“It is the glory of God to conceal a matter, But the glory of kings is to search out a matter.” (Ps 25:2)
Why this exploration
of the gap theory?
God’s true creation account is important – very important! This is because whatever we believe about original sin, and how and when evil, suffering and death entered into the creation, will have a profound effect on how we view major doctrines of the Christian faith. That is, if we want to hold God’s Word in the highest esteem and be consistent in our faith, understanding and communications.
My Christian journey is a little complicated. I began by attending a church in 1984 that taught the gap theory. I never thought to question it back then. This church later split and my husband and I found ourselves in a denomination that, over time, replaced gap creation with theistic evolution – i.e. the belief that God created using evolutionary processes, which was said to bring the Bible more into line with secular science.
After spending years examining hundreds and hundreds of arguments supporting theistic evolution – all of which, when followed through to their theological (and scientific) conclusions, disappeared into murkiness and mysticism – we left to join another church.
There we found we were back in gap theory territory again. And it wasn’t long before we soon came to realise that this creation narrative was not just a side teaching of this particular church.
Rather, it was held to be sacrosanct and central to its theology – never to be questioned – and essential to preaching the true gospel and knowing God!
Those who hold to the belief in one recent creation, it was said, fail to consider the devil’s rebellion; don’t see the devil as ruling the earth; do not understand why evil exists in our world; are disobedient to God; hold to a different gospel message; and may not even know God. Young earth creationism, it was proclaimed from the pulpit, was a “satanic heresy designed to cover up the doctrine of sin”.
It was this extreme defense of the gap theory that led us into an in-depth exploration of this doctrine, to see if there could be any truth in it. Never did we imagine it would result in thousands of hours of research, as we uncovered more and more information about this teaching.
ACCEPTING THE CHALLENGE
Being well-informed young earth creationists for 20 years, we accepted the gap theory challenge – not to prove young earth creation is true, but to see IF the gap theory could withstand serious scrutiny. After all, God expects all of his people to look to his word for truth, and to think deeply about what we are being taught, because truth does matter. And it is our individual responsibility to check things out “to find out whether these things are so” (Acts 17:11).
In the verse below, the apostle Paul (depicted in this painting) gave instructions and a warning – not directed to the general public but specifically to believers in Christ.
“Stand therefore, having girded your waist with truth, having put on the breastplate of righteousness, … And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God; praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, being watchful to this end with all perseverance and supplication for all the saints…” (Eph 6:14,17-18).
And in the Book of Acts, we are told.
“These were more fair-minded than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness, and searched the Scriptures daily to find out whether these things were so.” (Acts 17:11).
With gap creation arguments raining down on me from several well-versed quarters, I knew I had a challenge on my hands. This concerned me, because if the gap theory were true it would change my view of Scripture. That is, I would not be capable of understanding the Word of God without others interpreting it for me. Why? Because anyone simply reading the Bible, as it is plainly written and without input from human beings (e.g. theologians, scientists and mystics) would never come up with a gap theory or any other ancient earth narrative. Such a perspective is only possible if a person lends their ear to the explanations and extrapolations of outside voices.
Nevertheless, the challenge was set before me and, as my husband said, “You want to know the truth, don’t you? So what are you worried about?” This strengthened my resolve to follow the arguments, wherever they led. Soon our exploration into the gap theory became an exciting and faith-building exercise. And what we discovered shocked us, especially when we came to realise where the idea of a gap, between Gen 1:1-2, had originated (ancient Babylon), what it truly signified
HOW THIS SUBJECT HAS BEEN COMPILED AND PRESENTED
Important: What I am going to investigate here (the gap theory) is either a new truth (first developed and popularised about 120 years ago by a number of Protestant theologians) or it is a monumental deception. It cannot be both! One characteristic of deception is that the person who proclaims it may genuinely be deceived themselves, believing his/her teaching to be true – when in fact it is not! Thus I do not claim, in this investigation, that anyone is knowingly setting out to deceive others! Only God can be the judge of that.
This research has been divided into 12 main subjects, taking the form of chapters of differing lengths. These examine the arguments/ consequences presented to me by a number of gap-creation defenders. After this, I have summarised my Conclusion on the matter, and review the true Gospel message (as shown in the Menu bar at the top).
GAP THEORY CHALLENGE
1) The gap theory’s distortion of language.
2) Does young earth creation deny evil originated from the devil?
3) The devil in the garden.
4) When was the devil cast down to the earth?
5) How did evil develop?
6) Cosmology and the age of the earth.
7) How is the age of the earth measured?
8) Six biblical conundrums of the gap theory.
9) The history of the gap theory.
10) The gap principle and Kabbalah connection.
11) Gap creationism and the end time.
12) In the beginning – a young earth creation narrative.
I don’t pretend to have all the answers, and I know that not all young earth creationists will agree with everything I have presented here, but I do believe my arguments tick all the biblical boxes and join the theological dots. Not only that, but this exploration shows that the creation story is all about God – not all about the devil.
Images: iStock.com/CrossEyedPhotography; Jenny Sturm/Shutterstock.com; mpaniti/Shutterstock.com; Pexels; Pixabay; Renata Sedmakova/Shutterstock.com.
“I will meditate on the glorious splendour of Your majesty, And on Your wondrous works.” (Ps 145:5)