I have been asked to present a critique of someone who argued in favor of the gap theory and thought to post it for your consideration.
The gap theory asserts that between Genesis 1:1 and Genesis 1:2 there is a gap lasting some great duration including millions of years. Some appeal to it in order to stuff evolution therein, others appeal to it in order to stuff some sort of Satanic rebellion therein, others in order to claim there was a pre-Adamic race of proto-humans, and some just combine all of these into one grand gap theory of everything.
Now, I am not going to get into the gap theorists specific claims herein but just demonstrate how every text to which he appeal does not even hint to a gap.
The texts undergoing review are Genesis 1, 1 Corinthians 15, 2 Peter 3, Jeremiah 4, Revelation 12, and Psalm 104—since they gap theorists appealed to these in this order.
Genesis 1 states, “In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth” with “earth” translating “eretz.” Now, to what does eretz refer? Well, the answer is not so simple since, for example, even in modern day English Earth is the name of our planet but earth is dirt/soil. To this day we Jews refer to “Eretz Israel” meaning “The Land of Israel.”
It seems to me that the focus narrows from Gen 1 to 2, from the creation of the universe, to specifics about the planet Earth, to pinpointing events in the Garden of Eden.
Is it a coincidence that today, as per the most up to date cosmology, we know that the universe is a time, space, matter continuum and that Gen 1:1 states, “In the beginning” time “God created the heaven” space “and the earth” matter?
Now, the gap theory claims that God created the planet Earth in 1:1 but then something happened to it since in 1:2 “the earth was without form, and void” so—insert Satanic war, etc.
Well, I may be too simplistic but I do prefer to begin at a basic, mundane, commonsensical level and then up the levels of complexity only if need be.
It seems to me that God created earth/eretz/matter in general, it was without form, and void, and then God created the planet we call Earth from some of that matter.
In any case, it is uncalled for to invent an entire all encompassing theory based on “without form, and void.”
Yet, of course, gap theorists claim that there are hints to what occurred within the gap—or that the gap is there in the first place—in other texts (which no one noticed until millennia after the entire biblical canon was closed).
1 Corinthians 15
The particular gap theorist I am addressing actually seems to have based his view upon some sort of concept of the pre-birth existence of humans (and I do not mean the nine months in the womb) when humans inhabited “spiritual bodies.”
When I asked him about what a “spiritual body” is, he replied, “a spiritual body is where the spirit dwells, it’s also called a heavenly body in first cor 15, it’s made of heavenly stuff where as an earthly body is made from the ground. It’s the same difference as saying the flesh body and the soul. Only I would say that the earthly body is made in the image of the heavenly body, as far as how it looks. I would say that all the following terms refer to this spiritual body: heavenly body, sons of God, angels, men, stars, trees & soul of flesh man.”
Now, this chapter states, “Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures; And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures.”
Thus, this is about resurrection.
We are then told “he was seen of Cephas,” et al.
Thus, this is about a resurrection body.
Then “Christ be preached that he rose from the dead, how say some among you that there is no resurrection of the dead?”
Thus, this is still about resurrection.
Then “if there be no resurrection of the dead, then is Christ not risen: And if Christ be not risen, then is our preaching vain, and your faith is also vain. Yea, and we are found false witnesses of God; because we have testified of God that he raised up Christ: whom he raised not up, if so be that the dead rise not. For if the dead rise not, then is not Christ raised: And if Christ be not raised, your faith is vain; ye are yet in your sins. Then they also which are fallen asleep in Christ are perished…now is Christ risen from the dead.”
Thus, the continuously ongoing context is resurrection.
Then “by man came death, by man came also the resurrection of the dead…as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive…The last enemy that shall be destroyed is death…if the dead rise not? let us eat and drink; for to morrow we die.”
Then comes the key point, “some man will say, How are the dead raised up? and with what body do they come? Thou fool, that which thou sowest is not quickened, except it die: And that which thou sowest, thou sowest not that body that shall be, but bare grain, it may chance of wheat, or of some other grain: But God giveth it a body as it hath pleased him, and to every seed his own body.”
Thus, this is about what happens post-death, it is referring to a post-death body, “except it die,” etc.
Then “All flesh is not the same flesh: but there is one kind of flesh of men, another flesh of beasts, another of fishes, and another of birds. There are also celestial bodies, and bodies terrestrial: but the glory of the celestial is one, and the glory of the terrestrial is another. There is one glory of the sun, and another glory of the moon, and another glory of the stars: for one star differeth from another star in glory. So also is the resurrection of the dead. It is sown in corruption; it is raised in incorruption: It is sown in dishonour; it is raised in glory: it is sown in weakness; it is raised in power: It is sown a natural body; it is raised a spiritual body. There is a natural body, and there is a spiritual body.”
