THE GAP IS NOT A THEORY
By Vernon Gray
There are many well respected teachers that agree with the Gap Theory and there are those “anti-gappers” who go so far as to call anyone who believes the Gap Theory “heretics.”
There was a time that I would have told you that it made little difference to your walk with God whether you believed the Gap theory of not.
But having revisited the whole issue of the Gap Theory I am convinced that an understanding of what happened in Genesis Chapter 1 can be an illuminating blessing to those who will see it as it is in the Bible.
In Genesis One the calling into existence of light inaugurated a new beginning in time.
The Apostle Peter added, “...Who called you out of darkness into His marvellous light”
(I Peter 2:9).
And the Apostle Paul once again stated, “He delivered us from the power of darkness and conveyed us into the Kingdom of the Son of His love” (Colossians 1:13).
All these passages, and I am sure there are many others, attach spiritual significance to the original scene which we are discussing. The inspired scenario is as follows: mankind on earth today is in a sin darkened condition, existing under the influence of Satanic deception; their lives are wasted and emptied and consequently they are perishing under destruction; the brilliant light of the gospel of Jesus Christ suddenly illuminates their consciousness; many believe that glorious gospel and are transformed as new creations in Christ Jesus. All this is perfectly typified by the events of Genesis 1:2 (darkness) and 3-31 (light and renewal).
Furthermore, some of the prophets of the Hebrew Scriptures were inspired to use
the very same language of Genesis 1:2 in describing the cataclysmic judgments which will occur at the second coming of Jesus Christ to judge this earth (we will look at these later). Just as the present world, in which we are living, is rapidly heading towards a cataclysmic judgment, so it is to be understood that the pre-Adamic world also came to such a catastrophe.
We will see as we move along that the movement of the Spirit of God over the chaotic waters in Genesis 1:2 introduces “A RENEWAL OF THE EARTH.”
The earth was originally made in perfection as was all of God’s creation.
Isaiah 45: 18 makes this clear “For thus saith the LORD that created the heavens; God himself that formed the earth and made it; he hath established it, he created it not in vain, he formed it to be inhabited: I am the LORD; and there is none else.”
God did not make the Chaotic mass we find in Genesis 12& 3.
Something happened to the earth in order to reduce it from God’s perfection to this dark and nebulous cataclysm.
The activity of the Holy Spirit of God signals the beginning of a new episode in
the counsels of the Divine purpose in relationship to the physical world. The whole episode of the six days of God forming the earth to be inhabited is preceded by this activity of the Spirit of God. The Spirit of God does not move over the waters prior to each and every day but, rather, prior to the whole week of six days in forming the earth.
Thus, we are to understand that this week of six or seven days stands as a unit of time
in God’s work of forming the earth. The mere fact that the activity of the Holy Spirit
precedes this week proves that the week of seven days follows the initial moving of the Spirit of God. The evidence is that this week does not begin before the activity of the Holy Spirit.
It does not and cannot begin in verse one nor in verse two, but only in verse three.
The week of seven days then only follows the moving of the Holy Spirit.
In fact, it becomes evident that the Spirit of God is the active agent or power whereby God does the work of renewal on the earth. The agent of God in this renewal first makes His presence known in order to activate the work that takes place during this week. Hence, the first day cannot begin before this moving of the Spirit of God.
All events before this moving of the Spirit of God must belong to another “era” of time which exists before this renewal of the earth in six days.
The flight of the dove from the ark of Noah, before the baptismal waters had completely receded, actually marked a new beginning for mankind on a new earth which had been purged from its defilement.
The Holy Spirit that came upon Christ as a dove, as He emerged from the baptismal waters of the Jordan, actually marked a new beginning for the Messiah—the inauguration of His public ministry. Likewise, the regenerating work of the Holy Spirit marks a new beginning for each and every believer in the light of the gospel of Jesus Christ.
In Titus 3:5 the following language is used—“He saved us, not on the basis of deeds which we have done in righteousness, but according to His mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewing by the Holy Spirit...”
Now the same is absolutely true in the account of Genesis One.
After the moving of the Holy Spirit over the waters, the earth would be rejuvenated in a period of six successive days. In fact, this is the very language of the Spirit of God through the Psalmist of old. Psalm 104 is one of the most breathtaking creation passages in the Bible.
