The Genesis Gap: Questions and Answers.
Good work on the Gap in Genesis. Thank you for putting the time into it. It must be so.
One other thing that I believe argues for Gen. 1.1 not be topical is the use of the perfect tense. That would mean, as a rule, that the work the Creator did was complete. I would argue that for it to have been a topical sentence the imperfect, showing as a rule incomplete action, would have been used.
However, not sure that you agree with this, but I believe that Gen. 1.1 refers only to the sky of our solar system and to the earth, and not to the entire universe. I don't believe creation of the entire universe is mentioned in the Bible.
I think the law of precedent shows me that at no time do the Scriptures mention anything that the author cannot at that time see. By that I don't mean that the Scriptures do not predict the future, but by so doing They always use only what the authors can themselves see to convey those predictions, mainly God's creation: stars, trees, animals, etc.
Thanks again. Keep up the good work.
Good to make your acquaintance. Thank you for your encouraging comments. You make an interesting point about the perfect tense. Moses most certainly could have written yibhra' (the imperfect) instead of bara', (the perfect our text) and that surely would have indicated that verse one was introducing a process instead of describing a past event: "in the beginning God was creating" instead of "created". But if, as I firmly believe, the first verse in the Bible is referring to the Lord's instantaneous creation of the entire universe ex nihilo, then the perfect tense is perfectly correct.
For I do believe that verse one is truly a description of the creation of the entire material universe. The plural phrase, "the heavens" in scripture is generally a comprehensive designation for everything in the physical cosmos outside of the earth (please see the link: The Three Heavens). That is why God's abode is called "the third heaven". That is to say, the third heaven is not the sky = heaven #1 or the universe at large where the stars are located = heaven #2, but a place beyond. Theologically speaking (as well in real terms), both Hades and the third heaven are not a part of this present cosmos:
This also explains why the New Heavens and New Earth require a prior complete destruction of the present heavens and present earth (i.e., a complete transformation of all "that can be shaken"; see the link: in CT 6 "The Destruction of the Present Heavens and Earth").
In a broad sense, the verse above is certainly speaking about the original creation of the world (cf. also Is.40:26; 45:12-18; Mk.13:19). Satan's creation is also discussed in scripture (Ezek.28:15), and in general there are plenty of things which because of distances of time or space could not be physically seen at the time which nevertheless God gave to His inspired writers of scripture to comprehend. Moses, for example, lived thousands of years after many of the events in the book of Genesis he is given to record. So I'm not sure what would preclude him being told by God about the original creation of all things or how that would be substantially different from his being told about the reconstruction of the earth, the garden of Eden and the creation of mankind (or Isaiah and Ezekiel being inspired to write about the devil's fall from grace; Is.14; Ezek.28), since all of these matters and events were long past, invisible, and inaccessible when they were written about except through revelation by the Holy Spirit.
In any case, as I say, I am very grateful for your perspicuous observation and for all your good words of encouragement. Please feel free to write any time.
In Jesus our dear Lord,
I am just now getting the opportunity to respond to your Christmas card and the nice things you said about my book, In The Beginnings. Thank you for both.
One your former students, a deacon in our church, bought a copy of my book after I was discussing the Genesis Gap Theory with another deacon before one of our meetings. I know he enjoyed your class and he thinks very highly of you. He knew I was a Genesis Gap Theory defender and so he mentioned that you had some things to defend it on your web page. I downloaded the The Satanic Rebellion and have read all five parts. I especially enjoyed the section on The Genesis Gap (naturally) but I also enjoyed the rest of the book. You are a good writer (and prolific) and I can just imagine you are an even better teacher. Revealing the TRUTH is obviously very important to you, and in my mind, that makes you a good teacher.
Let me say what a shock it was to me to find a real Christian teaching at U of L. I didn't think they were allowed in academia. It is even more shocking to find someone in academia who courageously defends the Genesis Gap Theory. And you're right here in Louisville, too. God is good!!!!!!
