(the Gap Theory: and the Day-Age and Revelatory-Day theories as well as the resolution of some Valid Concerns)


Genesis 1:1-2:3 - In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.  Now the earth was formless and empty, darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was hovering over the waters.  And God said, "Let there be light," and there was light.  God saw that the light was good, and he separated the light from the darkness.  God called the light "day," and the darkness he called "night." And there was evening, and there was morning— the first day.  And God said, "Let there be an expanse between the waters to separate water from water."  So God made the expanse and separated the water under the expanse from the water above it. And it was so.  God called the expanse "sky." And there was evening, and there was morning— the second day.  And God said, "Let the water under the sky be gathered to one place, and let dry ground appear." And it was so.  God called the dry ground "land," and the gathered waters he called "seas." And God saw that it was good.  Then God said, "Let the land produce vegetation: seed-bearing plants and trees on the land that bear fruit with seed in it, according to their various kinds." And it was so.  The land produced vegetation: plants bearing seed according to their kinds and trees bearing fruit with seed in it according to their kinds. And God saw that it was good.  And there was evening, and there was morning— the third day.  And God said, "Let there be lights in the expanse of the sky to separate the day from the night, and let them serve as signs to mark seasons and days and years, and let them be lights in the expanse of the sky to give light on the earth." And it was so.  God made two great lights— the greater light to govern the day and the lesser light to govern the night. He also made the stars.  God set them in the expanse of the sky to give light on the earth, to govern the day and the night, and to separate light from darkness. And God saw that it was good.  And there was evening, and there was morning— the fourth day.  And God said, "Let the water teem with living creatures, and let birds fly above the earth across the expanse of the sky."  So God created the great creatures of the sea and every living and moving thing with which the water teems, according to their kinds, and every winged bird according to its kind. And God saw that it was good.  God blessed them and said, "Be fruitful and increase in number and fill the water in the seas, and let the birds increase on the earth."  And there was evening, and there was morning— the fifth day.  And God said, "Let the land produce living creatures according to their kinds: livestock, creatures that move along the ground, and wild animals, each according to its kind." And it was so.  God made the wild animals according to their kinds, the livestock according to their kinds, and all the creatures that move along the ground according to their kinds. And God saw that it was good.  Then God said, "Let us make man in our image, in our likeness, and let them rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air, over the livestock, over all the earth, and over all the creatures that move along the ground."  So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them.  God blessed them and said to them, "Be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it. Rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air and over every living creature that moves on the ground."  Then God said, "I give you every seed-bearing plant on the face of the whole earth and every tree that has fruit with seed in it. They will be yours for food.  And to all the beasts of the earth and all the birds of the air and all the creatures that move on the ground— everything that has the breath of life in it— I give every green plant for food." And it was so.  God saw all that he had made, and it was very good. And there was evening, and there was morning— the sixth day.  Thus the heavens and the earth were completed in all their vast array.  By the seventh day God had finished the work he had been doing; so on the seventh day he rested from all his work.  And God blessed the seventh day and made it holy, because on it he rested from all the work of creating that he had done.


In order to explain why I do not give credit to the Gap Theory I must first give a short analysis of the relationship between the theory of evolution and time.  The theory of evolution requires vast periods of time for the proposed mechanism of natural selection to function.  A professor holding up a worm before his class and saying: "This is what your grandfather looks like" carries much more weight when it is phrased: "Millions of years ago this was what your grandfather looked like."  Time is the agent upon which those who believe the theory of evolution to be true cast all their hopes, it is time which they have discovered by their interpretations of the dating methods of rocks and specimens.  Without time evolution could not function for no opportunity for natural selection to function would present itself and no self respecting believer in evolution could seriously entertain the thought of the spontaneous appearance of each form of life for that would require the higher being for which evolution has no desire (this is specifically what evolution argues against when it denounces creation of everything by God).


