Is There An Indeterminate Expanse of Time Between Genesis 1:1 and 1:2?

February 14, 2024
Rick Morse

The so called “Gap Theory” attempts to accommodate and explain what popular geology has proposed as the age of our planet. Having read arguments from both sides by several dozen adherents and opponents of the Gap Theory, and having conversed with a number more, I am convinced that there is not a gap of time between Genesis 1:1 and 1:2 for at least ten reasons:

  1. A literal reading of Genesis 1 would not lead a person to this conclusion. Many are surprised (as I was) that some see a gap here at all. The natural sense is to take the entire chapter as a continuous narrative of sequential events.
  2. Proper Hebrew exegesis based on the contextual usage of the words chosen by the Holy Spirit describes a continuous timeline in the reading of the creation account. The Hebrew word for “was” in Genesis 1:2 is never translated “became” anywhere else in the Old Testament, or it would create a nonsensical reading.
  3. Several verses which Gap proponents use to support their interpretation of Genesis 1:2 (Jer. 4:23; Isa. 24:1; 45:18) all speak of the land of Israel in their context, not the entire earth.
  4. According to Genesis 2:1-3 and Exodus 20:11, the heavens and the earth were made in six days, with the duration defined in Genesis 1:5. The heavens were established on the second day (Gen. 1:8). Since Genesis 1:1 mentions the creation of the heavens as well as the earth, it is necessary to conclude that this verse is part of the six-day creation period.
  5. The phrase “the world that then was” (2 Pet. 3:6 contextually refers to the earth prior to Noah’s flood which was overflowed with water, not a primeval chaotic earth (see also 2 Pet. 2:5). Peter points to a future judgment of the heavens and the earth, which is as certain as the past judgment of the earth only. Just as the flood had God’s forewarning, ample time for people to repent, and scoffers of the warning, so does the future judgment have these elements in our time.
  6. The words “without form and void” are not “chaos and evil” as most Gap adherents say. The Earth was still unshaped and empty at the end of the second day (Gen. 1:8), with life not appearing until the earth’s systems were in place to sustain it (Gen. 1:11). It was simply incomplete as yet.
  7. The assumptions used to explain the Gap Theory which relate to Satan’s fall, a subsequent global judgment, and the earth becoming something it was not before Genesis 1:3 have no scriptural mention.
  8. According to Romans 5:12, 6:23, and 1 Corinthians 15:21, death did not exist prior to Adam’s fall. No fossil evidence predates Adam, and animals prior to the Fall were vegetarian (Gen. 1:29-30).
  9. Geological columns are more scientifically explained by the flood of Noah’s day. The visible layers of strata throughout the earth are readily explained by the onslaught of a worldwide flood of water, and the subsequent layers of sediment left behind when those waters receded. This condition is often reproduced today in areas of flooding, and the resulting layers are easily observable.
  10. Every biblical account of creation literally speaks of it as six successive days. The immense gap of time proposed between Genesis 1:1 and 1:2 are not mentioned anywhere. Although this universal negative is not a conclusive point in itself, it is worthy of consideration.

The Bible never needs to be altered or allegorized to accommodate the whims of men. We can always read and rely on it in its usual and literal sense. It is unbelieving men and women who need to repent and alter their thinking to conform to the Word of God.