Again, this is about the resurrection of the dead, about being raised a spiritual body.
Then “so it is written, The first man Adam was made a living soul; the last Adam was made a quickening spirit. Howbeit that was not first which is spiritual, but that which is natural; and afterward that which is spiritual.”
Thus, the gap theorist had it backward: he said we were first spiritual then natural rather than what the text stated which is that we were first natural then spiritual.
Then “The first man is of the earth, earthy [as in natural]; the second man is the Lord from heaven. As is the earthy, such are they also that are earthy: and as is the heavenly, such are they also that are heavenly. And as we have borne the image of the earthy, we shall also bear the image of the heavenly. Now this I say, brethren, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God; neither doth corruption inherit incorruption.”
Thus, unglorified, un-resurrected bodies will not enter heaven.
Then “Behold, I shew you a mystery; We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed…the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed. For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality.
So when this corruptible shall have put on incorruption, and this mortal shall have put on immortality.”
Thus, glorified, resurrected, or “spiritual” bodies will enter heaven
2 Peter 3
Supposedly, Peter mentioned a pre-Adamic universal flood—which is, or so it is claimed, Gen 1:2 notes, “the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters,” etc.
Peter writes, “there shall come in the last days scoffers, walking after their own lusts, And saying, Where is the promise of his coming? for since the fathers fell asleep, all things continue as they were from the beginning of the creation.”
Thus, the beginning of the creation, about which the contention is whether the beginning of the creation means the beginning of the creation or the beginning of the current creation or the beginning of the pre-creation-creation—yet, such a question is only based on a latecomer of an assertion about a gap.
Then “For this they willingly are ignorant of, that by the word of God the heavens were of old, and the earth standing out of the water and in the water.”
Which seems to refer to Genesis 1:9 “let the waters under the heaven be gathered together unto one place, and let the dry land appear.”
Then “Whereby the world that then was, being overflowed with water, perished.”
Now, the only known flood, of any such magnitude, is Noah’s and Peter does mention it in 1 Peter 3: 20 “God waited in the days of Noah, while the ark was a preparing, wherein few, that is, eight souls were saved by water.”
Then “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.”
Thus, he seems to be simply have been referring to “the heavens and the earth, which are now” all alone and exclusively.
About this chapter—from as per his usual modus operandi he merely pulls texts out of context to make pretexts for prooftexts rather than interacting with the narrative—he began by stating, “people who know what they’re talking about will say that this end part of Jeremiah chapter four is talking about a previous age” which is part of why he ignored the entire rest of the chapter.
Now, I find the term “people who know what they’re talking about” to be quite distasteful and apparently, I know not what I am talking about so, let us see.
I will emphasize the text’s emphasis, “If thou wilt return, O Israel, saith the Lord, return unto me: and if thou wilt put away thine abominations out of my sight, then shalt thou not remove…For thus saith the Lord to the men of Judah and Jerusalem…men of Judah and inhabitants of Jerusalem…Declare ye in Judah, and publish in Jerusalem…Set up the standard toward Zion.”
Thus, this is very, very clearly about when eretz Israel is already inhabited by the people who have broken up into Judah, Jerusalem, etc.
Then, “The lion is come up from his thicket, and the destroyer of the Gentiles is on his way; he is gone forth from his place to make thy land desolate; and thy cities shall be laid waste, without an inhabitant…this people and Jerusalem…this people and Jerusalem…the daughter of my people…he shall come up as clouds, and his chariots shall be as a whirlwind: his horses are swifter than eagles. Woe unto us! for we are spoiled. O Jerusalem…Dan…mount Ephraim. Make ye mention to the nations; behold, publish against Jerusalem, that watchers come from a far country, and give out their voice against the cities of Judah…Destruction upon destruction is cried; for the whole land is spoiled…my people is foolish, they have not known me; they are sottish children, and they have none understanding: they are wise to do evil, but to do good they have no knowledge.”
Now, it is within this repeatedly emphasized context, about Judah, Jerusalem, God’s people, the Gentiles, etc. and that is to become of their cities that we come to the portion of the text that the gap theorist exclusively commented upon.
“I beheld the earth, and, lo, it was without form, and void; and the heavens, and they had no light. I beheld the mountains, and, lo, they trembled, and all the hills moved lightly. I beheld, and, lo, there was no man, and all the birds of the heavens were fled.
