What is the Gap Theory? Did anything happen between Genesis 1:1 and 1:2?


Genesis 1:1 - 2

ESV - 1 In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth. 2 The earth was without form and void, and darkness was over the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God was hovering over the face of the waters.

Clarify Share Report Asked July 01 2013 Mini Anonymous (via GotQuestions)

Community answers are sorted based on votes. The higher the vote, the further up an answer is.

Shea S. Michael Houdmann Supporter Got Questions Ministries
Genesis 1:1-2 states, "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 ov...

July 01 2013 9 responses Vote Up Share Report

Mini Carl Naitram
Why do people refer belief in an old age a theory and call the 6000 yr earth biblical when God no where in the Bible tells us the earth is 6000 yrs old.

I believe that there was a gap not because of what scientist or evolutionist say but because that is what I saw as I studied the scriptures. 

God is eternal and obviously existed long before the "in the beginning" whether you believe that beginning started 6000 years or 6 trillion years. What do you think He did before that beginning found in Genesis? Why could He not have done millions of other things before He created the present earth. Please don't put the eternal God in a 6000 year box and think that is when He first started creating things. Did He not create the angelic beings before the first day of the present creation? 

By the way where did water come from...it was present on the earth that was without form and void. When was it created...certainly not during the 6 days. It is always argued by the 6000 year adherents that light was the first thing God created. Well the earth...land and water was created before that...but when.

Where did darkness come from. For darkness to be there light had to be with drawn, for darkness is only the absence of light. Darkness is not a material thing. 

Darkness in the Bible is usually if not always used as a symbol of evil or some form of judgment. 

God cannot tell us everything He did so to suggest that because God did not explain to us all about Genesis 1:1,2 that nothing else occurred and thus renders the Gap view void is not viable.

Finally what is the big issue about whether the earth is 6000 years or 6 trillion years. The fact that God created it personally and it did not evolve is the important truth. That He created all things and without Him nothing was made that was made. Blessed be His name and great omnipotent power. By faith as Hebrews tells us we believe He did or as the NET translates "By faith we understand that the worlds were set in order at God’s command, so that the visible has its origin in the invisible. " 

And when this present heaven and earth is passed away according to Revelation 21 God will bring into being a new heaven and a new earth...and all things will be made new.

The eternal God who will do new things in the future must have done new or different things in the past before the 6 day creative act of this present earth.

God bless.

November 08 2013 4 responses Vote Up Share Report

Dscf1720 Myron Robertson Seeking God's heart
Unless you prove something from scripture, or other verifiable sources it is just speculation. Anything that is titled a theory is not proven and is speculation. Speculation is not inherently evil as some would claim, and is a necessity anytime we seek to further the boundaries of our knowledge, but must always be acknowledged to be speculation or it becomes sin by violating God's laws of witness. Anytime someone claims anything that is only speculation is proven fact they are in violation of the command against bearing false witness and they are sinning. This happens quite regularly in both science and religion, both of which qualify as the word of God where they are truth.

We can prove from scripture that something happened between Genesis 1:1 which says, "In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth," and Genesis 1:2 which says, "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." Isaiah 45:7 says, "I form the light, and create darkness."

So we see that darkness was created sometime between Genesis 1:1 and Genesis 1:2. Furthermore, John 1 says, " In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2 He was with God in the beginning. 3 Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made." I am not aware of any Bible text that says water was created, but it is physical matter and most people believe all matter to be created. Most physicists believe space to have been created as well, whether they believe in a creator or only in the quantum theories. Even the "emptiness" of space is something created out of the quantum energies and particles as are matter and light. 

So we know for certain that darkness was created between Genesis 1:1 and 1:2. We can assume water and/or deep space was also created in this "gap" but this information does nothing to prove the gap theory; it only proves that there was something God did between these two points in text. 

It gives no indication of time. This could have been done instantaneously just before light was created or it could have been eons. We are simply given no information regarding this, and quite frankly do not need such information to establish our faith in God and his word.

