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Do you Understand the “Gap Theory”?

Genesis 1:1-1:2 with Gap Theory, adapted from: ID 136019795 © Vasilyrosca | Dreamstime.com

[Originally posted on Genesis Apologetics]

The Gap Theory was introduced in the early 1800s as a way to compromise Scripture with the newly-emerging “deep time” ideas that Enlightenment thinkers began to associate with rock layers. Geology was trending toward uniformitarianism (the idea that present processes and rates were the key to understanding the past, without global catastrophes such as the Flood) and that the Earth was far older than the Bible-based flood geology would allow. The Gap Theory allowed religious geologists to insert a gap of deep time between the first two verses of the Bible (Genesis 1:1 and 1:2).[i] They imagined eons of rock and fossil deposition, all supposedly orchestrated by the devil.

In reality, however, this attempt to compromise Scripture failed to harmonize with either secular geology or the Bible. Uniformitarian geologists reject the idea of any global Flood, whether the biblical Noah’s Flood, or a pre-Noachian Flood (some gap theorists call this “Lucifer’s Flood”). The Gap Theory fails key tests from the Bible and reason.

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Dan Lietha's cartoon showing Adam and Eve over a heap of dead bones
Drawn by Dan Lietha, click for original facebook version

The theological “fatal flaw” of the Gap Theory is that it places the fall of Satan, the existence of evil, death, suffering, bloodshed, and disease in a world that God had declared “very good” (Genesis 1:31) and a world that had no death (everything ate plants, see Genesis 1:29–30). If Adam was already standing on a graveyard of fossils from animals that had died from bloodshed, suffering, disease, and cancer, what would have been the significance of God’s warning “… of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die” (Genesis 2:17)? Adam could have replied, “Of course I’m going to die, just like all of these creatures have already died all around me already—it’s the circle of life.”

Adam and Eve standing on a graveyard of fossils would hardly be “very good.” Indeed, Adam and Eve’s fall resulted in everything under their dominion falling too:

  • Sin brought death; Jesus raised the dead, and raised Himself from the grave.
  • Sin brought corruption of God’s original perfect design; Jesus healed the sick and cured diseases.
  • The curse of sin brought thorns and thistles to plant life; Jesus triumphed over the curse of sin while wearing a crown of thorns on the Cross.
  • Sin brought the first bloodshed (with God killing an animal to make a covering for Adam and Eve); Jesus was the last blood sacrifice necessary for our sins.
  • All of Creation groans under the weight of sin (Romans 8); Jesus will redeem all of creation unto Himself (Colossians 1).

The Bible is clear that there was no sin or death until man brought them into the world: “by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin” (Romans 5:12). First Corinthians 15:22 is also clear that there was no death in the world until man brought sin into it.Coelacanths magazine picture

Also, the buried creatures from the devil’s bygone world should share no similarities with today’s living forms, and yet most basic fossil forms (which are marine invertebrates) look like living forms, and many specific fossils exactly resemble specific living creatures, called living fossils.

Finally, from a Scriptural and theological standpoint, the Gap Theory contradicts the very clear statement written by God with his own hand (in the 4th Commandment no less) that he “created the heavens, earth, the sea and everything in them” in six ordinary days (Exodus 20:8–11).

[i] Randy Moore & Mark D. Decker, More Than Darwin: An Encyclopedia of the People and Places of the Evolution-creationism Controversy (Greenwood Press, 2008): 302.

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Genesis Apologetics

Written by Genesis Apologetics

Our mission statement is: “Strengthening the faith of God’s children by grounding them in biblical truth and equipping them to discern error, one divine appointment at a time.” Genesis Apologetics is a non-profit organization that is committed to providing Christian families with biblically- and scientifically-based answers to the evolutionary theory that many children are taught in public school. Visit us at Genesis Apologetics.com

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  1. I agree that the so-called Gap theory makes no sense. I have pointed out to people who thought that they believed this gap concept that God Himself could not have stated that all was good if Satan and his demon angels existing before or during Creation. I have thought that there was a gap between Genesis Chapters 2 & 3 but since the Bible is about Christ Jesus from Genesis to Revelation I feel that maybe God thought that we didn’t need the information to bolster our faith in Christ. Honestly I believe that there could be 100 years between the end of Genesis 2 & 3 and since no moral law was given and all people from age 13 on were fruitful and multiplying every 9 or 10 months then there could have been a lot of people in the Garden of Eden when Satan appeared to Eve. It is possible that the great war in Heaven took place between Genesis Chapter 2 & 3? That time period would also explain why God told Eve that she would now be having pain in childbirth; which if she had not given birth why tell her of the pain? Also, when Cain was ordered out of the area he was afraid of other people and that makes me ask WHY? Could it be that those people were angry because they were kicked out of Eden and kept from returning by an angel of God? Also, Adam was 130 years old when Seth was born and Seth is in the Bloodline of Jesus Christ. The 9th generation from Seth was Noah so there must have been some other bloodlines besides Seth to Noah or there would not have been very many people to drown; but with the earlier possibility of the population growth then there may have been more than a couple billion people at the time of Noah. My questions will be answered when I meet Christ; but none the less I think that there is a lot of information that has not been given to us because Creation on a small scale began again with Noah and 7 others and what we are seeing perserved is the Bloodline of Christ through the great Flood. Thanks for your time and consideration.

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