John 1:1: “In the beginning was the Word.” Those words “in the beginning” in Greek are identical to the first two words of the Bible: “In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth” (Genesis 1:1). I don’t think that’s an accident.
“Jesus was there not only before matter; he was there before time. He did not come into being; he just was.”
What John is saying is that before there was any matter, before anything had been made, Jesus was. “In the beginning was the Word.” So, there at the beginning, when those things were brought into being, he was there already. That’s the point of “in the beginning.” And another confirmation that John is thinking that way is that the very next thing he tells us about Jesus’s action is everything was made through him. So, creation is in his mind as he writes the words, “in the beginning.” Jesus was there as the Son of God in the beginning.
Let me say it in an Einsteinian way, and then I will give you the biblical phrase for Einstein’s theory of relativity. Jesus was there not only before matter; he was there before time. Because the twentieth century brought the discovery that matter and time are coextensive. No matter, no time. Kind of a controversial thing biblically sometimes. But listen to the great doxology. Now, I don’t think the biblical writers knew the theory of relativity. They just knew truth. Jude 25:
To the only God, our Savior, through Jesus Christ our Lord, be glory, majesty, dominion, and authority, before all time and now and forever. Amen.
He’s lifting up his doxological praise of Jesus Christ and he says, “Before all time, and now in these times of the ages, and forever, glory be to him.” Or take 2 Timothy 1:9:
[God] gave us grace in Christ Jesus before the times of the ages.
So, when John says, “In the beginning was the Word,” echoing Genesis 1 — the wider references to being before time is meant to communicate that before anything else was, he was. So, get the time right. He did not come into being — he just was.
Read, watch, or listen to the full message: