Time, Truth, and Wisdom
CHAPTER 7--The Gap Theory
I wonder how many of you have even heard of the “Gap Theory”. It certainly is not a common topic of sermons or Sunday school lessons. And the response from most people when asked if they know about the gap theory is: “The theory of what?”
So, in and of itself, most Christians aren’t concerned with this subject. And that is a little perplexing, seeing that this “gap theory” involves a space of time between Genesis 1:1 and 1:2; the very first two verses of the Holy Book, that takes into account millions of years.
The gap theory is said to be a “popular compromise of creation”, a way for the Christian community to incorporate evolution into the Scriptures. Due to the lack of geological exploration prior to the mid-19th century there was really no need to reconcile the findings of geology, which held that this earth was millions of years old, with the very short Biblical account of creation, found in Genesis.
As geological information began to emerge it became clear that this earth was a great deal older than the 6000 years that Christianity had been claiming. The origin and popularity of the gap theory is mainly attributed to Thomas Chalmers (1780-1847) and William Buckland. Chalmers was a theologian and founder of the Free Church of Scotland.
Some attribute its origin to be back in Biblical times but it was the re-translation of the King James Bible by Cyrus Scofield, who published the Scofield Reference Bible in 1909, that brought more than just a passing awareness of the gap theory.
There are several “classifications” of people who may believe that the gap theory has credibility but that there are certain facts within the theory upon which all do not agree. There are basically three primary established thoughts on how to reconcile long periods of geological time with the book of Genesis and they are: Theistic Evolution, Progressive Creation and the Gap Theory.
Theistic Evolution pretty much ignores Genesis 1:1 through Genesis 1:31. The obvious problem that I have with that is that if you are going to pick up a bible and begin to read it and try to understand it why would you completely disregard the first 31 verses of the first book?
This particular line of thought incorporates the “big bang theory” with God causing the big bang and then letting things happen naturally after that with only occasional interference from Him. If you’ll remember, I said earlier that you cannot pick and choose which parts of the bible that you are going to believe. It’s an all or nothing situation.
God either gave us the whole truth when the authors wrote the various books or we are dealing with a Supreme Being that just enjoys jerking us around. If you are unsure of my beliefs on this then put this book down and amuse yourself by doing something else. Like banging your head against a wall and wondering why it hurts.
Progressive Creation goes down a different avenue to explain the “unexplainable”. Their approach is to take each day of creation and make a single day equal to 1000 years or possibly more. The variations here depend on one’s personal belief.
A day could be millions of years, I suppose. This approach is called the Day/Age Theory, which holds that the 6 days of creation is not a literal 6 days of 24 hours in each day but rather 6 different ages of time of 1000 years each. To substantiate this thought they want to take 2nd Peter, 3:8:
2nd Peter 3:8 But, beloved, be not ignorant of this one thing, that one day is with the Lord as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day.
They use the 1 day = 1000 years/1000 years = 1 day as showing that 1 day of creation took 1000 years of actual time for every 24 hour day, thus equaling 6000 years over a 6 day period which is how they come up with the premise that the earth is only 6000 years old.
That just won’t work for Genesis chapter 1 and Dr. Bullinger, the translator of the Companion Bible, a linguist, one who studies words and word usage explains why:
“The word “day”, when used without any limiting words, may refer to a long or prolonged period: as, the ‘day of grace’, the ‘day of judgment’, the ‘day of salvation’, the ‘day of visitation’, the ‘day of the Lord’, ‘man’s day’, and etc. But when the word ‘day’ is used with a numerical (cardinal or ordinal), as one, two, three, and etc., or first, second, third, and etc, ‘evening and morning’, or the ‘seventh day’, it is limited, defined, and restricted to an ordinary day of twenty-four hours.”
Both the evening and the morning and first, second, third, fourth, fifth and sixth delineations are there for all six days of creation:
1st day: Genesis 1:5 And the evening and the morning were the first day.
2nd day: Genesis 1:8 And the evening and the morning were the second day.
