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Questioning the Genesis Gap

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Question:  It is quite obvious that you are a student of God's Word. I appreciate all of your efforts but I just removed the bookmark I had placed for your website when I discovered that you have articles that promote the totally unbiblical teaching of the Gap Theory. What in the universe could cause you to speak about this as if it was a fact? That is what the evolutionists do with a theory that has no basis in truth! I plead with you to rethink this. You are dishonoring our Lord with these teachings. I suggest that you go to Kent Hovind's web site drdino.com and read his very complete study on the Gap theory. You will be enlightened and changed.

Response:  The Genesis Gap is not "a theory" – it is definitively taught in the Word of God. Were I to ignore and fail to teach what I know from scripture to be true, that would be dishonoring to the Lord indeed (cf. Acts 20:20; 20:27; cf. Ps.40:10; Jer.26:2; 42:4).

Understanding the Genesis Gap is a critical first step to understanding the Satanic Rebellion, which is in turn critical not only to gaining a biblical understanding of human life, experience, and history from the divine point of view, but also the end times. As is the case with much of the Word of God, one truth builds upon another, while, conversely, the misunderstanding or ignoring of what scripture says on a particular subject cannot help but affect one's understanding of the whole.

If I believed this teaching was unbiblical, as you suggest it is, I wouldn't be teaching it. Before you close your mind to this, I would encourage you to read and consider the arguments and proofs advanced in the study that deals with this important subject: The Satanic Rebellion: Background to the Tribulation: Part 2: The Genesis Gap. Here is a brief synopsis of the key evidence that argues for the gap, decisively in my view, with Genesis 1:1 describing original creation ex nihilo, and Genesis 1:2 describing the earth as it lay ruined following divine judgment on the devil's rebellion:

1) The Linguistic Evidence: The disjunctive waw construction separating verses one and two is generally overlooked in translations. A correct rendering giving this construction its full and appropriate force yields the following translation wherein the gap is clearly presented as it should be (for it is clear enough in the Hebrew).

Before all else, God created the heavens and the earth. But the earth came to be ruined and despoiled ...
Genesis 1:1-2a

2) The Description of the Earth in Genesis 1:2: While few would dispute that in verse one we have a description of God's creation of the universe ex nihilo, in verse two we have a desolated earth and a darkened universe! The false spin that God made the universe incomplete at first then used the seven days to finish the job is absurd on its face – God always creates in perfection (it is restoration that takes a process). Furthermore, the language employed in verse two to characterize the earth, tohu wawbhohu, "ruined and despoiled", could never be used to describe something merely incomplete, for elsewhere in scripture these words, especially in combination as here, refer to devastation, usually from divine judgment (cf. Is.34:11).

3) The Darkness: God is light. Darkness represents evil. Why then would He ever have made or wanted to make the universe a dark place as a part of original creation? On the other hand, darkness is frequently the result of divine judgment as is truly the case here (cf. the supernatural darkness at Armageddon, to cite but one of many examples: (Is.13:9-13; 34:4; 60:1-2; Ezek.32:7-10; Joel 2:2, 2:10, 2:31; 3:15; Zeph.1:15-18; Zech.14:6-7; Matt.24:29; Mk.13:24-25; Acts 2:17-21; Rev.6:12-13; 16:10).

4) The Sea: The sea, especially where it is also called the Abyss as it is here, is inevitably pictured as a place of and medium for evil in the Bible, as well as an instrument of divine judgment (cf. Gen. 6-9; Ex.14-15; cf. 2Pet.2:5; 3:5-7). For example, antichrist rises from the sea (Rev.13:1), and on the new earth there will be "no more sea" (Rev.21:1). In Genesis 1:2, the sea completely covers the land, making life impossible until it is constrained to its own place. Both the presence of the sea, its dominance, and the language used to describe it here show that the situation in verse two is one of the aftermath of divine judgment, not of perfect, original creation.

