CREATION - Literal 6 Days or Billions of Years (Gap Theory)?
Lately, I have heard a lot of talk about the Gap Theory. Thomas Chalmers introduced the idea of this theory in 1814 and it has been the topic of debate and ever since. After the theory of an old Earth and Evolution began to take hold, many theologians became more interested in researching the controversial Gap Theory. The theory postulates that between Genesis1:1-2 there may have been a Gap of time that would account for the possibility of an old Earth. Genesis 1:1-2 says:
1 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.
At first glance, it does not appear that there is any gap, but if we go back to the original Hebrew, the translation can change slightly. The theory makes the assumption that the original Hebrew words used for, "and the Earth was without form and void" could be also interpreted as, "But the earth had become form and void."
Those who believe in the Gap Theory, say that between verses 1 and 2 there were billions of years and that there was a previous earth with previous life which God must have destroyed and then 6000 years ago, He destroyed the old Earth and reformed it into what we now have. There are many flaws with this theory. The 1st of which is based on the interpretation of the original Hebrew text. After my own research, I found the original interpretation, "And the Earth was without form and void. "is the correct interpretation because the use of verbs and their tense, as well as prepositions, conjunctions and the overall sentence structure is consistent with similar phrases throughout the Old Testament. According to philologist, F.F. Bruce:
" Whatever be the truth in the views referred to, we must make an effort (as, indeed, I myself
have found it necessary to do) to lay aside theological preferences and examine the
grammatical sense of our Hebrew text. As a philologist, I see no reason, after reading the
contributions to our discussion, to modify my earlier statement. What the Germans call
Sprachgefühl is an important consideration in an argument of this kind; and I am encouraged
in my opinion by my colleague already referred to, probably the greatest living Hebrew
stylist, who assures me that the interpretation which I have undertaken to support accords
with the natural sense of the wording, as it appeals to the ear of a native Hebrew speaker, even
when one makes allowance for the differences between Biblical and Modern Hebrew."
( http://www.biblicalstudies.org.uk/pdf/jtvi/without-form_bruce.pdf )
So why do people even entertain the idea of a Gap Theory? Well, those who subscribe to the Gap Theory do so for two main reasons. The first group usually do it as an attempt to reconcile Christianity to the portion of the scientific community who are Evolutionist/Darwinists. Unfortunately, this is highly dangerous to the foundation of our faith because if we give in to a theory like that, we are making a claim that the Bible is not perfect. The second group try to use it as a way to account for the fall of Satan and one third of the Angels. They assume that there needed to be a great amount of time for Satan and his followers to Rebel.
To Address the first group I will use scripture for this obvious error.
14 And God said, Let there be lights in the firmament of the heaven to divide the day from the night;
and let them be for signs, and for seasons, and for days, and years:
15 And let them be for lights in the firmament of the heaven to give light upon the earth: and it was
16 And God made two great lights; the greater light to rule the day, and the lesser light to rule the
night: he made the stars also.
17 And God set them in the firmament of the heaven to give light upon the earth,
18 And to rule over the day and over the night, and to divide the light from the darkness: and God
saw that it was good. Genesis 1:14-18
If there were billions of years between the alleged gap as Gap theorists propose and if God supposedly destroyed a previous Earth, then why doesn't He say so? He is all knowing and can see what we will even think in the future, so why would he not tell us, knowing that we would question it? Because it never happened. They are taking the faulty interpretation of Thomas Chalmers and trying to create Billions of years of history between verses one and two. Of course, they seem to forget about Genesis1:14-18 which states that the lights in the Heaven (the sun moon and stars) were created on the forth day, which is after the 1st day which is when the Earth the was without form and void. What the Gap theorists are doing is using line one as a separate event, when, in fact verse one is telling us that God created everything and then the writer goes on to explain the details of the creation.
In Exodus 20:11, Moses reminds us that that the Lord created the Heaven and the Earth in six days:
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.
and again in Exodus 31:17
It is a sign between me and the children of Israel for ever: for in six days the LORD made heaven
and earth, and on the seventh day he rested, and was refreshed
and again in Job 38:
1 Then the LORD answered Job out of the whirlwind, and said,
2 Who is this that darkeneth counsel by words without knowledge?
3 Gird up now thy loins like a man; for I will demand of thee, and answer thou me.
4 Where wast thou when I laid the foundations of the earth? declare, if thou hast understanding.
5 Who hath laid the measures thereof, if thou knowest? or who hath stretched the line upon it?
6 Whereupon are the foundations thereof fastened? or who laid the corner stone thereof;
7When the morning stars sang together, and all the sons of God shouted for joy?
