Before the 1st day, where was God and what was He doing?

That is a good question. Part of the answer is in your question itself. Imagine two things: First, that there is no concept of space and there is no concept of time, and in such a state, there is no past, present, or future. One way to start understanding this issue, is if you read one of the previous posts where we were talking about the expanding universe. Obviously, wherever the universe expands to becomes a place of time and space. Prior to being part of time and space, it would be a place of complete vacuum. It is understood, that would be all an area outside the dimension of time and space. Once something is in the dimension of time and space, the laws that we commonly call “cause and effect” start to take place and the laws of time and speed and distance also come into place. The question now becomes: What is the universe like, or the world of God like, without time and space?

The Qur’an explains this in detail and that is that this area of vacuum comes under the area of the world of God’s command, and the place where there is time and space is called the world of God’s creation. In the world of God’s command, everything happens spontaneously, just like it will be in heaven and, therefore, live for eternity. So there was the world of God’s command and God, without imagination, without thought, without effort, without moving, deliberated to create the world of creation and from there, time and space began with the big bang, which was mentioned in the Qur’an.
The second point is, that in Islam we have many names and attributes of God. His personality and qualities did not change by the creation that He created. In fact, one of His names that is His permanent attribute, is Al Khaliq – The Creator. So in that period of no space and time, He did what God qualifies Himself to do, which is to create. This creation has a beginning and an end. After God creates, the creation comes to an end, and then God creates again. We can see this also within our world: in the water cycle and what happens with the seasons. Planets come into existence, planets go away, that is what God does.
Over here, one point that is worth making is that whatever is happening in the world of creation is experienced as time for us, but it is not experienced as time for God because He sits outside of time and space. So in simple, God was doing what God does and what God does, we’re experiencing, i.e. God is creating new creation all the time. He is bringing everything that He creates into harmony with everything else, etc.

I want to end this with an example: Let’s suppose cartoons were living beings. We’re also living beings. But they are two dimensional and we are three dimensional. They have only height and length, with no width, where as we have all three. Now we created a world of cartoons in which they have many similar attributes. They would have eyes to see, ears to hear, a brain to communicate, etc. But if the cartoon was to ask me, “What were you doing the day before my first day” your answer would be “I created other cartoons, other episodes.” Now for that cartoon it would be almost impossible to imagine a day outside it’s own self. Sorry for the bad example, but it perhaps illustrates what I am trying to say.

To finish off, that space that is not part of the universe, but the universe is expanding to, is far greater in size than to the entire universe. The expanding universe is much like a drop of water in an ocean of vacuum. Prior to our creation and prior to day one, that drop did not exist. The point being, what the Qur’an calls the unseen world, is far greater in size. Meaning it is almost insignificant to ask about the drop of water in an ocean. To put very simply, God is in a dimension outside ours, and our dimension is like a drop of water compared to an ocean.

Comments are closed.