The Gap Theory

Discussion in 'Baptist Theology & Bible Study' started by Jordan Kurecki, Jan 14, 2014.

  1. Jordan Kurecki

    Jordan Kurecki
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    So I have a professor who believes in the Gap theory, I do not.

    Do you? Why or Why not?
     
  2. Revmitchell

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    No because you have to read into scripture an entire doctrine between two verses.
     
  3. Aaron

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    Nosirree Bob.
     
  4. Aaron

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    There is absolutely nothing in the narrative that would even suggest a gap.
     
  5. Winman

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    Nope, because Gen 1:31 easily refutes this theory.

    Gen 1:31 And God saw every thing that he had made, and, behold, it was very good. And the evening and the morning were the sixth day.

    On the sixth day God saw that "every thing" he had made was "very good". That means that Satan and the fallen angels had not rebelled yet. This utterly refutes that there was a gap between Gen 1:1 and Gen 1:2.
     
  6. padredurand

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    Oh, great. Now you tell me. Think it's too late to return my Scofield?
     
  7. quantumfaith

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    Jordan, just curious, what is he/she professor of?
     
  8. Winman

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    That's one of the reasons I got rid of my Scofield over 30 years ago.
     
  9. agedman

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    If one is to refute the "gap theory" (note it is a theory not "doctrine") then one must have God as constructing what is totally out of character and nature -- darkness, without form, void, desolate of all life and life sustaining elements.


    God sets order to chaos - He does not create complete chaos.

    There are also these areas to consider

    The first Hebrew words indicate "at the commencement of time" in which one may picture an old time clock in which the spring is wound and time set - a process that is not instantaneous.

    The little word "was" is a form of "be" in English, and has three uses in the Hebrew; two that are rare in today's usage. The word could be rendered as "came to pass" or "became" and, although some may strongly disagree, the whole meaning of the second verse change as a result - supporting the "gap" thinking. Think of this sentence as an example: The new car was demolished in the wreck. See how the "was" is used as "became" or "came to pass?"

    It is unfortunate, that some will make outstanding claims as to this little Hebrew word (hayah) and attempt to limit the meaning to their own desired bias - but it is fact that two of the three definitions for the word indicate a change takes place.

    To reject the change also calls into question the first problem of God creating what was waste and formlessness. That inconsistency points that something most certainly had to have occurred to force the static into a changing formless void.

    The words for "create" are three words in the Hebrew - two of the three indicate that the "create" is construction out of preexisting materials. Was water and land (covered by water) not already in existence but apparently not in any stable form (again - without form and void). These are used later in the chapter. The other word "bara" is used exclusively to make something new out of nothing that existed before the new was made. That is the first "create" in verse 1. God "bara" the heavens and earth.

    Some hold that there was no preexisting until the creation of this earth. However, those that hold that view generally do not satisfactorily answer just when then did God create the water that he moved over (or through as a mist) if there was nothing before "in the beginning." Indeed, do we not read in Scriptures that before the foundations of the world certain events took place?

    Some hold (if I recall John Gill does) a "two step" (my wording) type approach. That the heavens and angelic beings were made and already present, and that the "beginning" is applicable to the earth being taken from an unadorned state to that of adorned. Some would take this as a type of "gap" and the subsequent creation of this current earth necessary to meet some need.

    Most acknowledge that "in the beginning" is an indication of time (as humankind might recon it) was started, and not significantly appointing that nothing existed in eternity before time, but acknowledging that the heavens and all that pertain to those realms were already in existence for an indeterminable period before "in the beginning."

    Those that acknowledge that the heavenly hosts were created long before this earth, subsequently usually subscribe that the satanic forces rose in rebellion that took place before "in the beginning."

    Therefore, it follows that there was a gap occurring, a need to organize what what thrown into chaos, that redemption be completed.

    My personal view:

    It doesn't matter.

    Listen to the instructor, glean what you can, and pass the course with the best work possible.

    Unless there is some real question to what I have written, I have very little interest in the thread.

    I have written this post to stir thinking and suggest that there are good and acceptable understandings that do not immediately refute the "gap theory."

    Ultimately, it really doesn't matter.

    There is no Scriptures that I recall that the theory violate, and the most honest person will be familiar with arguments on both sides of this issue.