It begins with God, Who is “...clothed with splendour and majesty, Thou coverest Thyself with light as with a garment, stretching out the heaven like a curtain...”
(verses 1 & 2).
Darkness, you see, is a condition contrary to God and His environment. And the first
thing God does is to create the observable heavens which hang in space like a spectacular curtain, just like Genesis 1:1 indicates.
But, then in verse 30 of this Psalm, the inspired
Psalmist brings us to a later episode in the creative drama—“You send forth Your Spirit,
they are created; And You renew the face of the earth.”
The word RENEW here is rather telling. The Apostle John added much later in I John 2:8, “...because the darkness is passing away and the true light is already shining.”
This repeated revelation for Christians is telling us that a new dispensation has been inaugurated just like what happened in Genesis.
The one specific time that we all know that God sent forth His Spirit and the earth was renewed is the account in Genesis.
No matter how one chooses to describe the earth prior to the six day activity of the Spirit of God, all must admit that drastic changes took place during those six days which followed the moving of the Holy Spirit. These changes are all summed up by the words, “You renew the face of the earth.” So we therefore can very well describe the work of the six days as a “RENEWAL” of the earth.
“For it is God Who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, Who has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ” (2 Corinthians 4: 6).
It just so happens that every single redeemed sinner on the face of this earth stands as a testimony to the spiritual purpose inherent in Genesis 1:2 & 3. God has many times stated, as we shall see, that the condition of darkness on the earth serves as a replica of our own sin darkened condition under the influence of Satan. In fact in this very passage Paul
preceded these words by the statement, “But if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those
who are perishing, whose minds the god of this age has blinded, who do not believe,
lest the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, should shine on them” (2 Cor. 4:3,4).
Nothing could be clearer from these two declarations by Paul—
1.) The intense darkness that covered the earth pre-pictured our sin darkened condition.
2.) The wasteness and emptiness stated in Genesis 1:2 is representative of those who in
the present darkness are “perishing,” literally, “being destroyed.”
3.) The cause of the darkness and chaos in Genesis is implied to be Satan by the fact that the instigator of our own condition in this darkness and perishing condition was “the god of this world “Satan.
4.) The issuance of Light in Genesis One was the picture of the illumination of the gospel of Jesus Christ.
5.) The new creative activity of God as depicted in the rest of Genesis One is a picture of the spiritual reality in the rest of what Paul is inspired to describe —“If anyone be in Christ Jesus he is a new creation.”(2 Corinthians 5:17).
So, I will say again, if anyone wants to know who was responsible for attaching
Satan to the cause of this Pre-Adamic chaos and darkness upon the earth, I would have to
answer that it was NOT “professor” so and so, neither “DR.” this or that, nor any theologian of fame, nor any famous Christian scientist, or any philosopher or poet, nor any other human “authority,” nor was it any human religious “quack.” No, it was none of these. I would simple have to direct your attention to the fact that it was none other than the Holy Spirit of inspiration!!!!—the very same Spirit that hovered over the water covered chaotic earth in the original scene Who now inspires this application. Now, if you don’t want to listen to the Spirit of God Who was there in the first place, and Who inspired men to write about it in the second place, the n, of course, it is understood you certainly would not want to listen to me.
Now I presume most of you want to hear the words of the Holy Spirit—so let us listen again to the Holy Spirit through Paul as recorded in Acts 26:17 & 18.Here the Holy Spirit reminds Paul of Christ’s words to him —“I will deliver you (Paul) from the Jewish people, as well as from the Gentiles, to whom I now send you, to open their eyes, in order to turn them from darkness to light , and from the power of Satan to God...”
All recognize this statement as another allusion to the Genesis account of God calling light into existence out of the darkness. Again the “darkness” is equated with Satanic blindness and the “light” with the gospel revelation. At the Holy Spirit’s prompting, we superimpose Satan upon the original darkness.
Christ Himself said while He was here on earth, “I have come as a light into the world, that whoever believes in Me should not abide in darkness” (John 12:46).
Again, the parallels are plain. The darkness of the world because of sin and rebellion is pictured by the darkness of Genesis 1:2. Christ bringing the light of the gospel is a picture of God calling light into existence out of the darkness.
Earlier John wrote,
“And the Light shines in darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it” (John 1:5), another allusion to the Genesis account.
In John 3:19, John gives the added commentary, “And this is the condemnation, that light has come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil.”
