it just a fluke that occurred when He put all the pieces together?
Gravity Holds Everything in the Universe Together
Gravity is a force. We might say it's a force of nature—or a law of physics. Or did God decide it was required so all His creations would stay together in a precise universe?
After all, the law of gravity is precise. It can be measured and mathematically replicated in computer simulations.
Gravity is not the only force of attraction. Magnetism can also be a force that attracts objects.
How Is Magnetism and Gravity Different?
Magnetism can pull two objects together, just as gravity does, but it can also repel with the same amount of force.
- Magnetism is polarized. North and South poles will attract one another. But it will repel when the poles are the same (North to North or South to South).
- Gravity is not polarized. It will never repel. It just attracts. Any two objects in the universe will attract one another.
The Force of Gravity Works Both Ways
You may not realize it, but you are drawing the Earth up towards you just as the Earth is pulling you down. The force of gravitational attraction is proportional to the mass of the objects. So the gravitational force of the Earth on you is much stronger than the tiny gravity you are exerting on objects around you.
You know that the planets of our solar system remain in orbit because of the Sun’s gravity. The same is true with moons revolving around their parent planets, such as our Moon around the Earth.
The gravitational effect of the Earth keeps pulling at the Moon. For that matter, the Moon’s gravity is also affecting the Earth. That's what causes the tides, the Moon pulls the water, and we have high tides when the Moon is overhead at any location on the planet.
When the Sun and the Moon are on the same side of the Earth (as is the case during a New Moon), or on opposite sides (a Full Moon), then the combined gravitational force creates extra high tides, and we call that "Spring Tides."
That has nothing to do with the spring season. We call it spring tides because they are 20% higher than usual.
The Earth Has Both a Magnetic Field and a Gravitational Field
I can’t end this section without adding that we live on a unique planet that has a magnetic field as well as a gravitational field.
The magnetic field is due to the fact that we have a solid metal core inside a liquid outer core.4
The dynamics of our metallic inner core creates a magnetic field as the Earth rotates, which produces a protective magnetic flux around the entire planet that diverts cosmic particles toward the poles, away from inhabited locations. That is what causes the Aurora Borealis.
If it weren’t for this protective attribute, the Earth would not be able to support life because the cosmic radiation from the Sun would kill any living organism.
What if Gravity Were Polarized?
Imagine if God had created the gravitational fields to function similarly to an electromagnetic energizer that was polarized.
Imagine that all He had to do were to throw the switch and reverse the polarity. Then everything in the universe, everything as we know it, everything in the heavens and the Earth, would immediately repel and quickly separate.
Everything we know and love would move away from us as quickly as we can blink an eye.
But that can't happen. Gravity can't be reversed. Gravity is not a polarized entity. It has a powerful disposition that is part of our lives and is inherent in the very soul of our existence.
Is Creation the Result of Gravity?
Did gravity cause creation, or did God create gravity and let everything else fall into place?
Gravity pulls everything together. The force of gravitational attraction is proportional to the mass of the objects. However, if there were no objects before creation, gravity wouldn’t have existed.
What Did Stephen Hawking Think About Gravity?
Stephen Hawking lived from Jan 08, 1942, until Mar 14, 2018, and as a theoretical physicist, he wondered how gravity came to exist. He wrote about it in his book “The Grand Design,” co-authored with Leonard Mlodinow, an American physicist.5
Here is a quote from his book, followed by my interpretation.
“Because there is a law such as gravity, the universe can and will create itself from nothing. Spontaneous creation is the reason there is something rather than nothing, why the universe exists, why we exist.”— Stephen Hawking
Note that Hawking did not deny the existence of God. The way I see it, he simply was saying that gravity is responsible for the creation of the universe.
There is a lot to be considered to understand our existence. Studying the physical laws of the universe only begins to help us visualize obscure details of the unknown. Philosophical theology carries us a step further.
Share Your Thoughts
What's your opinion of this article?
Questions & Answers
© 2015 Glenn Stok