Never does God ever mention a prior creation. Never does He give any clues to even ellude to the possibility except by the misinterpretion of Genesis 1:1-2. The likelihood of a long gap seems very bleak and way off.
The second group, as mentioned before are trying to account for the fall of Satan and the other Angels by assuming that there must have been a long time for the fall to occur. What they are doing is putting God inside a box with a set of laws and rules similar to our own. Since God created the Universe and the Heavens, he can not be subject to the same principles and laws as those of His creation. In other words, if I was a potter and made a pot we know that the pot, being made of clay, is fragile and also know that it will always be inanimate without any moveable parts. I, being human, am animate and have the ability to create and destroy the pot I made. The pot can neither create nor destroy.
Ultimately, God is not subject to the same rules and laws as we, his creation are. So take gravity, for instance. It is a necessary force and without it our universe would not be able to exist. without gravity, the Earth would fly off through space and never stop unless it collides with another object. We know from Einstein's General theory of relativity that some laws are relative to one another. In his famous equation, E = MC2 ( Energy = mass x (speed of light in a vacuum x speed of light in a vacuum) ) means that mass that travels at the speed of light in a vacuum squared creates energy. We learned that if a person was to travel at the speed of light time would stop. The person would stop aging, an apparent fountain of youth, but the downside would be that his mass would also change to energy, killing him. So it is possible to find eternity, by traveling at the speed of light, however, with our physical bodies we wouldn't be able to survive it.
What the Gap theorists are failing to recognize, is that Heaven is a place which is outside our own physical reality and it would be impossible for our human bodies to enter it. The issue they have with time is only relative to the physical constraints of our own reality. In Heaven, there is no time. It exists outside of our time domain, which is where we find eternity. See, in Heaven there is no time, you never get older, you always are, but never were or will be. The created universe follows a linear time line. We are always moving forward and can never stop time or move backwards in time. However, in Heaven, they can see the created universe from any point in time because they are looking at it from above the linear line. That is why God says that He can see the end from the beginning and the beginning from the end.
So if we apply this philosophy to Satan and the angels that fell, we would know that they could have been in Heaven with God during the creation and that they could have been with God for millions of years or just 1 day because eternity is forever. It doesn't follow a linear path as time does. That is why Peter says in 1 Peter 3:8 that "for the Lord, a day is as a thousand years and a thousand years is as a day." because he is outside of time. Therefore Satan and the fallen angels were not subject to time as we are so the Gap theorists can rest assured that they do not need to justify the fall of the angels having to occur before creation by using a Gap theory.
So according to scripture, God created the entire world in 6 days and rested on the 7th. Not only is it dangerous to make an assumption that has no merit based on a likely misinterpretation because there is nothing in scriptures that eludes to a possible gap or previous Earth. In light of this and even if their interpretation was correct, they are adding something to the Bible that was not there and the Bible speaks harshly about this in Revelation 22
18 For I testify to everyone who hears the words of the prophecy of this book: If anyone adds to
these things, God will add to him the plagues that are written in this book;
19 and if anyone takes away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God
shall take away his part from the Book of Life, from the holy city, and from the things which are
written in this book.
20 He who testifies to these things says, "Surely I am coming quickly." Amen. Even so, come, Lord
Hopefully, people that subscribe to that theory, rethink what they believe and use the Bible as the pure Truth and use science to prove the Bible rather than allowing science to disassociate itself from the truth of the Bible, by following seriously flawed theories of the Big Bang and Evolution. I won't even get into that debate because I think people should be smart enough to understand that everything that they are taught should be critically analyzed with a fine tooth comb and then before ripping apart an opposing theory or belief that person should also research the possibility that the opposing theory may hold the Truth. If anyone would like to know about Creation, astrophysics, Flood Geology (ie: Browne's Hydro-plate theory, Baugh's canaopy theory) and serious flaws with regard to the theories of Evolution and the Big Bang theory, then e-mail me and I will be happy to discuss the matter or direct you to some excellent educational resources that cover the topic in detail.
The Bible is jam packed with such fabulous and incredible information and remains a book like no others. From its Wisdom, Guidance, Mystery, Prophecies, History, its Supernatural background, and it overall Design, the Bible is a book you can read everyday for the rest of your life and can never learn it all, but always learn something new. The Bible is God's Love letter to you and me. If you are an atheist or an agnostic, I present you with a challenge. God promised to reveal Himself to anyone who calls upon his name. Test Him at His Word. Find out more about Christianity below. Just like you would research anything else, research the Bible . Even if you do not believe, ask God to show you the Truth.
May the Lord bless you and keep you. May the Lord Shine His face upon you and give you peace.