What existed before God created the heaven and the earth?

Posted on September 23, 2007 at 6:01 am

Doctrine & Covenants

Follow Gramps:

facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestmail
Print Friendly

Gramps,
What existed before God created the heaven and the earth?
Gene, from Chicago, Illinois
Dear Gene,
Because of our vast foundation of ignorance we have a bit of difficulty in answering your interesting question. In the first place, encased in this temporary but all-pervasive concept of time, we have no effective way of explaining such temporal concepts as time in the environment of eternity. As an example, Joseph Smith had a similar problem when saw his father and mother and his brother Alvin in a vision in the celestial kingdom—

The heavens were opened upon us, and I beheld the celestial kingdom of God, and the glory thereof, whether in the body or out I cannot tell. I saw the transcendent beauty of the gate through which the heirs of that kingdom will enter, which was like unto circling flames of fire; Also the blazing throne of God, whereon was seated the Father and the Son. I saw the beautiful streets of that kingdom, which had the appearance of being paved with gold. I saw Father Adam and Abraham; and my father and my mother; my brother Alvin, that has long since slept; And marveled how it was that he had obtained an inheritance in that kingdom, seeing that he had departed this life before the Lord had set his hand to gather Israel the second time, and had not been baptized for the remission of sins (D&C 137:1-6).

Joseph actually saw a condition in eternity that was yet in the future when considered within the time restraint under which we labor in mortality. Not only did he see Alvin in what we would call a future state, but his father and mother had not yet passed away, and were with him in mortality at the time he saw them in the celestial kingdom.
We cannot understand such eternal concepts as are revealed in the Doctrine and Covenants—

By these things we know that there is a God in heaven, who is infinite and eternal, from everlasting to everlasting the same unchangeable God, the framer of heaven and earth, and all things which are in them (D&C 20:17)

The angels do not reside on a planet like this earth; But they reside in the presence of God, on a globe like a sea of glass and fire, where all things for their glory are manifest, past, present, and future, and are continually before the Lord (D&C 20:17).

So what we call the past and the future are continually present before the Lord and those who are with Him in his environment. And although his paths are straight, his course is one eternal round.
We understand from the Book of John that Christ was the creator of all things—

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. The same was in the beginning with God. All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made (John 1:1-3).

This scripture talks about in the beginning. The question is, in the beginning of what? It does not mean in the very beginning, because such a concept does not exist. What we do know is that the universe is infinite in its extension. There are no limits to the universe either spatially or temporally. God is an exalted man. He lived as a pre-mortal spirit, then as a mortal and finally in exaltation as a God, who is the Father of our spirits. In his generation, He had a Father of his spirit; and the generation of Gods, with their universes, never ends. They are infinite and eternal—

By these things we know that there is a God in heaven, who is infinite and eternal, from everlasting to everlasting the same unchangeable God, the framer of heaven and earth, and all things which are in them (D&C 20:17).

The concepts that we have alluded to above are given expression in one of the hymns that are found in the Mormon hymn book, called If You Could Hie to Kolob, as follows—

If you could hie to Kolob in the twinkling of an eye,
And then continue onward with that same speed to fly,
Do you think that you could ever, through all eternity,
Find out the generation where Gods began to be?
Or see the grand beginning, where space did not extend?
Or view the last creation, where Gods and matter end?
Methinks the Spirit whispers, “No man has found ‘pure space,’
Nor seen the outside curtains, where nothing has a place.”
The works of God continue, and worlds and lives abound;
Improvement and progression have one eternal round.
There is no end to matter; there is no end to space;
There is no end to spirit; there is no end to race.
There is no end to virtue; there is no end to might;
There is no end to wisdom; there is no end to light.
There is no end to union; there is no end to youth;
There is no end to priesthood; there is no end to truth.
There is no end to glory; there is no end to love;
There is no end to being; there is no death above.
There is no end to glory; there is no end to love;
There is no end to being; there is no death above.

Gramps

Summary
Article Name
What existed before God created the heaven and the earth? - Ask Gramps - Q and A about Mormon Doctrine
Author
Description
Because of our vast foundation of ignorance we have a bit of difficulty in answering your interesting question. In the first place, encased in this temporary but all-pervasive concept of time,

Follow Gramps:

How can I make my devotional in Seminary more memorable?

October 31, 2014 6:53 am

Question Dear Gramps, For seminary we have to give a devotional. I was assigned the topic “The Premortal Life” and I want to make my devotional memorable so (more)

What is D&C 13:1 saying?

October 30, 2014 5:29 am

Question Gramps, The scripture found in D&C 13:1 says, 1 Upon you my fellow servants, in the name of Messiah I confer the Priesthood of Aaron, which holds (more)

What does it mean to “put away childish things?”

October 29, 2014 6:59 am

Question Dear Gramps, I’ve been thinking a lot about what it means to “put away childish things”. Is it wrong for an adult to have a “childish” hobby? (more)

When Christ was on the cross, did he forgive only the Romans?

October 28, 2014 5:00 am

Question Dear Gramps, Once I heard a Stake President say that when Christ said on the cross “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do” that (more)

Should I continue wearing my temple garments?

October 27, 2014 6:00 am

Question Dear Gramps, I received a mission call and got endowed. During the period between my mission my non LDS boyfriend and I  became sexually active. Moved home (more)

Did we have any say in the circumstances we would be born into?

October 26, 2014 6:00 am

Question Gramps, Did we have any say in what kind of circumstances we would be born into on this Earth in the premortal life? Seems unfair to me (more)

Before becoming a Bishop, is it required to be on a High Council first?

October 25, 2014 6:00 am

Question Gramps, Is a man required to serve on the High Council before he is considered a candidate for the calling of Bishop? I was advised by a (more)

Why were the deaths of the early Apostles so brutal?

October 24, 2014 6:00 am

Question Gramps, I was interested in the life of the remaining Apostles after the death of the Savior.  As I researched their lives I was stunned and shocked (more)

If a man is of a certain tribe, are they automatically called to be a Bishop?

October 22, 2014 9:00 pm

Question Gramps, I heard that it has been stated that some people have been told by their patriarch that they are not of Ephraim or Manasseh but of (more)

Is Mormon underwear magic?

October 22, 2014 5:00 am

Question Gramps, I am not a Mormon, but a Born Again Christian faithfully attending a Protestant church.  I have recently been involved in a study in which we (more)

Why was the purchase of slaves allowed during Biblical times?

October 21, 2014 6:00 am

Question Gramps, I have been discussing matters of misinterpretation with Bible versus with friends and was wondering, why are there parts of the Bible that allow the purchase (more)

If my father is the Branch President, can I repent to someone else?

October 20, 2014 5:00 am

Question Gramps, Hello.  I have broken the Law of Chastity and the Word of Wisdom. I’ve been doing better and reading my scriptures and praying for forgiveness but (more)