In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. {Implied Gap}. Now the earth was formless and empty, darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was hovering over the waters.”

So, as we saw in the last 2 installments dealing with Gen. 1:1, the world, and even many Christians doubt, or put into question the very first verse of Genesis; that God created the heavens and the earth.

As if blaspheming the first verse of Genesis wasn’t enough, they have created a verse 1 ½ between verse 1 and 2. They call it “The Gap Theory.” Just the title “theory” should say it all. Ever heard of it?

The gap “theory” is the view that God created a fully functional earth with all the animals, including the dinosaurs and other creatures we know only from the fossil record. Then, the theory goes, something happened to destroy the earth completely – most likely the fall of Satan to earth – so that the planet became without form and void.

At this point, God started all over again, recreating the earth in its paradise form as further described in Genesis.

The gap theory, which is different from theistic evolution and the day-age theory, is also called “old-earth creationism, gap creationism and the ruin-reconstruction theory.

In young-earth creationism, Genesis 1:1 is seen as a summary of the complete chapter 1 in the Hebrew storytelling form. God created the heaven and the earth. Then, verse 2 begins a detailed breakdown of the step-by-step process that verse 1 summarizes. However, the statement that “the earth was formless and empty, [and] darkness was over the surface of the deep” can be hard to understand.

According to conservative proponents of the gap theory, Genesis 1:1 describes the original creation of God – perfect in every way. Then, between verse 1 and 2, Satan rebelled in heaven and was cast out. Satan’s sin “ruined” the original creation; that is, his rebellion brought about its destruction and eventual death, and the earth was reduced to its “formless and empty” state, ready for the “re-construction.”

The length of time involved – the size of the “gap” – is not specified but could have lasted millions of years. Of course, Satan must have fallen before Adam did, otherwise, there would have been no temptation in the garden.

Young-earth creationists say that Satan fell sometime after Genesis 1:31. Gap creationists say that Satan fell between Genesis 1 and 2.

One gap in the gap theory is that it requires that creation suffer death and destruction before Adam’s fall. Romans 5:12 says: Sin entered the world through one man, and death through sin, and this way death came to all people, because all sinned.”

The gap theory counters by creating 2 worlds. Satan’s sin brought death to the original creation, whatever that was like; and Adam’s sin brought death to the re-creation, the realm of mankind. Through Adam’s sin, evil entered our world and the realm of man was cursed. But rebellion already existed outside the realm of mankind (in the spiritual realm), since Satan and his angels had already fallen (Isaiah 14:12-14; Ezekiel 28:12-18).

Sin could not enter the realm of man until man chose it. And Satan, via the serpent, successfully tempted man to make that choice. 

The objections to the gap theory include the idea that, if something important had occurred between Genesis 1 and 2, God would have told us so, rather than leave us to speculate in ignorance. There are absolutely no other details in Scripture which support the gap theory!

Also, Genesis 1:31 says that God declared His creation to be “very good” – a statement that doesn’t fit with the gap theory and the fact that evil already existed because of Satan’s fall in the “gap.”

Most of those who hold to the gap theory do so in order to reconcile old-earth theories with the book of Genesis. But it seems to be pretty difficult to believe in this theory since the plain reading of Genesis 1 does not at all suggest a length of time between the first two verses.

Genesis 1:1 tells us that God created the heavens and the earth. Genesis 1:2 informs us that, when He first created the earth, it was formless and empty, and dark; it was unfinished and uninhabited. The rest of Genesis 1 relates how God completed the formless, empty, and dark earth by filling it with life, beauty, and goodness.

So, how can people possibly come up with ideas like the “gap theory?” Next weeks installment we will look at how and why. 

Regardless of our views on non-essential matters in Scripture, the ONE thing that matters is Jesus and what He accomplished on the cross for all of us. Call on Him today for remission of sins and be saved. Jer. 33:3

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