November 09 2013 1 response Vote Up Share Report

Mini don mccormack
The Bible is full of "gaps" but that is not a bad thing. Its just hard to cover millions of years or proven and provable time passing in a several books. The Bible is a huge summary of the highlights and important things God wants us to understand; most of which is obey Him. I have no problem with anyone who wants to refute science with passionate beliefs, that is ok. I am confident because science actually strengthens and offers proof to strengthen the case for Christ and that God created a world that has been around for millions of years. 
But we need those people who want to stick to thier beliefs as much as we need those who provide science fact. The irony is the two actually have more in common and offer ways to support one another than some of them understand. 
So keep up the battle folks! You help add spice to this life and passion to conversations like this. Being proven wrong does not deter you and for that we respect and love you.

October 08 2013 1 response Vote Up Share Report

Mini Donald La Valley
The gap theory, and I know this is a generalized answer, but God's Word is meant to be God's Inspiration with emphasis on "Inspiration" but transitions are so frequent throughout the Biblical discourse. True believers believe in the presence of Jesus in Creation; and that by him all things consist. And John 21:25 And there are also many other things which Jesus did, the which, if they should be written every one, I suppose that even the world itself could not contain the books that should be written. But believers should be careful to heed Paul's admonition to avoid any contentions that may rise for they are unprofitable and vain. Therefore we should adhere to certainties and avoid speculations 2 Timothy 3:16.

October 08 2013 0 responses Vote Up Share Report

Img 3654 Dana Ross
I always wondered how old the earth was...millions or billions of years old or just thousands? And what about cave men, dinosaurs and the ice age? The bible doesn't mention these things yet we have proof that there were dinosaurs and an ice age. Christians used to deny they existed until the proof couldn't be denied any longer so we came up with the gap theory. My husband and I have been watching "The Creation Series" by Kent Hovind, a christian science teacher that has found many of the answers and can back it up with scripture. He states that God created the earth about 6000 years ago. He goes on to explain why people used to live up to 900 years and why after the flood people didn't live that long anymore. He explains about dinosaurs and the ice age. He backs it up with scriptures. To believe that part of the bible is incorrect in order to explain a "gap", then you must believe the whole bible is a lie. If Satan can get us to believe a lie (the earth is billions of years old), he can get us to question creation, the bible and ultimately God. We as Christians have a responsibility to "work out our salvation with fear and trembling" and I believe this is part of it. If Christians are believing this lie, how many other lies do we swallow as truth? Check it out for yourself at: http://www.creationtoday.org/  I am not a promoter of this website I am a believer of creation and this website contains answers to many important questions.

October 08 2013 1 response Vote Up Share Report

Mini Mary Jane Daigle Great grandmother of 1
The word "replenish" in the King James translation of Genesis 1:28 did not mean restock to the readers of that day, but accurately reflected the Hebrew word, which means fill. 

No death existed before Adam's sin and God's curse. Sin entered the world through one man and death through sin (Romans 5:12). 

The original Hebrew words translated "without form and void" can be translated "formless and empty" or "unformed and unfilled" - but should not be translated "ruined and desolate" or any other similar meaning that might fit the Gap Theory. This verse describes the first stage of our planet's formation. Before the creation of life, God created formless matter "the dust of the earth" then he shaped it into the form of a great revolving sphere. (Author, Ken Ham's words).

October 08 2013 11 responses Vote Up Share Report

Mini Arnold & Fungai [t]vangelize
If Adam and Eve where created/formed as full grown adults on Day6, then it is possible that Adam & later on Eve were already into their hundreds or even thousands of years old on their day of creation. If that is the case, then all other creatures and vegetation may well have been full grown on creation. 

That means, if a full grown dinosaur would have been 1million years old. Then on its day of creation, it was already 1million years old. The same would apply to all other creatures and vegetation.

Another way of looking at it - Given that the formless earth covered with water had been around for I dont know how long! Given that all creatures including ourselves came out of the ground. Therefore, the initial forming elements from the material 'earth' would have had an age, which is now being captured by carbon dating, giving the impression that life has been around for millions of years.

