This article appears in BELIEFS of Jehovah’s Witnesses category.
Although it is utterly beyond the capacity of humans to comprehend, there is a Being who has always existed. He had no beginning. He is the only person who was never born. He is not a creature. He will never have an end either. He simply exists. For good reason he is called the King of eternity. God.
It is impossible to wrap your mind around —to use the common jargon —how someone could just Be. But just because we cannot fathom the unfathomable or comprehend the incomprehensible does not mean that it cannot be true.
To illustrate the point, a few generations ago it would have been deemed impossible for men to walk on the moon or to transmit sound and images by means of invisible waves of energy, and many, many other things that are now commonplace were once beyond the imagination of most people.
Rather than stumbling over what we cannot understand though, consider what we know.
Everything and everyone in our physical realm had a beginning. Scientists now believe that the universe, in all its vastness and complexity, began from a tiny point of origin. Some say the entire cosmos originated from a super dense, teaspoon-size, dollop of matter and exploded in what is euphemistically called the Big Bang.
Whether or not scientists want to admit it the modern theory of the origin of the universe basically confirms the truthfulness of the opening words of the Bible – “In the beginning…”
So, that’s a start in our consideration of the truth.
But here is where it gets a little tricky. The beginning described in the book of Origin, or Genesis, was not the only beginning, or even the first. Genesis 1:1 is merely in reference to the beginning of the material universe of the heavens and earth — the material being atoms and all sorts of sub-atomic particles that make up the cosmos of which we are a part. But prior to that beginning there was another beginning —the beginning of the creation in the superior, non material realm —a world inhabited by a variety of spirit persons. The creation of the invisible world preceded the making of the material heavens and earth. That beginning is what the opening words of the New Testament book of John is referring to, which states: “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was a god. This one was in the beginning with God.”
In regards to the inhabitants of the invisible realm the Creator once posed a question to a man, asking him: “Brace yourself, please, like a man; I will question you, and you inform me. Where were you when I founded the earth? Tell me, if you think you understand. Who set its measurements, in case you know, or who stretched a measuring line across it? Into what were its pedestals sunk, or who laid its cornerstone, When the morning stars joyfully cried out together, and all the sons of God began shouting in applause?” —Job 38
The sons of God who witnessed the creation of the earth obviously were not humans. The reference to the “morning stars” is intended to convey that the sons of God are heavenly persons, otherwise known as angels. So, when did they come into existence? Was there a very first heavenly son of God? Surely, there must have been.
Although the casual reader and those indoctrinated in trinitarianism may not grasp it, John 1:1 could not possibly apply to the King of eternity, since he had no beginning. The beginning is in relation to an entity called the Word. His apostle John wrote concerning him at 1John 1:1: “That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have observed and our hands have felt, concerning the word of life…”
Since God had no beginning “in the beginning” is meaningless in relation to him. As is obviously the case in connection to the creation of the heavens and the earth “in the beginning,” the same phrase in connection to the Word must relate to a starting point of reference to God’s ungraspable eternal existence. To better grasp the intended meaning of the beginning, consider Revelation 3:14. It states, simply: “These are the things that the Amen says, the faithful and true witness, the beginning of the creation by God.”
The Amen is a title given to Jesus, similar to his title “the Word.” And the context of Revelation 3:14 clearly indicates Jesus to be the one spoken of as “the faithful and true witness” and “the beginning of the creation by God.”
In Greek the phrase “the beginning” used in Revelation is the same phrase used at John 1:1 and translated “in the beginning.” With no ambiguity Revelation reveals that not only did Jesus have a pre-human existence he was the very first creation of God. Thus, the expression the Word “was in the beginning with God” should be understood to mean the Word was the beginning of God’s creative endeavors, which have continued from that beginning to the present.
Since God has always existed and there are no other non-created persons, that means he was alone forever prior to his becoming the Creator. Again, it is impossible to comprehend how someone could simply exist as an uncreated Being, but setting that aside, we can understand that God did begin creating; hence, “in the beginning.”
The Christian letter to the Colossians harmonizes with this understanding. Paul explained that Jesus “is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation; because by means of him all other things were created in the heavens and on the earth, the things visible and the things invisible, whether they are thrones or lordships or governments or authorities. All other things have been created through him and for him.”
Although some may object to the insertion of the adjective “other” in the text, it is perfectly within the parameters of acceptable translation since it is implied that the son did not create himself and in fact was merely an agent “through” whom Jehovah created everything else. The firstborn has the distinction of being the only person/thing that God personally, directly brought into existence, which is why Jesus is also called the only-begotten Son of God. All other sons were begotten indirectly, “through him” —through the firstborn.
This partnership in creation is exhibited in Genesis, where God said to an unnamed person: “Let us make man in our image, according to our likeness…”
Although unnamed throughout the Hebrew Scriptures that were written before the Word appeared in the flesh as the man Jesus, it is apparent that the Word is speaking in the eighth chapter of Proverbs —personified as the repository of the wisdom of God. Referring to his own beginning, the beginning of wisdom, it is written: “Jehovah produced me as the beginning of his way, the earliest of his achievements of long ago. From ancient times I was installed, from the start, from times earlier than the earth. When there were no deep waters, I was brought forth, when there were no springs overflowing with water. Before the mountains were set in place, before the hills, I was brought forth, when he had not yet made the earth and its fields or the first clods of earth’s soil. When he prepared the heavens, I was there; when he marked out the horizon on the surface of the waters, when he established the clouds above, when he founded the fountains of the deep, when he set a decree for the sea that its waters should not pass beyond his order, when he established the foundations of the earth, then I was beside him as a master worker. I was the one he was especially fond of day by day; I rejoiced before him all the time; I rejoiced over his habitable earth, and I was especially fond of the sons of men.”
Although the eighth chapter of Proverbs personifies wisdom, it is apparent that “wisdom” is an actual person. That is evident since wisdom rejoiced before God and was particularly fond of humanity. Could a mere quality rejoice or express fondness for something? Of course not. Whereas, the angels were merely described as observers of the creation of the earth, “Wisdom” actually participated in creation, being “beside him as a master worker.” That being true, and the fact that God produced his master worker “as the beginning of his way,” the eighth chapter of Proverbs confirms that the Word had a beginning —a birth, the firstborn of all of God’s achievements.
Understanding Christ’s unique role in God’s eternal purpose is essential. We cannot really know God without understanding what took place “in the beginning” with the Word. Jehovah’s Witnesses are privileged to know the truth. In that respect we have conquered the wicked one.
It is Satan’s intention to deceive us. One way in which the Devil seeks to do that is by promoting the lie that Jesus is God. He has trained and deployed a virtual army of theologians to twist and distort the simple truth about the relationship between Jehovah and his firstborn Son. That is why the apostle John wrote to the precious few who know the truth about he that is from the beginning.
“I am writing you, little children, because your sins have been forgiven you for the sake of his name. I am writing you, fathers, because you have come to know him who is from the beginning. I am writing you, young men, because you have conquered the wicked one. I write you, young children, because you have come to know the Father. I write you, fathers, because you have come to know him who is from the beginning. I write you, young men, because you are strong and the word of God remains in you and you have conquered the wicked one.”