There are several variations of this theory. Some believe that angels existed on Earth during this period. Some believe that dinosaurs existed on Earth during this time. Some believe the devil fell during this time. Some believe there was another human race that existed during this time.
Several key verses are used by Gap Theorists. Genesis 1:1-2 is the primary passage.
Let’s look at these two verses:
Gen 1:1 – In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth.
Gen 1:2 – And the earth was without form, and void; and darkness [was] upon the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters.
According to the GGT (Genesis Gap Theory), God created everything perfect and complete in verse 1. Then, Satan fell “sometime” in that period, corrupted the earth, and completely destroyed it. The earth became a worldwide fossil graveyard. And God had to “re-create” the earth. And that is where Genesis 1:2 picks up. And the rest of the chapter explains the so called “re-creation” of the earth.
This theory is called the “Gap Theory”, or the “Genesis Gap Theory” because of the huge “gap” it places in between Genesis 1:1, and Genesis 1:2.
According to the GGT, everything was created instantly whole, complete, and perfect in Genesis 1:1. But somehow, either God, or Satan destroyed everything, and it became “dark” and “void”… thus we have darkness and void in verse 2.
How old is the GGT?
As far as can be ascertained, the Genesis Gap Theory is relatively new. It began in the eighteenth century with Thomas Chalmers.
We have no clear evidence that any of the Patriarchs believed this. Nor did any of the prophets believe this. Nor did any of the Apostles believe this. Nor did any of the fathers of the church believe this. Nor did any of the ancient Jewish sages believe this. Nor did any of the ancient scribes believe this. This is a new concept.
Why the GGT?
Is it just coincidence that the GGT made it’s debut shortly after so-called “scientific evidence” of a very old Earth? Those who chose to believe the Earth is billions of years old, and believe in the Bible simultaneously had a problem. They must believe one or the other. But not both. Or just perhaps, they can “twist” or manipulate one to conform to the other.
The GGT began as an attempt to conform the doctrine of Genesis to fit modern secular theories based on geological findings of what appeared to be a much older earth than formerly believed.
Arguments & Assumptions of Gap Theorists DEBUNKED
1. God creates everything instantly perfect!
God created the heavens and the earth in Gen 1:1. Therefore it is impossible for the earth to be “without form and void” with darkness upon the face of the deep.
The word translated “created” in Genesis 1:1 is from the Hebrew word “bara” which means to make in a completed form.
This idea is based upon the assumption that God created everything, including an atmosphere, dry land, plants, animals, and all the necessities of life in one verse (Gen 1:1). This assumes that God created the earth with life supporting elements either a) instantly, with no time frame or process, or b) in an unspecified amount of time.
But the scriptures clearly declare that God created the earth over a period of time. The phrase “without form and void” simply means empty, and barren. It is used to describe the work of creation before it was finished.
God, like a master artist created the canvas first, then He painted on it. And just like every good artist, the first few strokes of the brush on the canvas may not look very good. At the beginning stage it might look “dark” and “void”. It takes time.
The word “darkness” in Gen 1:2 is not literal but figurative – just as the word “Light” is in verse 3, since the Sun was not created yet (or least least wasn’t shining yet). The obvious answer is that darkness existed because God had not yet spoke over His creation at that time. Where God’s Word is not present, darkness exists because “Thy Word is Light”! (Psalm 119:105, 130)
In summary, in answering the “God creates everything perfect” argument, I must say “Yes, God does create everything perfect. But it takes time. According to Genesis, chapter 1, Exodus 20:11, and Exodus 31:17, it took six days. Genesis 1:2 describes what it looked like at the beginning of the first day.
Genesis 1:1 is nothing more than a headline, a summary, which is then followed by an explanation of HOW God created the heavens, and the earth.
Genesis is NOT written in strict chronological order. For example:
Genesis 1:1 makes a statement. The rest of the chapter opens it up, explains it, and expounds on it.
