Q: Is it true, that chronologically speaking, Genesis 1:1 is not the beginning of recorded history in the Bible?
A: In fact, there are a few major events in the Bible that transpired before the opening verse of the Bible.
Perhaps surprisingly, the earliest record can be found in the New Testament. In John 1:1 we find an event that transcends our understanding of time and reveals an existence eons before the physical creation of the universe. John 1:1-2 reads:
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God.
We find that at the time of the beginning, there were already two Beings. They were in existence when time began and obviously preceded all that was created. These two Beings were God-beings–They are God the Father and the Word, the One who became known as Jesus Christ (John 1:14). We also know that Christ eternally exists both backwards and forwards in time.
Hebrews 7:3 says about Christ that He was “without father, without mother, without genealogy, having neither beginning of days nor end of life, but made like the Son of God, remains a priest continually.”
It was by God and through the Word that ALL creation came into existence, as we see in John 1:3:
All things were made through Him [the Word], and without Him nothing was made that was made.
The God Family then went about their business – the creation business! Their next order of business that we see was the formation of angels as evidenced in Psalm 148:1-2, 5-6:
Praise the LORD! Praise the LORD from the heavens; Praise Him in the heights! Praise Him, all His angels; Praise Him, all His hosts!… Let them praise the name of the LORD, For He commanded and they were created. He also established them forever and ever; He made a decree which shall not pass away.
In these verses we see that the angels (Psalm 148:2) were made to last eternally (Psalm 148:6), but that was in one direction (going forward into the future), because we also note that they were created by the LORD who preceded them (com Psalm 148:5).
Paul confirms two of the previous thoughts in his letter to the Colossians 1:16:
For by Him [Jesus Christ, the Word] all things were created that are in heaven and that are on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or principalities or powers. All things were created through Him and for Him.
The angels, part of the invisible realm, were created, and this was accomplished by the One who became known as Jesus Christ.
Also, the Bible places the timeline of their creation before the earth and the rest of the physical universe. While speaking to Job, God fills us in on the fact that the angels were witnesses to the inception of the earth. Job 38:4-7 reads:
Where were you when I laid the foundations of the earth? Tell Me, if you have understanding. Who determined its measurements? Surely you know! Or who stretched the line upon it? To what were its foundations fastened? Or who laid its cornerstone, When the morning stars sang together, And all the sons of God shouted for joy?
The usage of the word “stars” in verse 7 is a common term for angels (Isaiah 14:13; Revelation 12:4; Revelation 9:1-2; Revelation 1:20), as is the rarer reference “sons of God” (Job 1:6).
Now we come to the creation of the universe and the earth which occurred at the same time in the beginning. As mentioned before, “God created the heavens and the earth.” The word “heavens” is plural and refers to the entire universe. The book of Isaiah reiterates this fact and shows how the earth was constructed. Isaiah 45:11-12 states:
Thus says the LORD, The Holy One of Israel, and his Maker: “Ask Me of things to come concerning My sons; And concerning the work of My hands, you command Me. I have made the earth, And created man on it. I—My hands—stretched out the heavens, And all their host I have commanded.
God the Father created everything–including the universe–through Jesus Christ, as we read in Hebrews 1:1-2:
God… has in these last days spoken to us by His Son… through whom also He made the worlds…
It is very clear and straightforward in the inspired Word of God, that the Father and the Son who have always existed, created the angelic realm before They laid the foundation of the entire physical universe, which included the earth.
Complementary Q&A: What occurred between Genesis 1:1 and Genesis 1:2?