Hambo Explains Time Before Creation

We were having a difficult time finding entertaining material today, but then we got lucky. Answers in Genesis (AIG) just posted a repeat of an article from 01 October 2012. It was written by Ken Ham (ol’ Hambo) — the ayatollah of Appalachia, the world’s holiest man who knows more about religion and science than everyone else.

The intriguing title of Hambo’s oldie is What Was God Doing Before Creation? That’s a question you’ve probably been wondering about, and now, at last, you’ll have the answer. Here are some excerpts, with bold font added by us for emphasis, and occasional Curmudgeonly interjections that look [like this]:

Because of my stand on a young universe, a man approached me and said, “But it makes no sense to believe in a young universe. After all, what was God doing all that time before He created?”

You probably think that’s a great question, but ol’ Hambo is never stumped. He tells us:

I answered, “What time do you mean?” [Huh?] The person answered, “Well, it doesn’t make sense to say that God has always existed, and yet He didn’t create the universe until just six thousand years ago.” Apparently, he was worried that God once had a lot of time on His hands with nothing to do.

How is Hambo going to get out of this mess? Pay attention and learn, dear reader. He says:

I then went on to explain that because God has always existed, then it is meaningless to ask, “What was God doing all that time before He created?” No matter how far you were to go back in time, you would still have an infinite amount of time before He created! So even if the universe were billions or trillions or quadrillions of years old, you could still ask the same question.

Yes, and it’s still a good question, so how is Hambo going to deal with it? Here it comes:

I then answered, “But you are missing the fact that there was no time before God created.” [What?] Time is actually a created entity. The first verse of the Bible reads: “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth”

And what does that say about time? Hambo continues:

A study of this verse reveals that God created time, space, and matter on the first day of Creation Week. [Ooooooooooooh! That’s what “a study” reveals!] No one of these can have a meaningful existence without the others. God created the space-mass-time universe. Space and matter must exist in time, and time requires space and matter. Time is only meaningful if physical entities exist and events transpire during time. “In the beginning . . .” is when time began! There was no time before time was created!

So god was doing nothing because there wasn’t any time in which to do anything? Oh wait — now he explains it in simpler terms:

When I’m teaching children, I like to explain it this way. There was no “before” God created. There was not even “nothing”! There was God existing in eternity.

All clear now? No? Perhaps this next excerpt will help:

This is something humans, as finite created beings, can never really understand. That’s why the Bible makes it clear there is always a “faith” aspect to our understanding of God. [Ah yes, faith!] Now, biblical faith is not against reason, but such things go beyond our understanding. “Without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him” (Hebrews 11:6).

This is a very long essay, so we’re going to skip around, excerpting only what we think is the best. For example:

So what was “before” creation? God existing from everlasting to everlasting — God existing in eternity.

And this is from near the end:

One final point: Nowhere in the Bible do we find any suggestion of millions or billions of years. Belief in millions of years is really part of secular man’s religion, which attempts to explain life without God, instead of believing the true account of origins in Genesis that begins “In the beginning . . . .” Our ability to trust God’s promise of salvation relies upon our ability to trust everything He says about history, from beginning to end. If we can’t trust His claims about the past, how can we trust His promises about the future?

Okay, dear reader. Now — thanks to ol’ Hambo — you know all you’ll ever need to know. Isn’t that wonderful?

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29 responses to “Hambo Explains Time Before Creation

  1. Ham is, in a way, in very good company. Way back when, Maimonides described time as an accidental of accidentals; I think he meant that it is only because we have things moving around that makes sense to talk about time. And in many versions of big bang theory, very much the same applies, so that talking about time before the big bang has been compared to looking for places north of the North Pole

  2. Augustine, in his Confessions, Book XI Chater XII
    “How, then, shall I respond to him who asks, “What was God doing before he made heaven and earth?” I do not answer, as a certain one is reported to have done facetiously (shrugging off the force of the question). “He was preparing hell,” he said, “for those who pry too deep.” It is one thing to see the answer; it is another to laugh at the questioner–and for myself I do not answer these things thus. More willingly would I have answered, “I do not know what I do not know,” than cause one who asked a deep question to be ridiculed–and by such tactics gain praise for a worthless answer.”

  3. “That’s a question you’ve probably been wondering about”
    Not only me, no one less than Augustinus of Hippo gave the answer: “God created hell for those who ask such questions”.

    “You probably think that’s a great question.”
    No, I don’t, because I don’t think there is a god. Hence the question is meaningless.

    “There was God existing in eternity.”
    Yeehay, Ol’Hambo falls in exactly the same trap. “Eternity” only makes sense when time is running. The correct answer (and the answer Augustinus gave) is that God exists beyond time.

    (Ah, TomS beat me to it).
    The funny thing is that Augustinus’ (who actually was a great thinker) philosophy of time can be applied to the Big Bang as well.

  4. Paul Braterman says: “talking about time before the big bang has been compared to looking for places north of the North Pole”

    Perhaps, but even if things weren’t moving around, surely god was thinking. And that occurs in what we’d call time.

  5. Charles Deetz ;)

    And here I thought god was studying biology and geology, getting ready for the big week. I guess he just got lucky making things without any knowledge of what he was doing.

  6. chris schilling

    “A study of this verse reveals that God created time, space, and matter on the first day of Creation Week.”

    Piece of cake. Nothing to it. It took God considerably longer, however, to get around to creating an interlocutor on the order of Ken to helpfully explain such abstruse concepts to the rest of us.

  7. Think of the complexity of the design. First of all, there were all of those kinds which were designed for a pre-Fall world without death, then there was the post-Fall pre-Flood world, then there was the burst of microevolution in which species were generated by purely natural means from the old kinds.
    And, of course, we know about all of that because it is all clearly spelled out in the Bible. Although nobody noticed all of that until some time in the 20th century.