I know you may have not had the time yet to read my book, either. I can just imagine how busy you must be at the end of one semester and preparing for the next. I do hope you will be able to read it soon and send me your comments, both good and bad. The book is in the second edition because of the comments (both good and bad) of friends who read the first edition. So I don't mind negative comments... too much. No, the truth is, I am unfazed by negative comments because negative comments are about 90% of the comments I get. And that's from the Christians. Young-Earth creationism is so ingrained in today's church that even hinting that the earth and the universe are older than 6,000 years is almost considered blasphemy. It is a shame too. One of my main concerns is the young Christian who was taught Young-Earth by his parents and his church, who then goes to college and sees that it is utter rubbish. Too often they wind up rejecting the entire Bible. I think that is one of the reasons statistics indicate that 80%+ of children raised in solid evangelical Christian homes end up dropping out of the church during college. I think the Genesis Gap Theory answers so many apparent problems between science and the Bible without having to compromise on either. Plus, I am absolutely convinced that it is what the Bible truly teaches.
I especially would like your comments on my interpretations of the Hebrew. I am not a Hebrew scholar and I say so in my book. I have tried my best to defend all my Hebrew interpretations by citing real Hebrew scholars. But, as I say in my book, "We non-scholars are at the mercy of scholars." If there is anything I say about a Hebrew or Greek interpretation that I have been misled on, please point that out. I've have to trust scholars and I don't know for sure which ones are the most trustworthy.
I put a link from my web page to your web page on the Genesis Gap. My web page is www.gaptheoryofcreation.com
Go to the sixth page, the Link Page, and you will see the link to http://www.ichthys.com/sr2-copy.htm
You mentioned in your Christmas card that you would put a link to my page as well, and I appreciate that, but don't feel obligated. Especially if you haven't read my book yet. I've read enough of what you have written to consider your web page is something that people need to visit and read. If you don't feel the same way after reading my book, then don't compromise you beliefs for the sake of reciprocity. I WILL NOT BE OFFENDED, and regardless of your decision, I will keep a link to your site because I think you are someone who knows things that other people need to know.
In the meantime, Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year,
God bless you, Bob, and I will pray that you will continue to influence your students in a positive way for the Glory of Christ!!!
Your brother in the Lord,
Glad you got the card. Your fellow deacon was a first-rate student; I wish he had gotten interested in Greek as a freshman!
Thanks for your link; I now have your book listed and linked in the file "Where can I find out more about the Genesis Gap?"
You must be a voracious (and patient) reader to have downed the whole SR series in this short period of time! I would be happy to comment or advise on any of the language issues and questions you may have. As you know from reading SR 2, I most certainly also do translate the adversative waw as "but". On tohu wabhohu, I prefer "ruined and despoiled" to "without form and void" because 1) the former better reflects the true meaning of the phrase as demonstrated by its use elsewhere in scripture devastation, and 2) because the latter prejudices the reader somewhat to a view that the world was "incomplete" rather than devastated as a result of divine judgment (and the state of tohu wabhohu is normally a result of divine judgment when these words are used elsewhere in the Hebrew scriptures).
I very much appreciate all of your generous comments and look forward to corresponding with you in the future. Please do feel free to write any time.
And thank you so much for your prayers!
In our dear Lord and Savior Jesus Christ,
I have been reading your dissertation on the satanic rebellion. I have a question regarding the Genesis gap. In your text you quote the Bible to state:
What translation of the Bible is this from?
I have searched through multiple versions and cannot find one that states "But the earth came to be ruined and despoiled"
I have been richly enjoying your views but cannot reconcile that particular passage with my, granted elementary, training.
Very good to make your acquaintance. The translation is my own (please see the link: FAQ #12: Where do some of these translations come from?). Most versions shy away from the true semantic force behind the Hebrew phrase tohu wa-bhohu (i.e., "ruined and despoiled": ). As the parallel passages show (treated in SR 2: "The Context of Judgment"), the combination of words in this phrase and individual usages elsewhere in the Old Testament almost always describe scenes of destruction that have come about as the result of judgment so that the idea that this phrase might convey a benign condition is unworkable. Gesenius' Lexicon has "that which is laid waste" and "destruction" for tohu, for example, so it is not as if I am the only one who has ever noticed this. Rather, most translations have interpreted around the true meaning of the words. That is to say, since they assume that verse two is a restatement of verse one, and have jiggered their translations to agree with their (faulty) interpretation. For if verse two were only a restatement of verse one, then of course it would be "impossible" for the phrase tohu wa-bhohu to mean what every linguistic convention would otherwise suggest it means.
