Before creation, there was no time. There was no space. Christians believe that the universe has been brought into existence by an orderly and personal God. God did not use any pre-existing materials when He created the universe. This does not mean that all of God’s creative work was direct and immediate, occurring at the very beginning of time. For example, Adam was formed from some type of material later (Genesis 2:7).
While creatio ex nihilo (that being from or out of nothing) is not specifically stated in Genesis 1:1, it is implicit in the creation narrative. The reader is meant to understand that the worlds were not fashioned from any pre-existing material, but out of nothing. Creatio ex nihilo rules out the idea that matter is eternal.
According to my former Old Testament Professor R. K. Harrison (“Creation” in The Zondervan Pictorial Encyclopaedia of the Bible, Volume One, 1982, p. 1022), Genesis 1 has been badly translated. The first Hebrew word actually means “by way of beginning”, while the phrase “the heavens and the earth” should be rendered simply “the cosmos.” And “there was an evening and a morning” should be rendered “this was the first (second etc.) complete phase of the whole cycle”.
Thus, by way of beginning, God created the entire cosmos. All that we see – the mountains, the oceans, the stars, the earth itself—all came into existence when God created them (Psalm 90:2). This creation of the entire universe includes the creation of an unseen, spiritual realm of existence: God created the angels and other kinds of heavenly beings as well as animals and humans (Nehemiah 9:6; Colossians 1:16). He also created heaven.
Indeed, God alone created the universe out of nothing. We cannot create anything out of nothing. But we can be creative, fashioning things in imaginative ways. In the future, humans may succeed in producing life from previously nonliving material. Such production will not undercut the greatness of God’s power and knowledge; it will simply underscore it.
Nobody really knows how God created the cosmos, nor when. Many Christians believe in the Big Bang theory that the universe had an instant of creation. But this theory does not tell us about the One who caused it. Scientists tell us that the cosmos probably came into being about 13.8 billion years ago in a gigantic fireball explosion that sent suns and planets tumbling outward from this centre into the form we observe them now. Moreover, they are still moving outward. The universe appears to be expanding at an increasing rate.