3rd day: Genesis 1:13 And the evening and the morning were the third day.
4th day: Genesis 1:19 And the evening and the morning were the fourth day.
5th day: Genesis 1:23 And the evening and the morning were the fifth day.
6th day: Genesis 1:31 And the evening and the morning were the sixth day.
Traditional religious beliefs are sometimes just that; unfounded traditional beliefs, passed on from one generation to the next.
2nd Peter 3:8 But, beloved, be not ignorant of this one thing, that one day is with the Lord as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day.
The subject that the Apostle Peter is talking about in verse 8 is that people are complaining about the long length of time that has passed and there still is no sign that Christ will return, they have become scoffers, they doubt that God will keep His word about the coming of the Savior.
In verse 8, Peter is writing that our Father is using an analogy concerning His concept of time: one day is as a thousand years and a thousand years is as a day. Even if one day were literally a period of time of 1000 years it would still not reconcile millions of years of geological time. A similar reference showing that time means nothing to our Father can be found in the Book of Psalms:
Psalms 90:4 For a thousand years in thy sight are but as yesterday when it is past, and as a watch in the night.
From this we have additional information that one day being a thousand year period is not the correct usage and that trying to use it to make millions of years fit with harmony using a literal translation of the Bible is erroneous at best. Indeed, the six days of creation were literally 6/24-hour days.
Then we have the Gap Theory. Christianity needs to realize that there is no reason not to believe that this earth is approximately 4.5 billion years old because there is credible evidence that it is. Accepting these geological facts does not deny the existence of God; this is not some maniacal scheme put together by science and geology.
Maybe certain segments of the scientific community want to take God out of the equation and believe that all objects in space came from a primordial big bang and we are now living in an ever-expanding universe and I say: so what? If the scientific community wants to accuse Christianity of using the gap theory to incorporate billions of years of geological evidence into the Biblical account of creation then I say: so what?
If some segments of Christianity want to insert the gap theory between Genesis 1:1 and 1:2 then I say: so what? Where else are you going to insert it? When Christianity denies all of the geological evidence and takes the Scriptures in a literal sense it makes them look stupid.
It is perfectly consistent with common sense and sound reasoning to believe in the geological record and still not believe in evolution, at least in the respect that the human race did not descend from hairy, knuckle-dragging beasts.
It is difficult for some to believe that God could have created a perfect world and then had to destroy it for some reason. This somehow makes God imperfect in their eyes but then God did not destroy that perfect world but that particular age.
Some believe that in the far, distant past (they have no understanding of the three different heaven/earth ages) that Satan was ruler over all the earth and that it was populated with soul-less “men” (an apparent reference to prehistoric hominids?), they put Satan in the Garden of Eden (far before his time) and have him rebelling against God which brings about sin in the universe, resulting in Gods judgment on the earth in the form of the flood (referred to as “Lucifer’s Flood).
Quite frankly, let’s go through this again without the Scriptural references. In that first heaven/earth age, there was a heaven populated with angles and all the rest of God’s creatures. Satan, as Lucifer, decided to overthrow our Father and take control. Were the heavens and the earth present at that time? Yes.
Then, our Father decided, rather than destroy fully 1/3 of all of His creation, to sentence Lucifer to a spiritual death for leading the attempted coup; to destroy the surface of the earth as it was, have each soul and spirit in that first heaven/earth age come through the second heaven/earth age, this earth age, in the form of human beings, umbilical cord to umbilical cord, to decide, within a relatively short life span, whether they will follow our Father or Satan.
Did our Father use the waters below the firmament to flood the entire surface of the earth to obtain that destruction? Yes. Was the original creation of the earth void and without form? No. Was it beautiful and habitable? Yes. Did the angles inhabit the earth? Yes. Will our Father cause the surface of the earth to change back to its original state in the third heaven/earth age? Yes.
Satan/Lucifer did not bring sin into the world because of his attempted takeover in that first heaven/earth age because the world as we know it now, populated with human beings, is quite different from the world that was and since sin is a transgression of the laws of God, there is no written authority that our Father had put into place any law.
