Genesis 1:1-2 – The Gap Theory

By Wayne Jackson

One of the theories which attempts to harmonize the Bible with evolutionary chronology (i.e., the concept that the earth is billions of years old) is known as the Gap Theory. This view, which is barely more than 150 years old, argues that there exists a gap between Genesis 1:1 and 1:2, during which there lived successive generations of plants, animals, and perhaps even pre-Adamite men (though see 1 Corinthians 15:45). According to some, God destroyed this original creation due to a Satanic rebellion. Genesis 1:2ff, therefore, is supposed to describe a re-creation, while the gap between 1:1 and 1:2 allows for the ancient fossils of the geological time column.

There is absolutely no biblical basis for this compromising theory. There are several important grammatical considerations in Genesis 1 which militate against the Gap Theory. Mark them, please.

(1) Genesis 1:2 begins with “and” (Hebrew waw, a copulative) which argues against a long time span between these verses. The Hebrew grammars and lexicons consider 1:2 to be an explanatory noun clause which describes a state contemporaneous with that of the main verb in verse 1 (cf. Weston Fields, Unformed and Unfilled, pp. 75-86).

(2) Note Genesis 1:26. Man was given dominion over all of the earth and every creature upon it. This is not consistent with the notion that many generations of living creatures, over which man had no dominion, had already died and become extinct by the time humanity arrived upon the earth.

(3) In 1:31 Moses wrote: “And God saw everything that he had made, and, behold, it was very good.” At the end of the creation week, everything that God had made was still alive upon the earth. Moreover, it was pronounced “very good.” Corruption, death, and extinction had not degraded the creation as yet. Make these notations in the margin of your Bible. The Gap Theory has no basis in fact.

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About the Author

Wayne Jackson has written for and edited the Christian Courier since its inception in 1965. He has also written several books on a variety of biblical topics including The Bible and Science, Creation, Evolution, and the Age of the Earth, The Bible on Trial, and a number of commentaries. He lives in Stockton, California with his dear wife, and life-long partner, Betty.