The Apostle John added much later in I John 2:8, “...because the darkness is passing away and the true light is already shining.”
This repeated revelation for Christians is telling us that a new Age has been inaugurated—just like in Genesis One!
In Genesis One the calling into existence of light inaugurated a new beginning in time.
The Apostle Peter added, “...Who called you out of darkness into His marvellous light”
(I Peter 2:9).
And the Apostle Paul once again stated, “He delivered us from the power of darkness
and conveyed us into the Kingdom of the Son of His love” (Colossians 1:13).
All these passages, and I am sure there are many others, attach spiritual significance to the original scene which we are discussing. The inspired scenario is as follows: mankind on earth today is in a sin darkened condition, existing under the influence of Satanic deception; their lives are wasted and emptied and consequently they are perishing under destruction; the brilliant light of the gospel of Jesus Christ suddenly illuminates their consciousness; many believe that glorious gospel and are transformed as new creations in Christ Jesus. All this is perfectly typified by the events of Genesis 1:2 (darkness) and 3 – 31 (light and renewal).
Furthermore, some of the prophets of the Hebrew Scriptures were inspired to use the very same language of Genesis 1:2 in describing the cataclysmic judgments which will occur at the second coming of Jesus Christ to judge this earth (we will look at these later).
Just as the present world, in which we are living, is rapidly heading towards a cataclysmic judgment, so it is to be understood that the pre-Adamic world came to such a catastrophe.
A careful reading of Genesis One reveals something that many people miss. It is not what God does on the first day, it is what He does not do!!
God illuminates what is there (a chaotic earth) but He does not create anything. God merely illuminates a devastated planet upon which the Holy Spirit is “hovering.”
The simplicity of the first three days of activity proves beyond any shadow of a doubt that we should not confuse the work done during these six days with the initial creation of the heavens and the earth as stated in the very first verse of Genesis One.
From ancient times students of the creation account have taken note of this fact.
Seeing the simplicity of these facts as revealed in the Mosaic account of what has been called “the Creation Week,” ancient Hebrew sages of the first and second century proclaimed, in their dispute with the Gnostics, “All agree that nothing was created on the first day.” (See the Encyclopaedia Judaica, 1971, Macmillion Co., Vol. 5, “Creation,” pages 1062).
What did these ancient rabbis mean by this saying?
Simply that, contrary to many peoples’ false assumptions, the only thing that took place
on the first day of the six days of activity was the bringing into existence of LIGHT to illuminate the ALREADY EXISTING WORLD—and “all agree” to that.
These ancient Jewish sages were not at all concerned about any findings in the science of Geology. This was long before scientists even dreamed the earth was millions of years old. Nor were these sages concerned about any theories of Evolution. These Jewish sages were simply observing the correct Hermeneutics of Biblical Revelation.
The “Six Days” were framed by unmistakable language. It is obvious that the first day began with the introduction of light in verse three. Consequently, they observed that the Mosaic revelation demonstrated that the Heavens and the Earth were already in existence before the series of “Six Days” began. They realized that there was a chaotic condition that existed for an undisclosed period of time before the beginning of the Six Days.
On the First Day, LIGHT is brought into existence and God Separated the light from the darkness and that is absolutely all that was done!
Any additional factor added to this first day’s work would ruin the simplicity and balance of the first three days and of God’s distinctive revelation.
On the Second Day, the Firmament or expanse atmospheric heaven) was brought into existence and God separated the cloudy canopy of waters above from the waters on the earth allowing for the atmospheric heaven.
Any additional factor would ruin the simplicity and balance of these first days.
On the third day, the dry land appeared and God separated the land from the waters.
In addition God caused vegetation to grow on the land. Any additional factor added to the specific revelation would do harm to the simplicity and balance of the three days’ work.
The first three days are therefore characterized by the act of separation.
1.) The first day, God separated the darkness from the light.
2.) The second day God separated the waters above (the cloudy heavens) from the water below (the great ocean).
3.) The third day God separated the land from the waters. God is thus making three spheres that will be filled on the second three days of activity.
4.) The Fourth Day, God made and ordered the functioning of the sun and moon in relationship to the earth.
They rule over the day and night. God established the stars in their places as well. It is notable that the text is careful to not say that God “created the sun, moon and stars” on the fourth day. Their initial creation was stated in verse one.
Like the earth, they were already here. They were only made in the sense earth was made.
