Gap Theory: capable of reconciling the Creation account with the long ages required by evolution?
No, it can’t. From the start, Darwin’s evolution depended upon vast spans of unprovable time to make his theory work, and Charles Lyell’s geology seemed to provide multiple millions of years. As early as 1812, Thomas Chalmers, evangelical professor of theology at Edinburgh, proposed a gap of as many millions of years as geology may demand between Genesis 1:2 and 1:3. He argued that initially there had been a Pre-Adamic age that had been destroyed by a flood and then the strata and fossils found today were the remains of this former world. The Earth was said to have remained “unformed and unfilled” for millions of years. Then the biblical account continues with the restored Earth.
In 1812, the 1769 KJV then in use had the command “replenish the earth” in Genesis 1:28, and at that time “replenish” simply meant “fill.” Later, the word “replenish” came to mean “fill again,” leaving the impression that the Earth had once been filled with life, then became empty and required to be filled again. This became an early argument for the theory. However, later translations correctly gave “fill the earth,” thus leaving no place for a gap.
Argument for the theory today is that in Genesis 1:1 the word “created” is from the Hebrew word BARA and means “ex nihilo” that is, created from nothing. Then, in Genesis 1:7, 16, 26, etc., the Hebrew word ASAH is used, meaning to make from pre-existing material. Here it is argued that a re-creation had taken place. However, Genesis and other Hebrew scholars have pointed out that the two words BARA and ASAH are interchangeable in their contexts.
Another proof text is the Hebrew words, TOHU WO BOHU used in both Genesis 1:2 and in Jeremiah 4:23. The Jeremiah passage is correctly translated “without form and void” since it refers to the destruction of Jerusalem. However, in some older Bibles Genesis 1:2 was often translated as “without form and void” but is now usually given as “unformed and unfilled” – that is, it had never been formed in the first place. This avoids the possibility of a Pre-Adamic age but, in any case, Genesis 1:14-19 adds that the sun was not created until the fourth day so there would be no sun to sustain life in a Pre-Adamic Age!
Two other Scripture passages are claimed to support of the Gap theory: Isaiah 4:3-20 and Ezekiel 28:1-19. The Isaiah passage is speaking throughout about the destruction of the King of Babylon; yet, in verse 2 it refers to him: “How you are fallen from heaven, 0 Lucifer, son of the morning!” The Ezekiel passage speaks in verses 2-10 about the Prince of Tyre: ‘. . . you are a man and not a god.” Then from verses 12-19 the reference is to the King of Tyre who is finally destroyed. “You have become a horror, and shall be no more forever” (vs. 19). In fact, the previous verse 18 describes that mystery of mysteries, spontaneous human combustion this is also referred to in Leviticus 10:1-5 and Numbers 11;1, 16:35 and 26:10. At first reading, these two passages appear to refer to Lucifer or Satan as having fallen. It is argued that this is in reference to Satan’s fall from heaven to Earth where he set up a Pre-Adamic kingdom that God eventually destroyed. However, this entire argument is tenuous at best. All that can be said is that the King of Babylon and the Prince of Tyre were filled with the same self-pride as Satan – possibly even possessed. However, Satan himself could not be “no more forever” because later he had the gall to try and tempt Jesus (Matthew 4:1-11). Incidentally, the name Lucifer derives from Latin roots and not Hebrew.
The Gap theory is not only one from silence but has the further problem that destruction of the pre-Adamic world by God places the responsibility for introducing sin and death upon Satan and is thus not a consequence of Adam’s sin (Romans 5:12-19). The “Gap” also introduces millions of years into the history of our Earth whereas Exodus 20:11 and 31:17 c1early state, “in six days [YOM] the Lord made the heavens and the earth and the seventh day He rested.” Always, although not always stated, the Genesis Flood is claimed to be local, thus making Noah and his Ark an embarrassment to many Christians – “global” only in the minds of the people of the day. Both Jesus and Peter were thereby gullible to have believed that the Genesis Flood was universal (Matthew 24:37-44 and 2 Peter 3:3-6).
The Gap Theory was promoted by G. H. Pember (1876), from the 1909 notes to the Scofield edition of the KJV and more recently by Dake’s Annotated Bible, commentators Henry Thiessen, Donald Grey Barnhouse, Arthur Custance (1970) and evangelists J. Vernon McGee, Jimmy Swaggart and Benny Hinn.
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