    Glad your instructor is giving you work to stretch your thinking and knowledge base.

    :)
     
  10. Judith

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    No one has ever sat down and read the Gen. account for the first time and came away with the understanding there was some kind of gap in creation from what they read. The reason people come up with these un-biblical beliefs is because they do not have the faith to believe what is written so they make up these wild and unbiblical beliefs. If I were you I would get out of that professor's class and find another with someone who believes what is written.
     
  11. thisnumbersdisconnected

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    It is the only "doctrine" that I know of that is based solely, completely and inexplicably on white space.
     
  12. Van

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    The Gap theory, simply put is the idea that there is a gap in time between Genesis 1:1 and Genesis 1:2. Thus Genesis 1:2 and following describes not creation but re-creation after the destruction caused by the Fall of Satan and those other Angels that fell with him.

    This theory accommodates an old universe and an old earth, the six days of creation only applying to the re-creation period.

    Lets go over the biblical support for the theory.

    In the Masoretic text, the copyists included "indicators" to help with reading and interpretation. One of these marks, a "rebhia" is a disjunctive accent, indicating a break or pause should be made by the reader before going on to the next verse. Such a mark is in the text between verse 1 and verse 2.

    This disjunctive accent could also indicated that the Hebrew conjunction, translated "and" might better be translated "but" so our passage section would read, "...created the heavens and the earth, BUT the earth..."

    To be sure, this mark, this disjunctive accent, this rebhia was added and is not part of the inspired text, but its existence supports to some small degree the possibility of the gap.

    Next point, the days of the account (day two, three and so on begin with "And God said" and end with "And there was evening and there was morning - the second (or third, etc) day. Using this pattern, then the first day begins not at verse one, but at verse 3, thus making the six days of creation, six days of re-creation and allowing for the fossil record prior to the the start of re-creation day one in verse three.

    And again, to be sure, even if the day pattern does start at verse three, the prior two verses might just be preamble, (Verse one God created everything, verse two, He started with nothing, Verse three... and this is how He did it.)

    Third point, the Hebrew verb "to be" (transliterated hyh) might better be translated "became" rather than was. This would make our passage section now read "...created the heavens and the earth, but the earth became formless and void..."

    The verb "hyh" can and with considerable frequency be translated as became (or had become) but it also can be translated with far more frequency as "was". Therefore, using the alternate translation possibility to enable reading into the text a gap, is unnecessary and thus provides no real support for the theory.

    Fourth point, the words "formless and void" (Hebrew transliterated "tohu waw bohu") might mean the destruction of something, rather than the initial state of non-existence period or non-existence of its present state.
    Proponents of the Gap Theory of Creation, point to Isaiah 45:18 and say the words must mean the world was destroyed because when God created it, it was to be inhabited, and being created formless and void, a desolation is thus inconsistent with scripture.

    So if "formless and void" means the earth was not created yet, then no conflict, and if the words of Isaiah 45:18 only mean God created the world to be inhabited at some point in time, then again no conflict and hence, no real support for the gap theory.

    Fifth point, when did Satan fall? Since In the beginning God created everything (including the things in heavenly places, pointing to angels such as Satan) then Satan seems to have fallen after Genesis 1:1 but before showing up in the garden. The Gap allows a time period for all this to occur.

    Of course the opposite conclusion can be reached, that whatever caused Satan to be used by God as the adversary could have occurred by our ability to assess in the twinkling of an eye, for with God all things are possible.
    Bottom line, the Bible provides scant information concerning how Satan became the adversary embodied by the serpent in the garden, so it is an argument from silence to point to the unknown as evidence for the gap.

    In summary, the Gap theory has been created by man and read into scripture, it is a fiction built on a possibility rather than necessity.
     
  13. thisnumbersdisconnected

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    Thus illustrating my point:
     
  14. Aaron

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    No OT scholar will assert the meaning of the accent marks in the Masoretic texts to be known. They are most likely musical notation.

    The gap theory was created to accommodate an old earth and Darwinian theories. It cannot be gleaned from the text.
     
  15. OldRegular

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    Well said Judith. The Gap Theory was invented to explain the apparent problem raised by the so-called "fossil record". I thought that theory had died the death years ago!
     
