Before the Beginning - Gospel in Life

Before the Beginning

Tim Keller |  November 16, 2008

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  • Creation
  • The Bible
Genesis 1:1-3
RS 310-1


The Bible is not a compendium of varied stories like Aesop’s Fables, each with directions and examples on how to live. If that’s all it was, then basically the Bible would be about you and what you must do. Read rightly, the Bible is not about you—it’s about him and what he has done. A single storyline moves from creation to the fall to what he has done to rescue you and renew the world through grace.

We start, obviously, at Genesis 1. This tells us the beginning of the story of the world. And if you look carefully at the first three verses, you actually get a glimpse of what was going on before the beginning.

We see three things before the beginning: 1) there was God, 2) there was love, and 3) there was darkness.

Genesis 1:1–3; John 1:1–3, 10–14

The Bible tells us about God’s plan to save and heal the world through a gift called grace. It’s not just a book of moral stories. It starts with how God created the world in Genesis, how Jesus saved us from our wrongs in Romans, and ends with everything being restored in Revelation. Understanding this big story helps us focus on God’s saving work, not just trying to be good people.

1. In the beginning there was God

God is the only one who has always existed. He is the foundation of everything. The philosopher Jean-Paul Sartre wrote about how life doesn’t have a purpose without God, but his own actions showed that he believed in right and wrong. The truth is, God made us with a special purpose. We find real freedom when we accept how God made us, follow the Bible’s teachings, and listen to God’s specific plan for our lives through prayer and spending time with other believers.

2. Before the beginning there was love

Before the world was made, God, Jesus the Son, and the Spirit of God were together. They showed us that relationships and love are the most important things in life. This shows us that putting ourselves first goes against how the universe is meant to work. The Father, Son, and Holy Spirit show us a love that puts others first. This means that being selfless and serving others is the heart of reality, while being selfish goes against it.

3. Before the beginning there was darkness

Before God spoke, the universe was full of chaos and darkness. Then God spoke, and there was light and order. This is similar to what happened in Egypt when God sent plagues. These weren’t just natural disasters, they showed the chaos and darkness that our wrongs bring into our lives. But because Jesus died on the cross, we can be saved and bring order back into our lives through selfless love. This is a truth that can change our lives.


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