The GOSPEL HERALD
Volume 1 -Issue 1 -December 1996- (Web version February 1998)
Does the bible agree with the "Gap Theory"?
It is a common belief in some of God's churches that a vast period of time passed between the first two verses of Genesis 1. This has become known as the "Gap Theory". This theory (and that's all it truly is) states that " In the beginning, God created the heaven and the earth."Gen 1:1 KJV STOP ! ...Now millions upon millions of years pass wherein which at some time dinosaurs , cavemen and plant life -all lived and died (some fossilized).And then verse 1:2 kicks in showing the destroyed "first creation"(supposed by some to have been caused by Satan being thrown to earth.) "And the earth was without form and void...."Gen 1:2 KJV Now , as the theory goes, God commences re-creation (in Gen 1:3 and so on).
Well my fellow truth seekers , lets just see if this theory is factual and most importantly scriptural . "Prove all things , hold fast that which is good." I Thessalonians 5:21 KJV First of all , time itself bears record against this gap theory. It is not surprising that the book of Genesis was not interpreted this way until 1814 AD ! The first documented record of this was in 1814 by Thomas Chalmers , a leading Scottish theologian of that time. Adam , Moses and all the other men of the bible don't seem to mention this catastrophic event of the pre-adamic world. Many refer to the Noachian deluge but this other world calamity is not mentioned. Maybe the bible doesn't agree with the gap theory !
To help justify the gap claim theorists translate Genesis 1:2 as " And the earth became without form and void....." Now , while it is true that the Hebrew word from the original text , Hayah , can be translated as "became" ; it usually is translated as "was". The word appears 4900 times in the old text and over 97 % of these usage's are translated as the word "was". So by repetition the bible interprets the word itself as "was". The bible always proves the bible.
The translation of Genesis 1:1 "In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth..." is used by some "Gap-ists" to state that God had completed this creation (and it fit well with their translation of the word Hayah previously discussed.) Does the word created mean completed ? Young's Literal Translation is worded as follows: " In the beginning of God's preparing the heavens and earth...." Gen 1:1 . Also, if we look in The Five Books of Moses (The Shocken Bible), an even more accurate translation occurs " In the beginning of God's creating ...."this tells us that God's work was, as yet , incomplete. He was in the midst of creating !
Gap theorists will still cling to their man made myth by reciting Isaiah 45:18 " ...he hath established it , he created it not in vain , he formed it to be inhabited " KJV ( "not in vain " is translated from the Hebrew word tohu meaning waste or formless ). This statement is entirely true. God didn't form the earth to be uninhabited but as of Genesis 1:2 he wasn't done creating the finished product yet ! In Genesis 1;2 the words "without form and void" are "tohu"(Strong's #8414) meaning waste, wilderness ,desolation.....and "bohu"(Strong's #922) meaning to be empty, a vacuity. This is the beginning of the potter working the clay into something recognizable.This statement does not conflict with the absence of a gap and , in fact supports the literal six day creation without compromising the text.God formed it to be inhabited...but at the point in time of Genesis 1:2...He was not finished with His awesome creation.
Another scriptural proof lies a bit further into the text of Genesis. In the alleged gap period God supposedly created man-like creatures ( cavemen ), monsters (dinosaurs ) , other animals and all kinds of ancient flora and fauna. God and his word do not tell us when this occured. Yet by things that He made maybe we can gain insight. Plants need sunlight for photosynthesis or they can't survive; God does not change we know this (Malachi 3:6). So how did this plant life exist for billions of years without sunlight ?
In Gen 1:3- the word rendered "Light" is the Hebrew word "owr" (Strong's #216) meaning sun, luminary, light, sunshine, morning. Elohim spoke the light into being. This was most likely when the sun was created. In Gen 1:16- Two great luminous bodies refer to the sun and the moon. It is possible that this does not refer to their creation but their ability to be viewed from upon the earth's surface. The rapid cooling of the newly formed earth would have caused obscuring thick clouds in the atmosphere blocking the view from earth's surface of the sun. The sun, created on the first day, now burns off the clouds sufficiently to allow visibility of itself and the celestial bodies. The stars also rule the night the words <he made> do not appear in the original text so the verse more accurately reads "..the lesser luminary and the stars to rule the night." Josephus, the notable first century Jewish historian, translates verses 1-3 as follows: "In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth; but when the earth did not come into sight, but was covered with thick darkness, and a wind moved upon its surface, God commanded that there should be light;..." The fourth day refers to the setting of the lights in place in the firmament.(Gen 1:17)-He set them in their place (orbital patterns)on this fourth day. Please read on.
Many people say that the light could have come from God himself as in 1John 1:5 "This then is the message which we have heard of him, and declare unto you, that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all." And as it will be in the city of God in Revelation 21:23-25 "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. And the nations of them which are saved shall walk in the light of it: and the kings of the earth do bring their glory and honour into it. And there shall be no night there; and they need no candle, neither light of the sun; for the Lord God giveth them light: and they shall reign for ever and ever." They gloss over a couple of important parts of the text here " God is light, and in Him is no darkness at all" and also the phrase "And there shall be no night there"...but Genesis says there was evening and then morning(1st day)...evening and morning(2nd day)....evening and morning(3rd day)....The light in Genesis 1:3 does not share this needed quality to be the light emanating from God Himself.
