IN THE BEGINNING
The vast majority of this article was written and compiled
by Dr. E. A. Martin
Alden, New York
GENESIS 1:1-2 THE GAP THEORY EXPLORED AND THE FALL OF MAN
“In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth. And the earth was without form and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep. And the spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters. And God said, Let there be light: and there was light. And God saw the light that it was good: and God divided the light from the darkness. And God called the light Day, and the darkness He called Night. And the evening and the morning were the first day.” (Genesis 1: 1-5)
“This simple yet sublime description of the first day’s work of the divine Worker is in perfect agreement with what we have already had before us. The word ‘AND’ connects the different acts with the ‘beginning’ of verse one.”
It is truly amazing how many theories are advanced without a shred of biblical support. The “Gap” theory (also referred to as the “Interval”, or the “Time lapse”) position is just one of the non-biblical concepts declared as Bible fact.
“How it pains me to know that many dear children of God cannot open their Bibles today without tampering with the very first verse: then putting in a hypothetical gap; then so altering the second verse that it no longer states the same facts, nor gives the same ideas. I pray you, give it all up, and get back to the sacred Scriptures, then cleave to them with ardent jealousy.” (A quote taken from an old periodical, no author mentioned)
The written Word sometimes is not enough to keep speculators from making God say what He did not say. The argument from silence, inference, geology, and the tenacious desire to harmonize two different schools of thought is a method of instruction that is purely non-biblical.
“By faith,” and by faith alone do we know anything about how, or when, this world was created. “Through faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God, so that things which are seen were not made of things which do appear.” (Hebrews 11:3)
“The latent cause, it is to be feared, of much of the labor which has been bestowed with such unsatisfactory results, by modern theological writers on the attempt to harmonize Scripture and modern science, is a defective apprehension of the great principle stated in this verse, (Heb. 11:3). When geologists allow themselves to infer from admitted phenomena a theory of pre-Adamite earthly existence, they are clearly not in a region of faith, but of sentient perception and balanced deduction. But even in natural things, to judge according to appearance is not always safe. Facts exist in all departments of nature which may be noted and reasoned upon, but by no means understood. But it is the Christian privilege to see things only in the light of God, and it is the entrance of His word that alone gives light, in the true sense of the word, on any subject…Modern geology commits itself to statements irreconcilable with the precise testimony of the Spirit. To attempt to make these doctrines harmonize with scripture by putting new and unnatural constructions on the words of Moses is in reality to flatter human presumption at the expense of Divine wisdom. No doubt the motive of such apologists is often praiseworthy, but it is sad to think of the dishonor done to Christ by such attempts.” (Pridham)
“The apostle states that these things were not made out of preexistent matter; for, if they were, that matter however extended or modified, must appear in that thing into which it is compounded and modified, therefore it could not be said that the things which are seen were not made of the things that appear; and He shews it also by these words, that the present mundane fabric was not formed or re-formed from one anterior, as some suppose.”—Dr. Adam Clark
“By the application of the term good to every thing that God made, and the repetition of the word with emphasis, very good, at the close of the whole creation, the existence of anything evil in the creation is absolutely denied, and the hypothesis entirely refuted, that the six days merely fettered an ungodly evil principle, which had already forced its way into it.” (Kiel and Delitsczh)
“That God created and made all things in six days, has been the belief of Christians, with very few exceptions. These few exceptions, for the most part, are such as desire to harmonize Genesis 1, with the supposed ‘geological ages’ of the scientists.” (Kiel and Delitsczh)
“We may notice in this first chapter of Genesis the divine complacency, the divine satisfaction. So often we read, ‘And God saw that it was good.’ The first such statement is given with respect to the light: ‘And God saw the light that it was good,’ and the final statement appears in verse 31: ‘And God saw everything that he had made, and, behold, it was very good.’ The Creator rests satisfied with the creation, not because the creation is something good that exists apart from God, but because the creation was precisely what God wanted it to be. His will was accomplished, and he was satisfied in his own handiwork. The Psalmist sums it up in the words: ‘He spake and it was done; he commanded and it stood fast’ (Psalm 33:9).” (Edward J. Young)
“Among all the interpretations of Genesis 1, the most difficult as well as the most unsatisfactory, is that which regards the first verse as referring to a period indefinitely remote; and all that follows as comprised in six solar days…avoiding the geological difficulty, or seeming to avoid it, by throwing all its signs of the first earth’s antiquity into the chasm that intervenes between the first and second verses.
