The Gap Theory states that in the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth. After creating the earth it was inhabited by prehistoric flora and fauna such as dinosaurs and extinct plants. Sometime after, Satan rebelled with his angels resulting in universal chaos. So God destroyed the earth making it waste and void. Then God recreated the earth and the six day creation then took place. Many well-known theologians adhere to this theory, which originated in the Eighteenth and Nineteenth Century, during the so-called scientific Age of Enlightenment or Age of Reason.
The Gap allows the universe to be billions of years old. This is an attempt to marry current consensus “science” with Biblical creationism. There are several versions of the gap theory. You can search the web and find them.
Unfortunately the Gap theory allows death to enter the world before Adam. Yet the Bible states that death entered the world when Adam sinned. Thus the Gap Theory contradicts Scripture.
Gen 1:1 In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth.
This verse talks about the beginning, that is, the absolute beginning of this world. The Hebrew for “beginning” is ראשׁית , reyshith (Strong’s 7225), which means the first in time, place, order or rank. In other words, this is the absolute beginning. The inflected word is בראשׁית, bereshiyth, “in the beginning,” which is the Hebrew name for the Book of Genesis. The Bible does not tell us how long ago this took place; only that it did. There are those who understand that the world is about 6000 years old based on the genealogies of the Bible. There are also those who believe the world to be very old—much older than 6000 years. In fact, many advocate an earth that is millions of years old. I agree with those who call themselves “Young Earth Creationists.” I am a Biblical Earth Creationist because I believe what the Bible says about creation; I accept that the earth is about 6000 years old and that the entire natural universe was created by God out of nothing. Verse 2 will help us to understand more about the age of the earth.
Gen 1:2 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 Spirit of God, or the Holy Spirit, moved gently over the deep waters covering the earth. The word translated “moved upon” is merahepet from rachaph (7363) which literally means to hover softly or to brood. A mother hen broods over her eggs, gently caring for them and keeping the warm and alive. We have similar imagery in this verse. God is brooding over the earth, gently caring for it and keeping it alive. God kept the earth alive to bring mankind into it, which eventually gave us the opportunity to be redeemed by the blood of Jesus. He then prepared Earth for His new creation, man.
There is some speculation among some sects as to the exact meaning of this verse. Those folks say that the first phrase should be read: “And the earth became without form (waste) and void.” The word translated “was” is from the root word, היה, ha-yah’, (Strong’s 1961). In the next few chapters, in every other place the word is used, the various inflections of the word are translated, “became, become, came to pass, come to pass, or let there be.” Thus the supporters of this theory erroneously state that the word here should be rendered ‘became.’ If that were so, then the earth may be very old, and since verse one states that God created heavens and the earth, then this must mean that God destroyed the earth and recreated it. This is the so-called ‘gap theory.’
In Genesis 1:2, the inflection of היה ha-yah’ becomes היתה, hay-tah’. Hebrew verbs have stems. Without getting too technical, the verb היה hayah, Has two stems. The first is qal, which is simply the lexical or dictionary definition of the word. The second in niphal, or the passive or reflexive form. In English, that is “occurred, came to pass, was done, or finished.” Added to that we find the full inflection of the word is “qal perfect 3rd person feminine singular.” In Hebrew, the perfect tense refers to action that has already occurred (not occurred once, then occurred again). Add that all together and the English rendering of haytah is “was” not “became.”
In the Greek Septuagint version of Gen 1:2, the uninflected word for ‘was’ is ειμι, ei-mi’, to be. The inflected word is ην, en, which is the indicative imperfect active 3rd person singular form of ειμι. In other words “was” in English. The imperfect tense in Greek indicates continuous action in past time. In other words, the earth God created, continued as created.