The Gap Theory is a theory of origins that seeks to reconcile evolution's requirements for vast spans of time with the Bible.  It has become quite popular for the reason that it appears to end the conflict that has so long existed between science on the one hand and Christianity on the other.  In fact, it is so popular that the theory has even found its way  into the NIV translation of the Bible:


Genesis 1:1-2 - In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.  Now the earth was {2 Or possibly <became>} formless and empty, darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was hovering over the waters.


The implicit support for the Gap Theory appears in the footnote of verse two where we read: "Or possibly <became>."  Quite simply the entire thrust of the Gap Theory is that between Genesis 1:1 and 1:2 there is inserted an indeterminate span of time, in keeping with the span of time postulated by proponents of evolution.  It is during this period of time that Satan is believed to have rebelled, bringing chaos upon the previously perfect creation of God and causing the earth to become "formless and empty."  It is also during this time that all the fossils found today are believed to have formed from the deaths of countless generations of animals.  God is therefore thought to have been embarking upon a work of re-creation in the verses that follow those quoted above, not actually creating but bringing order out of the chaos that resulted from the earlier corruption of His creation.  The Gap Theory ignores that the Bible teaches very clearly that death was introduced into the world by man's rebellion, not by Satanic activity before man was created.


The Gap Theory is wrong since it is merely an attempt to reconcile the apparent findings of science with the teachings of the Bible.  In so doing it twists the Bible so that these spans of time can be acknowledged yet fails to acknowledge that  the only reason for vast spans of time is that such time is required by evolution and its proponents have interpreted all aging methods to support this.  Time is required in order for evolution to have a even the slimmest chance of success, evolution is required so that those who chose to believe it have an apparently reasonable alternative to creation, and an alternative to creation is required so that God may be ignored.


The Bible does not offer the slightest support for the Gap Theory.  The text of Genesis 1 and 2, both in the choice of words and in the structure, is most easily understood as God performing a new work that has never been seen before.  Elsewhere in the Bible this is confirmed, specifically in Revelation where God will usher in a new creation to replace the current one corrupted by our rebellion.  Paul supports this when he says:


Romans 8:19-21 - The creation waits in eager expectation for the sons of God to be revealed.  For the creation was subjected to frustration, not by its own choice, but by the will of the one who subjected it, in hope that the creation itself will be liberated from its bondage to decay and brought into the glorious freedom of the children of God.


In accepting the teachings of science required by the theory of evolution the Gap Theory has abandoned the concept of a trustworthy God, since He has apparently hidden the truth from us in His own record of what He Himself has done, and thereby casts doubt on all the rest of His revelation of Himself to man.  If the creation account as found in Genesis cannot be trusted the entire Bible cannot be trusted.  Capitulation to error will always weaken truth and those who hold to the truth must hold it firmly.


The Day-Age Theory, which claims that each day of Genesis 1 is millions of years in length, is an other capitulation of theology to science and seeks to allow a place in which to deposit the endless ages required by the theory of evolution. There are several arguments against the Day-Age theory that bear keeping in mind.


First: The Day-Age theory is based on nothing more than the desire to reconcile the Bible to the findings of science. This is a serious error as science, regardless of its claims, has not found that endless ages have occurred but speculates them since they are believed to be necessary for evolution to be possible.


Second: A clear reading of the Biblical text not only states that days are passing but defines their duration by stating that each day has at either end of it an evening and a morning. Were it not for the demands of science there would be no need for any other interpretation of these passages than as the simple ordinary day to which we are accustomed. The number of days is also given a very specific number which, if the Day-Age theorists were correct, would be simply ludicrous given the presence of billions of additional days for which no account is given.


Third: Day-Age theorists claim that the Hebrew word translated as day can be variously interpreted as a single day, a grouping of several days, a period of indefinite duration, and a designation of an era of time associated with specific individuals. This argument falls apart for the simple reason that there is no indication in Genesis that the days of creation are to be considered as anything other than literal days. Symbols are generally characterized by a certain generality of meaning and are not usually defined as specifically as are the days of Genesis 1.


