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OceanSide church of Christ

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THE GAP THEORY

The opening words of the Scriptures directly from the Holy Spirit state, “In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth. 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” (Gen. 1:1,2). This is easy enough for an elementary student to understand; however, when “scholars” start analyzing, it suddenly becomes a difficult doctrine that challenges the very integrity of Holy Writ. That doctrine is, “The Gap Theory.” 

The Gap Theory alleges that there is a gap of time between Genesis 1:1 and 1:2 in which there lived successive generations of plants, animals, and perhaps even pre-Adamic men. Some even say that God destroyed this original creation because of a Satanic rebellion and the wording of Genesis 1:2 would be better rendered as, “the earth became waste and void.” There are four basic arguments that Gap Theorists use: (1) It is said that the Hebrew word “created” (bara) in Genesis 1:1 refers to the original formation of matter from nothing, but the Hebrew term “made” (asah) in Genesis 1:16 actually suggests a different idea. (2) It is argued that the word “was” (hayah) in Genesis 1:2 really means, “became” so that a vast corruption is implied. (3) Gap theorists believe that the cataclysm which occurred was on the earth and was the direct result of Satan’s rebellion against God. (4) Gap theorists believe that there was a pre-Adamic creation of both non-human and human forms. Each of these arguments will be examined below.

First, the falsity of the gap theory is seen by an incorrect rendering of the Hebrew words, “bara” (create) and “asah” (make). These two words are often used interchangeably in the Scriptures when God is the one referred to as creating or making. For example, God is said to have “created” the fish and birds (Gen. 1:21); but, He “made” the animals and creeping things (Gen. 1:25).  Furthermore, God “made” man in His own image (Gen. 1:26) and “created” man in His own image (Gen. 1:27). So, the Hebrew term “bara” does not always mean to create something from nothing.

Second, the gap theory is false because there is no basis for interpreting “was” as “became” in Genesis 1:2. It should be noted that no biblical scholars have ever translated “was” as “became” in this verse. Henry Morris, in his book Scientific Creationism, observed that in only six of its 264 occurrences in the Pentateuch is it rendered “became.” He further stated that another Hebrew word (haphak) would have been better used here if the idea of a change from some previously different state was to be conveyed.

Third, the gap theory is false because there is no evidence in the Scripture for Satan’s rebellion on earth resulting in a great cataclysm. It is a fact that Satan was created (not as evil), led a rebellion of “his” angels in Heaven, and was cast down to Hades (Col. 1:16; Mat. 25:41; 2 Pet. 2:4). However, this did not occur on earth and no cataclysm resulted from this.

Fourth, the gap theory is false because it implies that death was in the world before Adam. The theorists believe there was a race of people who were completely wiped out before the creation of Adam and Eve. Yet, this is a direct contradiction of New Testament teaching which reveals that sin and death entered the earth as a result of Adam’s sin (1 Cor. 15:21; Rom. 8:20-22; Rom. 5:12). Furthermore, the apostle Paul stated, “And so it is written, The first man Adam was made a living soul; the last Adam was made a quickening spirit” (1 Cor. 15:45). Thus, there was no man before Adam—he was first.

So, the conclusion is thus: “In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth. 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” (Gen. 1:1,2). God created all things at the beginning of time on earth. There was no gap.

~Derrick Coble via WEST SPARTA: THE MESSENGER