Another example: Genesis 1:27 says “So God created man in his [own] image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them.”. Then, in Genesis chapter 2, that statement is unpacked, explained, expounded, and rehashed.
Using the same method of exegesis, or interpretation, the Gap Theorists must also conclude that God created two sets of human races because He created them in Genesis 1:27, and then created them again in Genesis, chapter 2.
Or… did God just make a statement in Genesis 1:27, and then unpack it, explain it, and expound upon it in Genesis 2? I think the answer is obvious.
Likewise, we see another example of this writing style as Genesis 4 tells us of Adam, and his descendants. Then later, in Genesis 5 that is rehashed again.
Does that mean that God created yet ANOTHER race with identical lineage? Or perhaps this is writing style of the author of Genesis.
The answer is obvious. The author of Genesis continually presents a fact, or facts, and then later on goes back and explains it a bit more. This is what happened between Genesis 1:1, and the rest of that chapter.
2. The word “was” in Genesis 1:2 actually means became. It implies that the heavens and the earth were perfect and one point in time, and then eventually became dark and void.
The Hebrew word “hayah” is found 75 times in the Bible. Of those 75 times, only two were translated “become” (KJV).
According to Gesenius’ Hebrew-Chaldee Lexicon the number one, and PRIMARY meaning of the word “hayah” is “TO BE, TO EXIST”.
Therefore, according to the scriptures, God created the heavens, and the earth. And the earth existed (hayah) as an empty, barren planet. Then He filled it with organisms and creatures of all sorts one day at a time.
Furthermore, we have a vast number of Bible translations available today. Some are quite accurate, others are not. Regardless of the vast amount of translations, considering the number of Hebrew scholars that have translated Genesis 1:2, there is not one (to my knowledge) that translated hayah in this passage as “became”.
3. When God created Adam, He told him to “replenish” the earth. Therefore the earth must have been “plenished” before, that is why it had to be replenished!
God used the same word after the flood when He told Noah to “replenish” the earth. This word means to refill the earth. Seeing that it is the same Hebrew word, we must draw the same definition. The earth was occupied before. It was destroyed. Then, it had to be replenished.
Yes, in the English, the word “replenish” means to refill. But not so in the original Hebrew.
The word translated “replenish” here is from the original Hebrew word “mala” which means simply “to fill”. This word, in and of itself has no reference to filling again.
“mala” can be used for both first filling, and for refilling. This is because it simply means “to fill”. For example, suppose you have two empty water glasses. One is brand new, never used. The other was used previously. You ask someone to fill them both up with water.
Yes, you can say “fill” the new glass, and refill the used glass. Or, you can simply say “fill” them both with water. This is how the Hebrew word “mala” is used here. It means “to fill” NOT refill. In it’s use with Adam, it means to fill for the first time. In it’s use with Noah, it means to refill. But this word, in and of itself, does not mean refill.
4. All the patriarchs didn’t know about the Gap Theory because God didn’t reveal it yet. It wasn’t time. But now we know better than the ancient prophets and saints.
I know that all the patriarchs, and prophets knew God more than any of us. God shows all things to His prophets and saints. But that is not to be considered. We know better now.
Yes, the GGT was not a theory held by the ancient Jewish sages of the Torah. It was not a theory held by the scribes. It was not a theory held by the patriarchs. It was not a theory held by the prophets. It was not a theory taught by Jesus. It was not a theory held by the apostles. Nor was it taught by the Church Fathers.
Do we know better than they? They were the ones to whom God Himself spoke. They were the ones that either heard God’s voice, saw God’s form, or spoke to Him face-to-face.
Are we so arrogant to assume that we know better than Adam?
Are we so arrogant to assume that we know better than Moses?
Are we so arrogant to assume that we know better than David?
Are we so arrogant to assume that we know better than the Apostles?
