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The Gap Theory?

Updated on April 5, 2012

I know that this subject has certainly been discussed before. Many will disagree. That's okay, but I do believe that the topic of The Gap Theory, or the teaching that the earth was created and inhabited before Genesis 1:1 needs to be revisited.

The problem stems from a misunderstanding that a gap (a period of time) exists between Genesis 1:1 and Genesis 1:2. The thinking is that since the earth was without form and void that God had recreated the earth rather than creating it as is plainly stated.

In verse 2, we see the Holy Spirit at work as He moves or vibrates upon the waters. I believe it was this vibrating that started the earth spinning on its axis. As we come to this verse, we also come to the problem. Basically this theory (and it is only a theory) says that the original world was created perfect in all ways. God put satan in charge of the earth. Then satan rebelled with his angels causing the earth to become without form and void. Thus, the complete six-day creation in Genesis was really a recreation.

The reasoning is this. The verb translated "was" (hayetha) can be translated "became". The earth became without form and void. However, the sentence structure in verse 2 seems to suggest that the heaven and earth in verses 1 and 2 are exactly the same. Compare the sentence structure of these verses with Jonah 3:3. "Jonah arose, and went into Nineveh...Now Nineveh was an exceeding great city". Obviously, Nineveh did not become a great city after Jonah entered in. This verb (hayetha) is used 264 times in the Pentateuch. Only six times is it translated "became". It is translated 258 times as "was".

The second argument is that the phrase "without form and void" (tohu-wa-bohu) is used other places in Scripture to denote judgment (Jeremiah 4:23). Tohu does not always signify judgment, however.

The book of Job tells us in chapter 26:7 that God "stretcheth out the north over the empty place (tohu) and hangeth the earth upon nothing." In many places it refers to a desert or wilderness where there is limited or no life (Deuteronomy 32:10; Job 6:18; Psalm 107:40).

Isaiah 45:18 seems to clear up God's purposes. "For thus saith the Lord that created the heavens; God himself that formed the earth and made it; he hath established it, he created not in vain (tohu), he formed it to be inhabited: I am the Lord; and there is none else". God's purpose was for the earth to be inhabited, to be fruitful and multiply. Is not that what He told Adam to do? The emphasis here is on the fact that the world was created for habitation, not for waste (created not in vain). It deals with emptiness, not judgment.

Thirdly, the argument goes that God would not create the world in darkness when He is the author of light. Generally, darkness in Scripture represents evil. Again, however, physical darkness does not always represent evil (Psalm 104:19-24).

Consider fourthly please, Exodus 20:11 which says "For in six days the Lord made the heaven and earth, the sea, and all that in them is, and rested the seventh day...". Those that accept the gap theory must deal with this verse for it plainly tells us that God created everything in six days.

So what about the days? Were they 24-hour days as we know them today? It would appear so. In Genesis one and two the Hebrew word yom is used. This generally indicates a 24 hour period. If Moses wanted to express a longer period of time, he no doubt would have used the word olam. This signifies a long period of time.

The use of numerical adjectives would also lend itself to that of a normal day. Moses testifies of six normal days in Exodus 20:9-11. David sees six normal days in Psalm 33:6, 7, and 9. It would seem that Jesus Himself accepted the original account of the first three chapters of Genesis (Matthew 19:4; Luke 3:38; John 5:46, 47). Paul mentions in Romans 5:14 that death reigned from Adam, not before.

There are good men that hold to the gap theory, and they certainly have the right to do so, but I hope you see that God is very clear in what He says and we just need to take Him at His Word. We must be careful not to add to Scripture what is not there.

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    • profile image

      newenglandsun 

      4 years ago

      Michele, don't trust interlinears. beresh'it has a prefix bet in front of it meaning "in". Hence, "In a beginning" since there is no definite article. If there was a definite article it would have the vowel that is currently underneath the "hey" in "ha-erets".

    • profile image

      newenglandsun 

      4 years ago

      Michele, we should always have a passion for souls especially ones that are searching.

    • lifegate profile imageAUTHOR

      William Kovacic 

      4 years ago from Pleasant Gap, PA

      Thanks Michele. Thanks for stopping by and for the added information and warning! It's always good to hear from you.