The existence of renderings like "without form and empty" in the lexica and commentaries et al. are a "back-formation" based upon this misinterpretation. That is to say, the dictionaries and commentaries which claim the phrase can mean this are basing that conclusion upon their interpretation that this is what the phrase means here (i.e., the logic is perfectly circular). Finally, the translation of verb I employ, "came to be", is a very common rendering of the copula hayah when used to describe a development (as it is here) rather than a generic state. One would think that the perfect tense in verse one would cause some light-bulbs to go off: "God created" = at one time and completely so; or that the "but the earth" (which is the only correct way to read the adversative waw at the beginning of verse two) would do so. Unfortunately, people read into scripture what they wish to read into it unless, of course, they are genuinely and honestly seeking the truth of the Word.
I hope this helps with your question. Do feel free to write me back about any of the above.
In Jesus our Lord,
I hope this isn't too dumb of a question, but can this theory (Gap theory) be an explanation for the dinosaurs' existence and then their demise and also an answer to the old earth (Gen.1:1 - In the beginning God created - zillions and trillions and billions or whatever years ago) and for refuting the young earth theory (God's six days of creation of life on earth too long ago )? This has been on my mind a very long time but I have never heard anyone who holds to this theory make this connection so I figure I must be missing something. Sorry if I'm too far off track. I appreciate your help.
You are right! I am always reluctant to hammer away at that conclusion (even though I believe it), because the Creation Institute types are very quick to use this as a false argument against the Genesis Gap (which is a biblical reality, not a theory, by the way, since it is actually there in the Hebrew of Genesis 1:1 -1:2). Their argument goes like this: "You are embarrassed by the fossil record. Therefore you are grasping at straws to try to explain it away with this outlandish theory. Your motivations call your exegesis into question. You are reaching, but if you trusted God you would accept that dinosaurs existed with mankind before the flood".
Clearly, the above is pretty silly since it is a case of people taking their own motives and projecting them on other people. It is the Creation Institute types who are all het up about dinosaurs et al., and who are going to lengths to explain them away. Personally, I would believe the Genesis gap with or without the fossil record because that is what the scriptures teach (at least for those who care enough to look into them carefully). As is often the case, this is an instance of following the Bible and then the Bible pays dividends (in this case, an explanation for the fossil record, as you rightly observe). It is very characteristic of politically engaged evangelicals in our day to put policy and political correctness first, make the Bible agree with such preconceptions, then castigate anyone who wants to look a bit a closer at scripture (if they come up with a different view, that is).
That said, I have ventured a few things on this before. Please see the following links:
Feel free to write me back about any of this.
In Jesus our dear Lord,
Thank you for the information. I do, however, have a direct question. If an unfallen Lucifer can be found in the Garden of Eden that would make the fall of Satan after the 6 days of renovation. Someone thinks they have done that with Ezekiel 28:13. In a list of good things Lucifer had this is included. This guy says there is no warrant for making this something other than the Garden of Eden in Genesis. There is, of course, no reference in Genesis that Lucifer was unfallen at the time. This passage in Ezekiel seems to say so.
Thank you in advance for your insight.