If this is so then there could be no sin as we know sin to be. It could be that, within the organizational structure in heaven, the hierarchy between our Father, the zoon or zoa, the archangels, the cherubim, the seraphim, and the angles, there was an unwritten law that was understood and that any violation of these unwritten codes would bring serious consequences. The condition of heaven at that time was peaceful and joyful but when Satan attempted to overthrow our Father, the consequences were very serious indeed.
One of Satan’s goals is to create controversy and doubt in the minds of people; to make them doubt the authenticity of the Scriptures and certainly, theistic evolution, progressive creation, and the gap theory does exactly that. It pits the Christian against science, and even more than that, it pits Christian against Christian and that really makes Satan happy.
Science, by and large, denies the existence of a Creator; Christianity, by and large, denies the existence of evolution. But the fact of the matter is that there is credible evidence that this earth is older than 6000 years and Christianity needs to accept that fact.
When Charles Darwin wrote his book on evolution back in the 1800’s it stirred up much controversy among the church and bringing evolution into harmony with the Scriptures became difficult and argumentative. Theistic Evolutionists contend that the creation process of Genesis didn’t even exist and that God only intervened occasionally while “the Big Bang did its thing”.
This pretty much puts them in the category of “evolutionists” with only sporadic acts from God Himself. The Progressive Creationists contend that the six days of creation in Genesis were actually six different extended periods of time, perhaps longer than 1000 years each with, again, God stepping in occasionally with some extra help. This belief simply ignores the scientific evidence of billions of years of geological time and data and they hang in there with the 6000-year-old earth belief.
Some of the views of the Progressive Creationists include the belief that there were millions of years of earth history that included disasters, volcanic eruptions and the death of animals before the creation of Adam and Eve. Those that argue against that say that sin only began with the disobedience of Adam and Eve in the Garden and therefore animals could not have died prior to sin being created by the fall of Mankind.
If this is true then let me ask you this: what sin could an animal possibly commit that would be an offense to God? They are simply part of God’s creation and they do what God created them to do. They are not here to choose between right and wrong unless they have received human training and that training is what they disobey.
Even at that God does not kill them for human disobedience. WE kill them for human disobedience. And if they want to bring Adam and Eve into the mix have they not read of the sixth-day creation of man and woman; a very different creation of humans before Adam and Eve?
Those who refute the gap theory seem to take offense to the notion that the earth today is different than it was in the first heaven/earth age, indicating that somehow God made a mistake; that the earth as it is now is a reconstruction of the original. Truth is, God did not make a mistake and the surface of the earth in this heaven/earth age is a reconstruction.
Much is made of the translation of certain English words from the original Hebrews texts. These words are “created” and “made”. I could go into the Hebrew and make the comparison of the usage of each word and their context but I don’t feel inclined to so because it is a wearisome argument and neither side will ever be convinced that the other side is right or wrong.
Having said that, I want to make just one point: in the book of 2nd Peter, chapter 3, Peter points out to us that there are three heaven/earth ages. There was a heaven/earth age before, there is the heaven/earth age in which we are currently living and there is a third heaven/earth age to come. If you understand that there was a heaven/earth age before the one in which we are currently living then millions of years of geological record is no longer a problem.
The Scriptures themselves will give us the answer to the age-old question of evolution. This is not a cop-out or just a plausible explanation; it is the only explanation. In all the research that I’ve done on this “gap theory”, not one person ever mentions 2nd Peter, chapter 3. I have pointed this out before but let’s read it again:
2nd Peter 3:5 For this they willingly,
Not “happen to be”, not “maybe they are”, they request it, they desire it, willingly,
are ignorant of,
They desire to be stupid about this; they choose to believe the words of men over the words of our Father,
that by the word of God the heavens were of old,
Not the heaven/earth age which is now but of old, the former, the first,
and the earth standing out of the water and in the water.
