If God dwells in heaven (Matthew 6:9), then were was He residing before He created the heavens and the earth?
The answer is that the Bible uses the term “heaven” in three different ways, and we must distinguish each of these uses. Please see this article on the three different heavens in Scripture.
- “heavens” means (1) the atmosphere of the earth (i.e. where the birds fly and clouds inhabit);
- outer space beyond the earth’s atmosphere (i.e. where the stars are);
- the dwelling place of God.
Therefore, before creation God couldn’t dwell in either the earth’s atmosphere or outer space (since they didn’t exist yet), but rather He dwelt in this third use of “heaven” – God’s dwelling place.
To get a clearer view of the concept of “heaven”, please watch this Animated explanation of ‘heaven & earth’