    • Michele Travis profile image

      Michele Travis 

      4 years ago from U.S.A. Ohio

      There are several problems with your website

      The Origins of Sin – Beastiality and Incest is just one of them. Also the fact that you are waiting for the prize you are going to win is another. Does not pride goeth before the fall?

      Please forgive me lifegate, I should not judge. And please do not be pulled into his website, it is not a very good one for a Christian.

      Well, at least in my opinion.

      And please forgive me for jumping in to this in the comment section.

    • Michele Travis profile image

      Michele Travis 

      4 years ago from U.S.A. Ohio

      בְּרֵאשִׁ֖ית בָּרָ֣א אֱלֹהִ֑ים אֵ֥ת הַשָּׁמַ֖יִם וְאֵ֥ת הָאָֽרֶץ- First He made a Heavenly home and a small land. This is a translation from ancient hebrew.

      You can look at a translation Torah website and find a lot of information there.

    • profile image

      newenglandsun 

      4 years ago

      I've read a bit on this subject. Day-age theory of Hugh Ross, theistic evolution of Kenneth Miller, Enuma Elish, Pope Pius XII on monogenism, used to be a YEC, know a bit of Hebrew, and have looked into gap theory.

    • lifegate profile imageAUTHOR

      William Kovacic 

      4 years ago from Pleasant Gap, PA

      Sir, with all due respect. you're very prideful. I love your last line - "I think I know a lot more on this subject than others do."

    • profile image

      newenglandsun 

      4 years ago

      Genesis 1:1 - בְּרֵאשִׁ֖ית בָּרָ֣א אֱלֹהִ֑ים אֵ֥ת הַשָּׁמַ֖יִם וְאֵ֥ת הָאָֽרֶץ׃

      There's where everyone's problems are. It's beresh'it, not baresh'it. Which means it is actually translated "in A beginning".

      My own interpretation is here.

      http://newenglandsun.wordpress.com/2013/09/18/mono...

      I think I know a lot more on this subject than others do.

    • lifegate profile imageAUTHOR

      William Kovacic 

      5 years ago from Pleasant Gap, PA

      I'm glad to see you back as well. You were missed for sure. Hope you're feeling better with each passing day.God bless you!

    • Michele Travis profile image

      Michele Travis 

      5 years ago from U.S.A. Ohio

      Well, you know a lot more then I do. I have not told you this, but I have been away from hubpages for a while. In the hospital because of epilepsy. But, doing better. Still very tired. Very glad to be back and learning more.

    • lifegate profile imageAUTHOR

      William Kovacic 

      5 years ago from Pleasant Gap, PA

      Glad to see you found it Michele. Thanks for taking the time to consider another view.

    • Michele Travis profile image

      Michele Travis 

      5 years ago from U.S.A. Ohio

      Thank you for writing this hub. It is very interesting. Food for thought. It is a very good thing.

    • lifegate profile imageAUTHOR

      William Kovacic 

      5 years ago from Pleasant Gap, PA

      Thanks for stopping by Rolly. It's always good to hear from you and I look forward to your comments.

    • Rolly A Chabot profile image

      Rolly A Chabot 

      5 years ago from Alberta Canada

      Hi lifegate... what more can be said than Amen... well done my friend...

      Hugs and Blessings from Canada

    • lifegate profile imageAUTHOR

      William Kovacic 

      6 years ago from Pleasant Gap, PA

      GodTalk,

      Thanks for clarifying the word "replenish".

    • lifegate profile imageAUTHOR

      William Kovacic 

      6 years ago from Pleasant Gap, PA

      Barry b.

      Thanks for stopping by.

    • GodTalk profile image

      Jeff Shirley 

      6 years ago from Kentwood, Michigan

      The word replenish in Genesis 1:28 is an example of how the meanings of words change. Back when the King James Version of the Bible was translated in 1611, the word replenish meant "fill", which is what the original Hebrew word means as well. This verse cannot be used to support the idea of a refilling of the earth after destruction of an earlier civilization, as some who support the Gap theory hold.

    • profile image

      Barry b. 

      6 years ago

      God told Adam to replenish the earth, he told Noah the same thing. When the bible speaks of the earth it must be taken in the proper context. We seem to take it in the context of a great sphere floating in space when sometimes it is referring to the present state of the earth, nature, the ground where you are standing or even the area that men and nations inhabit.

