Author: Ron Graham
Beginning and End
—Be Careful What You Start
Many things that we experience have a beginning and also come to an end. This is even true of your very life in this world.
¶“24All flesh is like grass, and their glory is like the flower on the grass. The grass withers and the flower falls, 25but the word of the Lord endures forever” (1Peter 1:24-25).
A beginning without an end
We shouldn't think, however, that everything that has a beginning must also have an end. Not everything that comes into being will cease to be.
For example, we quoted above that “the word of the Lord endures forever”. The truth of God’s word never ceases. But it had a beginning, namely its revelation, when “God spoke to the fathers by the prophets [and] in these last days spoke to us through his Son” (Hebrews 1:1-2).
When we think about beginnings and ends, there are three categories to consider:
- (1) God the Creator has neither beginning nor end.
- (2) Some creations of God have a beginning but never ever end —or they have an “end” that is not annihilation, but rather a new beginning, a transformation into an eternal form.
- (3) All evil has a beginning, but not of God. Evil, and those who do it, cannot continue forever without end, but must perish at God’s hand, in an end that lasts forever.
So let's now examine these opposites, beginning and end, looking in turn at each of the three categories.
1 God’s Beginning and End
We know that God is eternal, having neither beginning nor end to his existence. When a child asks, ‘Who made God?’ we say that nobody made God because he has always existed. If some children cannot accept that answer, then we can help them do a simple thought experiment:
If somebody made God, who made the somebody who made God? And who made the somebody who made the somebody who made God... and suppose we kept going till the zillionth somebody, we would still ask who made that somebody. We have to acknowledge, therefore, a Somebody who was not made, but always existed and was the origin and maker of the worlds.
Note:— Nobody Made It ? Of course the child could say there was no Somebody, and that Nobody made the worlds. It's a childish idea, but many adults cling to it, and encourage children to do so. When observation shows that something has been made, we must infer that there was a maker. If that maker is one of a series of makers, each made by a previous maker, there must be an original maker who was not made. Who or what was that maker? Atheistic science takes the series back millions of years, even billions, to a first Something that was the original source. But even then the simple and reasonable question remains: “What made that ?”. Either it always existed having no beginning, or it made itself spontaneously from nothing, granting itself universal potential.
Coming back to our point, the Bible tells us that God is without beginning and without end: “From everlasting to everlasting you are God” (Psalm 90:2). So, from the Biblical viewpoint, there is no such thing as the beginning of God, and no such thing as the end of God.
Jesus Christ likewise had no beginning. ¶“He is before all things” (Colossians 1:17). ¶“All things were made by him. Nothing ever made was made without him” (John 1:3). John is saying that Christ was never made. Therefore he always existed. He already existed before anything began.
Jesus himself claims, ¶“I am the Alpha and the Omega, the first and the last, the beginning and the end” (Revelation 22:13). He is the originator of all good beginnings, the first cause of all creatures, down to the last thing created. He controls the end of everything created, and decides the nature of its end.
¶“15He is the exact image of the unseen God. He is the firstborn [from the dead] of all creation. 16All things were created by him, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible. Whether thrones, dominions, rulers, or authorities, all things were created by him and for him. 17And he is before all things and in him all things hold together” (Colossians 1:16-17).
2 Creation’s Beginning and End
As we all know, the Bible’s first words are, “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth” (Genesis 1:1). The Bible makes it plain that all things except God have their origin in an act of creation by God —the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. However God has not caused any of his creatures to disobey him.
The Bible does not tell us when the first act of creation took place. However it is clear that “the worlds were formed by the word of God, so that what we observe was not made from anything visible” (Hebrews 11:3).
The creation came from the mind of God and from his word: ¶“For he spoke and it existed; he commanded and there it stood! ” (Psalm 33:9).
The End of All Things
The Bible also says that there will be an end to the creation: “The end of all things is at hand” (1Peter 4:7). Peter elaborates on that in his second letter: “...The heavens [being on fire] will pass away with a great noise and the elements will melt with fierce heat; both the earth and the works in it shall be burned up” (2Peter 3:10,14).
A New Beginning
However this end is also a new beginning: “Nevertheless, as God promised, we look toward a new heavens and a new earth in which righteousness dwells” (2Peter 3:13).
What is good and righteous in this creation will be transformed into a glorious, heavenly, eternal creation: “For the creation itself also will be delivered, from the bondage of corruption, into the glorious liberty of the children of God. For we know that the whole creation groans and labours together in birth pains until now” (see Romans 8:19-23).
God’s beautiful creation will be reborn in an eternal form. This is even true of our physical bodies: “Jesus Christ will transform our lowly body that it may be conformed to his glorious body...” (Philippians 3:21).
Elsewhere Paul tells us that: “In a moment, in a twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet... the dead shall be raised incorruptible and we shall all be changed; for this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal immortality” (see 1Corinthians 15:35-58).
3 Evil’s Beginning and End
How did evil begin? Who was the originator of evil? John says, “Whoever practises sin is of the devil, for the devil has been sinning from the beginning. This is the reason the Son of God appeared. He came to destroy the works of the devil” (1John 3:8).
The end of evil, and all who participate in it, is clear enough: “The King will say to those he puts at his left hand, 'Depart from me you cursed into the everlasting fire prepared for the devil and his angels...' and these shall go away into everlasting punishment, but the righteous into everlasting life” (see Matthew 24:31-46).
We should not water down that statement by our Lord. He speaks of the end of evil, yet he does not see any new beginning for evil people, because he will banish them to eternal punishment.
Be Careful What You Start
One message you should have got from this study, is that you need to take stock of your own beginnings. Do you realise what the end will be once you begin to sin? Do you realise that you can avoid that end by beginning to follow and obey Jesus, fully trusting him? You can be born again to a new life in the company of Jesus. Then you can look forward to that new beginning at the end of your life. You can enter into eternal life with Jesus in heaven. If you haven't already done so, begin your new life with Jesus now. But be careful how you begin. Here's what Jesus requires of you...
The words of Paul in Romans (and his agreement with Jesus in the gospels) on what people should do to receive grace
1. Hearing Christ’s word
(Romans 10:8-17, Matthew 7:24).
2. Believing —having faith
(Romans 1:16-17, John 3:16)
3. Repentance from sin
(Romans 2:4-5, Romans 6:1-2, Luke 5:31-32)
4. Confessing Christ
(Romans 10:8-10, Matthew 10:32)
5. Being baptized into Christ’s death
(Romans 6:3-4, Mrk 16:15-16)
6. Ongoing commitment
(Romans 12:1-2, Romans 12:11-12, Luke 9:62)