It is evidently brought in as a possible escape from the difficulties of geology, and never would have been seriously maintained had it not been for them. It has to make the heavens of the first verse a very different heavens from that of the eighth, without any exegetical warrant therefore. It violates the principles of a rational, and grammatical exegesis, in making a separation between the first and second verse, of which there is no trace or reason in the language itself. If used in the same way in narrating historical events in any other part of the Bible, no one would have thought of the first, and in the second verse, otherwise than as contemporaneous, or in direct continuation at least, with no chasm of time between them, long or short. “ (Professor Taylor Lewis)
“First of all, and before that any creature was, God made heaven and earth of nothing, as a rude lump, and without any creature in it, for the waters covered all; and darkness covered the deep waters, for as yet the light was not created.”—Footnote from an old Bible, “breeches” edition, 1599.
“In the beginning, in itself is a relative notion indicating the commencement of a series of things or events; but here the context gives it the meaning of the very first beginning, the commencement of the world when time itself began…It is obvious from the creative acts which follow that the heaven and the earth, as God created them in the beginning, were not the well ordered universe, but the world in its elementary form. What is said in verse 2, of the chaotic condition of the earth, is equally applicable to the heaven, for the heaven proceeds from the same chaos as the earth, and the earth was (not became) waste and void. The alliterative nouns ‘tohu vabohu’ signifying waste and empty (barren), but not laying waste and desolating….The coming earth was at first waste and desolate, a formless, lifeless mass….The chaotic mass in which the earth and the firmament were still undistinguished, unformed, and as it were unborn, was a heaving deep, and abyss of waters; and this deep was wrapped in darkness. But it was in the process of formation; the Spirit of God moved upon the waters….The three statements in our verse are parallel, all three describe the condition of the earth immediately after the creation of the universe. This suffices to prove that the theosophical speculations of those who make a gap between the first two verses, and fill it with a wild horde of evil spirits, and their demoniacal works, is an arbitrary interpretation.”—( Keil and Delitzsch)
“This imaginary break is a view which has had some currency, but which seems to have no support in Scripture, and which does not approve itself to men of science, was advocated in this country many years ago by Dr. Thos. Chalmers.”—The Bible and Science
Plants, herbs and trees appeared on this earth, for the first time, on the third day, for we read, “every plant of the field before it was in the earth, and every herb of the field before it grew,” showing that this was their first and only creation. Without these, animals could not exist: their creation followed on the fifth day. By this we know that no fossils are older than Adam’s day. We have no hint in Scripture that any living creature ever died before the Fall. The animal creation is under the headship of man, and in the fatal moment everything that God had put under man was stricken, because of the leprosy of sin. What else could the expressions, “subject to vanity,” “bondage of corruption,” “groaneth and travaileth in pain until now,” mean? Rocks only a few days old were then forming, as they still are, entombing the remains of the dying creatures. Sin changed paradise into a graveyard where we read in the rocks the epitaphs of the dead. Let us not be willingly ignorant of what God has so plainly revealed.
“By one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin.” (Rom. 5:12) What a change came over the whole world immediately. Adam’s eyes were opened, and he knew that he was a guilty, naked sinner. He feared to meet God; and blamed Eve, who blamed the serpent. God passed His righteous judgment upon each.
Man’s uprightness gone; vain and senseless reasoning took possession of his mind; lust began to sway his soul; and disease to afflict his body. The plants, herbs and trees lost their perfection; and thorns and thistles began to grow, compelling man in the sweat of his face to eat bread until he returned to the ground from whence he was taken. The curse fell heavily upon the brute creation also, “For the creature was made subject to vanity, not willingly, but by reason of him who hath subjected the same in hope. Because the creature itself also shall be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God. For we know that the whole creation groaneth and travaileth in pain until now.” (Rom. 8: 20-22)
“What rest to the soul when we “keep the deposit” and refuse to go speculating. Let us give heed to the exhortation given to young Timothy—“O Timothy, keep that which is committed to thy trust, avoiding profane and vain babblings, and oppositions of science falsely so called: which some professing have erred concerning the faith.” (I Tim. 6:20, 21)
May God deliver His own who have erred and exalt the foundations chapter of the Old Testament to its rightful place far, far above the empty speculative babblings of men. Let us not resist the word of God lest willing ignorance become “willful” (R. V.) ignorance, exalting man’s speculations above the word of God.” (Dr. E. A. Martin)