  16. ktn4eg

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    Please correct me if I'm mistaken (and I probably am! :laugh:), but years ago I read somewhere that the "accent marks" to which you refer were understood to refer to the terms "jot(s)" and "tittle(s)" as Jesus Christ talked about in Matthew 5:18 and Luke 16:17.
     
  17. Inspector Javert

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    Not exactly IMO:

    Those "accent marks" aren't (or wouldn't have been) there when originally written.

    The books of the Pentateuch, at least, were probably written on clay tablets.........no-one wasted precious writing space on a clay tablet with accent marks of any kind really. Clay is heavy, and easily broken, therefore, as little space as is necessary is used when writing on it. Any Masoretic markings would be the result of Masorete scribes transcribing Original clay tablets (which wouldn't contain those marks) and adding them for the sake of clarification....but they didn't exist "originally"........in fact the Hebrew alphabet was different with the original writing of the Pentateuch than the alphabet used when the Psalmists and the Prophets wrote.......same language........different alphabet. (At least from Genesis through Joshua)

    The "Jot" most likely refers to the yod (the smallest letter of the Hebrew Alphabet) and it looks like little more than an apostrophe '.... see here:
    י

    The "tittle" literally means "horn" and it most likely refers to the tiny (but significant) subtle differences between similar-looking Hebrew letters which distinguish them from one another...

    A great example might be the "resh" vs. the "dalet" ("R" vs. "D" respectively) wherein the most discernible difference is the portion of the upper horizontal line (distinguishing the dalet) extending past the vertical line which they both share:

    Per example:
    רִֵ
    this is a "resh".........but notice the "horn" or overwrite extending to the right of the vertical line which forms the letter "dalet"

    ד


    Thus, I believe: the "jot" is the "yod"
    and the "tittle" is the distinguishing characteristic of one letter vs. another (kinda like the English Alphabet's distinction between lower case "l" and "i", or also the subtle difference between a lower case "a" and "o")

    In other words, in a language ENTIRELY composed exclusively of consonants...wherein only the subtle differences between one consonant and another can distinguish between one word and another....

    NOTHING
    will fail to be preserved......I could be wrong, but I think Jesus is referring to original letters and the promise that not one "LETTER" will pass away until all is fulfilled....
     
  18. thisnumbersdisconnected

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    Where did you get this idea? You think they called a collection of clay tablets "The Book of Law"? You think "The Book of Law" fit in the Ark? You think the article "in" would be used to describe what was recorded as part of that book if it was written "on" -- exteriorally -- a stone tablet? No. Moses wrote on papyrus, exactly as he had been taught when being educated in Egypt, but in the Hebrew language, not hieroglyphics.
     
  19. Jordan Kurecki

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    He teaches Hebrew/Greek and Methods of Bible study.
     
  20. Inspector Javert

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    That's one argument..........(but this will be the subject of another thread).............

    I don't believe Moses wrote on papyrus (possibly Exodus through Deuteronomy)........

    I believe he was the editor/compositor of the book of Genesis (originally written on clay tablets) and he "wrote" Exodus through Deuteronomy..............
    Mind you, even the Ten Commandments didn't come to him on papyrus.....but tablets, or as the KJV renders it "tables".
    Exd 24:12
    And the LORD said unto Moses, Come up to me into the mount, and be there: and I will give thee tables of stone, and a law, and commandments which I have written; that thou mayest teach them.

    This may not be an argument you are familiar with, but I don't believe Moses "WROTE" Genesis............he "wrote" Exodus through Deuteronomy.....

    Before you call me a heretic, the Bible NEVER says Moses "WROTE" anything in Genesis, but it does say he "wrote" the other four. Genesis is called a "book of Moses". But, I believe, Genesis was compiled by Moses from original witnesses including:
    Adam
    Seth
    Noah
    Shem
    Abraham
    Isaac
    Jacob
    Joseph

    et.al.

    Either way...it doesn't significantly deflect from my suggestion to Kt4.........
    The original alphabet they used was designed for cutting into clay tablets........not writing on papyrus. It wasn't the same alphabet used today, or even in Jesus' time. Writing VASTLY pre-dates the use of papyrus.
    Papyrus was a luxury which didn't grow in most parts of the world. Even when Papyri was a well-known device...that reed doesn't grow everywhere....

    But all this isn't the subject for this thread.
     

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