5.) The Fifth Day, God filled the air with birds and the seas with fish.
Here the word “created” is first used in relationship to these six days (verse 21)
6.) The Sixth Day, God filled the dry land with all the animal kind and “created man in His own image.”
This concludes the “Six Days” of specified activity.
Let’s see if you have been paying attention...“On which day did God create the land?”
Some might say “The third day!” But as we have seen, God did not create the dry land.
The text says He only allowed the dry land to “appear” on the third day.
The land was already here!
Let’s ask another very important question... “On which day did God create the water?”
No! Not on the second day. On the second day God only separated the waters.
The waters were already here!
Someone might say, “Well, God must have created the land and the water on the first day.” There is simply no text to support this notion.
The earth and the water was already here before Genesis 1: 3 came into effect.
If the whole earth was created on the first day, then the harmony and simplicity of
these first three days is thrown completely out of balance to each other.
The point to be emphasized in this revelation by the Spirit of God is that the first three days are merely the preparation of environments and not the creation of anything, let alone the whole earth itself. The first three days are all alike in this simplicity of revelation.
Therefore, the first three days of work were obviously characterized by God preparing environments and not substance. The next three days of activity were characterized by God filling these prepared environments.
The first three days of work, as many have pointed out in times past, can be summarized by the word “division” or “Separation.”
God “divided” the light from the darkness, thus separating the two spheres—Day and Night. God then “divided” the waters, thus separating them into two spheres—the watery canopy above and the water below.
Finally, God “divided” the land from the waters, thus separating the two substances into two spheres—the dry land and the oceans and seas. The second three days (days 4, 5 & 6) was involved with God filling the environments made in the first three days. The heavens and the earth are never said to be created during these six days; they were already here.
The Testimony of Job.
Whenever the Bible talks about the creation of the heavens and the earth, the heavens will nearly always be mentioned first (see as examples Gen. 1:1; 2:4; Psalm 104:2, 5; 148:1-12; Neh. 9:6; Isa. 42:5; 45:18; 66:22; Rev. 10:6; 21:1). Why is this?
Simply because the Heavens were apparently created first!
In Genesis 2:4, as to the initial “creation” of the heavens and earth, the “heavens” are mentioned first. However, in the very same sentence where it continues to speak of God “making,” as during the “six days,” the “earth” is mentioned first because it was made/prepared during the first three days and the heavens were not made/prepared in relationship to the earth until the fourth day.
We should also understand that as to the initial creation of the heavens and the
earth, as recorded in Genesis 1:1, the earth was not a darkened, shapeless, wasted and chaotic place.
Isaiah 45:18 “For thus saith the LORD that created the heavens; God himself that formed the earth and made it; he hath established it, he created it not in vain, he formed it to be inhabited: I am the LORD; and there is none else.”
How could the earth be a dark chaotic mass if God created it? God does not make mistakes!
Why was the earth covered in water and darkness? What happened?
If the above verse is true, the earth was originally created in beauty but something happened to transform it into a chaotic dark mass.
Consider Job 38:1 – 7 “Then the LORD answered Job out of the whirlwind, and said: ‘Who is this who darkens counsel by words without knowledge?
Now prepare yourself like a man; I will question you, and you shall answer Me.
Where were you when I laid the foundations of the earth? Tell Me, if you have understanding. Who determined its measurements?
Surely you know! Or who stretched the line upon it?
To what were its foundations fastened? Or who laid its cornerstone, when the morning stars sang together, and all the sons of god shouted for joy?’”
The earth was already here as we have established. Why would the morning stars sing and sons of God (Bene Ha Elohim) shout for joy if there was nothing but a chaotic mass of darkness and water?
There is no account that the morning stars sang and the sons of God shouted for joy in the Genesis account. Bear in mind that Job was written 500 years before Genesis.
The account spoken of in Job is covered in Genesis 1: 1. “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.”
Ten little words describe all of creation. This included the Pre-Adamic earth which was NOT created in vain and for which the angelic host rejoiced at its appearance in a time before Genesis 1: 3.
Taken literally and at face value, this passage tells us several important facts.
First, as we have seen, all the heavenly bodies were already in place before the earth was created. The starry heavens had been created first. This harmonizes perfectly with Genesis 1:1. Furthermore, when Genesis 1:1 tells us that God created the “heavens,” it does not mean “empty space” as some speculate. It means, in fact, the observable starry universe!