5) The Restraining Ministry of the Holy Spirit: The Spirit of God typically restrains evil (cf. Gal.5:17). For example, we know from 1st Thessalonians 2:6-8 that He is restraining the coming of antichrist. What possible purpose would there be for the Spirit to be covering the darkness and the Abyss if verse two were describing original creation? There would be as yet no evil to restrain. On the other hand, if God had previously judged the earth (during the gap) and were keeping the devil and his minions from further occupation/manipulation of it, the Spirit's restraining ministry would then be very necessary, and we would have a case of Him functioning in keeping with what we find elsewhere in scripture – as indeed we do (Gen.6:1-2; cf. 2Pet.2:4-5 & Jude 6-7).

6) The Timing of the Satanic Rebellion: Understanding the existence of a gap between verses one and two allows for an unspecified amount of time between angelic creation and Satan's fall. Without a gap, there is arguably insufficient time for the events related in Isaiah 14, Ezekiel 28, and Genesis 3. This is no small point since angelic creatures, although not subject to many of the same restraints human beings experience, none the less still exist in time, and so it would have to have been in time when Satan's conspiracy and rebellion occurred.

7) The Seven Days of re-Creation: All of the activities God systematically engages in during the seven days are directed towards provision for Man, a new species of creature, likewise with free will, whose response to God in Jesus Christ proves the falsity of all of the devil's lies. Just as the description of the ruined earth is only explainable by a divine judgment connected with Satan's rebellion, so the manner in which the earth and heavens are restored only make sense in the context of providing a habitat for mankind, God's answer to Satan.

To return to your observations, I did indeed visit Mr. Hovind's site, and am certainly willing to discuss any of the claims he makes vis-a-vis this point. His article on "Gap Theory", for example, while interesting, is a rhetorical piece designed to persuade rather than an exegetical treatment designed to prove his point from the Bible (which, in my view, it most certainly does not). As to Mr. Hovind's overall argument, you should be aware that it does not take into account most of the evidence presented in brief above (I stress again that this is merely an outline, and I would urge you to read the full, detailed treatment to be found at the link above).

The most persuasive appeal for ignoring this critical teaching of scripture, one made by most of its opponents, is the appeal to "simplicity". But that is a false argument. We do want to teach and understand scripture in the simplest possible terms as long as we can thereby teach and understand the whole truth of scripture correctly. Some people find the Trinity "too complicated". But I would hope that neither you nor anyone else would for that reason dispense with that essential doctrine of the Bible, just because it may take some digging in the Word to prove and understand. Moreover, failure to diligently seek out everything the Bible has to say is also the reason why eschatology was not generally taught or understood to any great degree until the 19th century. Even the reformers never got around to throwing off the blinders that a thousand years of medieval theology had placed over this very important category of doctrine, even to the point of being able to see that the book of Revelation is not an allegory! The same sorts of emotional arguments were launched at those who determined to delve into what the Bible has to say about the end times. We want to be simple. We also want to be right. It is easy to grasp hold of the former. The latter requires diligent study.

This web ministry, Ichthys.com, is dedicated to expounding the truth of the Word of God - not in a rhetorical way. The evidence for all teachings given here is always clearly stated, and the reader is certainly free to agree or disagree. I also stand ready to answer your questions. I am sorry that you have felt the need to break fellowship over this issue, and I would ask you again to consider the evidence carefully before doing so. Without the truth of the Word of God, we cannot hope to grow spiritually, so that limiting ourselves in this regard is never salutary.

Here are other pertinent links:

The Grammar behind the Genesis Gap.

The Shape of the Universe, Hominids, and the Genesis Gap.

Ex Nihilo Creation

Tohu in Genesis 1:2

Opposition to the Genesis Gap from the Creation Research Group

Whatever happened to the Genesis Gap?

Where can I find more information about the Genesis Gap?

Yours in our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ,

Bob Luginbill

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