Let’s have a look at John Chapter one, verse one. Right at the start of John’s Gospel here we have this great, old man of God who’s walked with God for all of his life. Right at the start of his Gospel he says, “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.” You’ll notice that John does not say, “In the beginning became the Word,” because the Word never became. He always was. He eternally was. God possesses absolute existence, no beginning, no ending. But what was God doing in the beginning before anything that we know of now existed? What was the nature of this infinite God that it so satisfied, and fulfilled, and delighted Him? God was satisfied, not just for a million years or a billion years, but for all eternity.
So what was He doing before the world was created? The answer is found here in John 1:1. In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. John wrote that the Word was with God. The Word is, of course, the pre-incarnate Son of God. This tells us something very precious about the eternal nature of God. Here in John’s Gospel, before he mentions the eternal holiness, love, and the truth of God, he writes that the Word was with God. We can learn a simple, but profoundly life changing truth here. The Son of God was with His Father. The meaning of this expression is not brought out very well in the translation. “With” sounds very passive. The original word that’s used here is the Greek preposition pros, and it means not just “with” in a passive way but “toward.” The Son of God was toward His Father, looking at Him, loving Him, being loved by Him.
Here we have the answer to our question of what God was doing before the creation of the world. God was not passive. He was very active. The Son of God was looking at His Father, loving Him, receiving His love. The Father was looking at His son, loving Him, being loved by Him. The Holy Spirit was looking at the Father and the Son, loving them, receiving their love. Here is the eternal nature of God, fellowship within the Godhead for all eternity. For all of eternity there was fellowship within the triune Godhead and for all eternity there will be fellowship within the Godhead. You may have never read this in a Systematic Theology, but it’s true nevertheless. God is fellowship. Just as much as God is light, or God is holiness, or God is truth, God is fellowship. It’s His nature. It’s His eternal being.
There was never a time when God was not triune and there was never a time when God was not active, so from eternity before the foundation of the world, there was this incredible existence of fellowship, of love, of self-giving love within the Godhead. The Son of God looking at His Father, loving Him, receiving His love. The Father giving Himself fully in love to His Son, this is the nature of God. He’s a God of joyful, spontaneous, loving, self-giving fellowship, and when God created man, He created man in His image, so that man could enter into that great, eternal fellowship of self-giving love within the Godhead. When man sinned, that fellowship with God was broken, but that’s why Jesus came to the earth to die on the cross, to bear the penalty of our sins in order that this fellowship with God could be restored. This is the meaning of the Christian life. To know God, to love God, to experience God, to experience His self-giving love and fellowship, and this is the meaning and source of all Christian leadership.