You cannot place millions of years of geological age after Genesis 1:2 because it will not fit with the six days of creation. God destroyed the age that was, and yes, reconstructed the surface of the earth. We talked about this at length in chapter 5. The only entity that received a sentence of spiritual death in that first earth age was Lucifer, Satan.
The author of one article wrote: “It is difficult to conceive of a disastrous judgment upon the earth and all its inhabitants because of the action of one angel whose home was not the earth in the first place.” If this man considered 2nd Peter, chapter 3 he would not have made that erroneous statement because that is exactly what happened. The inhabitants of the earth did not include human beings at that time; humans would not be created until the 6th day of creation in Genesis 1:26:
Genesis 1:26 And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth.
Genesis 1:27 So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them.
This earth was indeed inhabited by angels in the first earth/heaven age.
If people can believe that we are descendants of knuckle-dragging primates why can’t they believe that there was a heaven/earth age before this one, especially when this information comes from the mouth of God Himself and not some scientist or paleontologist? God chose not to destroy all of His angelic creation but rather to destroy the “age that was” and give all of those angelic beings a second chance, in this heaven/earth age.
At every opportunity, Satan will try to deceive, confuse and confound the world with falsehoods and lies. Babel is his middle name. He has already been judged and sentenced to die in the lake of fire and he knows it and he is going to take as many souls with him as he possibly can and his M.O., his modus operandi, will be the same throughout the entire Book. Deceive, deceive, and deceive.
Let me point something out before I lose my line of thought on this particular subject and give you some food for thought. At the beginning of creation in the Book of Genesis in verse 3:
Genesis 1:3 And God said, Let there be light: and there was light.
Any normal thinking person would read this verse and naturally assume that this “light” would come from the sun so our Father would have created the sun at this particular time. This would mean that the sun was part of the six days of creation. Now, those of you that believe, as I do, that there were eons of time before these six days of creation, (the surface of the earth being re-created during these six days), what would have lightened the day if the sun was not to be created until millions and millions of years later? Let’s read Revelation 21:23:
Revelation 21:23 And the city had no need of the sun, neither of the moon, to shine in it: for the glory of God did lighten it, and the Lamb is the light thereof.
The city spoken of here is the New Jerusalem of the eternal age. The surface of the earth has already been changed back to that condition of the first heaven/earth age and as it clearly says here there is no need of the sun or the moon for the glory of God Himself did lighten it. Would not the glory of God Himself have lightened the earth in the first heaven/earth age as well? Long before the six days of creation of Genesis?
Just because a person has an eye chart after their name; MD, Ph.D., BS, doesn’t mean that they all are ignorant of God’s Word and the contents thereof; or because of their education that they are blind to the Scriptures. Not at all, every person, regardless of his or her education, has an opportunity to choose between good and evil.
Not every scientist or paleontologist or geologist has evil in his or her heart. But when your education precludes a person from considering other options, over and above what you have been taught, then that makes the person very narrow-minded and downright dangerous. Not dangerous to you and I but dangerous to themselves because their mind will be closed and not open to the whisperings of the Holy Spirit.
And when that avenue of communication has been cut off there is grave danger that you can be deceived and your eventual walk into the lake of fire will be inevitable.
Science and the record of Biblical creation can coexist quite well together if you will understand the three world ages. If a person wants to investigate the geological record and discover the creation that God had going during that time then enjoy the career that you have chosen and give God the glory and credit; amplify His ability to create and your ability to discover His creation.
But if your goal is to deny the existence of God and look for a one-celled amoeba through which all life has evolved, to try to make us believe that we are descendants of ape-like creatures, to look to the heavens and other planets for the origin of life, then your participation in the deception of millions of human beings will be judged accordingly.
The controversy between creationism and evolution will go on and Satan will take as many confused souls with him as he possibly can. There is only one enemy that we cannot fight on our own and that is the supernatural entity known as Satan. Our saving grace is that we have His Son on our side if we will only understand and allow it.
Oh, by the way, if you don’t believe that our Father is the Creator of all things, please go into an empty room with nothing in it but yourself and create a tree or a one-celled amoeba. Let me know how that works out for you.