Jesus existed before anything was created.
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things came into being through Him, and apart from Him nothing came into being that has come into being.
In his use of in the beginning, John refers back to the starting point of all things and not the starting point of Jesus’ ministry as he does in 1 John 1:1 (cf: Genesis 1:1). This is plainly clear in verse 3 where he mentions that all things came into being.
His writing can be compared with the Creation account. Turning back to Genesis 1:1, we read that the beginning of all things is the moment at which “God created the heavens and the earth.” This is said to be the starting point of space-time-matter.
Of course, he is still appealing to Jesus. He explains that at that moment, Jesus existed. Thus, we can rightly conclude that Jesus existed before then and also that He existed forever.
Why can we conclude that so easily? Because, to exist before time actually was created is to exist outside of time. One cannot create time while existing inside of time. In more practical terms, you can never create something that your life depends on for existence. It is a contradiction. If Jesus required time to exist, then he would not be able to create time and therefore, would not exist until time existed. Therefore, Jesus is eternal and has no dependency of existence on time.
Jesus existed before time, because He created time. What a deep thought!
It gets deeper though. John describes Jesus as the Word. In Genesis 1:1 we read that God spoke all things into existence. The Greek word that John is imploring is the wordlogos which means “spoken word, utterance, speech.”
What is interesting here is that it seems that John has accurately connected the existence of the Trinity in the creation record. Jesus is there because Jesus is the Word of God. This may be because he views Jesus as the Wisdom and Will of God. Or maybe it is because Jesus is the lively image of God’s mind.
John Calvin notes that speech “is said to be among men the image of the mind.”1 So it is very appropriate that John calls Jesus the speech of God. For Jesus is the lively expression of the mind of God. He is the most visual and tangible communication from God to man.
Jesus, the lively expression of God, is eternally God.
- John Calvin, Commentary on the Gospel According to John, (Baker Book House, 2005), p. 26.