Such arrogance is deplorable in God’s sight. That would be worse than Miriam’s sin! (Numbers 12) God struck Miriam with leprosy simply because she had this type of arrogance. She thought that she could be just as much of a prophet as Moses!
Certainly the ancient patriarchs, prophets, apostles, and saints had a much better connection to the truth than modern-day scholars! They were much closer to Biblical truths – they lived it!
5. Death came before Adam’s sin. It says explicitly that death came to Adam through his sin. It didn’t say that death came to animals because of Adam’s sin. The death that Genesis 3 speaks of is a spiritual death, not a physical death.
Therefore the “curse” upon Adam was merely spiritual death, not physical death. Death existed long before Adam. We know this because God said “in the day” you eat of the fruit you will die. We know Adam didn’t die in that very day. He died hundreds of years later! But Adam did die spiritually that very day.
Therefore God was not speaking about physical death. He was speaking of spiritual death.
GGT places the fossil record, thus death and suffering, before Adam. This is contrary to the rest of scripture that teaches that death and suffering began at the fall of Adam.
Rom 5:12 – Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned:
Rom 5:13 – (For until the law sin was in the world: but sin is not imputed when there is no law.
Rom 5:14 – Nevertheless death reigned from Adam to Moses, even over them that had not sinned after the similitude of Adam’s transgression, who is the figure of him that was to come.
Gen 1:30 everything that God created was very good.
If Satan fell to earth, along with 33% of all the created angels of heaven who sinned, BEFORE Genesis1:2, how can “everything” be “very good” in verse 30?
Also, we cannot separate death experienced by animals from the fall of Adam. We must realize that sin affects ALL of creation. The scripture says in many places that sin “defiles the land”. The land itself suffers because of the sins of man. Even after Adam’s sin, we see that Israel’s sin brought “defilement” upon the land. Because God warns Israel not to “defile” the land by their sin. (Leviticus 18:25-28, Numbers 35:34)
In the end times, it says that the whole earth suffers because of the sins of the people (Romans 8:22)
Furthermore, anyone who thinks that the curse of “death” was only spiritual simply does not know scripture. They say, “God said IN THE DAY you eat thereof, you will die”.
They think that because Adam didn’t physically die the very day he ate of the fruit, that means it must be a spiritual death, not a physical death.
These people DO NOT KNOW that Peter confirmed that one day is a thousand years to God. This concept finds it’s precedence in the ancient book of Jubilees which says that Adam HAD TO DIE before the 1000 year mark because 1 day = 1000 years on God’s calendar.
Adam died 930 years old, a perfect 70 years before the 1000 year mark. This means that Adam DID DIE WITHIN THAT DAY!
6. Never mind all the emphasis in the Bible about the Sabbath day. God didn’t originally create the heavens and the earth in six days.
Sorry, GGT proponents. God DID create everything in six days.
Exodus 20:11 – For [in] six days the LORD made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that in them [is], and rested the seventh day: wherefore the LORD blessed the sabbath day, and hallowed it.
Exodus 31:17 It [is] a sign between me and the children of Israel for ever: for [in] six days the LORD made heaven and earth, and on the seventh day he rested, and was refreshed.
7. There were two Edens. And Satan lived and ruled as a beautiful angel from the former Eden. Consider how Ezekiel 28 describes Satan:
Ezekiel 28:13 Thou hast been in Eden the garden of God; every precious stone [was] thy covering, the sardius, topaz, and the diamond, the beryl, the onyx, and the jasper, the sapphire, the emerald, and the carbuncle, and gold: the workmanship of thy tabrets and of thy pipes was prepared in thee in the day that thou wast created. 14 Thou [art] the anointed cherub that covereth; and I have set thee [so]: thou wast upon the holy mountain of God; thou hast walked up and down in the midst of the stones of fire. 15 Thou [wast] perfect in thy ways from the day that thou wast created, till iniquity was found in thee.
