Assume there is a God, who is the always-was, always-will-be Catholic version of a Supreme Being. If this is the first universe and the first earth (and, therefore, we are the first people) what in tarnation was He doing all that time before He decided to actuate the so-=called Big Bang?

I suppose She wasn't twiddling Her thumbs, since I believe God has no thumbs...

But a bit more helpfully, there are two ways to think about God's relationship to time. On one view, God is eternal. That means that God is outside time and space altogether. On the other view, God is everlasting -- is in time, but has no beginning and no end. My sense is that the former view is the dominant one in Catholic tradition. And in that case, God wasn't doing anything "before" the Big Bang, since "before" and "after" don't apply to God. You might want to look at the entry on Eternity in the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy (see the link to the right) and you might also find the paper called "Eternity" by Eleanor Stump and Norman Kretzmann (Journal of Philosophy, 1981) interesting, though that paper is a bit difficult.

By the way: on one way of thinking about the Big Bang, "before" doesn't apply to it either. Time itself begins with the Big Bang. If that's the right way to think of it, then theism is best off with the view that God is eternal.

On the other hand, if God is in time, I don't see any compelling reason to think that God would have been sitting around(so to speak) bored. Perhaps there is a Heavenly Host of created butsupernatural beings; perhaps something like the Christian idea of theTrinity is correct, and there is, so to speak, a Society withinGods' Self. Or perhaps God existed in something like the deep states that very advanced meditators apparently can enter into, though this is highly anthropomorphizing and possibly quite silly speculation.

But of course, if there is a God, then God is very different from you or me. Our guesses about God's psychology aren't likely to be very good. And so the best answer to the question "If God exists in time, then what did God do before creating the cosmos?" is "Darned if I know!"

In his Confessions (Book XI), St. Augustine turned his attention to those who kept asking "What was God doing before he created heaven and the earth?" and he answered them that "He was preparing Hell for people who pry into mysteries"!!!

But he realized himself that "it is one thing to make fun of the questioner and another to find the answer." Eventually, he seemed to settle on the view that God brought the whole temporal order itself into being, and that before the existence of the temporal order notions like "before", "after", "then", "now" made no sense. He said that "if there was no time before heaven and earth were created, how can anyone ask what you [God] were doing 'then'? If there was no time, there was no 'then'." (For a more extended quotation from Augustine, see Question 249.)

For a similar kind of response to a question about the intelligibility of talking about what happened before the Big Bang, see Question 577.

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