The Revelatory-Day Theory, which claims that each day of Genesis 1 is merely a reference to the day in which God chose to reveal His creative work to Moses. This does not work simply for the reason that the language of Genesis 1 clearly indicates that God was creating on the day specified rather than specifying what day it was that He was telling Moses what He accomplished on an other day. Indirectly the Revelatory-Day theory seeks to accommodate the claims of science without actually doing so by hiding its accommodation without actually appearing to do so. Again, as with the Gap and the Day-Age theories, the main idea behind the Revelatory-Day theory is to give the days of Genesis 1 a significance other than that which God intended and in so doing to weaken the foundation of the Christian faith. Were it not for the need of science to support in any way possible the theory of evolution there would be no need for any of the theories here discussed. Their only purpose is to attack the Bible and to cause Christians to begin to view it as a questionable document rather than as the inspired word of God that it is.


There are some Valid Concerns that are put forward by those honestly seeking answers. We live in a universe which reputable scientific inquiry states has the appearance of great age. I am not speaking of geological age as the ages science has determined for the earth based upon geology is itself based upon speculation and assumption. Astronomy has shown us stars and galaxies far more distant from earth than six thousand light years (one light year being the distance light travels during the course of one year, approximately 9.46 trillion kilometers). If the universe is only six thousand years or so in age as the Bible teaches how is one to reconcile this with the apparent fact that we see the light from stars that are more than six thousand light years distant from us. Many theories has been advanced to deal with this legitimate concern some of which are very reasonable and others of which seem to deny the holy character of our God. One which I held until I was willing to analyze it more carefully was that God had created the stars with their light already having arrived at earth. While on the surface this seems to resolve the scientific difficulty it introduces a theological difficulty that is equally perplexing. If, as this theory states, God created the stars and their light together then He also placed within the stream of  light between the newly created earth and the newly created star evidence of that star exploding for any nova and super-nova that has been observed throughout history. I have no doubt that God has the power to place evidence of an explosion yet to occur in the beam of light between earth and the star I do have doubts that this fits with what I observe to be the character of God. At the end of His week of creation God proclaimed all of creation very good. In Genesis 3 we read of the introduction of death and decay on account of the rebellion of our first parents. And in Romans 8 Paul seems to indicate that creation became cursed as well as man because of this rebellion. To me these three statements together require that God placed evidence of a corrupt creation within a perfect creation which I understand to make God somewhat deceptive rather than utterly holy and righteous. I believe that the Bible reveals a God Who does not require trickery in order to make His word fit with our understanding. Any discrepancy between the two is always due to the imperfection of our understanding. It is almost certain that three hundred years from now our science will be smiled upon as we smile upon science three hundred years before our own.


An other theory which seems to reconcile the apparent age of the universe (based on stellar observation) with the Bible's teaching has been put forth by Setterfield and in which he states that the speed of light has decreased during time. From an initial, near infinite speed light has decreased in speed to the speed we observed today. This theory is currently under question but many of its conclusions seem to merit further study.


Ross Humphries has, in his book Starlight and Time, put forward the intriguing idea that the earth, being near the center of the universe, is also near the most gravitationally dense region of space with the force of gravity decreasing as one moves further from the earth. Current scientific theory, based in part on Einstein's Theory of Relativity, indicates that time is slowed by gravity and that therefore time could move more quickly the further one is from the earth. Thus light could be moving at near infinite speeds (relative to earth) at vast stellar distances and still move at its more sedate pace here on earth.


While each of the two above theories has appeal in that they are able to scientifically reconcile the Bible to science without compromise they are still the products of human minds and therefore also prone to error. The primary reason for believing that the earth is no more than in the neighbourhood of six thousand years of age is because God has given us no information in the Bible to think otherwise. The three theories discussed in brief at the top of this page all have one point in common in that they each attempt to make the Bible say what science teaches. Man's mind is not possessed of sufficient authority to overthrow the teaching of God.