What is the Gap Theory? Did anything happen between Genesis 1:1 and 1:2?
Question: "What is the Gap Theory? Did anything happen between Genesis 1:1 and 1:2?"
Genesis 1:1-2 states, “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. Now the earth was formless and empty, darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was hovering over the waters.” The Gap Theory is the view that God created a fully functional earth with all animals, including the dinosaurs and other creatures we know only from the fossil record. Then, the theory goes, something happened to destroy the earth completely—some speculate it was the fall of Satan to earth—so that the earth became without form and void. At this point, God started all over again, recreating the earth in its paradise form as further described in Genesis.
There are too many problems with this theory to describe adequately in a brief response, not the least of which is that if something important had occurred between the two verses, God would have told us so. God would not have left us to speculate in ignorance about such important events. Second, Genesis 1:31 says God declared His creation to be “very good,” which He certainly could not say if evil had already entered the world via Satan’s fall in the “gap.” Along the same line, if the fossil record is to be explained by the millions of years in the gap, that means death, disease, and suffering were common many ages before Adam fell. But the Bible tells us that it was Adam’s sin that introduced death, disease, and suffering to all life: “Sin entered the world through one man, and death through sin” (Romans 5:12).
Those who hold to the Gap Theory do so in order to reconcile the theories of modern scientists who hold to the old-earth theory—the belief that the earth is billions of years older than can be accounted for by adding up the genealogies of man found in the Bible. Even well-meaning evangelicals have bought into the old-earth theory, handling much of Genesis 1 allegorically, while attempting to hold to a literal interpretation of the rest of Scripture. The danger in this is in determining at what point to stop allegorizing and begin interpreting literally. Was Adam a literal person? How do we know? If he was not, then did he really bring sin into the human race, or can we allegorize that as well? And if there was no literal Adam to introduce the sin which we all inherit, then there was no reason for Jesus to die on the cross. A non-literal original sin denies the reason for Christ’s coming in the first place, as explained in 1 Corinthians 15:22: “For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ all shall be made alive.” At that point, Christianity itself becomes a hoax and the Bible just a nice book of stories and fables. Can we not see where this type of “reasoning” gets us?
Genesis 1 simply cannot be reconciled with the notion that creation occurred over long periods of time, nor that these periods occurred in the space between Genesis 1:1 and 1:2. What took place between Genesis 1:1 and 1:2? Absolutely nothing! Genesis 1:1 tells us that God created the heavens and the earth. Genesis 1:2 informs us that when He first created the earth, it was formless, empty, and dark; it was not finished and not yet inhabited by creatures. The rest of Genesis chapter 1 tells us how God completed the formless, empty, and dark earth by filling it with life, beauty, and goodness. The Bible is true, literal, and perfect (Psalm 19:7-9). Science has never disproved anything in the Bible and it never will. The Bible is supreme truth and therefore is the standard by which scientific theory should be evaluated, not the other way around.