What about the Gap theory?

The gap theory is a compromise proposed by Christians who want to keep the Bible but who think evolution has shown it to be wrong. The theory teaches that there was a huge time-gap between the first two verses of Genesis. Christians have largely abandoned the gap theory as more and more evidence mounts that the Bible is scientifically trustworthy

The gap theory is not as popular among Christians as it used to be. And this is just as well, because it doesn't harmonize well with either the Bible or science. That is why no Christian geologist could accept it, and neither can most theologians.

The gap theory is the idea that between the first two verses of the Bible (Genesis 1:1 and Genesis 1:2) there was a great gap in time. The theory goes roughly like this:

•God created the universe billions of years ago.
•Then the geological ages proposed by evolutionists took place over billions of years of earth's history.
•Life-forms arose during that time that are now preserved in the fossil record, and these fossils allegedly verify that the geological ages took place.
•At the end of the geological ages, Satan rebelled in Heaven and many angels followed him. God then cast Satan down to earth, the earth underwent a huge disaster or cataclysm, and it was left without form and void, with darkness on the face of the deep (as described in Genesis 1:2).
•God then re-created the earth in the six literal days of creation described in the first chapter of Genesis.

Attempt to beat evolutionists
Perhaps we should not be too hard on those Christians who revived the gap theory in the late 1800s. This was a time when Charles Darwin's ideas and the theory of evolution were wrongly starting to be promoted as fact.

Many Christians were looking for a way to explain how the Bible could be true in the face of what they thought were facts casting doubt on the Bible's trustworthiness. The Bible, as Irish Archbishop James Ussher had worked out a couple of centuries earlier, at face value indicates that the earth is only thousands, not billions, of years old.

The gap theory seemed to provide an answer. Billions of years could be dumped in a “gap” that was thought may exist between Genesis 1:1 and 1:2. The idea gained support from Thomas Chalmers, George H. Pember, and later from C. I. Scofield, whose generally superb Scofield Reference Bible became sadly tarnished when its notes included support for this flawed theory.

Problems with the gap theory
The modern creationist movement, particularly in such scholarly groups as the Institute for Creation Research, Answers in Genesis, the Creation Science Movement (formerly the Evolution Protest Movement), and many others, have shown not only that the gap theory is unnecessary (because the Bible's young-earth position is supported without compromise by thousands of highly qualified scientists), but that it is simply wrong.

Here are just a few of the problems with the gap theory:

•The idea that the geological ages took place between Genesis 1:1 and 1:2 is plainly refuted in God's Ten Commandments, in which God said, “In six days the Lord made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that in them is” (Exodus 20:11). God was telling people that the pattern He set at creation, of six days work followed by a day of rest, was to be the pattern for mankind's working week.

Note that this verse in Exodus covers both Genesis 1:1 and 1:2. In six days God made “heaven and earth” (Genesis 1:1), and “the sea, and all that in them is” (Genesis 1:2 onward). There is no room for a gap, because this statement in Exodus covers both Genesis 1:1 and the verses after it … all in the six days!

•The Bible says there was no sin or death until humans caused them to come into the world. But the gap theory would have billions of years of suffering and death, represented by the fossils and rock layers in the earth's crust, which are supposed to identify the geological ages.

The gap theory proposes that at the end of the geological ages Satan sinned, was cast down to earth, and there was a great cataclysm. So the geological ages with countless deaths recorded in them would have occurred before either Satan or humans sinned, which is the opposite of what the Bible says.


•The whole concept of the geological ages is based on the evolutionary assumption that things have continued the same in the past as in the present. Therefore there is no room in the geological ages system for the cataclysm interrupting the processes that gap theorists need. This is why no geologist would accept the gap theory.

The gap theory is an unfortunate compromise position taken by those who either don't understand the implications of the theory or don't love Scripture enough to take the Bible on what it clearly says. The gap theory is unscientific, unscriptural, and absolutely unnecessary.

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