Gap creationism (also known as Ruin-Restoration creationism, Restoration creationism, or “The Gap Theory”), is a form of Old Earth creationism that posits that the six-day creation, as described in the Book of Genesis, involved literal 24-hour days, but that there was a gap of time between two distinct creations in the first and the second verses of Genesis, explaining many scientific observations, including the age of the Earth. In this it differs from Day-Age creationism, which posits that the ‘days’ of creation were much longer periods (of thousands or millions of years), and from Young Earth creationism, which although it agrees concerning the six literal 24-hour days of creation, does not posit any gap of time
Gap creationism became increasingly attractive near the end of the eighteenth century and first half of the nineteenth century, because the newly established science of geology had determined that the Earth was far older than a literal interpretation of Genesis and the Bible-based Flood geology would allow. Gap creation allowed religious geologists (who comprised the majority of the geological community at the time) to reconcile their faith in the Bible with the new authority of science. According to the doctrine of natural theology, science was in this period considered a second revelation, God’s word in nature as well as in scripture, so the two could not contradict each other.
Gap creationism was popularized by Thomas Chalmers, a divinity professor at the University of Edinburgh, founder of the Free Church of Scotland, and author of one of the Bridgewater Treatises, who attributed it to 17th century Dutch Arminian theologian Simon Episcopius. Other early proponents included Oxford University geology professor and fellow Bridgewater author William Buckland, Sharon Turner and Edward Hitchcock.
It gained widespread attention when a “second creative act” was discussed prominently in the reference notes for Genesis in the influential 1917 Scofield Reference Bible.
In 1954, a few years before the re-emergence of Young Earth Flood geology eclipsed Gap creationism, influential evangelical theologian Bernard Ramm wrote in “The Christian View of Science and Scripture”.
The gap theory has become the standard interpretation throughout hyper-orthodoxy, appearing in an endless stream of books, booklets, Bible studies, and periodical articles.
Canadian physiologist Arthur Custance has argued that the belief of Gap creationism can be traced back to biblical times, citing the Targum of Onkelos (2nd c. BC), Akiba ben Joseph’s Sefer Hazzohar (1st c. AD), Origen’s De Principiis (3rd c. AD), and Caedmon (7th c. AD).
Interpretation of Genesis
Gap creationists believe that science has proven beyond reasonable doubt that the Earth is far older than can be accounted for by, for instance, adding up the ages of Biblical patriarchs and comparing it with secular historical data, as James Ussher famously attempted in the 17th century when he developed the Ussher chronology.
To maintain that the Genesis creation account is inerrant in matters of scientific fact, Gap creationists suppose that certain facts about the past and the age of the Earth have been omitted from the Genesis account; specifically that there was a gap of time in the Biblical account that lasted an unknown number of years between a first creation in Genesis 1:1 and a second creation in Genesis 1:2-31. By positing such an event, various observations in a wide range of fields, including the age of the Earth, the age of the universe, dinosaurs, fossils, ice cores, ice ages, and geological formations are allowed by adherents to have occurred as outlined by science without contradicting their literal belief in Genesis.
Because there is no specific information given in Genesis concerning the proposed gap of time, other scriptures are used to support and explain what may have occurred during this period and to explain the specific linguistic reasoning behind this interpretation of the Hebrew text. A short list of examples is given below:
The word “was” in Genesis 1:2 is more accurately translated “became”. Such a word choice makes the gap interpretation quite easier to see in modern English.
God is perfect and everything he does is perfect, so a newly created earth from the hand of God shouldn’t have been with form and void and shrouded in darkness-Deuteronomy 32:4, Isaiah 45:18 1 John 1:5
The Holy Spirit was “renewing” the face of the earth as he hovered over the face of the waters- Psalms 104:30.
Angels already existed in a state of grace when God “laid the foundations of the Earth”, so there had been at least one creative act of God before the six days of Genesis-Job 38:4-7
Satan had fallen from grace “in the beginning” which, since the serpent tempted Adam and Eve, had to have occurred before the Fall of man. Isaiah 14:12-15, Ezekiel 28:11-19, John 8:44.
Space, time, water, and the rock which constitutes the main body of the earth, existed before the period of six days began in Genesis 1:3.
