The book of Genesis is the foundational book of the Bible, the book of beginnings of creation, truth, man, woman, Sabbath, marriage, home, childhood, agriculture, sacrifice, grace, sin, murder, and many other common creations all have their birthing’s here. One of the Exegetical issues that have developed between Biblical scholars over the years is whether there is a time gap in the creation account of Genesis. The significant gap theories postulate slightly different views of the creation account, but all attempt to justify a much older earth between the verses of Genesis 1.1 and 2 or 1.2 and 3. The most prominent of the theories is the Ruin-reconstruction theory which we will examine. (Ham).
Who first suggested the gap theory? Dr. Thomas Chalmers (17 March 1780 – 31 May 1847), “a notable Scottish theologian and first moderator of the Free Church of Scotland was credited with being the man most responsible for the ruin-reconstruction gap theory.” (Fields). This idea can be traced back to the relatively obscure writings of the Dutch Arminian Simon Episcopius (1583 – 1643) and first recorded officially from one of Chalmers’ lectures in 1814. Reverend William Buckland (1784 – 1856), a geologist, did much to popularize the ruin-reconstruction gap theory. (Taylor). The origins of this theory came from a period when the study of Geology was just beginning to be accepted by the global scientific community.
An accepted definition of the ruin-reconstruction gap theory is hard to find; they all seemed to have a intolerance to one side or the other. The definition that seems the least biased came from All About Creation’s website. Their description states, “The Gap Theory holds that the ages of evolution (the periods and eras of "modern science") occurred before the six days of biblical Creation, but were part of the creative process of God. These ages were then terminated by a worldwide catastrophic event, followed by a period of replenishing the earth, according to the following instructions of God in Genesis: "Then God blessed them, and God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply; fill the earth and subdue it; have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over every living thing that moves on the earth.” (NKJV, Genesis 1.28).
There appears to be a couple of ways to respond to the presumed gap theory. One of these is dismissing the theory or misapply it. We will try to make neither. Starting with the removal of the Bible and school prayer in 1963 from public schools began a trend of false teaching of evolution as established science. Theologians, sensing a departure from the truth of the Word of God, responded by attempting to reconcile the Bible to science, instead of standing on the Word of God. When trying to put theistic evolution into creation, it is like passing “. . .a camel through the eye of a needle” (Matthew 19.24). It flies in the face of God whose passion for creation is evident in the often ignored Gospel of Paul, the most profound book of all literature, and the New Testament, Romans. Romans 1.18-35 delivers a curse that God pronounced on unbelieving humans who observed His magnificent creation before them so that unbelieving mankind, who has knowledge of Him manifest within them, is without excuse.
While most gap theorist maintains a literal hermeneutic, the overall gap theory seems to be in direct contradiction to a number of scriptures that most literalist accepts. For example, when Moses and Aaron received the Law, God emphatically states, “For in six days, the Lord made the heavens and the earth, the sea, and all that is in them, and rested the seventh day. Therefore, the Lord blessed the Sabbath day and hallowed it.” (Exodus 20.11).
First, in this passage God clearly delineates the creation in terms both Moses and Aaron could understand. The days of creation are spoken by the Creator Himself in a clear, concise, account that is not allegorical or symbolic, but rather a manifestation of time by God who created time and space, but “who inhabits eternity.” (Isaiah 57.17a).
Second, Romans 5.12 states, “Therefore, just as through one man sin entered the world, and death through sin, and thus death spread to all men, because all sinned.” From this scripture, we know there was no sin or death prior to Adam which presents a formidable scriptural issue for the gap theorist.
Paul testifies to Adam being the first man in 1 Corinthian 15.41 which removes any doubt. Paul wrote, “And so it is written, “The first man Adam became a living being. The last Adam became a life-giving spirit.” From the Word of God, we have Adam defined as the first man created during the sixth day. God had provided evidence for humanity removing any doubt about when life began, the first man Adam.
Jesus, while in the region of Judea, received the usual questions by the Pharisees, but always in control, turned the tables on the Pharisees by saying, “. . . Because of the hardness of your heart he wrote you this precept. But from the beginning of the creation, God made them male and female.” (Mark 10.5-6). God in the flesh said that the creation of mankind starting with Adam and Eve and the creation of the earth occurred in the context of what God had said in Exodus 20.11. Jesus Christ could not contradict what the Father had said, even if the Pharisees tried. When doubting the Words of the Lord Jesus Christ, you have a much bigger problem than whether the gap theory is true Biblically or not.
Paul is perhaps one of the smartest men ever to live and probably is one of the greatest writers. He makes one of the clearest statements in the Word of God on the role Jesus Christ had in the creation and continues to apply in the world today. Paul states, “For by Him all things were created that are in heaven, and that are on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or principalities or powers. All things were created through Him and for Him. And He is before all things, and in Him all things consist.” (Colossians 1.16-17)
I truly hope you've enjoyed this discussion of the gap theory and creation. We will continue to discuss creation in the next article from the Biblical historians point of view. Today's wrong thinking critics think the early Christian historians have a biased Jewish/Christian slant on history. What the critics would never admit is that they are just as biased in their world view by man's wisdom which is nothing but folly to God. God's blessings to each of you.
Fields, Weston. Unformed and Unfilled. Collinsville: Burgener's Enterprises. 1976. P. 40. Print
Ham, Ken. What About the Gap and Ruin-Reconstruction Theories? Answers in Genesis
Organization. 6 September 2007. Web. 27 April 2013.
New King James Version, The Scofield Study Bible. New York: Oxford University Press, 2002.
Taylor, Ian. In the Minds of Men: Darwin and the New World Order. Toronto: TFE Publishing.
1984. P. 363. Print.