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Gap theory revisited

This feedback concerns the ‘gap theory’, which tends to rely on a misunderstanding of the word ‘replenish’ in the King James Version of Genesis 1:28, which originally meant ‘fill’. Ray K. from New Zealand wrote in, with responses from CMI’s Dr Jonathan Sarfati and Lita Sanders interspersed:

©CMIDeath before the fall?

Dear Mr K.,

We’ve been asked to respond on behalf of Dr Wieland and the editors. We must say, upon re-reading Dr Wieland’s article [update: now online—Editor], we’re bewildered by your criticism and wonder how you could have arrived at your conclusions from any fair interpretation of his writing. Please see our comments interspersed.

Dear Editors,

I refer to the article entitled Replenish the Earth by Carl Wieland in Creation 33(2):48–49. This article, like many others in Creation and other CMI-sponsored literature, rubbishes what the writer sneeringly calls “the hoary old gap theory”.

Taking a single phrase out of context of the article, it is possible to misread it as ‘sneering’, but we would think any fair reading of the article would take note of the author’s gracious tone throughout, especially where he ended on the note about ‘setting them straight—‘making sure your words are “replete with grace”, of course.’

The issue hinges on whether or not Scripture presents a time-lapse between the creation of the heavens and earth (verse 1 of Genesis 1) and the “waste and empty” condition of the earth as described in verse 2, with a further time-lapse between verses 2 and 3. These time-lapses were not necessarily of long duration as CMI invariably presupposes.

Well, if we’re going to define a time lapse as a pause of any period, then we would fit the gap theory, because we would think that perhaps a few moments up to even hours separated the events! But as long as we believe that the entire creation was completed in 6 normal-length days as Exodus 20:8–11 states, it is orthodox.

The term ‘Gap Theory’, traditionally understood, is the theory that inserts a gap and pre-history in between the two verses to explain the fossil record and insert long ages by appealing to what is sometimes called ‘Lucifer’s Flood’.

Nor do they imply that some kind of human creatures roamed the earth before Adam (a nonsense that no competent Bible scholar to my knowledge has ever propounded).

Well, you’re correct that no competent Bible scholar supports it, but this is the classic gap theory.

First, I greatly respect and support CMI for its excellent exposures of evolution theory.

Thanks, but it’s hard to detect any of that respect in this message. Also, our exposures of evolution are not the primary focus of our ministry! Rather, this is a corollary of our main message, the authority of Scripture. So is our opposition to any scheme that puts death before the Fall, since this undercuts the reason Jesus came to die for our sins.

However, I strongly resent CMI’s constant disparagement of those who genuinely believe that those time-gaps are implicit in a plain reading of the Scriptures.

You say repeatedly how our goal is to ‘disparage’ people and ‘malign godly students of the Bible’, but such comments ignore the fact that Dr Wieland didn’t mention a single specific gap-theorist in his article, instead focusing on the arguments. It would have been nice had you elected to do the same instead of resorting to emotive language.

We don’t doubt there are people who ‘genuinely believe’ the gap theory—but we genuinely think they’re genuinely wrong. And when those genuinely wrong people happen to be Christian leaders, we have a responsibility to answer their bad exegesis with good. But again, we didn’t mention any specific person in this article.

The article in question asserts that “the gap (or reconstruction) theory did not arise from any reading of the text …” This is deceptive and untrue.

Well, the gap theory did result from a reading of the text (just not a very good one!) informed more by the desire to fit long ages into the creation account than by anything in the Hebrew (as the full quote says). We wouldn’t say that our statement is deceptive, however—the gap theory never arose from the text before the rise of long-age ‘science’.

Such an accusation must stem either from ignorance or from a deliberate attempt to denigrate those whose exegesis of Scripture differs from CMI’s.

Well, the case could be made that bad exegesis (and this, not simply ‘different’ exegesis, is the issue) deserves to be called out.

In either case, it is inexcusable. It maligns godly students of the Bible (past and present)— men whom Creation has from time to time contemptuously called “gappists”.

We don’t make judgments about godliness, lest we be weighed by the same measure with which we judge. But if godliness means ‘conforming with God’s desires for us,’ or ‘being like God’ in certain ways He has ordained, and if Jesus is God, doesn’t that mean that the godly person will have the same view of Genesis that Jesus (who is God) had? And Jesus took a straightforward view of Genesis, with no indication of gaps. See for example Jesus and the age of the world.