    • lifegate profile imageAUTHOR

      William Kovacic 

      6 years ago from Pleasant Gap, PA

      You're quite welcome, GodTalk. Yep, Theistic evolution is still evolution. Whether it is believed or not, the Word of God stands true. Thanks for the visit!

    • GodTalk profile image

      Jeff Shirley 

      6 years ago from Kentwood, Michigan

      The Gap theory is just a way of trying to make the Bible coincide with the flawed theory of evolution and its need for millions of years for everything to evolve. We mustn't allow this false scientific theory to sway us from our faith in the clear teaching of Scripture that the earth and all that is in it was created in 6, 24 hour days. Theories come and go, but the Word of God stands forever. Thanks for the article.

    • lifegate profile imageAUTHOR

      William Kovacic 

      6 years ago from Pleasant Gap, PA

      Cristina,

      Thanks for the visit. Yes, God certainly did create a perfect and beautiful world and then declared it "all very good." The sad part is that it didn't stay that way thanks to the devil and man. But thank God for the resurrection of His Son that heals the breach. Hope you have a blessed Resurrection Sunday.

    • cristina327 profile image

      Maria Cristina Aquino Santander 

      6 years ago from Manila

      Nice hub which presents great thoughts to consider. Truly god created a perfectly beautiful world for men to inhabit. We should always thank God daily for creating a perfectly beautiful world for us. Thank you for sharing these timeless truths here at HUbpages. May you be blessed today and always. Best regards.

    • profile image

      Matthew Kirk 

      6 years ago

      Here is my theory, you inspired me to write it this afternoon:

      http://matthewkirk.hubpages.com/hub/Why-God-does-n...

    • lifegate profile imageAUTHOR

      William Kovacic 

      6 years ago from Pleasant Gap, PA

      FD,

      Good to hear from you. Certainly not everyone will agree. To that I agree. My main concern with some interpretations is that we either add to what God has said, or take away from God has said. We'd be better off to just let God speak instead of trying to speak for Him.. Thanks for stopping by.

    • lifegate profile imageAUTHOR

      William Kovacic 

      6 years ago from Pleasant Gap, PA

      Dave,

      You're right! Certainly there are gaps in the Bible. But I don't see Genesis 1:1, 2 as being one of them. The straight reading of the Hebrew (and English) gives no suggestion that God "REcreated" the heavens and the earth, but rather that in six days "created" the heavens and the earth.

      As I said many good people follow the teaching of the gap theory.

    • lifegate profile imageAUTHOR

      William Kovacic 

      6 years ago from Pleasant Gap, PA

      Matthew Kirk,

      I'm sorry you misunderstood the whole hub. It is not meant to be a scientific debate. Thanks for the visit.

    • lifegate profile imageAUTHOR

      William Kovacic 

      6 years ago from Pleasant Gap, PA

      I guess the point at which we disagree is what you call the source. God is the source. He has the final say. As I said above,"Many will disagree. That's okay...." Thanks for stopping by.

    • Faithful Daughter profile image

      Evie Lopez 

      6 years ago from Sunny Florida

      I most certainly agree with you 100%! I feel you explained it intelligently and sensibly. However, you are not going to get everyone to agree with you because everyone has their own opinion and understanding of Scripture. Voted up and useful!

    • Dave Mathews profile image

      Dave Mathews 

      6 years ago from NORTH YORK,ONTARIO,CANADA

      It is obvious that there are gaps in the Bible especially in Genesis. for instance the time between the creation of Adam and Eve and the lifespan between them, Abel and Cain, and Cain and his expulsion (With His Wife).

    • profile image

      Matthew Kirk 

      6 years ago

      Considering its a fairy tale book your mock scientific debate is amusing to say the least.

    • krillco profile image

      William E Krill Jr 

      6 years ago from Hollidaysburg, PA

      Your argument is moot if one considers the source of the Genesis accounts are thousands of years of oral tradition that had clear human elements involved from the time of the oral tradition to the actual transcription of the tradition (namely the identified YEDP writers of the first five books). Counting how many angels can dance on the head of a pin amounts to the same result: a glorious Creator made all of THIS, and it is good.

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