What Does It Mean That God Is Preexistent?
For the next few months, I’ll be sharing parts of 30 Things You Need to Know about Your Bible (If You Claim to Know Your Bible), the book I’m currently writing. Each topic within these blog posts will often be a subtopic of a larger “thing.”
For instance, I explain God’s preexistence in the first chapter of 30 Things, which covers what a Bible-believing Christian should know about the creation of the world. Every one of these topics is important to understand because every one of them ultimately reveals who God is and how we ought to relate to Him.
What Does It Mean?
First, let’s understand what God’s preexistence actually means, then let’s consider why that matters today.
The Bible doesn’t take long to get to the point: “In the beginning, God . . . ” (Genesis 1:1). If you try to flip to the page before Genesis begins, you won’t find where God originated from. If you open a book that isn’t the Bible which tries to pinpoint when God began, you still won’t find where God came from. And if you pray with all of your might and ask God, “When did you begin?” I doubt you’ll receive an answer.
The fact that God was preexistent—that he lives outside of time—is one of the most mind-boggling issues we can think about. We are finite. We have an abrupt beginning and an abrupt end. It’s morbid but true: our lives are defined by the hyphen between two years on our gravestones.
But God isn’t like that. He has always been and he always will be. He will never not cease to exist and He has never not existed. Even using time-bound words like “never” fails to encompass his infinitude. The Creator wasn’t created. He’s just always been.
The fact that the Bible so bluntly, so quickly, and yet to subtly reveals this deep spiritual truth ought to underscore its importance. To be a Christian who believes the Bible is God’s truth is to believe by faith that God has always existed. Christianity cannot be fully grasped or lived out unless a Christian believes in a preexistent God.
Such a belief is called “theism.” Theists believe God exists. They may not believe in the God of the Bible, or even in any particular god, but they believe some kind of Supreme Being does exist. Of course, this stands in opposition to “atheism,” the belief that God doesn’t exist, or “pantheism,” the belief that God is everywhere and in everything, or “polytheism,” the belief in many gods. At their core, Christians must be theists because the Bible says God has always existed.
What Does it Matter?
Why does God’s preexistence matter today? Because it reveals His power to create and his power over creation. Because it shows that before anything came into corporeal being, God was there. Because it offers the faithful a single starting point for all we believe. If God exists and has existed for all time—a mystery of God we’ll never fathom on earth—then from that singular truth all else flows.
Consider this: God’s preexistence led to your existence. If He really preexisted and willingly chose to create the soil you walk on, the air you breathe, and the skin that holds you together, then ought everything else that stems from Him be what you stake your life upon?