I do not think there is a need for the Gap Theory or creating conflicts with carbon dating. After all God's primary purpose for the Bible is in revealing Himself to us and reconciling us back to Him through Christ - not to reveal specifics about the Earth.

'Sola Scripture!'

November 11 2013 0 responses Vote Up Share Report

Open uri20131208 19303 k6t9a4 Bill Gerhardt
In my opinion the Bible is quite clear when it comes to time. God made time for man, we are guided and controlled by time. God in Genesis can easily make all things in six literal days with no gap in there. The book of Peter tells us that a day is as a thousand years or in other words God is not held to time standards as we are. I truly believe that the Earth us six thousand years old here or there and God did all the Creation in six days. God lives in Heaven a realm or dimension that we are outside of He had no need of an Earth or planets or Solar System Milky Way or Universe it was made for man by God to justify to man His infinite power. We limit God when we box Him in to our thought process as well as when we say how the Earth should look after six thousand years. Science is to study something and come to a conclusion based on facts. All others are theories that are without merit. This example is best displayed in "Global Warming" a theory at best when you consider how much of what we do know as scientific fact and how others interject theory as truth. We can guess at what we don't know at best but God is truth in Him there is nor ever will be a lie found. If God said six days then leave it alone. Salvation in Jesus Christ is all we need really worry about and the mission we were given that is found in John 3v16. Spending time here in prayer is more fruitful then chasing theories and trying to justify them. God said"I am" that's good enough for me as I want to spend eternity outside of the realm of time.

March 03 2014 6 responses Vote Up Share Report

Stringio Mi Shad Ow Layman
Job38:4-7, Isa 45:18, Jer 4:23-26, Isa 14:12-14, Eze 28:12-19, Gen 1:1&2 
These scriptures need to be studied carefully. The bible does support "the gap theory" as some have called it. To say that those who believe this, are those who are trying to make the bible and science fit like a gig saw puzzle. Or that anyone but Jesus has all the answers, and anyone who disagrees is deceived. Is an asinine broad stoke of the brush. Science disproves it's self every other day, it is just not publicized like the "discovers" are.

November 08 2013 1 response Vote Up Share Report

Mini ainsley chalmers Medical Research Scientist, devoted family man.
The gap theory cannot be true because to do so one would have to say death and suffering came before Adam and Eve's rebellion in the garden of Eden and this is in contrast to Romans chapter 5. Jesus also said in the beginning he created them male and female not billions of years after creation. The new testament in no place refers to the time before Adam and Eve.

Also one would have to believe in evolution with the gap theory. And as a research scientist believe me evolution just cannot occur. Mutations plus natural selection results in death/suffering and degradation and certainly not higher life forms. The lack of intermediate fossil forms also helps disprove the evolution story.

Genesis 1:31 states that God called his creation "very good". It is hard to reconcile "very good" to billions of years of death and suffering. God created in 6 days with 1 day of rest as a model for us to follow (Exodus 20).

The whole of the rock strata around the world confirms the Genesis flood of Noah as also does the whole of creation.

June 22 2016 1 response Vote Up Share Report

Open uri20130424 4224 1tebbq1 Andy Hawkins
I just want to clear up one misconception about the Gap Theory. Gap Theorists do NOT believe in evolution. Gap Theory is virtually identical to Young Earth Theory except that we believe that the first two verses in Genesis happened over a long period of time. It is a common assumption that we believe this to allow time for evolution, but that isn't true. Gap Theory rejects evolution because we believe God started over on Day One. We believe that God created Adam from the dust just as Young Earth creationists do. No evolution.

June 22 2016 1 response Vote Up Share Report

Open uri20130424 4224 1tebbq1 Andy Hawkins
There is a misunderstanding about Gap Theory that there is a "gap" between the verse two verses. While that isn't entirely incorrect, what it mainly points out is that the first two verses took place before the first day. Every day begins with the phrase "God said". Therefore, Day One begins with verse 3. If you include the first toe verses with Day One, then you have God creating something twice. If you interpret heaven (or heavens) as cosmos, then you have God creating the cosmos on days one and four. If you interpret that as sky then He creates that on days one and two.