Commonly called the “Gap Theory” or Ruin-Reconstruction interpretation, it is a theological interpretation much older than Darwin’s Theory of Evolution. It is based on the Scriptural fact that in the second verse of Genesis, the Holy Bible simply and clearly states that the planet Earth was already here (but in a ruined state) before the Divine process described in those six days even begins. Understanding this Biblical mystery begins with the precise wording of this New Testament cross-reference:
“For this they willingly are ignorant of, that by the word of God the heavens were of old, and the earth standing out of the water and in the water: Whereby the world that then was, being overflowed with water, perished: But the heavens and the earth, which are now, by the same word are kept in store, reserved unto fire against the day of judgment and perdition of ungodly men.”
(2 Pet 3:5-7 KJV)
Contrary to popular interpretation, the above passage is not a reference to Noah’s flood. And the only other place in the Bible where the Earth was covered in waters is Genesis 1:2. The ramifications are obvious: The literal wording suggests that the “heavens and the earth, which are now” (made during the seven days) was not the first-time creation of all things as is traditionally assumed. The Word of God appears to be telling the reader there was a previous populated world on the face of this old Earth before God formed the present world of modern Man. This invalidates the popular Doctrine of Young Earth Creationism.
The Bible itself provides insight into a great mystery in Earth’s natural history at what is known as the Pleistocene – Holocene boundary. Science remains at a loss to definitively explain the Ice Age and the anomaly of the mysterious mega fauna extinctions across the face of the Earth about 12,000 to 10,000 Radio Carbon years ago. Geologic evidence from that period indicates extraordinary global massive volcanism, gigantic tidal waves, seismic activity on a vast scale, and extreme temperature swings on the Earth over a geologically brief period of time. It is no coincidence that the Bible at Genesis 1:2 describes the Earth as flooded, desolate, and in darkness in the timeframe closely corresponding to these catastrophic events in the Earth’s natural history. Clearly, these two mysteries are linked.
Why the old “world that then was” ended, and why God made a new world and modern Man, requires a study into the ancient origins of Satan and the Angels. The Earth has an ancient natural history that can be deciphered from the geologic record, but it also has an equally important ancient spiritual history that can only be deciphered from Rightly-Dividing the Holy Bible. Knowledge of both is required to correctly reconcile Geology and the Book of Genesis. We pray you will find this material useful in your study of God’s Holy Word.
Gap Creationism is an ancient idea. The first theologian who thought of such an idea was St. Justin Martyr. He was born in the year 100 and coverted to Christianity in the year 130 of our Lord. He was pesecuted for his faith and was beheaded in the year 165. St. Justin Martyr supposes an indefinte period between the Creation and the first ordering of all things. This puts the idea of gap creationism 1,700 years before the scientific data of geology gave it credibility. Another great theologian and philosopher that believed in gap creationism was St. Augustine of Hippo. He was born in the year 354 and died in 430. He believend in a considerable interval between the Creation related in the first verse of Genesis and of an account given in the third and following verses.
There is a great space of time since gap creationism was taught in our history. The reason was that many false teachings of our Lord and Savior came into existence by falsely lead believers, and much time was spent straightening out such false doctrines. Also, the Dark Ages entered into the existence of the world, and education was frowned upon. After the Dark Ages, the gap theory was traced to a man named Simon Episcopius who was born in 1583 and died in 1643, and who was a theologian and scholar of his time. In the works of Episcopius, the gap theory of creationism show up in more detail. Thus, the gap theory of the old-earth theory predates the present-day geology by 200 years.
The gap theory has been portrayed as an attempt to change the Word of God as a way to appease the scientific discoveries. Scientist have gotten its idea of an age-old universe from ministers of the Word of God years before geological evidence came into existence. How is it possible then to claim that the gap theory compromises the Word of God?
It is a historical fact that many modern-day geologist believe in evolution, but the early geologist were Christians, and they believed in a vast amount of years for the Creation to occur. Evolutionists have taken the geological evidence and twisted these facts to promote evolution of the species. No such evidence is seen in geological formations. Rev. Thomas Chalmers (1780-1847), a mathematician and a respected minister, was a leader in the Free Church of Scotland. Thomas Chalmers became one of the most popular preacher of his time. He taught the gap theory, and it was accepted by many.