These include many competent scholars of the inspired Hebrew and Greek texts, who were governed by the Word, not by any base and pragmatic desire to manipulate it to accommodate “long ages”. Please do not insult such men.
Competent exegesis is measured by the degree to which it brings out the actual meaning of the text.

Again, Dr Wieland’s article didn’t even mention individuals, let alone insult them. But competent exegesis is measured by the degree to which it brings out the actual meaning of the text. Any significant gap of time is excluded because it would require breaking up a single sentence in the Hebrew.

The article referred to above focuses on the word “replenish” which occurs in Gen. 1:28 (KJV). The translation of the Hebrew word in today’s English should, I agree, be “fill”. That is not in dispute.

Thanks, but this in our experience is the major argument by gappists.

The real issue is whether or not “straightforward biblical exegesis” supports the conclusion that an unspecified lapse of time occurred between the original creation of the heavens and the earth (verse 1) and the “waste and empty” state of the earth described in verse 2, with a further time-gap before Elohim commanded light to be on day 1 of the 6 literal days (verse 3).

And the answer to that is simply ‘no’, as laid out in that article, Refuting Compromise, and many of our articles.

The first verse of the Bible stands majestically alone. Even its unique inspired structure of sevens in the original Hebrew confirms this (as has been often pointed out by Bible scholars since Ivan Panin’s research brought this to light). That heptadic structure does not extend into verse 2.

I agree that the first verse of the Bible is majestic. But that has nothing to do with secret patterns that require Christians to ‘get out their magic decoder rings’. Our doctrines should be based on the propositional revelation in Scripture (i.e. facts about things), not on numerology.

Verse 1 is not a summary of the ensuing 6 days as some CMI writers have claimed—even Henry Morris admits this: “Neither can verse 1 as a whole be considered a title or summary of the events described in the succeeding verses of the chapter” (H. M. Morris The Genesis Record p.42).

The perfect tense of verse 1 marks it as the first verb of the historical narrative that follows. This is basic Hebrew grammar. Furthermore, ‘heavens and earth’ is a merism for all of creation; it means ‘everything’. God didn’t create everything on Day 1, therefore it must include a summarizing.

It is surely obvious that verse 1 cannot possibly be a summary of the work of the 6 days because nowhere in the account of those days is there the slightest hint of God’s creating either heavens or earth, i.e. the planet. (The “firmament” or “heavens” of verses 6–8 clearly refers to the atmospheric heavens, not the sidereal heavens of verse 1).

This is a stretch. The phrase “heavens and earth” is the typical way the Hebrew Bible authors described the totality of God’s creation, since they lacked a word for the universe.

The work of each of the 6 days begins invariably with the words, “And God [Elohim] said”. Verse 1 has no such preface: “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.” The absence of the words “And God said” in verse 1 shows beyond reasonable doubt that the primal creation “at the beginning” stands apart from the work of the 6 days.

Again, a stretch and an argument from silence. If your claim was “beyond reasonable doubt”, then why didn’t the Church Fathers and Reformers see it?

A plain literal reading of Genesis 1 shows us in verse 3 that God spoke light into an already existing earth.

Yes, something already existed—because He’d created it earlier that same day. But what existed was a mass of water, which became separated on Day 2. The ‘waters below’ became the earth, and the ‘waters above’ could be different things depending on which cosmology one prefers.

It does not say that the heavens and the earth were created on that day. The only thing that God pronounced good on day 1 was light. This undeniable fact would be more than strange if He had created the whole universe on that day. That is straightforward Biblical exegesis.

But after Day 6, God pronounced the entire creation “good”; this was the seventh time He had declared this, and seven is a biblical number of perfection. Furthermore, this seventh time was augmented by “very” (Genesis 1:31). This indicates that death, “the last enemy” (1 Corinthians 15:26), could not have been a part of it. This is the intractable problem with all long-age compromises.

Much has been made in CMI literature of the Hebrew grammar of verse 2 (“was” versus “became”). Competent Hebrew scholars differ in their views of this.

No, competent Hebrew scholars don’t. It’s not exactly rocket science. For one thing, the correct Hebrew grammar for “become” is “to be” “to”; there is no such preposition “to” to go with the verb “to be” in the Hebrew. Second, the grammar of verse 2, a vav-disjunctive, shows that it is a parenthetical statement describing the initial condition of the earth. H.C. Leupold renders this:

And now, as far as the earth was concerned, it was waste and void …

The Septuagint translators, c. 250 BC, saw it this way, because they rendered this passage:

ἡ δὲ γῆ ἦν ἀόρατος καὶ ἀκατασκεύαστος (hē de gē ēn aoratos kai akataskeuastos), and δὲ (de) is often used as a transitional particle.

