Can we know what God was doing before He created the world? Today, listen as Michael Reeves helps us see that there is an answer from Scripture to this question, and it points us to a deeper understanding of our Creator.
NATHAN W. BINGHAM: We’re recording live this week from Ligonier’s 2022 national conference, and I’m joined by Dr. Michael Reeves. He’s the president and professor of theology at Union School of Theology in Oxford, England. Dr. Reeves, what was God doing before creation?
DR. MICHAEL REEVES: That can sound like one of those questions theologians like to ask: “How many angels can dance on the head of a pin?” And it’s the sort of question one theologian gave a joke answer to it. “What was God doing before creation? He was inventing hell for those who ask such cheeky questions.” But actually, there is a scriptural answer, which is very clear. Jesus says in John 17:24, “Father, you loved Me before the foundation of the world.” That’s what this God is doing. And what that means is something paradigm changing in our understanding of God. Because I think it’s very easy for us to think, “Okay, who is God?” We look around at creation and we see that He has mightily brought all this into being, so who is God? Well, He’s the Creator. He’s mighty, transcendent, awesome over all things.
But many religions might say something similar. How’s our God different? Well, we want to say, before He was ever Creator, what was He like in the privacy of eternity? Where a single person God will be sitting all by himself, presumably making himself happy with his own company? This God, the Father, is loving His Son, which means that there is an identity in God, which is fatherly, which tells you about the very nature of what the gospel should be about. And it shows us that when we pray, we don’t speak merely to One who is almighty and transcendent. We can speak and say boldly as children, our Father, because of who He is in eternity. That’s His identity.
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