In the very next verse following the one you mention, Ezekiel 28:14, we find that this particular "Eden" or paradise has a holy mountain where God is enthroned in glory, a place wherein we find the "stones of fire". This is pretty clearly not a description that meshes with the earthly Eden of Genesis 1-3 where our the Father is not present, and where our Lord (Jesus Christ in theophany; see the link) only visits the first couple in the cool of the evening, where there is no throne, no angelic court, no mountain, and no "stones of fire" (not to mention that none of the paraphernalia of the earthly Eden are found in Ezekiel's description either). As I explain at the following link ("The Seven Edens"), an "Eden" or paradise, a "place of delight" is "delightful" because of the presence of God. That is to say, the Bible does not confine its use of the word and synonymous words to the Genesis place (cf. Luke 24:43: "Today you will be with Me in paradise" i.e., not the garden of Eden, clearly, but with Abraham and the Old Testament saints in paradise below the earth where they remained until Jesus' ascension). There are in fact seven Edens in the history of the world, and the Eden of Genesis is the third. Ezekiel's passage describes the first, the pristine, holy earth where God the Father was enthroned before Satan's fall (as He will be enthroned in the ultimate paradise, the New Jerusalem, in the new heavens and new earth after history's conclusion):
Failing to see the Genesis gap (which is there very clearly in the Hebrew; see the links previously provided below), produces a situation where there is neither time, nor place, nor opportunity for satanic disaffection (let alone for his suborning of one third of angelic kind); it also of course fails to explain the reason for the creation of mankind in the first place and, significantly, for the manner of our initial creation.
As I have often remarked, I believe that a large part of the reason for resistance against this clear biblical truth from the people who so vehemently attack it is all about politics. The gap requires faith in and careful analysis of scripture, and so places Creation Institute types in the embarrassing situation of completely rejecting scientific "evidence" for pre-history (and they want to appear "intellectual", after all), and of focusing on the Bible instead of on all their fancy pseudo-geological "research".
Whenever people have an agenda that deviates from a pure thirst for the truth of the Word of God, error is always right around the corner.
Here are those links I mentioned:
In Jesus our Lord who is the truth,
I have enjoyed your writings they are most helpful. I am currently in discussions with a very nice gentleman by e-mail, who is in London, England. I am in Austin, Texas. This guy is relying heavily on a book by Weston Fields Unfilled and Unformed . He has written me this:
If you want to know the truth this does not sound correct to me at all. I am trained in Greek but not Hebrew and this is not addressed in Thieme's book or tape series. Unless I missed it. I would like to give a reasonable response to this comment. Any help would be appreciated.
One more thing. I have a very good commentary on Genesis by Allen P. Ross. Creation & Blessing A Guide to the Study and Exposition of Genesis. In this text he devotes an Appendix to Genesis 1:1-3. In this appendix he offers up five different views on the passage and then includes his own. These view points all have impressive Hebrew scholars as adherents. Such as Cassuto for one and Waltke for another. In the other viewpoints I am sure you would recognize the scholars. So my question is this: What becomes the determining factor for which interpretation to follow? Obviously, it can be legitimately interpreted in these different ways on the basis of the scholars involved. What is the point that tips it in the favor of our viewpoint? I am firmly committed to the Gap Theory because it is the only one that allows a literal interpretation of Genesis One and recognizes that the earth is much older than 6,000 years.
Yours in Christ
Good to hear from you. I am aware of Mr. Fields' book (we Thieme adherents used to discuss it in seminary). As I recall, he relies heavily upon the Septuagint's translation more so than on the Hebrew parallel passages for his translation of tohu wabhohu (as is reflected in his title). I did not do a detailed critique of the book at the time, but you are certainly correct in your suspicions that his analysis of the grammar is completely upside down. There are two essential types of Hebrew noun clauses with waw, the conjunctive and the disjunctive. It is the former that adds or conjoins a parallel element. The disjunctive clause does just what the name suggests, namely, it "dis-joins" what follows from what precedes. It is in fact a mark of strong contrast, a very emphatic "but". Clearly, this does not suit Mr. Fields' interpretation, but it is a decidedly simple and obvious point of Hebrew grammar, well-documented and easy to spot in the text (Fields has identified it correctly only to translate it wrong). If such a disjunctive clause could possibly be explanatory rather than contrastive, which I doubt, it would be up to Fields to give at least one convincing parallel from elsewhere in the Old Testament. I have never seen one (and have read the entire Hebrew Old Testament many times).