A vav-consecutive, as in the next act, describes the next sequence of a historical narrative; it is just not there in v. 2.

However, the evidence for a time-lapse between verses 1 and 2 (and between verses 2 and 3) does not rest on such arguments. It rests upon a plain and straightforward literal reading of the Word (literal hermeneutic).

Once again, if this really is a plain (grammatical-historical) hermeneutic, which is presumably what you mean, then it’s strange that no one thought of it before the rise of long ages in ‘science’. We also think that a long time gap is a very non-literal use of the word ‘literal’Smilies.

God is light, and is a God of order. It would be wholly incongruous if the earth, fresh from the hand of the Creator by His Word was nothing but a waste and empty mass.

You’re forgetting that He hadn’t finished yet—the creation week is about God creating and ordering His creation. Nothing in the text suggests a judgment.

In fact, a straightforward reading of Isaiah 45:18 clearly shows that He did not create it in that condition. Henry Morris sought to reinterpret this verse by putting an audacious spin on it (H. Morris, ibid p.49).

Please elaborate. God “created it to be inhabited”. This is why He proceeded to form and fill it!

Such tactics only prove the fallacy of his argument. Job 38:7 tells us that the angels shouted for joy at the sight of the earth as first created-clearly they celebrated the pristine glory of the scene before them. They would have hardly rejoiced over a dark, waste and empty planet!

Since we don’t have pipelines into the minds of angels as you apparently do, it makes it hard to argue. Otherwise we would point out that they likely knew of God’s plan to fill a formless and empty planet (not “waste”).

The use of similar language (“waste and empty”) in the context of Divine judgment in Isaiah 24:1 and Jeremiah 4:23 suggests that the waste and empty condition of the earth was the result of a judicial act of God,

They suggest nothing of the sort. In the Bible, a judgment was frequently a reversal of creation. E.g. the Flood took the world back to the condition at the beginning of day 3. The book of Revelation has “uncreation” themes as the earth is being destroyed. Thus Jeremiah 4:23 alludes to an uncreation back to the state in Genesis 1:2—the judgment would be so severe that it would leave the final state as empty as the earth before God created anything.

very likely related to the fall of Satan (which Jesus saw before His incarnation—Luke 10:18). The devil sinned “from the beginning” (1 John 3:8).

But as we argued in Jesus and the age of the world, a sin shortly after creation week, compared to the vast timescale of 4000 years of history before Christ, would be extremely close to the beginning—try drawing a timeline to scale even on the finest graph paper, and the Fall would be visually indistinguishable from the beginning. See also The Fall, Curse and Satan which shows how logical deduction from Scripture constrains the time range in which Satan could have fallen.

He became the “prince of the power of the air” (which may account for the fact that God did not pronounce the work of day 2 specifically as good, a remarkable fact that CMI seems to have overlooked).

No, we just don’t derive doctrine from arguments from silence, especially when such doctrine contradicts teachings deducible from propositions that Scripture does reveal. But here is another explanation, from Keil and Delitzsch1:

… the division of the waters was not complete till the separation of the dry land from the water had taken place, and therefore the proper place for the expression of approval is at the close of the work of the third day.

There is a remarkable fact, which you might have overlooked, that “God saw that it was good” is said twice on Day 3. Keil and Delitzsch’s explanation makes more sense of this fact, which yours does not.

Incidentally, some creationists and CMI writers have claimed that angels were created at some time during the 6 days, or even on day 1. Surely this “did not arise from any reading of the text”!

It arose by logical deduction (see also Loving God with all your mind: logic and creation) from the facts that Exodus 20:8–11 teaches that all things were made during Creation Week, and that angels are created beings.

Nothing of the sort is mentioned in Genesis 1 or anywhere else in the Bible. In fact, Job 38:7 clearly proves that angels were created before the founding of planet earth, which, as the foregoing references show, was prior to day 1 of the 6 days.

Or it could have been on Day 1 before the earth was made. In fact, it could have been before Day 3, just before the dry land—also called “Earth”—appeared.