February 13 2014 0 responses Vote Up Share Report

Mini Lawrence wong Disciple of iEsou ("Yeh-sou") christou
The question is "What is the Gap Theory? Did anything happen between Genesis 1:1 and 1:2?”
Michael has clearly identified the theory. A Theory is what a person thinks but his thoughts are yet to be proved. However, I believe that analysis of the two verses reveals that the gap is a fact and that cosmic events which directly affect Mankind happened between the two verses. The facts are found in the Holy Bible, ALYM’S (pronounced “Al-o-heem”) Words (2 Tim 3:16-17; 2 Pet 1:20-21). 

FACT 1: Verse 1 is self-contained. The creation took place in the dateless past, before human history. 
When ALYM created the heavens and the earth "The morning stars sang together, and all the sons of ALYM [angels] shouted for joy! (Job 38:7) 
"The mountains and the hills shall break forth into singing before You and all the trees of the field shall clap their hands!" (Isa 55:12) 

FACT 2: The proof is found in verse 2. The original creation was not “without form and void,” it became that way. 
The misconception has emerged from two errors. The first error is the mistranslation of the Hebrew word “eithe” which is properly translated as “BECAME,” not “was”. The second verse reads “And the earth, [she] BECAME [eithe] without form and void and darkness was on the face of the deep. And the Spirit [ruach] of ALYM was hovering [vibrating] over the face of the waters." (Hebrew words inserted in brackets. 
The Hebrew “eithe” should be translated as “she-became” (the earth in Hebrew is of feminine gender) without form and void…”. The earth was not like that in the Beginning but it became like that "without form/empty and void/desolate." The word "eithe" is also used to describe Lot's wife who "became [eithe] a pillar of salt." She was not like that before her act of disobedience. (Gen 19:26). The earth was not like that originally, but became “without form and void.” 

FACT 3: The second error is misunderstanding of the Hebrew couplet “tohu va bohu” which is translated correctly as “without form and void”. “tohu” means formless, chaos, wasteland, desolate, and “va-bohu” means vacancy, emptiness. Why would angels sing for joy if the earth was like this? 
This couplet appears only 3 times in the Bible – here in Gen 1:2, Isa 34: 11, and Jer 4:23. The couplet depicts fearful scenes of desolation brought about by ALYM's judgment upon terrible wickedness. 
If we combine Fact 2 with Fact 3, we have is a description of wanton acts of destruction by some agent of the earth which incurs the wrath of ALYM. We may ask the question: Who was this agent worthy of ALYM’S judgment and what was the sin? The answer is Satan. 

FACT 4: Satan is the one being judged and the sin is Rebellion against ALYM “to do his own thing!” (1 Sam 15:22-23). 
I believe the key to the answer is to be found in Rev 12:7-13. The original sin is of rebellion by “the great dragon, the serpent of old, The Devil, Satan” (Rev 12:9). He was cast out of Heaven onto earth together with 1/3rd of the angelic hosts (Rev 12:4) who numbered in their trillions (Rev 5:11). Unable to withstand Michael and the 2/3rd of the angelic hosts with his failed coup d’état against ALYM, he was cast out of Heaven onto earth where he wrecked the original creation making it “without form and void!” The Holy Spirit reveals that the adversary of ALYM was none other than Lucifer the most beautiful angel in heaven who wanted to sit in ALYM’S throne (Isa 14: 12- 21; Ez 28:11-19) to be worshipped. ALYM changed His name to reflect his new status – “Satan” (the “adversary” of ALYM, and “The Devil” - “the usurper of ALYM” and “false accuser of the brethren” (Rev 12: 10) who prowls around to devour people and tear them apart from ALYM and His Son Christ (1 Pet 5:8-11). Wrecked lives, disharmony, and ultimately death is the result of following Satan (Eze 18:20a; Rom 6: 23). After Adam and Eve were created Satan seduced them into sin, to rebel against ALYM. 

Adam and Eve sinned.