We must rely on the bibles infallibility or else we deny our entire faith. II Timothy 3:16 states " all scripture is given by inspiration of God , and is profitable for doctrine , for reproof , for correction , for instruction in righteousness ." KJV If you believe in the True Living God and his word as being unswervingly true and ever- infallible then consider this passage in Exodus 20:11 " For in six days the Lord made heaven and earth , the sea , and all that in them is " KJV The "gap theory" denies this claim and in doing so, possibly unknowingly, calls God a liar ! Do you think God is a liar? Of course you can't !!! If you believe that God can only speak truth then you can't promulgate the gap theory !
Before "gapists" add millions of years between Genesis 1:1 and 1:2 they may wish to consider a warning given in Revelation 22:18 " And if any man shall add unto these things , God shall add unto him the plagues that are written in this book ". -Prove all things !!
In the light of the truth , which disagrees with the man made gap theory , the question must arise "Well, what about the dinosaur ?" If God created all things in the creation week and if we believe God's word - then obviously dinosaurs lived contemporaneously with mankind. The word dinosaurs means terrible lizards . The book of Job is one of the world's oldest books ever written . In it , God tells Job of a great animal he created called behemoth .The behemoth is described as follows:
" Behold now , Behemoth , which I made as well as you ; He eats grass like an ox. Behold now , his strength in his loins , And his power in the muscles of his belly . He bends his tail like a cedar ; The sinews of his thighs are knit together . His bones are tubes of bronze , His limbs are like bars of iron." Job 40:15-18 KJV Notice he ranks first among the works of God which implies that this type of monstrous creature was created before the rest of fleshy beings. Marginal notes in most bibles speculate that behemth was a hippopotamus or an elephant - have you seen their tails ? They are hardly describable as being as large and flexible as a cedar ! Behemoth comes from the Hebrew behemowth from the root word behemah meaning dumb beast which is related to (and resembles in Hebrew characters) behalah which means terror , panic , destruction - a possible combination could be rendered terrible beast. Any animal with bones like bronze tubes and a tail like a cedar could only be a dinosaur.
Ezekiel 29:3 mentions " a great dragon who liest in the midst of rivers ". This word dragon comes from the hebrew word tanniym or tanniyn which refers to a land or marine monster ! The root word tan means to elongate ; a monster , a sea serpent . The verse is in reference to a very large monster with scales in the river. Could this be a dinosaur ? It is today rendered as hippopotomus. This same word is translated as dragon in Jeremiah 51:34 "...swallowed me up like a dragon...". This is an interesting usage of that word. What creature could possibly swallow up a man ? And what about the great Leviathan ? The leviathan is mentioned in Job , Psalm 74:14 , Psalm 104:26 and Isaiah 27:1. Both Leviathan and Behemoth are described in the apocraphal book II Esdras 6:49 which tells of their creation on the fifth day and how they were given separate territories due to their enormous size ! One must ponder the ancient legends of dragons.
Where did they go ? Well , a possible theory has Noah gathering baby dinosaurs on the ark or not being called animals but monsters it is possible that Noah didn't gather any of them. The voyage on the ark must have been strenuous and it is possible they couldn't survive. The deluge would have wiped out anything that didn't swim or was on the ark. The earth , as the water retreated, was a wasteland and the food chain was obliterated ;except for the ark dwellers. This is a plausible explanation but it is not doctrine - but yet it doesn't disagree with scripture. The changing of the earth's atmosphere may have not been beneficial to the dinosaur. Can you imagine our earth never having rain? Genesis 2:6 states that previous to the flood "a mist " went up from the earth to water the whole ground. If you remember Genesis 9:13 when God creates the first "bow in the clouds" (rainbow, as we know it) this tells us that until that time this phenomenon had never taken place. This world was drastically changed!
Dinosaur fossils are found frequently but not often enough to show that they lived and proliferated here for millions of years before man. Dr Carl Baugh in his video series "The Creation in Symphony " gives one many thoughts and hard scientific proofs of the coexistance of man and dinosaur. One such evidence shows where was found in the same stratum (rock layer) the following supposedly non-coexisting life forms evidences : 2 trilobites ( supposed 550 million yrs old ) , a lapitidendron ( plant supposedly 250 million yrs old ) , athracankasaurus ( a large T-rex like monster with armored spikes down its back and supposed to be 100 million yrs old ) , 7 big cat paw prints which are 7" wide suggesting at six foot at the shoulder height ( supposdly 6 million years old ) , 57 human footprints ( just like ours - some 14" in length ) and a fossilized human finger. This evidence points "scientifically" to coexistance.
They say that the dinosaurs were used to make fossil fuels and that this requires millions of years. An article from Science News volume 127 mMarch 23rd 1985 states that in 1982 quick oil was discovered forming rapidly along the Eastern Pacific Rise and a previously discovered similar accumulation in the Western Atlantic. They say it is apparent that it must be caused by hot molten lava interacting with organically rich waters . No billions of years to form this " fossil fuel " ............Hmm ! - Selah (think about it)
Suggested reference material:
Creation in Symphony Video series by Dr. Carl Baugh
The Great Dinosaur Mystery And The Bible by Paul S.Taylor (suitable for children as well)
Research resources :
KJV Holy Bible
YLT Holy Bible
The Five Books of Moses ( The Shocken Bible )
Bullinger's Companion Bible
Creation science /online book
Unformed and Unfilled : The Gap Theory by Weston W. Fields 1976
Creation Magazine March 1986
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