Rev. Thomas Chalmers, in a review of Cuvier’s Theory of the Earth, taught that there was a vast period for the formation of the geological ages and the organic ages to have occurred after Genesis 1 when God created out of nothingness. Genesis 1:2 was a period, which life became void and formless; and the sun, the moon, and the stars were temporarily extingushed. Genesis 1:3 was to be preserved as the natural twenty-four-hour periods and the restoration of the old heavens and the earth. Science in this author’s opinion has made a terrible mistake. They have taken the fact of the geological ages, the fossils of vegetable and applied those fossils to the idea that man must have developed just the same way without any fossils of man evolving from apes. Man was made in the image of God so he could have not evolved from apes, your are implying that God himself has evolved, for man was made in his image. Man was far more superior to the plants or beasts of the field.
Dr. John Pye-Smith (1774-1851), who was a good acquaintance of Thomas Chalmers, had almost the same view as Rev. Chalmers. In the Congregational Lecture Sixth Series, Scripture and Geology in 1840, he gives a brilliant defense of the gap theory of creation and a scholarly offence for the promotion of that theory. This man’s credibility was attacked by ignorant believers in God and also by geologists.He wrote more extensively on the subject of gap creationism than most others who believed in this gap theory. Rev. Denis Crofton was another advocate for the gap theory of creation. In his book Genesis and Geology printed in 1853, he gives many scriptures on the gap theory and biblically defends the theory with boldness and brilliance. There were many other ministers that defended such a theory.
Yet many evangelical Christians tell us that they all changed their minds about the gap theory of creation, which simply is not true. This is a misrepresentation of the historical fact of the gap theory of creation. Rev. William Buckland was the first to read rock formations and the first to find a lizard that was considered a dinosaur. He was the first to find a complete skeleton that predates Adam. He believed that it was the minister’s duty to study what the creator has created and to learn more about God. In 1820, he published a book The Connection of Geology with Religion explained. William Buckland believed in a gap-theory catastrophe. In 1823, he published a book Observations on the Organic Remains Contained in Caves, Fissures, and diluvial Gravel and Other Geological Phenomena, Attesting the Action of a Universal Deluge. When you read this book, you can see the subtleties against the young-earth concept. Other geologists agreed with the age-old theory of creation.
Hugh Miller in his 1857 book The Testimony of the Rocks states both sides of the issue of young-earth and old-earth theory of Creation. He personally makes a stand for the old-age earth theory though it is different than gap creationism, and it is stated in this book although we are told that he believed otherwise. Also, reverend and professor of geology, Edward Hitchcock defends the concept of the old-age earth and gap creationism with scripture and geology. In his 1851 book Religion of Geology and Its Connected Sciences, he clearly states the gap of time between Genesis 1:1 and 1:2. The list continues to grow while I do my research and buy rare book on the gap theory of creation. These are just a gew of the major players in the old-earth concept.
Why do we not teach this concept anymore and pretend that the great minds of Christians from the past are insignificant? These are just a few prominent individuals that believed in the gap theory of creation. Creationists have labeled them as compromisers of the Word of God. Compromisers believe in scientific evidences in geology and say that the world is old, and the scriptures do support those ideas, Creationists believe in a literal six-day Creation and believe the universe is no older than 10,000 years and say the scriptures do not support the universe as being old. Therefore, creationists have given those that believe in the gap theory of creation a negative label to discourage others from believing in the same way as gap creationist.
Our best expositors of scripture, Rev. David King of Glasgow says that it seem to be now pretty generally agreed, that the opening verse in Genesis has no connection with the verses that follow. They think it may be understood as making a separate and independent statement regarding the creation proper, and that the phrase in the beginning may be expressive of an indefinitely remote antiquity. On this principle the Bible recognizes, in the first instance, the great age of the earth, and then tells us of the changes it underwent at a period long subsequent, in order to render it a fit abode for the family of man. The work of the six days was not, according to this view, a creation in the strict sense of the term, but a renovation and restoration of preexisting.
Scriptures speak about 3 heavens-1-Earths Atmosphere-Sky.
2-Outer Space-Angelic/Satanic realm.
3-The real Heaven-Dwelling place of God.
Psalms 19:1 says-For the director of music. A psalm of David. The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands. A study into how God created heavens and the earth and the later changes he made to them due to satanic rebellion and the changes to come, testifies the Gap creationism .
