Does Scripture Allow a Gap? | The Institute for Creation Research
 
Does Scripture Allow a Gap?

The so-called Gap Theory proposed early in the 1800's, but which became popular around the turn of the century, has very few scholarly advocates these days. However, many Christians do still hold to it, mostly by tradition, having never examined it closely. There have always been many scientific and theological problems with the idea of a long gap of time between Genesis 1:1 and 1:2, but perhaps the "death" of the Gap Theory came with the 1978 publication of Dr. Weston W. Fields' fine book, Unformed and Unfilled. In it, Fields specified the many Biblical problems inherent in the concept, and with only a few exceptions, Bible scholars have now abandoned it. Some of his main arguments are briefly summarized below.

Gap advocates hold that only the surface of the earth was "created" during the six-day series of events detailed in Genesis 1:2 through 2:25. This creation followed a global holocaust brought on by the fall of Satan, which destroyed a supposed pre-Adamic world. But the all-summary statements of Genesis 2:1-3 and Exodus 20:11, and elsewhere, argue otherwise; "the heavens and the earth . . . all the host of them . . . all that is in them . . . all His work which God created and made," seem better to refer to all of creation, not just the earth's surface.

Some have claimed that in Exodus 20:11 the verb "to make" is used instead of "to create," and, that, therefore, the summation is referring only to the earth's surface, leaving the rock strata and the earth's interior untouched. But in reality, while there is an important distinction between the words in Genesis 1, both are used in Genesis 2:2,3 and Nehemiah 9:6 to refer to all of creation; and are even used in synonymous parallelism in Genesis 2:4, Exodus 34:10, Isaiah 41:20, and Isaiah 43:7.

Another often-repeated claim is that Genesis 1:2 should read, "the earth became without form and void," as opposed to the traditional understanding that when God first created the earth in verse 3, it "was without form (i.e., not yet in completed form) and void (i.e., not yet inhabited)." The verb's normal meaning, however, is simply "was," and while it may be translated "become," the context does not warrant it, and all accepted versions of the Bible use "was."

Each verse in Genesis 1, except verse 1, begins with the conjunction "and," thereby connecting each verse sequentially to those before and after. There is no hint of the passing of millions or billions of years of time between verses 1 and 2.

Gap advocates frequently turn to other portions of Scripture for support, particularly those which use the words "without form" and "void" (Jeremiah 4:23, Isaiah 24:1, and 45:18 are most important). In each case, the prophet refers to a wasted state due to the judgment of sin, thereby implying that Genesis 1:2 likewise implies a condition brought about by judgment. But in each case, the context regards the land of Israel not the original earth. There is no justification for postulating long ages present in a supposed gap in Genesis.

The Gap Theory, as with all efforts to harmonize Genesis with the geologic ages, faces insurmountable problems on several fronts. How much better to take God at His Word and simply believe what He says.

 * Dr. John Morris is the President of the Institute for Creation Research.

Cite this article: Morris, J. 1990. Does Scripture Allow a Gap? Acts & Facts. 19 (2).

The Latest
NEWS
Give Today and Support Biblical Creation Ministry
North Texas Giving Day is here once again! Will you help us reach the next generation? Your generosity will empower ICR and our Dallas Museum—the...

NEWS
Mammalian Brains Prove Evolutionary Disconnect
The evolutionary model of brain development predicted that the complexity of neural connectivity should have increased as brains became larger and the...

NEWS
North Texas Giving Day Next Week!
North Texas Giving Day is almost here! Will you help us reach the next generation? Your generosity will empower ICR and the ICR Discovery Center for Science...

NEWS
Celebrating One Year at the ICR Discovery Center
Thank you to all who joined us for the ICR Discovery Center for Science & Earth History’s First Anniversary Celebration! ICR staff enjoyed meeting...

NEWS
New Evidence Hurts Feathered Dinosaur Theory
Is a dinosaur still a dinosaur if it has flight feathers? A new study points to some fascinating evidence that contradicts the idea of feathered dinosaurs...

NEWS
New Planetarium Show: Exploring Deep Space
The ICR Discovery Center for Science & Earth History is celebrating its first anniversary since the Grand Opening on September 2, 2019. To commemorate...

NEWS
Inside September 2020 Acts & Facts
What's the story behind ICR's new President? What milestone are we celebrating this month at the ICR Discovery Center? How do comets affirm...

NEWS
Sunflower Heliotropism: August Sunlight for Making Tons of Seeds
August is an important month for sunflowers—those gigantic, bright-yellow flowers with brownish, round seed heads bordered by radiating yellow ligules...

ACTS & FACTS
One Generation Away
In 1967, Ronald Reagan delivered one of the most memorable lines of his storied career: “Freedom…is never more than one generation away...

APOLOGETICS
Matthew Maury's Paths of the Sea
Today’s oceanography and meteorology owe a great debt to Matthew Maury. He exemplified the biblical principle that whatever we do, we should do...