Q. What was God doing before He created the universe?
A. This same question was posed sixteen centuries ago. In his Confessions, St. Augustine (354–430) notes that someone had challenged him to answer it. His reply was mischievous: Before He created the universe, Augustine said, perhaps God was busy creating hell for people who are too curious about such matters!
Of course, he was joking — just more evidence that the saints have a fine sense of humor. But the truth is that we can’t truly speak of a “time” before the creation of the universe, because that act of the Almighty included the creation of time itself. Nevertheless, we can say that even in the absence of a created universe, God would have been doing what it is His nature to do: to love and enjoy. “God is love” (1 John 4:8), and joy is the fruit of love.
Without creatures to love, you might ask, who would have been the object of God’s love? Within the Triune Godhead, from before all eternity, the Father has loved the Son, and the Son has loved the Father, with a Love that is in fact a divine Person himself: the Holy Spirit. What joy must flow within that infinite Trinity! PT