Christian Apologetics Study



The Genesis creation gap theory says that the creation week’s First Day does not begin until Genesis 1:3 and a gap of time existed between verse 1 and verse 2 in Genesis. This theory’s many advocates speculate that life existed and was destroyed when the Earth became “waste and void” (1:2). The gap theory was invented by Thomas Chalmers as response to scientific research saying the planet Earth was old. Thomas Chalmers (1780-1847), a notable Scottish theologian and first moderator of the Free Church of Scotland, was perhaps the man most responsible for the gap theory. The idea can be traced back to the rather obscure writings of the Dutchman Episcopius (1583-1643), and was first recorded from one of Chalmers’ lectures in 1814. Rev. William Buckland, a geologist, did much to popularize the idea. Modern supporters of the gap theory include: author G.H Pember and Rev Clarence Larkin developed the gap theory during the late 1800s and early 1900s. The following information highlights the gap theory’s explanation for the creation of the universe and the creation week.


The creation of the universe and planet Earth was during the dateless past and it described in Genesis 1:1. The original creation was not at the beginning of the First Day as described in Genesis 1:3-5. The six days’ work as described in Genesis 1:3-31 was the restoration of the original Earth, to its original condition before it was made ‘formless and void, ” and submerged in water and darkness. Peter speaks of it as the “World that then was, that being overflowed with water, perished.” 2-Peter 3:5-7. The manner of the “creation” of the pre-human Earth is not revealed in the Scriptures. They simply declare that in the beginning God created the universe. The original universe and planet Earth were decorated with primeval life forms under the rule of Lucifer who became Satan during his rebellion. The following creation week is simply a re-creation and renovation of the Earth’s surface in preparation for the creation of humankind.


The first creation day on Earth began when God said “Let there be light” (Genesis 1:3 NIV). The sun was already shining brightly, but God made the Earth’s thick new atmosphere allow diffuse light to penetrate to the surface. And so it was that the light was made separate from darkness. The first day of Earth’s creation was literally the first “day” as someone on Earth’s surface would experience it – a period of opaque light, and a period of darkness (Genesis 1:3-5 NIV).

We learn that God’s creative power is manifested by simply speaking. His first creative word called forth light in the midst of darkness. In John 1:1-2 we learn that the “Word” (Yeshua) was in the beginning, and that the “Word” was with God and was God. John further tells us that “through him [the Word] all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made” (John 1:3 NIV). God did not just make a physical universe: “God saw all that he had made, and it was very good” (Genesis 1:31 NIV). Whatever God makes is very good indeed, because the Word through which He created all things is the very essence of goodness, beauty, and light: “In him (Yeshua) was life, and that life was the light of men. The light shines in the darkness” (John 1:4 NIV), now as it did at the very beginning of creation.


On the second day, God separated the waters. There was no liquid water, no oceans. All of the water was in the form of a vapor, a worldwide super-fog, extending a number of kilometers up from the very hot bare-rock earth’s surface. God’s “hovering over the waters” in verse 2 describes His being above that gaseous-water atmosphere, not a liquid ocean. God then caused most of the water to condense onto the cooling earth which simultaneously formed a whole-planet ocean and cleared the sky (Genesis 1:6-8 NIV). The expanse, called “sky,” is the atmosphere, or layer of air between the water-covered Earth and the clouds above.


On the third day, God formed the continents and oceans. The further cooling of the surface set in motion a process of natural contraction, uplifting and motion of the crust. The Earth changed from a smooth one-level molten “cue ball” to a planet with an irregular surface with ocean basins and landmass. With dry ground available, the first plants were made to grow in great abundance (Genesis 1:9-13). Today’s work was simply a reversal of the cataclysmic convulsions that submerged the Pre-human Earth, and by upheaval caused the Earth to emerge from its watery grave.


On the fourth day, God allowed the sun, moon, and stars to appear. Before this day, the sun, moon, and stars were invisible. God transformed the upper atmosphere from a translucent sky into a transparent sky.    The sun, moon, and stars were to “serve as signs to mark the seasons, months, and days.” The sun measured the day (sunset to sunset), the moon measured the month (new moon to new moon), and the stars measured the seasons (Genesis 1:14-19 NIV). The appearance of the sun and the moon on the Fourth day was not a new creation. They had existed in beginning (Genesis 1:1 NIV). The words translated “made” in the 16th verse is not the same word as is translated “created” in verse one, and does not imply a “creative” act. What is meant here is that the clouds broke away and permitted the sun and moon to be seen, and from that time they were appointed to measure the days, and years, and seasons as we have them today.


