What Was Before the World?
Before the world there was G-d and His Name.
The Bigger Picture
Just to put the whole picture into perspective, the hierarchy goes like this:
Before Creation (above & beyond the world):
G-D HIMSELF is unlimited, and therefore He is not confined to being either finite or infinite, and can be both.
HIS NAME is an expression of G-d's ability to be infinite. "Infinite" simply means no beginning or end. As great as it sounds, it's associated with... a limit: It cannot be finite. So on this level there is no room for worldly (finite) concepts.
After Creation (within the confines of the world):
The world is an expression of G-d's ability to be finite.
"World" can be divided into two groups:
"Creation / בריאה (Briya)" -- where the Divine Intellect dominates. Also referred to as "The Upper Garden of Eden"
"Formation / יצירה (Yetzira) -- where the Divine Emotions dominate. Also referred to as "The Lower Garden of Eden"
"Action / עשי-ה (Assiya) -- where the Divine Actions dominate. This is the spiritual side of the universe.
PHYSICAL WORLD: The physical side of the universe. Anything physically tangible, from the sun, moon and stars to the down here on earth.
The shell gives a false impression