In addition, since the account of Moses told us nothing about the creation of the angelic world, we must now understand that they also were already in existence before the creation of the earth and before the specific “six days” of the Genesis One account.
In fact, here the angels are pictured as witnesses to the special creation of the earth.
Indeed, the angels “shouted for joy” when God laid the foundations of the earth and hung the earth in space as a final complement to the universe. We will observe later that the original earth was specially designed for an angel.
We have before proven and demonstrated repeatedly that many things were already in existence for an undisclosed period of time before the introduction of light to inaugurate the six days of activity.
This whole globe had been created, as a unit was held by gravitational laws, and was functioning in position in space by galactic laws.
All this existed for an unspecified period of time, before the “six days” record of “renewal.”
Also keep in mind this important fact—nowhere during the six days does it say God created the foundations of the earth! So this was not some observation the angels
made during the six days. It had to be an observation made at an earlier date when God originally created the heavens and the earth (Genesis 1:1).
Fortunately for us the text DOES NOT SAY “In the beginning God created the earth without form and void with darkness on the face of the abyss!”
If it did, we would a major problem with Isaiah 45: 18 and other such passages.
Whether you translate the passage as... “the earth WAS,” or “the earth HAD BECOME,” one thing we can understand for sure is that the earth CAME TO BE in that condition subsequent to its original creation at which time the angelic hosts witnessed the initial event by a
“Shout of joy.”
Which day was the first day?
There is much speculation as to which was the first day in the Genesis account. Those who reject the Gap Theory will tell you that the first day is found in verse one. But is it?
Let’s look at what the Bible actually tells us...
1.) The First Day— Light separated from darkness. (v. 3)
“Then God said.....there was evening and there was morning—day one.” (v. 5)
2.) The Second Day— Firmament separating the waters.
(v. 6) “Then God said.....there was evening and there was morning—day two.” (v. 8)
3.) The Third Day— Dry Land separated from seas and vegetation
(v. 9) “Then God said.....there was evening and there was morning—day three.” (v. 13)
4.) The Fourth Day— Sun, Moon and Stars to function.
(v. 14) “Then God said.....there was evening and there was morning—day four.” (v. 19)
5.) The Fifth Day— Fish and Fowl.
(v. 20) “Then God said.....there was evening and there was morning—day five.” (v. 23)
6.) The Sixth Day— Animals and Man.
(v. 24) “Then God said.....there was evening and there was morning—day six.” (v. 31)
It is obvious that each and every day begins with the very same words and each and every day concludes with the very same set of words. I have never known of anyone, be he a Christian, Jew or infidel, who contended that the sixth day, for instance, did not conclude with the words...“There was evening and there was morning, day six.”
Nor has anyone ever contended that the sixth day did not begin with the words
“Then God said.” All agree that it does!
Again, I have never known any Bible teacher of any faith, education or status in life who did not agree that the fifth day, or the fourth day, or the third day, or the second
day began with the words “Then God said ”and conclude with the words “there was evening and there was morning, day five, day four, day three, or day two .”
All agree, wholeheartedly, that each of these days begins with the same precise words
“Then God said”! NOW WHAT IS SO DIFFICULT ABOUT THE FIRST DAY?
Jeremiah 4: 23
In the midst of prophesying about a great “evil from the north, and great destruction” (Jeremiah4:6) which was soon coming upon Judah “to make your land waste, and your cities to be ruins” (Jeremiah4:7), Jeremiah seems to conclude with a scathing castigation of his own peoples’ ignorance as a result of their evil (4:19-22).
At this juncture Jeremiah paused in his prophecy and, as it were, was stricken by a unique vision which forms a separate paragraph. Notice the words of Jeremiah 4:23-26 carefully...
“I looked on the earth, and behold it was without form and void; And to the heavens, and they had no light. I looked on the mountains, and behold they were quaking, and all the hills moved to and fro. I looked, and behold, there was no man, and all the birds of the heavens had fled. I looked, and behold, the fruitful land was a wilderness, and all the cities were pulled (or cast) down before the LORD, and before His fierce anger. For thus says the LORD, The whole land shall be a desolation.”
What did Jeremiah see? Jeremiah was obviously transported back in vision to the original event of Genesis 1:2, and consequently was inspired to use that language to foretell of the catastrophe that was coming upon the world because of their rebellion against God.
Hope this is helpful.