Before the Beginning
You loved me before the creation of the world. John 17:24
“But if God has no beginning and no end, and has always existed, what was He doing before He created us? How did He spend His time?” Some precocious Sunday school student always asks this question when we talk about God’s eternal nature. I used to respond that this was a bit of a mystery. But recently I learned that the Bible gives us an answer to this question.
When Jesus prays to His Father in John 17, He says “Father, . . . you loved me before the creation of the world” (v. 24). This is God as revealed to us by Jesus: Before the world was ever created, God was a trinity (Father, Son, and Holy Spirit)—all loving each other and being loved. When Jesus was baptized, God sent His Spirit in the form of a dove and said, “This is my Son, whom I love” (Matthew 3:17). The most foundational aspect of God’s identity is this outgoing, life-giving love.
What a lovely and encouraging truth this is about our God! The mutual, outgoing love expressed by each member of the Trinity—Father, Son, and Holy Spirit—is key to understanding the nature of God. What was God doing before the beginning of time? What He always does: He was loving because He is love (1 John 4:8).
Love has always defined God; it is at the core of everything He does, now and in eternity. But today’s text urges us to think about an aspect of God’s love we might not typically consider.
The Father, Son, and Holy Spirit spend eternity in a perfect relationship—giving and receiving love. It’s important to remember that genuine love not only gives love but also receives it. It wouldn’t be loving of the Father not to accept the love of the Son and the Spirit. It’s easy to say we love someone and to show it with what we do for them, but part of loving them is receiving their expressions of love too. That takes humility and trust.
Do you need to receive the love of someone else today? Or do you need to receive the love of God again and remember the reason we love Him is because He first loved us.