September 10 2017 0 responses Vote Up Share Report

Mini John Appelt
The Gap Theory is the belief that God created everything, and then, in between Genesis 1:1 and 1:2, it was destroyed. After a long period of time, which to some explains millions of years of evolution and fossil formation, God re-created or restored everything that was ruined. 

However, in the normal reading of Genesis 1, there is no gap. Genesis 1:1 is the introductory statement. Then follows the explanation, a narrative of how God created everything. The word “and,” Hebrew “vaw,” at the beginning of the verses connects the sequential actions, one right after another. Verse 2 links with verse 1 as it begins the description of a process in three descriptive background-producing clauses. The word “earth” ends verse 1 and begins verse 2 as if to clarify verse 1.

In some versions “was” is translated “became” which suggests a change. It is assumed destruction took place as in Jeremiah 4:23, but nothing in the context says this, as also in the similar passage of Isaiah 45:18. In Genesis 1:2, “was” means “exists” due to the context and proper translation of the word. 

Also, the words “formless and void” do not necessarily mean destruction. The language could be about the state of incompleteness. The Spirit of God, hovering above the waters, suggests He is ready to work.

Creation did not materialize completely all at once but in steps. Any project begins with an undeveloped stage. This first phase of creation was like a clump of clay being formed to make pottery. The clay hardly looked like the pottery it would become. So, the earth was empty and vacant. This is the way the other planets are – still waste and void. But it was God’s unique purpose to fill and supply only one planet, the Earth.

Genesis 1:2 describes the initial phase of creation, unformed and unfilled, as an empty house lacking furnishings, furniture, and inhabitants. Then God filled creation step by step, by separation of elements and creating forms of life. Bible teachers have noted the symmetry of the six days of creation as follows:

First day: Light
Second day: Air
Second day: Water
Third day: Land
Third day: Plants

Fourth day: Lights
Fifth day: Fowl
Fifth day: Fish
Sixth day: Animals
Sixth day: Man

The Scriptures are clear that the whole process of creating (or synonym “making”) everything was in six days, Exodus 20:11, 31:17, so there is no time for a gap during the creation account. 

Creation was good at its completion, Genesis 1:31, so death could not have been a part of God’s “very good” creation. Besides, death reigned from the time of Adam, the first man, I Corinthians 15:45, not before, Romans 5:14. Any evidence of destruction and death such as the layers of fossils make sense as the result of the worldwide flood. 

There is no gap between Genesis 1:1 and 1:2. The literal understanding of Genesis 1 being an account of the creative process by God in six days makes perfect sense.

September 05 2022 0 responses Vote Up Share Report

My picture Jack Gutknecht ABC/DTS graduate, guitar music ministry Baptist church
The Gap Theory is “the theory that there is a time gap of aeons between Gen. 1:2 and Gen. 1:3. During this gap the earth became formless and void. –Nave’s Topical Bible

The Gap Theory further entails “the formless and void” state, as recorded in Genesis 1:2, is in direct contrast to the perfect initial creation. Something happened between the first two verses of Genesis to cause the earth to become desolate and uninhabitable after having been made perfect. Those holding the Gap Theory contend that this state of ruin could have possibly lasted millions of years. –Don Stewart

One of my first study Bibles which I loved was the Scofield Reference Bible. C.I. Scofield was the author. Currently, this “ruin-reconstruction” view is held by many who use as Bible study aids the Scofield Reference Bible.

September 05 2022 0 responses Vote Up Share Report

Mini Paul Jass
The Gap theory represents about 14 billion years

October 08 2013 1 response Vote Up Share Report

Image41 Ezekiel Kimosop
This is a complicated area of theological articulation that has puzzled scholars. My view is that there appears to be a residual mystery touching on what exactly took place historically and cosmologically between Genesis 1:1 and Genesis 1:2. There is no straight answer to this question and nothing in the text suggests that God intended to convey more than He has revealed in the text. One golden rule of theological interpretation is that where Scripture is silent on a given issue, we too should maintain that silence.

February 03 2023 0 responses Vote Up Share Report

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