In the beginning was the Word. The Word was before the beginning. The beginning of what? Simply put – the beginning of time. When did time begin? Has there always been time? What is the measurement of time in deep space? Is it still measured by the rotations of the earth as it revolves around this sun of ours?
Certainly scientists and learned mankind has developed formulaic hypotheses regarding these types of questions. If memory serves me right, Einstein wrote about such things as time and space. Not being particularly astute when it comes to understanding science and physics, I admittedly have not spent much time studying such things. Yet, I still wonder about existence beyond the confines of our limited measurements of time.
In the beginning…of this article…I am. Not I AM, but I am. Whether this becomes a grand work of fiction or an insightful preponderance of pre-existence, I do not know. Most likely – neither. The real danger is that these thoughts may never be completed but will probably be random collections of thoughts and meditations rather than concluding with any significant finding. Nevertheless, I wonder. I wonder about eternity wherein time was seemingly plugged into this unending dimension.
One of the beginnings of late began with a question from my reading in II Timothy 1:9.
(God) who has saved us and called us to a holy life – not because of anything we have done but because of his own purpose and grace. This grace was given us in Christ Jesus before the beginning of time,…”
A confirming type of scripture that Paul wrote to the Ephesians (1: 3-6) says that we have been blessed in the heavenly realms. “For he chose us in Him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in His sight.” Before the creation, we were “chosen” in him. THE PLAN was for us to be holy and blameless in his sight. Not only were we chosen in God’s pre-existence, we received the grace of his holy calling to participate in his PURPOSE of being a different “breed” from the rest of the world. Jesus said, “Many are called, but few are chosen.” (Matt 22:4 and 20:16). If we were chosen before creation, then does it stand to reason that some were called, but not chosen in the pre-existence? It seems that all of Paul’s references to us in the pre-existence are in Him (Christ). It also seems to me that the state of being holy and without blame was only achieved by the One son. Our status regarding those two accounts (holiness and blamelessness) is totally contingent on the Christ’s attainment AND our maintenance by “remaining (abiding) in Him.” The apostle John quotes Jesus saying, “I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing. If anyone does not abide in Me, he is cast out as a branch and is withered; and they gather them into the fire and they are burned (John 15:5-6).” I know next to nothing about grapevines, but we have a pecan tree in our front yard that is a good producer most years. However, all through each year, I am regularly picking up small dried branches and twigs that the tree sheds. What do I do with them? I collect them, break them and put them into a bucket where I use them for fire tender in our fireplace during the wintertime. Somehow the life-giving sap of the tree has ceased flowing through those branches. They are no longer involved in the fruit-bearing operation of the tree – now, good for nothing. Whose “fault” is it? Is it just natural attrition? Do they not get enough sunlight? Has that accursed beetle, the pecan tree girdler, cut off all the nutrients and water to that branch? I do not know. Somewhere, metaphors and analogies break down; but, there still remains the admonition to us “to abide”. There is an adverse effect (cast out)if we do not take the causation command (abide) seriously. Perhaps the main thought regarding this abiding is that recognition that we, truly, can do nothing of ourselves to produce fruit. The significant focus for the branch is that it remains attached, firmly attached to the vine.
This began my musings about being in Christ before the beginning of time. I know that the Calvinists and the Armenians have fought for years about the issue of election. These scriptures seem to lean more into Calvinist thought, I would suspect. We know that for some God-reason, there was timing involved in the Logos being revealed to the world as the Christ. But, this scripture tells us that God’s purpose and grace was also pre-determined before time began. Most of we inquiring types spend our whole lives grasping for meaningful purpose…trying to figure out the signs of our holy calling. We want specifics, thinking that real purpose is distinctive to who we (think we) are. We all want to be special. Just ask the Sons of Thunder. Ordinary…nobody wants to be.
Regardless of the theological question of our pre-existence, most of us have high hope of our post-existence…beyond the grave. But there is ONE whose pre-existence (before time began) seems to be unquestionable, to me, at least. So many experts in biblical studies have such clear confidence in their charts of the tribulation, the Book of Revelation and Ezekiel…and above all, a stated confidence that there is a “heaven” to where they are headed. What can these end-times (and after-times) prophets tell me about before time began? What are we to call that which preceded time? “Pre-time” is not subject to chronos. All of my language is time-bound, but not so with Logos which is pre-chronos. Jesus declared of the Father, “…for You loved Me before the foundation of the world (John 17:24).” Jesus can speak of the pre-existence where the Father’s love for Him existed before time began. Whatever existed before time began, we know that the Father’s love for the Son was present. By this we know that the Father was present, His love was present, and the Son – the Word who became flesh – was present. In that pre-existence we were already called, chosen to be holy and blameless. I cannot explain it nor understand it in the context of my time-bound thoughts. Just to struggle with the concept does cause me to realize one thing – we were purposed. Not a random accident. Somehow, there was pre-meditation involved in our existence.
There is no conclusion, no revelation to this assortment of wonderments… just an awe in knowing that our story began before the creation of the earth – before time began.