There is a big difference between “And the earth was without form, and void” and “And the earth became without form and void.” Using ‘was’ indicates that the earth was originally created waste and void and remained that way until God continued creating the earth and its inhabitants. When ‘became’ is used, the implication is that the earth was created at one point in time, period; stop. Then the earth was destroyed and recreated and became waste and void. Some think that this thought is borne out by scripture. Their argument is something like this:
The words “without form and void” are the English equivalent of the Hebrew tohu vabohu, or, according to some transliterations, tohu wabohu, (תהו ובהו). Tohu, (תהו) means “formless,“ “vain, “ or “waste,” and bohu, (בהו) means “to be empty.” Va, (ו) is the combining form, ‘and’. The phrase tohu vabohu is also used in Jeremiah 4:23-31. There, God details the destruction of Judah, and the coming destruction of the world at the end of the age during the Day of the LORD. Since the same phrase, tohu vabohu, is used in Jeremiah, adherents to the gap theory claim Jeremiah was writing about the previous earth before the creation of Genesis 1:2. If you use good hermeneutics or Bible study techniques, one cannot take one phrase out of context and apply it to another phrase in a different context. That is twisting the Scripture by taking it out of context and gives a false interpretation of that Scripture.
Isaiah also gives those adherents another reason to “prove” their theory: (Isa 45:18) “For thus saith the LORD that created the heavens; God himself that formed the earth and made it; he hath established it, he created it not in vain [tohu-“formless,“ “vain, “ or “waste”]; he formed it to be inhabited: I am the LORD; and there is none else.” Again, this is an attempt to prove the theory based on one word that matches Genesis 1:2 and taking it out of context.
Some would say that if God did not create the earth empty, but rather to be inhabited, it stands to reason that if the earth became waste and void, then it could not be inhabited. Since it was created to be inhabited, it was not created during the six day creation because it was uninhabited at that time. It was created originally to be inhabited; then for reasons not specified in the Bible, it became uninhabited and waste and void. In other words, the earth was created, and then became waste and void, and then the six-day creation events took place. There are quite a few that teach this idea, but it is an incorrect interpretation of this verse.
Some assert that this interpretation allows for the Earth to be very old. However, let me go on record here. I believe in a young earth and young universe. Of course, the beginning, when God created the heavens and the earth, could have been eons ago. The six days of creation happened a relatively short time ago, that is, somewhere around six thousand years ago, but the creation of earth could have happened at an unknown time. I say, “That’s what could have happened, but that is not what actually happened.”
Many archæologists, paleontologists, astronomers, and geologists tell us that the earth is somewhere around three to four billion years old, and I will not argue the fact, for it is fruitless; most will not change their minds. Many, if not most archæologists, paleontologists, astronomers, and geologists have an agenda that supports Darwinian or macroevolution. Therefore their theories are suspect.
Additionally, if the earth is indeed very old, that does not mean that Darwinian evolution happened. That would then mean that God created, then destroyed, then recreated. I do not support such an idea. There was no Darwinian evolution and the evidence (or lack of) supports this. Many professional people and scientists are turning to Intelligent Design to describe how the universe came into being. Certainly it is possible, however remote, for the earth to be three to four billion years old, but that is not my belief.
God can do anything He wishes, including making light to be fully set in place over the vast distances of the cosmos all at once. This would give the appearance of light origination many billions of years ago, which is the time it would take for light to reach the earth from the furthest points of space. Yet if God set it in place 6,000 years ago it would only be 6,000 instead of billions of years old. Man’s feeble attempts to explain the universe by allowing it to be of great age, are simply foolishness to God.
In summary, God created the heavens, meaning all of creation outside of earth, and the earth. When He created the earth it was without any form we see today and it was empty—there was no dry land, no flora or fauna—just water, or the deep. He did not create the earth, then there was a rebellion of Satan and his angels causing God to destroy earth, and then recreate it. He did destroy it when He “saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually” (Gen 6:5). He destroyed all inhabitants of the earth with a flood but with the exception of those aboard Noah’s Ark.
At this juncture let me suggest you visit the Ark Encounter, which is a full size replica of Noah’s Ark. The Ark Encounter is located at 1 Ark Encounter Drive in Williamstown, KY. That is about 30 miles south of Cincinnati. There you will see how large the ship was and how spacious it was and capable of carrying thousands of animals and food for them.
God did not create, destroy, and then recreate the earth. God created everything in six twenty-four hour days, thus there is no need for eons of time or billions of years for macroevolution to take place.