In the Beginning

Genesis Chapter 1 begins “In the beginning.” What beginning is Genesis (Moses, if we accept the common view that Moses wrote the first five books of the Bible) speaking of? Is it the beginning of everything or the beginning of the world or the beginning of this universe?

Book of Genesis 1580
Book of Genesis 1580 (Photo credit: Frank DeFreitas)

It seems that Genesis refers to the beginning of the universe, as it goes through the creation of the firmament and the Earth:

And the earth was without form and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters.

And God said Let there be light: and there was light.

We have seen how the Big Bang created a sea of light. We have seen that the universe was empty (void) and without form for millions of years while it cooled and hydrogen and helium and eventually heavier elements formed. On its face, Genesis 1:1-3 appears to be a fairly accurate, if somewhat abbreviated, description of the Big Bang.

We have argued that one view of the string theory leads to a conclusion that there is a God and that He exists outside of this universe. Does scripture provide any support for this conclusion?

The word “heaven” or “heavens” has more than one meaning in the Bible. In one sense it means the earth and the universe around it. It is in this sense that Genesis speaks of God creating the heavens and the earth. In another sense it means the place where God lives. Consider, for example, Isaiah 66:1: “The heaven is my throne.” Acts 7:49 says the same thing, that God’s throne is in heaven. If God created this universe then this heaven must refer to some place outside of the universe, for how could God be in the heavens (this universe) before He created it?

The Revelation of John uses “heaven” in this latter sense. In Revelation 12:7-8, John sees a vision about a war in heaven:

And there was war in heaven: Michael [the archangel] and his angels fought against the dragon; and the dragon fought and his angels;

And prevailed not; neither was there place found any more in heaven.

And the great dragon was cast out, that old serpent, called the Devil and Satan, which deceived the whole world; he was cast out into the earth, and his angels were cast out with him.

Satan on his way to bring about the downfall o...
Satan on his way to bring about the downfall of Adam. Gustave Doré’s illustration for Paradise Lost by John Milton. Paradise Lost Book III, lines 739-742 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

If “heaven” in these verses refers to the universe, as it does in Genesis, how could Satan be “cast out into the earth,” since the earth is part of the universe? One cannot be cast out into the same place from which he is supposedly cast. “Heaven” as used in Revelation must mean heaven in the same sense as it does in Isaiah and Acts: the place, outside of the universe, where God lives.

Scripture is consistent with the notion that the universe is not everything there is. God was outside the universe when He created it.