[Orginally published as Time Confusion]
Where wast thou when I laid the foundations of the earth? declare, if thou hast understanding. Job 38:4
“Yea, hath God said” (Genesis 3:1) remains Satan’s first line of attack on the Word of God, so it is not surprising when I get questions like the following:
I know that you believe in a young earth, but it seems to me God was around before He did His creation of earth and us. The Bible says He framed the worlds! So my question is: how old is the universe, and how long ago before creation was it when the devil and his fallen angels were kicked out of heaven? I’m confused because it seems that the devil was in the Garden of Eden, so when did he arrive on earth?
The question stems from a very superficial understanding of Scripture. Note that the appeal to Scripture was taken out of context, quoted only in part, and then misapplied in much the same way as Satan did when he tempted Eve in the Garden of Eden.
So what does the Scripture really say?
“Through faith, we understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God, so that things which are seen were not made of things which do appear” (Hebrews 11:3). The Greek word translated “worlds” is aiōn, and it properly means “ages;” so this is not speaking of other planets, stars or galaxies, which were not created until Day Four of Creation (Genesis 1:14-19). The writer of the book of Hebrews referred to the predetermined “ages” in God’s plan from the beginning of Creation to the culmination in the New Heavens and the New Earth (Revelation 21:1).
God is eternal; He has no beginning and no end. God is not confined to time; He created time: “In the beginning” (Genesis 1:1), God started time; therefore, He is not constrained by time.
God says, “I AM THAT I AM” (Exodus 3:14) — the Self-existing One.
God’s eternal nature is a difficult concept for us, who are bound by time, to fathom. Nothing existed before time except God. God existed before time in the measureless realm of “eternity,” and He will exist when time ends in eternity. God is present in the past, present, and future all at once, but He has revealed Himself to us in time through His Creation, through His Word (the Holy Bible), and through The Word (Logos), Jesus Christ — God incarnate.
These things, as Hebrews 11:3 says, must be accepted through faith: “But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him” (Hebrews 11:6).
We should not worry if we cannot understand everything about God. Some things we cannot possibly know because they are beyond our ability to comprehend.
The secret things belong unto the LORD our God: but those things which are revealed belong unto us and to our children for ever, that we may do all the words of this law. Deuteronomy 29:29
Through His Creation, His Word, and The WORD, God has revealed all that we need to know to have an effective relationship with Him.
God created time “In the beginning” around 6000 years ago. The Bible does not explain exactly at what point in Creation God created Satan and the other angels, but we can infer from other passages in Scripture that it was early enough in the six-day creation week that they witnessed Creation. For example, in God’s response to Job, we read, “Where wast thou when I laid the foundations of the earth? … When the morning stars sang together, and all the sons of God shouted for joy?” (Job 38:4,7). “Morning stars” and “sons of God” are metonyms often used in the Old Testament to refer to angels. From that, we can infer that Satan was created before Day Six on which day man was created, and he had free access to the Garden of Eden.