John 3:16 begins with the phrase for God. This is the beginning point for the Christian faith—believing in God. The Bible offers no explanation for God’s existence. It simply claims that from the very beginning, God always is. Going back to the beginning, the very first verse of the first book of the Bible, Genesis 1:1, says:
In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.
Notice, before the beginning of the universe, God already exists. God has no beginning, middle or end. God simply is. The Psalmist set this truth to song in Psalm 90:2,
Before the mountains were brought forth,
Or ever You had formed the earth and the world,
Even from everlasting to everlasting, You are God.
Consider the last phrase, from everlasting to everlasting, You are God. There is no before God, as if there were some point in time before He existed. Nor will there be any after God, as if He might stop existing while the world continues operating without Him. The Bible teaches that the physical universe had a beginning and that beginning came by the will of God. But God has neither beginning nor end.
It is interesting to note that the most prominent scientific theory for the origin of the universe, the Big Bang Theory, agrees with the Bible that the physical universe had a beginning. Beginnings and endings are easy enough to understand. Life is filled with examples of beginnings and endings—schooling, job opportunities, home improvement projects, even life itself. Beginnings and endings are commonplace human experiences. The challenge for the human mind is acknowledging the existence of something or someone without beginning or end.
I’ve been asked often by children, “if all things have a beginning, then who created God?” On the face of it, the question seems puzzling. It puzzles even the most educated people in the world, some who honestly admit they don’t know while others perceive this question as one of the greatest challenges against Christianity. But the child’s innocent question isn’t an unanswerable logical challenge. The question demonstrates one of the common misunderstandings many people have about God. God does not need a creator because God is self-existent. God’s existence depends only on God Himself.
God is not physical, but spiritual. He is not bound by time, space, or matter. He exists beyond the physical universe in the spiritual world. The Bible teaches that this spiritual world is real, inhabited by spiritual creatures and governed by God. The question isn’t who created God, but whether we are willing to accept the possibility that Bible’s claims about God’s spiritual existence are true.
The spiritual world can’t be seen, but evidence for its existence is all around us. The struggles of daily life are very real, but what we see is just the surface. Like the tip of an iceberg giving an indication to an approaching ship of the danger beneath the surface of the water, so our daily life struggles give us a glimpse into the battle taking place behind the scenes in the spiritual world for the souls of humankind.
The spiritual world, sometimes called the heavenly places, includes two opposing factions, one of which is set against both humanity and God. Paul describes the battle in the spiritual world in Ephesians 6:12:
For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places.
And we are not passive spectators in this battle for human souls. Rather, we become active participants when we align our thoughts and behaviors with or against God’s will. Our alignment begins with our response to God’s invitation to believe in Jesus and receive eternal life. When we respond in faith, God welcomes our souls into His heavenly household, where we rest in the truth that God is the sovereign ruler over both the spiritual and physical worlds. As Psalm 103:19 says,
The Lord has established His throne in heaven,
And His kingdom rules over all.
As ruler, God has supreme power and authority over every event that takes place. On the one hand, that means God sovereignly chooses to allow events that contribute to the perceived evils of this physical universe. However, the truth of God’s ultimate power and authority brings comfort when we recognize that He is also good.