  8. Dave Luckett

    Me, I confine myself to wondering what line of “study” yields the information that “In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth” “reveals that God created time, space, and matter on the first day of Creation Week.”

    Mere skeptic that I am, and bound to the actual meanings of words, I would have imagined that “in the beginning” without qualification implies “in the beginning of all things”, and since God is a thing, then God is among the “all things” that began.

    But time is among the “all things”, too. So God and time began together. There was no “before”. So Ham’s right about “What happened before creation?” The question is meaningless.

    Oddly enough, that is my understanding of the expansion of the singularity, more or less. Time and space began with that event. Time and space are iterations of each other, just as matter and energy are of each other. So there was no time, hence no “before” the expansion of the singularity.

    I think what Ken wants the text to say is something like “At the beginning of all created things, God created the heavens and the earth”, etcetera. Being that it’s Ken Ham, that’s what it says, all right.

    Ah, America! In Russia, you obey the text. In America, the text obeys you!

  9. There was no time *as we understand it* before the big bang. There is no North, North of the North pole. Both true, but our intuitions about time are analogous to the intuitions about North that would be held by someone whose understanding was limited to the curved surface of the earth. There may not be a North, as defined by the surface of the earth, beyond the North pole, but there sure is a place *upward* of it (and in the same direction as North points in some places). “Time”, as we understand it, may not have existed before the big bang, but there sure as Hell could have been, and still be, Something Else Entirely. Let’s all read Flatland again.

  10. “Study”? That explains why there are thousands of books written about the bible, many of which are contradictory. And that must also explain why it is possible to earn a PhD in theology, even though nothing has been added to the bible for nearly 2000 years. Bogus, all of it. Call me cynical.

  11. @SC: “surely god was thinking. And that occurs in what we’d call time.”
    Yes, we unbelievers thinks so. According to most abrahamists thoughts are immaterial and supernatural.
    Doesn’t make sense to me either. That’s what I’m an unbeliever for.

  12. As far as the opening words of the Bible, scholars of Hebrew are not agreed as to what they mean. They may mean something like:
    When god began to create …
    In beginning, god’s creating …
    Take a look at modern translations or commentaries.

  13. Dave Luckett

    Oh, quite so, TomS. Ham is no more capable of understanding the original Hebrew than I am, so necessarily this is about the meaning of the KJV translation, which doesn’t mean what he says it means. The point is that Ken has for so long been telling himself what the text means that he can no longer discern the difference between what it means and what he wants it to mean. It means whatever Ken Ham wants.

  14. @TomS and DaveL: I’m even less an expert than you two (and of course I don’t care), but Dutch protestants and catholics (who for a long time used to be as adverse as other as their Northern Irish/Ulster coreligionists) all agree with “In den beginne / In het begin”, which literally translates as “In the beginning”. I suppose they all side with Augustinus of Hippo.

  15. @FrankB
    I just suggest that one take a look at a few of the major recent translations. They can be reached easily online. Some offer alternatives in footnotes, too.
    As far as Augustine, I don’t believe that he claimed any knowlege of Hebrew.

  16. The New Revised Standard Verson has
    “In the beginning when God created ….”
    and then has a footnote
    “Or when God began to create or In the beginning God created

    In the Hebrew, there is no use of the definite artkcle “ha” (“the”), but I know that Hebrew does not have the same usage of the definite article as does English. And the word for “beginning” is in the “construct” state, which would orginarily be read “beginning of”, but that is indicated only by the vowel points, which were added long after the text was produced. In brief, I would be foolish to think that I have anything to contibute other than to point to what the experts tells us.

  17. @TomS: ” just suggest that …..”
    Yeah, I understood already. Sorry, I’m not nearly interested enough for well known reasons.

  18. Eddie Janssen

    You would think that when God dictated His Word to Moses He would have been a little bit more precise and less prone to misunderstanding.
    At least He should have done some proofreading and/or smitings…

  19. @TomS, going back to my own schoolboy Hebrew, words in the construct state do not take the article. So the Hebrew for “the bottle of wine” would be “bottle[construct state] the-wine”. Hyphenated because “ha”, for “the”, is always a prefix and never freestanding; it is obviously cognate with the Arabic “el” or “al”, and as a result is followed, wherever possible, by doubling of the following consonant. Moreover, “in the”, “be-ha” would be delighted to “ba”, with “ha” being reduced to the modification of a vowel, and the vowels as you correctly point out were edited in long after the text had assumed its final form. So (I forget now why this even mattered) the absence of “ha” before “reishith”, ” beginning[construct form]” tells us nothing whatsoever about the correct interpretation, from the author’s or authors’ or even, for those who so regard it, Author’s intent.

    But I suspect that is far more than anybody here really wants to know

  20. Paul Braterman: Sorry for the delay. One of those words upset the filters (which have no appreciation of context).

  21. @SC, I have no idea what I did that upset your filter. But now you’re here, could you replace, in the last line but one, “whose regard it” by “who so regard it”?

  22. Michael Fugate

    The relevant question is ” who is God, when God is at home?”
    Isn’t this like asking what you were doing before you were born?

  23. Paul Braterman: The replacement is done. Oh, the mystery word was “reishith.”

  24. @Paul Braterman
    Yes, agreed.

  25. looks he stole a convenient point from Stephen Hawking in “Grand Design”

    That there was no time before the Big Bang and hence no need for a first cause.

  26. George Sangster

    Who knows what was going on prior to the big bang. Who Cares? I want to know what the hell god has been doing from Day 8 until now.

  27. Contemplating new ways to eternally torture incurable skeptics like you and me.

  28. Michael Fugate

    Making rainbows to support LGBTQ+?

  29. Off messing up some other universe?