Gap Theory

Discussion in 'Baptist Theology & Bible Study' started by christianasbookshelf, Sep 16, 2009.

  1. christianasbookshelf

    christianasbookshelf
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    Brethren,

    I'm teaching the Book of Genesis in an adult Bible institute at my church each Thursday night. One of the issues that naturally comes up is the "gap" theory. The theory that there is a "gap" or space of undermined time between Genesis 1:1 and 1:2. I'm curious to know what you think and if you believe there is a gap? If so, what are your reasons. If not, what are your reasons? Keep in mind that I may use some or all of what you say in my class as I teach. I appreciate the input. God bless you.

    Bro. Paul
     
  2. Jeep Dragon

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    It appears to me by the plain reading of Genesis 1:1-2 that no gap is implied. They seem to flow together. If a civilization existed on earth and was destroyed, I don't see why verse 2 would use the phrase "and the earth was without form and void" to say that it was not like that before until God cleaned up a previous civilization.

    Anyone else have any thoughts? I have not studied the issue.
     
  3. AresMan

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    Some posit that Jeremiah 4:23 and following describes the destruction of the pre-Adamite civilization. The only problem with this idea is that the context is the impending Babylonian captivity.
     
  4. donnA

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    The bible doesn't say theres a gap, therfore it would be reading inot it what isn't there making up scripture to suit man, not God.
     
  5. Bob Alkire

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    There wasn't any death before Adam's first sin, so that should take care of the gap theory. If there was a gap then Genesis isn't correct. If Genesis isn't correct much that follows wouldn't be correct.

    I believe many went to the gap theory because of evolution, trying to match the Bible to evolution or to answer evolution. Many a good Bible teacher has been wrong on this, many that I've enjoyed their work, but they were wrong this, they believed the gap theory.
     
  6. Aaron

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    No, there is no gap. It is not implied at all by the passage. It is read into it by a mindset that presupposes Darwinian Evolution to be true.
     
  7. Revmitchell

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    The gap theory....one of the dumbest things ever said. There are often two arguments by those who support this idiocy. First in vs. 2 they insist the language suggests that the earth had been destroyed not made a fresh. Second they point to the word "male mala" in vs. 28 and suggest that it means to replenish the earth again. Either way it is as it has been said an eisegetical endeavor created to fit a presupposition.
     
  8. Thinkingstuff

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    1st of all not true. Christian evolutionist do not hold to Gap theory. They hold to the creation story in Genesis to be either outline and not a specific statement of exactly how the earth was form or Allegory. Gap theory is usually held by dispensationalist. I do not believe from the text that Gap theory is implied. However the theory as posited to me from a dispensationalist was that God made the world perfect. Satan fell and destroyed everything and God started recreating from the material left behind which is why the world was void and formless. Makes for a great fictional story though.
     
  9. Revmitchell

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    1st of all...is true. Many "Christian Evolutionists" do hold to the gap theory to explain the presupposition about the age of the earth by modern science.
     
    #9 Revmitchell, Sep 17, 2009
    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 17, 2009
  10. sag38

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    I've never met a dispensationalist who held to the gap theory.
     
  11. Johnv

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    Thinkingstuff is correct. Gap Theory is usually held by dispensationalists, not Christian evolutionists. Christian evolutionists do not hold to Gap theory, but instead hold to the concept of the creation story in Genesis to be an outline and not a specific statement of exactly how the earth was formed. This is evidenced by the fact that theologians who postulated a gap theory predated Darwin's work by many decades.

    The man most responsible for the gap theory was Thomas Chalmers (1780-1847), Scottish theologian and pastor of the Free Church of Scotland, who first popularized it in 1814. His citations on the gap theory actually point to the writings of Episcopius (1583-1643).

    To answer the question of the OP, if one holds to a strict literalist or hyperliteralist view of Gen1, the gap theory is probably going to be inconsistent with that view.
     
    #11 Johnv, Sep 17, 2009
    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 17, 2009
  12. Revmitchell

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    You guys are being silly, if you hold to the gap theory you are an evolutionist. Period. it is an accommodation to the presupposition of scientists that falsely assert the age of the earth to be billions of years old. Hence evolution. You cannot divorce the gap theory from evolution under any circumstance. It is ridiculous to even try.
     
  13. Allan

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    Nope, catagorically incorrect.
    Though there are very few Dipsy's who do, most that hold to the gap are either evolutionists or old earth creationists.

    Actaully, if one holds to biblical hermeneutics then one will find the Gap theory inconsistant with all of scripture.
     
  14. Allan

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    I think that Scofield held to the view and has it in the Scofielf bible.
    I might be mistaken but I 'think' so.
     
  15. Tom Bryant

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    Just checked my old Schofield and you are correct.

    Those who believe in the gap theory are not necessarily evolutionists. They believe that it may be the explanation for some fossils that appear to be millions of years old. Schofield and my old professor Dr. C.W. Mason at Philadelphia College of Bible were NOT evolutionists but believed in the gap theory.
     
  16. Thinkingstuff

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    You're ignorance of this topic is showing. Evolutionist never postulated the Gap theory. As JohnV points out.
     
  17. preachinjesus

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    I believe in a gap, though not between Genesis 1:1 and 1:2.

    If God made the world in six literal days I'm fine with that, He is God afterall. My belief in the gap comes from Adam and Eve in the Garden. I don't believe they existed in the Garden and then went through the Fall narrative within a day or two. Rather I believe the gap occurs in this time and was a period of extended time where Adam and Eve lived in harmony in the Garden of Eden while the world outside continued along on a less than perfect path. In other words Adam and Eve didn't fall on the 8th day. This gap between the seventh day and the Fall is likely to be a lengthy period of time. :)

    Also, just from my studying...the notion of the Eden-only view of creation is a really good one. :)
     
  18. Johnv

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    I believe in The Gap. I just bought some new jeans there using my Old Navy gift card.
     
  19. HankD

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    The Gap Theory has currently been made popular by the Bullinger Companion Bible. I don't support the theory but here are some historical facts.

    Dr. EW Bullinger (1837-1913), known as a hyper-dispensationlist uses 2 Peter 3:6-7 as a support passage of the Gap Theory.

    2 Peter 3:6-7
    6 Whereby the world that then was, being overflowed with water, perished:
    7 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.​

    Obviously a reference to the flood of Noah and not a "gap" between Genesis 1:1 and 1:2.​

    Bullinger was an excellent linguist and the Companion Bible is repleat with copious notes, most of which are excellent (as far as I took my analysis).​

    Here is a link to a PDF of his notes (go down through page 3).​


    A man named Arnold Murray of the Shepherd's Chapel uses the Companion Bible and appears to support Bullinger. I was very unhappy with Dr. Murray's definition of the Trinity. It appears to me (I could be wrong) that he is a modalist Trinitarian. He also holds to several other non-traditional Christian teachings.​

    HankD​
     
  20. Paul Brand

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    This isn't all that complicated. Gap theorists hold that the Earth is old (~4.5 billion years old), but that all life is recently created, ~6000 years ago, in 6 literal days. Christian evolutionists agree with the first premise, but not the second. The vast majority of Christian evolutionists take the creation narrative as allegory.

    Glenn Morton (a former Institute of Creation Research geologist) is one exception (perhaps the only exception I can think of). He is an evolutionist and believes in a literal historical narrative. He reconciles by saying that God took 6 literal days to speak creation into existence, but that cosmic and biological evolution took billions of years to arrive at its intended purpose. I don't really find his explanation all that compelling.
     

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