As to the Ross book, I'm not familiar with it, so I can't be sure to what "alternative views" you may be referring. I am of course aware of numerous interpretations of this passage. That sort of thing happens with virtually all controversial passages and doctrines. In my experience, it is really not so much a case of choosing from a menu, nor is it a case of turf-defending, but if a prepared person with the gift of teaching pursues an issue long and aggressively enough, what is possible will sort itself from what is not possible. I always start and finish with the text of the Word of God.
First, as you can see from Mr. Fields attempt to bury the evidence, if one is correctly understanding what the Hebrew is actually saying, then the fact that there has been some significant change between verses one and two must be explained. That is to say, "why is there a strong contrast-marker here?" Secondly, the next textual step in this case takes into account the meaning of the two verses set side by side. In verse one, we have creation ex nihilo. In verse two, heaven and earth are found to be in a chaotic state (at the very least). This too needs to be explained. Further research examines the vocabulary describing the state described in verse two and shows that tohu wabhohu almost always refers to devastation (that is, an originally sound condition which has been subsequently ravaged), and, in addition, this state of affairs is almost always the result of divine judgment. This third point is another place where Mr. Fields and Genesis gap opponents are often quick to dismiss the Hebrew language parallels without any particular justification.
Moving on to theology, were we to dismiss the clear textual evidence for a violent change between verses one and two, we then have to explain how it is that God created something so chaotic and imperfect that it required seven days of further "work" in order to make it habitable for human beings (the idea of the original substratum of the universe being a chaotic mess is a pagan idea and, more recently, a notion of modern physics, but not a biblical one at all there is no indication anywhere else in scripture that God ever creates anything imperfectly:
Everything we know about our Lord, theologically speaking indicates, that He only creates perfection and requires no time or effort to do so. Secondly, we would, if we are swayed by the anti-gappers, also have to explain how it is that God created the universe originally dark. God is light. How would something originally and directly created by Him fail to be likewise suffused with light? On the other hand, of course, darkness is another sign of divine judgment (as in the lake of fire which is dark in spite of the fire; cf. Matt.8:12; 22:13; 25:30).
Thirdly, we would have to explain how Satan became disaffected from God and was able to canvass and convince one third of angelic kind to rebel from Him in the very short span of time Adam and Eve were in the garden. And, fourthly, we would be left without any particular reason or rationale for the creation of mankind in the first place (whereas the theological notion of man as a replacement for the devil and as a means of demonstrating the justness of the Lord's prior condemnation of Satan has much to recommend it). In such a case, no matter how long the first couple remained in the garden, they would almost certainly have to have been created before Satan's fall. Unless the angels and Satan's fall preceded Adam and Eve, mankind's creation could not be meant as any sort of example to the angels although we know explicitly from scripture that we are examples and objects of curiosity to the angels (e.g., 1Pet.1:12; cf. Lk.15:10; 1Cor.4:9; 11:10).
To add to these seven salient points, your observation about the allowance for unlimited geological time before the seven days of reconstruction is an excellent apologetic point. It is, however, the sort of thing that I always shy away from using as proof because, although I find it a persuasive point, it is not, technically speaking, a biblical one. It is also true that this is the point on which defenders and attackers always seem to home in more than any other, and so to a certain degree this skews the argument by moving the issue away from where it should be focused: biblical exegesis.
As to the tipping point, any one of the three textual or four theological proofs listed briefly above (without details or scriptures, mind you, as you have all of these in the studies and links at Ichthys) would be sufficient for me personally to reject all of the other theories of which I am aware (for the others are not biblically based). That is because I have found no convincing argument or scriptural evidence to dispel any of them. Together (and these are merely the most salient points) they constitute such an irrefutable brief that the vehemence of the denial of the Genesis gap has always amazed me. I think that goes a long way towards unveiling the fact that many of those who oppose this (in my view) only credible biblical solution to these issues have closed their ears to argument.
Yours in Him who is the truth, our dear Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
I thank the Lord often that I have found your website. Having access to someone who is trained in the original languages as well as theology is a major asset. I don't wish to abuse the privilege but I do intend to use it often. I don't have access to my Pastor who is 167 miles away from me. We are a part of a FX group we hear the sermon over the phone lines. Having access to you is an answer to prayer. I am very selective in which Pastor teachers that I trust.
