This week's question from a Netizen (a citizen of the Internet) seems straight out of the world of sci-fi and the X-Files. "In Genesis 1.1 the writer states, "God created the heavens and the earth." But the next verse says, ". . . the earth was void and without form." What does this statement refer to? All matter whether solid, liquid, or gas occupies space and has form of some kind. Is the writer suggesting that the heavens and earth were created but existed in a pre-time dimension, that it was all made but didn't exist as matter?"
The notion that other dimensions exist has been a popular theme in science and science fiction. But is a fourth dimension biblically tenable?
A cursory search of scriptures reveals several interesting anecdotes that could be used to support the existence of other dimensions. The first one that comes to mind is the disappearance of Enoch in Genesis 5.24. There we read Enoch walked with God and then he "was no more." Tradition has long held that Enoch was "translated" into heaven, meaning he didn't actually die before he ascended to heaven. If Enoch actually did disappear, it is entirely possible he may have slipped from this dimension into another.
Another similar example is found in Elijah's exit from earth. In 2nd Kings 2.11 we read, "As they continued walking and talking, a chariot of fire and horses of fire separated the two of them, and Elijah ascended into heaven in a whirlwind." If we're to take this account literally, we somehow have to speculate about Elijah's departure. If Elijah's physical body left this earth in the manner recorded, then he either died of asphyxiation as he left the atmosphere or somehow moved from this dimension into another.
The final example we'll examine is Jesus. If ever there was a model for beings who have escaped the space-time continuum it would be he: particularly after his own death and resurrection. According to numerous eyewitness accounts, Jesus appeared and disappeared at will. According to Luke 24.31 he disappeared from the home of Cleopas during dinner. On another occasion he appeared suddenly within a locked room (John 20.19), left and then reappeared a week later (John 20.26). Further, we read that Jesus, like Elijah, ascended physically into heaven (Luke 24.51). Clearly Jesus somehow overcame the space-time continuum.
The notion of the fourth dimension or multiple dimensions shouldn't be foreign to Christians. From before the time of the early church there has been an understanding there is more to life than the physical realm. The spirit-dimension has traditionally included angels, demons, departed spirits (souls of people), other-world animals (unnamed beasts, dragons, horses, eagles, etc.), and of course God. Christianity has always professed unseen guardian angels (Matthew 18.10), an indwelling Spirit of God (Luke 11.13; John 20.22), and an other-worldly heaven (2 Corinthians 12.2; Revelation 1.1-22.21). Certainly there is plenty of evidence to support the scriptural possibility of multi-dimensions.
So, did God pre-create the world in another dimension and then have it appear in our own space-time continuum? Who can say? God does what God does however (and whenever) God wants to do it. Trying to use the Bible as a science book is risky business at best. Perhaps we should simply ascent that God created all that exists and leave it at that.
On the other hand, for centuries the Church has feared and rebelled against scientific discoveries because they seem to threaten the validity of scripture. But Christians need not worry about the discoveries of science nor the speculations of science fiction, for if God is God, then God is not only maker of the universe (and whatever dimensions exist), but master of it all as well.