Question:

Are you familiar with the "Gap Theory?" Since the Bible isn't exhaustive, could something have taken place between Genesis 1:1 and 1:2?


Answer:

Ever since evolution was espoused in the late 1800's, people have struggled with making the Bible conform to the current popular scientific theories. Of course, it is a never ending struggle because science derives from man and man is constantly changing his mind. The gap theory is supposed to solve the apparent problem between a seemingly old Earth and the biblical record which puts the beginning of the world only six to seven thousand years ago. It is not the only proposed solution, but I will limit my answer to what was asked.

Genesis 1:1-2 reads, "In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. The earth was without form, and void; and darkness was on the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God was hovering over the face of the waters." According to the gap theory, God created the heavens and the earth billions of years ago, but then destroyed all life on the earth leaving a formless world from which He then recreated the world that now exists. The fossils found are supposed to be evidence of this pre-existing world.

The first problem with the gap theory that needs to be pointed out is that it is not scientific. There is no evidence of a preexisting world, nor does such a supposed world fit current theory. Evolution calls for gradual changes over extended periods of time. Though periodic cataclysms has been tossed out as an explanation of fossils, few would even consider a world-wide event that would completely wipe out life on this earth. Hence, the gap theory does not accomplish the intention of its creators. It does not make the biblical account scientifically acceptable to evolutionists.

However, the major problem with the gap theory is that it contradicts the teachings found in the Scriptures. For instance, the Bible teaches that man was on this world from the beginning. "But from the beginning of the creation, God 'made them male and female.' " (Mark 10:6). According to Genesis, man was created on the sixth day. Looking back 4,000 years, man was present from the beginning. However, the gap theory requires the beginning of creation to have occurred billions of years prior to man's arrival. As such, it no longer is reasonable to say that man existed from the beginning. Either Jesus is wrong or the gap theory is wrong.

Isaiah 45:18 tells us, "For thus says the LORD, Who created the heavens, Who is God, Who formed the earth and made it, Who has established it, Who did not create it in vain, Who formed it to be inhabited: "I am the LORD, and there is no other." The world when made had a purpose and that purpose required it to be inhabited. The psalmist said, "The heaven, even the heavens, are the LORD'S; But the earth He has given to the children of men" (Psalm 115:16). Yet, the gap theory requires a world to exist far longer than man has existed.

Then too, events mentioned at the beginning of Genesis are said to have occurred at the beginning of creation. Abel was killed at the foundation of the world. "Therefore the wisdom of God also said, 'I will send them prophets and apostles, and some of them they will kill and persecute,' that the blood of all the prophets which was shed from the foundation of the world may be required of this generation, from the blood of Abel to the blood of Zechariah who perished between the altar and the temple. Yes, I say to you, it shall be required of this generation" (Luke 11:49-51). Prophets have died from the foundation of the world and the first prophet was Abel, son of Adam, whose death is recorded in Genesis 4. Peter also talked of the duration of the prophets, "whom heaven must receive until the times of restoration of all things, which God has spoken by the mouth of all His holy prophets since the world began" (Acts 3:21). As did Zacharias, "As He spoke by the mouth of His holy prophets, Who have been since the world began" (Luke 1:70).

Jesus mentioned, "You are of your father the devil, and the desires of your father you want to do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaks a lie, he speaks from his own resources, for he is a liar and the father of it" (John 8:44). The murder that Jesus accuses Satan of committing from the beginning is the fall of Adam and Eve. John also talks of this. "He who sins is of the devil, for the devil has sinned from the beginning. For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that He might destroy the works of the devil" (I John 3:8). It was Satan who introduced sin into the world, changing what God declared to be "very good" (Genesis 1:31) and corrupting it. "For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of Him who subjected it in hope; because the creation itself also will be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God. For we know that the whole creation groans and labors with birth pangs together until now" (Romans 8:20-22).

Saying that the world existed long before the arrival of man is to say that Adam and Eve did not open the door to sin and death, because death would have necessarily preceded the creation of man. Remember to say that the world was destroyed is just another way of say that the things in the world died. In addition, the gap theory is trying to explain fossils. In order for something to become a fossil, it must have died. This makes the following passage difficult: "Therefore, just as through one man sin entered the world, and death through sin, and thus death spread to all men, because all sinned -- For until the law sin was in the world, but sin is not imputed when there is no law. Nevertheless death reigned from Adam to Moses, even over those who had not sinned according to the likeness of the transgression of Adam, who is a type of Him who was to come" (Romans 5:12-14). Death entered because of sin. Death reigned from Adam to Moses. But the gap theory demands that death must have reigned prior to Adam. If so, then sin did not enter the world through Adam.

Therefore, the gap theory has no foundation in either science or in the Bible.

June 6, 2010