Genesis Chapter 1-Part 3: Gap Theory

Here is the first of a few theories man has used to either explain a difficult passage in Scripture, or give ammunition to his idea or doctrine

The Gap Theory
Genesis 1:1-2
In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth. 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.

The story goes like this:
God created the universe in verse 1, complete with dinosaurs and other prehistoric life that we see in fossil records. Then, as some scholars suggest, a cataclysmic event took place–perhaps a flood (indicated by the “deep waters” in verse 2) brought on by Lucifer’s rebellion and fall from heaven to earth. As a result, the earth was ruined or destroyed, reducing it to the “formless and empty” state of Genesis 1:2. In verse 3, God began the process of recreating life.

The gap theory is not a new theory. It was first introduced in 1814 by Scottish theologian Thomas Chalmers in an attempt to reconcile the six-day biblical creation account with the newly defined geologic ages being set forth by leading geologists of that era.

The gap theory became quite popular among evangelical Christians in the early part of the 20th century, largely because it debuted in the study notes of the Scofield Reference Bible published in 1917.
Dinosaurs in the Gap Theory
The Bible does seem to present some evidence for the existence of dinosaurs, with its descriptions of ancient, mysterious, and monstrous creatures that defy zoological classification. The gap theory is one possible solution to the question of when they existed, allowing agreement with the scientific claim that dinosaurs became extinct 65 million years ago.
Proponents of the Gap Theory
Thanks to the influence of Cyrus Scofield (1843-1921) and the teaching in his Reference Bible, the gap theory is favored by Christian fundamentalists who adhere to dispensationalism. A well-known proponent was Clarence Larkin (1850-1924), author of Dispensational Truth. Another was Old Earth Creationist Harry Rimmer (1890-1952) who employed science to prove the Scriptures in his books Harmony of Science and Scripture and Modern Science and the Genesis Record.

More contemporary proponents of the gap theory were well-respected Bible teacher Dr. J. Vernon McGee (1904 – 1988) of Thru the Bible Radio, as well as Pentecostal televangelists Benny Hinn and Jimmy Swaggert.

The three-fold problem of the gap theory
1) It is unscientific
This theory was in part a Christian attempt to reconcile the creation account with the long periods of time in the theory of evolution.
2) It is un-scriptural
The gap theory would describe Adam walking around on top of a gigantic fossilized animal graveyard. Yet in Romans 5:12 and 8:20-22 we learn that man’s sin brought about death even to the animals.
Romans 5:12(KJV)
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:
Romans 8:20-22 (KJV)
20 For the creation was subjected to vanity, not of its own will, but by reason of him who subjected it, in hope
21 that the creation itself also shall be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the liberty of the glory of the children of God.
22 For we know that the whole creation groaneth and travaileth in pain together until now.
3) It is unnecessary
The most natural interpretation of Genesis 1:1-2 is taking it at face value, without addition or subtraction.
Thus Genesis 1: becomes a summary statement of creation.
Verse 1 tells us what God did and verse 2 tells us how He did it.
Could God have created this world (rocks, animals, and man) already at a certain aged development?
The answer could be yes but we will discuss this later.
The question could then be asked, “If Satan did not fall between Genesis 1:1-2, then when did he fall?”
The probable answer could be between Genesis 2:25-3:1
Some have taken Isaiah 14:12-21 and Ezekiel 28:11-19
and used it to describe Lucifer as a high ranking cherub who was put over the earth. He was more beautiful than all the other angels and in Genesis 3:1 through his swelling pride he went against God.
Bible students have pondered over why Lucifer sinned in the first place.
Four suggestions have been offered:
1) Satan may have doubted God’s word that man had been created
2) He was jealous over man’s created nature (his ability to produce)
something angels can’t do, as well as the responsibilities given to Adam.
3) The future place of man through Christ.
4) He became jealous of God and through pride felt he didn’t need God
either way we do know that at one point in time Lucifer rebelled, but he is still under the control of God. He can do nothing without God’s permission (Job) and we all know where he is headed in the end.


About Clint Rodgers

I am a father of 2 wonderful children and the husband of a beautiful woman who has taught me more about compassion for goofballs than I could have ever learned. I have know Jesus for many years but about 5 years ago I truly met Him and now I do my best to follow Him as I walk in this world
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