In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. (Genesis 1:1 NIV)
The story of the Bible starts at the beginning. There have been many beginnings in the history of the earth. The beginning of life. The beginning of humanity. As well as the beginning of an uncounted number of nations and civilizations. But the beginning that the author of Genesis refers to is before all of those beginnings. He is referring to the very first beginning in the universe. The beginning of the universe itself. The beginning of all physical substance. And the beginning of space. Even the beginning of time itself.
But it would be incorrect to say that there was nothing before God created. Because, before the beginning of creation, there was God. Nowhere does the Scripture attempt to explain where God came from. He just is. And everything in all the universe owes its existence to him.
This verse is so easy to read, quickly moving on to what follows. But to do so is a mistake. I believe this is one of the most meaningful verses in the Bible. Regardless of how you understand the chapter that follows, this verse tells us that God created all that is. There was nothing. And then God created a universe out of that nothing. That is incomprehensible to me.
But what follows is equally hard to grasp. This God that created everything out of nothing, entered into his creation to provide redemption for fallen humanity. And to bring us into a personal and intimate relationship as his children.