My question circles around what you wrote: "If such a disjunctive clause could possibly be explanatory rather than contrastive, which I doubt, it would be up to Fields to give at least one convincing parallel from elsewhere in the Old Testament..."
Is an explanatory disjunctive even possible at all?
Yours in our Blessed Lord
Thanks so much for your kind words. Please feel free to write as often as you like.
On the question, I have never seen any Hebrew scholar or Hebrew grammar or lexicon describe the possibility of disjunctive clauses being "not really disjunctive" (outside of Fields' claim). In any case, the real point is that even if we want to do describe what follows as "an explanation", it is the nature of the explanation that is critical to the interpretation, and disjunctive clauses always contrast with what precedes (rather than merely adding additional information). The point is that there is big BUT here between Genesis 1:1 and 1:2 ("but the earth had become . . . ), and no clever repackaging of grammatical analysis can expunge that essential fact.
In our dear Lord Jesus,
Dear Bro. in Christ,
Just a note to let you know that I have visited your site and enjoy what I have read, in particular, your teaching on the gap "theory". I question the "theory" part simply because I, as a non-formally educated Christian of 50+ years, came to a generalization of that fact before I had read much about it. I have done Bible Study by correspondence from Moody and, over the years, have had many informal Bible classes from outstanding teachers and became a bi-vocational, ordained preacher for many years but the first inkling of the gap came on my own - Moody's courses did not mention it - from obvious observation of the text. Simply put, it is clear something happened between vs. 1 and 2 and, as you have explained so adequately, God is described as the God of Light and darkness is associated with evil. Couple that with Isa. 45:18 and it could hardly be more clear that the darkness of Vs. 2 was not habitable for man. From the secular saying, "God don't make no junk" means that beauty and light is God's direct creation and a world of darkness and chaos comes from judgment for sin as is shown in His dealings with Adam and satan.
I believe Biblical truth is almost always logical; when it appears not to be, it is time to exercise faith in the sovereign God.
Yours is a good work, my friend, and may God continue to bless you in it.
Very good to make your acquaintance, sir. Your words are very encouraging, especially since you came to the same conclusion through independent means. Nothing could be more persuasive of the fact that the Holy Spirit leads to the truth for all who are truly seeking the truth. Your points about light and darkness, and about the perfect nature of God's original creation, I have always found particularly persuasive myself.
May I ask which study you are referring to? If, as I suspect, you are reading the main entry on this, i.e. part 2 of the Satanic Rebellion series, "The Genesis Gap", you might be interested in some of the email response postings which deal with questions about (and objections to) this truth of scripture (see the link: "Opposition to the Genesis Gap", a posting which contains further links to the other places where this topic is covered at Ichthys).
Thank you again for all your good words.
In our dear Lord and Savior Jesus Christ,
Thanks, Bob, for such a quick response to my email. Yes, the study I read was Part 2 of the Satanic Rebellion. There is so much spiritual meat in that study. The parts fit so well. I know logic does not prove Biblical truth but that does not mean the truth cannot be logical. Our salvation does not depend upon our understanding of the intricate details of God's Great Plan but what a blessing and satisfaction it is to be able to more clearly understand, at least a large part of it, on this side of eternity. There are some men whom I highly respect that do not see it that way, Dr. Henry Morris and Ken Hamm, to name a couple but they are stalwarts of the faith when it comes to the basics of God the Great Creator. I still believe the so-called "Gap theory" makes more sense.
Thank you for your ministry.
You are most welcome. It is indeed a blessing to learn any truth about the Lord, His plan, and the wonders of His Word. In my opinion, it is also extremely helpful from the spiritual point of view. Every truth, truly understood and believed, contributes to our overall edification and spiritual growth, protecting us, guiding us, informing us, constructing a solid foundation for our Christian walk with the sum of the dynamic whole greater than the individual parts, and with each part strengthening and complementing every other part. Indeed, to this we have been called:
I appreciate your exceptional "spiritual common sense". Feel free to write any time.
In Jesus our Lord,