Genesis 1:7 says-"And God made the firmament, and divided the waters
which were under the firmament from the waters which were above the
firmament: and it was so."
Here the Bible is saying that God established a three-heaven structure
between the Earth and the heavenly abode of the Ancient of Days. The
firmament is the abode of the sun, moon and stars, and the galaxies. In
other words, it is speaking of the entire physical universe. And the
Bible says that God placed waters above that firmament. In doing so He
placed a "Sea" between the footstool of His heavenly throne and the less
than pure physical universe down below.
Also make note that in Genesis 1:8 the Lord God says nothing about this
being good. Although God says, "it was good" concerning days 1, 3, 4, 5,
6 He does not say that about the work of the second day. Ever wondered
about that? The reason is very simple. Although this division was not
good, it was necessary to protect the creation from the flaming glory of
God's Holiness. Nothing impure can stand in His presence, and even the
presence of a regenerated heavens and earth was not completely pure
before God (see Job 25:5).
Also read 2 Peter 3:5-7-"For this they willingly are ignorant of, that
by the word of God the heavens were of old, and the earth standing out
of the water and in the water: Whereby the world that then was, being
overflowed with water, perished: But the heavens and the earth, which
are now, by the same word are kept in store, reserved unto fire against
the day of judgment and perdition of ungodly men."
Notice that in the passage that the earth is said to be "standing out" of the water and "in" the water(2 Peter 3:5).
In our English language, these descriptive terms suggest that these
particular waters were not confined to the surface of the planet; they
overflowed the entire planetary system. The Bible says that part of the
planet was "standing out" from these waters. That is to say, the sphere
of the planet was partially "overflowed" and the location of the bulk of
the waters was external to the Earth itself. The Bible says the planet
was "in the water" of this particular flood (think of a round fishing
floater bobbing in a lake). In other words, part of the Earth is
protruding from the waters and not simply just covered by waters on the
surface. The literal English wording of this passage does not describe a
flood event confined to the Earth's surface. This passage describes a
deluge that raged across the solar system, and beyond. Our solar system
and outer space are the Second Heaven of the Bible's three heavens.
Try to draw this mental picture: Think of a dark and ruined solar system
with water strewn throughout it like one big messy galactic spill. That
is what Genesis 1:2 is speaking about. And imagine the planet Earth
drifting awash in this roaring and rolling, formless mess and orbiting
around a dead star. Where would such waters have come from? Well, it is
an established scientific observation that aging stars create and give
off lots of water. Certainly there must have been lots and lots of stars
in the heavens that were "of old" and, if something had caused the
entire cosmos to have gone dark and all the stars died, then there would
be excessive water everywhere throughout space. If that was indeed the
case, then all those extinguished stars would need to be reignited to be
seen in our present heavens.
Scientists find existense of a great amount of water on the edge of our
-or just google search-" water in black hole", if the link is not working.
Modern science consider Black Holes as the borders of our physical
Universe.We are seeing only 3 or 4 dimensions( "4" if Time is included
as a dimension).But Science today has discovered up to 8 more dimensions
in compressed form-F theory/Father theory making a total of 12
Scientists consider black holes as the edge/border of our physical
universe into something outside were all dimensions exist.What is
important is that scientists have found out existense of water in these
borders of our universe known as black holes,not some water but
trillions of trillion times water than that of all the earths oceans and
water systems combined as this link will show
-or just google search - "water in black hole", if the link is not working.
So let it be ,as in Psalm 148:2-5-
2 Praise Him, all His angels; Praise Him, all His hosts! 3 Praise Him,
sun and moon; Praise Him, all you stars of light! 4 Praise Him, you
heavens of heavens, And you waters above the heavens! 5 Let them praise
the name of the LORD, for He commanded and they were created.
Only those who are holy can see God.We are made holy not by our merit
,but by the sinless blood of Lord Jesus Christ shed on the cross for our
sins.Lord Jesus Christ died for the sins of all mankind shedding his
sinless blood to wash away the sins of all those who will trust in
him.And all those who trust in Lord Jesus Christ can have eternal life.
Scriptures speak of our eternal residence not on this heaven or earth now ,but in New Jerusalem,New Heaven and New Earth.
1 Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the
first earth had passed away, and there was no longer any sea.
2 I saw the Holy City, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from
God, prepared as a bride beautifully dressed for her husband.