I beheld, and, lo, the fruitful place was a wilderness, and all the cities thereof were broken down at the presence of the Lord, and by his fierce anger. For thus hath the Lord said, The whole land shall be desolate; yet will I not make a full end. For this shall the earth mourn, and the heavens above be black; because I have spoken it, I have purposed it, and will not repent, neither will I turn back from it.”
Sure, read in isolation, that can be made into anything but even then, the text continued with another statement that the gap theorist ignored, “The whole city shall flee for the noise of the horsemen and bowmen; they shall go into thickets, and climb up upon the rocks: every city shall be forsaken, and not a man dwell therein. And when thou [those He addressed time and again] art spoiled, what wilt thou do?…”
Thus, there is utterly no way to read this text within its own context and even imagine that it has anything whatsoever to do with a pre-Adamic creation and destruction.
The only reason for covering this text is because the gap theorist claimed that John was “saying I hear a cry like a woman in labor, a cry of anguish like one bearing her first child,’ so in, in the other birth pains, he just says birth pains, giving birth to the new age, this is the first birth and so what are we saying this is the time when the earth became formless and empty.”
Here is what the actual texts actually states, “a woman…being with child cried, travailing in birth, and pained to be delivered. And there appeared another wonder in heaven; and behold a great red dragon, having seven heads and ten horns, and seven crowns upon his heads. And his tail drew the third part of the stars of heaven, and did cast them to the earth: and the dragon stood before the woman which was ready to be delivered, for to devour her child as soon as it was born. And she brought forth a man child, who was to rule all nations with a rod of iron: and her child was caught up unto God, and to his throne…there was war in heaven: Michael and his angels fought against the dragon; and the dragon fought and his angels…”
Thus, this woman gave birth to Jesus and the heavenly war was after His ascension. This is only about “her first child” in that Mary had other children after Jesus but nothing whatsoever to do with a “new age” nor “is the time when the earth became formless and empty.”
From this whole Psalm, the gap theorist exclusively appealed to vs. 30, “Thou sendest forth thy spirit, they are created: and thou renewest the face of the earth” so as to assert that God “renewest the face of the earth” after the pre-Adamic catastrophe.
One thing to keep in mind about Psalms is that they are what they are and they are poetic song lyrics.
This Psalm refers to God, who “stretchest out the heavens like a curtain: Who layeth the beams of his chambers in the waters…Who laid the foundations of the earth, that it should not be removed for ever. Thou coveredst it with the deep as with a garment: the waters stood above the mountains.”
This seem to refer to Genesis 7:20 which states, “fifteen cubits upward did the waters prevail; and the mountains were covered,” and Genesis 8:5 “the waters decreased continually until the tenth month: in the tenth month, on the first day of the month, were the tops of the mountains seen.”
Then “At thy rebuke they fled; at the voice of thy thunder they hasted away. They go up by the mountains; they go down by the valleys unto the place which thou hast founded for them. Thou hast set a bound that they may not pass over; that they turn not again to cover the earth.”
This seem to refer to Genesis 9:15 that refers to the rainbow as a sign that “the waters shall no more become a flood to destroy all flesh.”
Then, “He sendeth the springs into the valleys, which run among the hills. They give drink to every beast of the field…the fowls of the heaven have their habitation…causeth the grass to grow for the cattle, and herb for the service of man” and refers to “wine…oil…trees…birds make their nests…high hills are a refuge for the wild goats…young lions…things creeping…small and great beasts…leviathan…”
It goes on to state, “These wait all upon thee; that thou mayest give them their meat in due season. That thou givest them they gather: thou openest thine hand, they are filled with good. Thou hidest thy face, they are troubled: thou takest away their breath, they die, and return to their dust. Thou sendest forth thy spirit, they are created: and thou renewest the face of the earth. The glory of the Lord shall endure for ever: the Lord shall rejoice in his works. He looketh on the earth, and it trembleth: he toucheth the hills, and they smoke. I will sing unto the Lord as long as I live: I will sing praise to my God while I have my being. My meditation of him shall be sweet: I will be glad in the Lord. Let the sinners be consumed out of the earth, and let the wicked be no more. Bless thou the Lord, O my soul. Praise ye the Lord.”
Thus, this was simply a reference to how God “renewest the face of the earth” after the flood, the only such flood of which the Bible speaks, Noah’s flood.
Thus, the gap theorist did as I noted: merely myopically selected specific fragments of thoughts (that we call verses) from here and there in order to compile them into a theory yet, clearly, it simply does not even come anywhere close to working.
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