In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth. 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. Genesis 1:1-2
If you read the Bible, you know that according to Genesis Chapter 1, the earth was created in six literal days or 144 hours. In fact, if you can accept the first ten words of the Book, then you will have no problem whatsoever with the rest of the Bible. After all, it comes down to how big is your God? If your God is omnipotent or all powerful, then it is not a matter of can God do this, but rather, did God do this? If God can create heaven and earth, He can certainly accomplish any other miraculous thing laid out in Scripture–including creating the heaven and earth in six literal days without a gap.
Unfortunately, many who do not believe the clear teaching of Scripture or are just plain confused, attempt to artificially insert a gap of time between verses 1 and 2 of Genesis Chapter 1 under the guise of higher criticism or scholarship. This gap has come to be known as “The Gap Theory.”
So why place a gap where God never does?
The thinking is centered around the words in verse 2, “without form and void” or tohu w’bohu in the Hebrew. They claim that God would not create something without form and void, therefore, something must have happened to make the earth this way. They point to Isaiah 45:18 as a “proof” text:
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, he formed it to be inhabited: I am the LORD; and there is none else. Isaiah 45:18
Can someone please explain to me how this verse proves that the earth became “without form and void”? All it says is that God did not create the earth in vain. He formed the earth to be inhabited; and guess what…IT IS INHABITED! How on earth is this a proof text for became “without form and void” in Genesis 1:2?
The other “proof” text they use is in Jeremiah 4:
I beheld the earth, and, lo, it was without form, and void [tohu w’bohu]; and the heavens, and they had no light. I beheld the mountains, and, lo, they trembled, and all the hills moved lightly. I beheld, and, lo, there was no man, and all the birds of the heavens were fled. I beheld, and, lo, the fruitful place was a wilderness, and all the cities thereof were broken down at the presence of the LORD, and by his fierce anger. Jeremiah 4:23-27
Again, someone please explain to me how this verse is speaking about a Pre-Adamite earth or civilization? Jeremiah Chapter 4 is all about the destruction of Jerusalem and the surrounding cities by Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon. Nothing whatsoever to do with creation. The context is extremely clear if you read the entire chapter.
Chuck Missler has written in a Q&A on The Gap Theory (here) that “the verb hayah , “was” in Genesis 1:2, is a transitive verb; it is the same word used when “Lot’s wife became a pillar of salt.” It implies an active transition.”
Well, it might be correct that “hayah” could mean “became”, however:
1.) Why doesn’t the Bible say “became” instead of “was”? In other words, we are arguing over a word that does not appear in any Bible translation. Don’t believe me? Search for “became without form and void” and you may get results for websites promoting The Gap Theory, but you will never find an actual Bible translation using those words.
2.) The 17 other places hayah is used in Genesis 1 all mean “was”. Changing the word to “became” in any of those 17 other instances forces the sentence structure and logic to crumble.
Missler in the same Q&A Article points out that “the waw , “and,” in Genesis 1:2 usually implies a time delay. Here it can be construed as an adversative conjunction, implying a reversal as well as a delay. In the Greek Septuagint and the Latin Vulgate it is rendered as “but.” Putting all this together, some “scholars” suggest that it should be rendered:”
“But the earth became without form and void (“ruined and uninhabitable”); and darkness was on the face of the deep (LXX: abousso). And the Spirit of God hovered (Talmud: like a dove?) over the face of the waters .”
To this I would ask, “Do we need a scholar to tell us what the Bible means or can we trust it to mean what it plainly says?” After all, the Lord assured us that regarding the fidelity of His Word:
For my mouth shall speak truth; and wickedness is an abomination to my lips. All the words of my mouth are in righteousness; there is nothing froward or perverse in them. They are all plain to him that understandeth, and right to them that find knowledge. Proverbs 8:7-9
The real battle the Gap Theorist has against a literal six day creation however is not to be had in Genesis 1. The real difficulty is in defending the gap against Exodus 20:11 and 31:17:
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. Exodus 20:11
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. Exodus 31:17
Here the Lord removes all doubt regarding how much time elapsed during the creation by literally declaring that his creation was formed in six literal days. Therefore, there is no gap between Genesis 1:1 and Genesis 1:2.
If I have yet to convince you against The Gap Theory by this point, consider the following questions:
1. Why do you need a gap? What took place during this time?
2. Was Adam “the first man” as I Corinthians 15:45 says?
3. Was there death before Adam’s sin? (Rom. 5:12, I Cor. 15:21)
4. When did Satan fall? (Gen. 1:31; 2:8; Ezek. 28:12-15) (For information on when Satan fell, please read here)
5. Was Satan already the “god of this world” (II Cor. 4:5) when God gave Adam dominion (Gen. 1:26-28) over the earth?
6. Thousands of species of living animals are also found as fossils. Did God recreate these?
7. When God said everything was “very good” was Satan evil and were Adam and Eve standing on thousands of dead plants and animals?
8. Wouldn’t Noah’s flood have erased all evidence of the “billions of years” taught in the Gap Theory?
9. Why does Revelation 21:1 state that the earth we live on now is the “first” earth if it really is not?
And I saw a new heaven and a new earth: for the first heaven and the first earth were passed away; and there was no more sea. Revelation 21:1