Satan was a beautiful angel, who ruled from the first Eden as described in Ezekiel 28. This certainly does not look like the “Satan” we see in Genesis, chapter 3! Therefore, Satan fell long before Genesis 3, while he was ruling from the “other” Eden that existed in the “gap” between Genesis 1:1, and Genesis 1:2.
An Eden that existed before Gen 1:2? Says who? Where does it say that in scripture? Where do they get that from? That is reading way too much between verses that is simply NOT there.
Yes, Satan, the serpent, was a beautiful creature. God created everything beautiful. We don’t know exactly what the serpent looked like before the fall in Genesis 3. But it is reasonable to assume he was very beautiful as God created everything, and saw that it was “very good” as per Genesis 1:30.
Genesis 3:14 clearly describes the fall of Satan, from his heavenly state down to the earth to crawl “on his belly”. This is the fall of Satan.
“And the LORD God said unto the serpent, Because thou hast done this, thou [art] cursed above all cattle, and above every beast of the field; upon thy belly shalt thou go, and dust shalt thou eat all the days of thy life:” – Genesis 3:14
As far as the appearance of Satan is concerned. Even today, he can appear to be a very beautiful – a very attractive being!
2 Corinthians 11:14 And no marvel; for Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light.
8. In Hebrews 11:3 says that the world was framed by the Word of God. The word “framed” in the original Greek means “to repair”, to “restore”
The word “framed” is translated from the original Greek word “katartizo”. Katartizo is used 13 times in the Bible. Out of all thirteen times it is used only twice it is translated “mend”. And once it is translated “restore”.
Out of the remaining ten times, 2x is it translated “perfect”, 2x “make perfect”, 2x “be perfect”, 1x “fit”, 1x “prepare”, 1x “frame”, 1x “perfectly joined together”.
So then we see, that insinuating that katartizo always means to mend, or to restore is just another fallacy.
Once again, you must realize that God took time to create. If you were to look at the process of creation before it was finished, YES, it would be in chaos. That does not mean that it was perfect at one point in time. It only means that it God didn’t create everything instantly perfect. He created it, framed it, and fashioned it over a period of six days as per Genesis, chapter 1. When He was done – then it was perfect! That is why God didn’t pronounce it “very good” until after all of creation was finished.
9. It says in Genesis 2:4, “These are the generations of the heavens and of the earth when they were created, in the day that the LORD God made the earth and the heavens”.
This means that there was more than one “generation”. Therefore, the earth existed for billions of years, and had undergone many “generations” before Adam came along.
The word “generations” in this passage is translated from the original Hebew Towledah.
According to Strongs Hebrew Dictionary, this word means:
descendants, results, proceedings, generations, genealogies
account of men and their descendants
genealogical list of one’s descendants
course of history (of creation etc)
begetting or account of heaven (metaph)
As you can see, to stretch this word to actually mean that the earth existed before, and was rebuilt is reading far too much into it. It simply means “course of history”, or “account” of creation.
10. God created the heavens and the earth. They existed for billions of years. God destroyed it because it was so evil. Then God recreated the heavens and the earth in six days.
It says very plainly, God CREATED the heavens and the earth in six days.
Exodus 20:11 For [in] six days the LORD made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that in them [is], and rested the seventh day: wherefore the LORD blessed the sabbath day, and hallowed it.
Exodus 31:17 It [is] a sign between me and the children of Israel for ever: for [in] six days the LORD made heaven and earth, and on the seventh day he rested, and was refreshed.
Nowhere does it say that God created it millions or billions of years ago. Nowhere does it say that God had to recreate the earth. Rather it says that it took time for God to create the heavens and the earth. And during that time, it was unfinished. For a period of time it was dark and chaotic. Why? Simply because God wasn’t finished yet!
In short, there is absolutely no explicit Biblical doctrine that supports the Genesis Gap Theory. Nothing. We need to stop cherry-picking verses here and there in attempt to paint a picture that would make the bible compatible with modern theories.
Do not be deceived.