On the fifth day, God re-created flying creatures for the sky and marine animals for the ocean. This day’s work included the fishes, amphibians, reptiles, mammals, and birds. The life forms that were created on the “Fifth Day” were ancestors the same kinds that we have today. The fossil remains of huge marine animals and gigantic birds belong to the Pre-human Earth  when it became waste in Genesis 1:2.


On the sixth day, God re-created land animals and humankind. This day’s work did not include the great dinosaurs because these behemoths were created on the pre-human Earth. God reveals that each living creature on the land is created “according to their kind.” This refutes the notion that all species of animals evolved from a single, common, primeval organism. It supports the scientific evidence that living creatures have adapted over time to their environment, while there is no convincing evidence that one species of animal has evolved into another. God created humankind in His own image. God saw everything that He had made, and it was “good” (1:4, 10, 12, 18, 21, 25, 31). It is interesting to note that God declared all that he had made on the sixth day “very good” perhaps to stress the relative significance of this day in comparison to the prior days.


On the Seventh Day, God concluded His work on creation; and He RESTED, not because God was tired, but because the seventh day of the creation week was a type of the Sabbath. This appears clear from Exodus 20:11 and Exodus 31:17 because Moses wrote that “For in six days the Lord made heaven and Earth, the sea, and all that in them is, and rested the SEVENTH day; wherefore the Lord blessed the SABBATH day, and hallowed it.” According to the Dead Sea Scrolls and the Septuagint version of the bible, this passage says that God cease from working, which indicates that God was never tired, but that God only stopped working on the seventh day.


While the gap theory attempts to solve the problem between science and Scripture, it is decorated with many scientific and biblical problems. The gap theory accepts the antiquity of the Earth and life itself, thereby avoiding a direct confrontation with evolution. The gap theory has to be rejected in the light of the best evidence of science alone. There is no proof that the so-called prehistoric life spanned millions of years. Direct radiocarbon dating has been possible on fossils which show that life forms were only several thousand years old. The millions of years we hear about have been arrived at by the assumptions of layer dating. If a fossil is found in a certain layer of the sedimentary rocks, the age ascribed to that layer is given to the fossil. This method is totally erroneous because the very assumption that the layers were deposited gradually along with the prevalent life forms is wrong. Creation science researchers have demonstrated that the sedimentary layers of the Earth have been formed over a very short period of time during a mighty Earth event known as the Flood. The Flood was universal and it occurred approximately 4,500 years ago. Most ‘prehistoric life’ should be called ‘pre-flood life’. There is no need to accept the long ages proposed by gap theory dogma.

The gap theory does not appear to be supported by either Scripture or science because the bible does not describe Satan’s fall (Isaiah 14, Ezekiel 28, Jeremiah 23, Revelation 12) until after the creation week and the weight of scientific evidence reveals one global hydraulic catastrophe in Earth’s history (Global Flood described in Genesis 7). Furthermore, some biblical scholars believe there was no time gap between Genesis 1:1 and 1:2.  This theory needs more biblical, scientific, and historic support.


Creation; Dr. Grant R. Jeffrey; 2003. Genesis One; Dr. Gerald Schroeder With Zola Levitt; 1998. Genesis and The Big Bang; Gerald L. Schroeder, Ph.D.;1992. Starlight and Time; D. Russell Humphreys, Ph.D.; 1990. Rethinki

ng Genesis; Duane Garrett; 2000. The English Septuagint Version, Sir Lancelot C. L. Brenton; 1851. The New King James Version; Thomas Nelson; 1982. The Signature of God; Grant R. Jeffrey; 2010. Three Views on Creation and Evolution; J.P. Morland & John Mark Reynolds; 1999. Unveiling Mysteries of the Bible; Grant. R. Jeffrey; 2002. The Genesis Account of Creation; Lee Warren, B.A., D.D.; 1997. Creation Revealed in Six Days; P.J. Wiseman; 1946. Dispensational Truth; Rev Clarence Larkin; 1920.




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