The Gap Theory


In 1814, fifty five years before Charles Darwin's publication of "The Origin of Species", a man name Thomas Chalmers introduced something called The Gap Theory. This was due to the recent claims of others that the universe was billions of years old, rather than the commonly accepted thousands of years. Chalmers presented a rather convincing case, and many pastors and theologians accepted his claims and began to teach it openly as part of Christianity.

The Gap Theory argument claims millions, or billions, of years exist in between verses 1 and 2 in the first chapter of Genesis, due to a war in Heaven and the fall of Satan. Unfortunately, it is still being taught in many churches and seminaries today. 

In between the very first and second verses of Genesis, it states in verse two that the world was "without form" and "void". Many see this as the destruction of the earth due to this altercation. Since scripture doesn't say how long any battle between God and Satan would have been, this makes it an easy place to fit millions, or billions, of years into scripture. It appears to fit together all so neatly. 

(1) "In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth. 

(2) 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 KJV

First I would like ask, does "without form, and void" truly mean destroyed? The actual Hebrew for this phrase is "Tohu waw bohu", which really just means unformed and unfilled, not ruined. An unfinished house can be unformed and unfilled, that doesn't mean it's destroyed. It simply means that it's not finished yet. Can a house that has been destroyed be unformed and unfilled as well? Sure, but this part of scripture is speaking of creation; the beginning of everything. Even the word "Genesis" means "the beginning" or "beginnings". Nothing else surrounding this verse implies anything being destroyed, or a battle of any kind.

So when exactly did Satan fall from Heaven? Was it in between these first two verses? Well, let's compare more scripture to find our answer. 

Like everything else, Satan was created; this is important to know. Several verses in scripture states EVERYTHING that was created was created in the 6 days of the creation week. 

"For in six days the LORD made heaven and earth, the sea, and ALL that in them is, and rested the seventh day: … "

- Exodus 20:11 KJV

Satan would have been created during this time, as well as everything else in Heaven and earth. But what about the scripture that mentions while the foundations of the earth were laid, all the angels cheered?

"Where wast thou when I laid the foundations of the earth? declare, if thou hast understanding. ... When the morning stars sang together, and all the sons of God [Angels] shouted for joy?"

- Job 38:4, 7 KJV

I believe the foundations of the earth that are spoken of here in Job is the dry land, which God created on day three. Notice it uses the word "laid", and not the word "created". This is makes more sense, considering Genesis 1:1 says God "created" the Heaven and the earth; not "laid" down any foundation for them. Then further down we read...

"And God said, Let the waters under the heaven be gathered together unto one place, and let the dry land appear: and it was so. And God called the dry land Earth; and the gathering together of the waters called he Seas: and God saw that it was good. ... And the evening and the morning were the third day."

- Genesis 1:9-10, 13 KJV

The angels had to have been created during the creation week, either on day one or day two. Satan would have been one of those angels shouting for joy on day three, so how could he have rebelled on day one?

Another point to be aware of is scripture states that Satan was in the Garden of Eden, as a good guy, until he fell. But Eden was not created until day six.

"Thou hast been in Eden the garden of God … Thou wast perfect in thy ways from the day that thou wast created, till iniquity was found in thee.

- Ezekiel 28:13, 15 KJV

Most people think that because Isaiah 14:12 states that Satan fell from Heaven, that he was never on earth until after his fall. This would have to be inaccurate. Angels were created to be ministers to humans, so they would have to have access to earth, as well as Heaven. I would imagine that when Satan tried to make his stand against the throne, he took his followers and went into Heaven to overthrow God. Obviously, this didn't work, and God threw them out of Heaven to the earth, accounting for the verse Isaiah 14:12. 

"How art thou fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning! how art thou cut down to the ground, which didst weaken the nations!"

- Isaiah 14:12 KJV

Scripture states that Adam was 130 years old when Seth was born. It is not recorded that Adam and Eve had children until they were cast out of the Garden. Cain and Able were born out of the garden, but no dates are given, and then Seth. Which means that Adam and Eve could possibly have been in the garden for maybe 100 years or so before being removed. Which also means that Satan was probably in and out of the Garden as an angel loyal to God for most of that time as well. So Satan could not have been in Eden "until iniquity was found in thee" if he fell in between Genesis 1:1 and 1:2, before Eden was created on day six. 

Going back to angels being ministering spirits to us, scripture tells us that angels were created specifically for this as their main purpose. If this Gap Theory were true, why would God have created ministering spirits billions of years before humans?

"But to which of the angels said he at any time, … Are they not all ministering spirits, sent forth to minister for them who shall be heirs of salvation?"

- Hebrews 1:13-14 KJV

When you read verses 1-5 in Genesis chapter 1, you will also see it's stated that everything previous to verse 5 was then followed by the "evening and morning" which was "the FIRST DAY". Not only that, this phrase is used after EVERY day of creation. 

"... And the evening and the morning were the first day." 

- Genesis 1:5 KJV

God says that it was "very good" after the the creation week on the sixth day.

"And God saw every thing that he had made, and, behold, it was very good. And the evening and the morning were the sixth day."

- Gen 1:31 KJV

 It would be impossible to proclaim everything was "very good" at the end of day six if Satan was running around the earth, or Eden, as a rebellious sinful creature. In conclusion, the Gap Theory is a dangerous heresy that should not be taught if you are to take the Bible for what it says. The question is not always, "What does the Bible say?", but rather, "Do you believe what it says?"

Written by: Joshua Berry


Resources:

Documentary: Creation Seminar Series; Part 2, by Dr. Kent Hovind - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nbqtPqnOA_c&list=PL6-cVj-ZRivqKeqAklhYfFFmmAdvwcnCT&index=3