A careful reading of Job 38:4–11 and Psalm 104:5–9 will throw light on Genesis 1. These passages show that the pre-Adamic inundation and the darkness were acts of God separate from, and subsequent to, the original creation.

Yet these passages don’t say anything about happening in a gap between Genesis 1:1 and Genesis 1:2. Actually, these verse numbers are not inspired; perhaps if they hadn’t been inserted mid-sentence, the gap theory might not have arisen.

It is a mistake to relate the verses from Psalm 104 to Noah’s flood, where the waters were not “rebuked” and did not “flee” but subsided gradually over about 9 months.

This is a poetic account. How fast does “fleeing” need to be? All the same, even if Psalm 104 is not referring to the Flood, there is a far better candidate: the Day 3 separation of land and sea.

It should be noted also that the heavens were not waste and empty. It would be anomalous if a perfect heavens and a waste and empty earth were the firstfruits of God’s creative acts.

But not if this was only the beginning. That’s like saying that a rough sketch is anomalous for a master painter. But the painter goes on to paint on the canvas.

The earth as described in verse 2 was obviously warmed by an external source of heat from the perfect heavens—otherwise the waters of the darkened deep would have been solid ice.

Actually, a ball of water that big (remember, this is bigger than the earth, and in one creation cosmology is universe-sized) would be kept liquid by its own heat (remember, God created water, not ice, so it would have some intrinsic heat). The sphere would be kept liquid—the outside wouldn’t freeze because heat would escape to the surface, but it would take a very long time for enough heat to escape for it to freeze (water has very high specific heat and latent heat of fusion—see The Wonders of Water), so it would remain liquid for far longer than the 24 hours we need it to in our view.

Also from day 1, the diurnal cycle began visibly, showing that the rotation of the earth in relation to an external light source existed before day 4.

We agree! See also How could the days of Genesis 1 be literal if the Sun wasn’t created until the fourth day?

The Hebrew word translated “created” occurs only three times in Genesis 1-in verses 1, 21 and 27. Other words are used in Genesis 1 and 2: “make/made”, “formed”, “built” (in relation to Eve). Exodus 20:11 uses “made”, not “created”. CMI writers claim that these different words are synonymous and interchangeable, which, of course, their “anti-gap” stance obliges them to do.

We never claimed that they were exact synonyms, but they have a considerable overlap in semantic range, as we have documented (using the lemma or basic form of the Hebrew verbs found in a lexicon):

Genesis 2:4: “These are the generations of the heavens and of the earth when they were created (bara’ ברא) in the day that the Lord God made (‘asah עשה) the earth and the heavens.”

Isaiah 43:7: “Everyone who is called by my name, whom I created (bara’ ברא) for my glory, whom I formed (yatsar יצר) and made (‘asah עשה).”

We never said they were interchangeable in every context. If they meant exactly the same thing there would be no reason to have multiple terms. Even synonyms, such as ‘break’ and ‘fracture’ in English, are not identical—every English speaker knows that hearts break, they don’t fracture.

These words are certainly not synonymous or interchangeable, either in Hebrew or in English. Each word in Scripture is precisely chosen by the Holy Spirit.

We agree with plenary verbal inspiration. But we also advise against the exegetical fallacy that evangelical New Testament scholar Dr Don Carson called ‘Unwarranted semantic disjunction or restriction’, reading too much difference into words the Holy Spirit chose that overlap considerably in meaning.

Genesis 2:3b illustrates very clearly that “create” and “make” are not used interchangeably. It reads (literally translated): “because on it He rested from all His work which God had created to make.” If “create” and “make” were synonymous, that verse would not make sense. To assert that these words are interchangeable is sloppy exegesis (if not eisegesis) and does despite to the verbal inspiration of Scripture.

It’s a sloppy charge against us (i.e. a straw man fallacy), since we never said that. Rather, we said:

“Gap theorists overstate the distinction between these words … As in English, there is considerable semantic overlap between ‘create’ and ‘make’. Sometimes asah is used to mean ‘create ex nihilo’, e.g. Nehemiah 9:6:

“ ‘You alone are the Lord. You made (asah) the heavens, even the highest heavens, and all their starry host, the earth and all that is on it, the seas and all that is in them.’ ”

One of the founders of the Brethren movement (renowned for uncompromising adherence to Scripture) wrote as follows from careful reading of the Hebrew text:
“There is not a word in Scripture to warrant the strange and hasty assumption that the universe was brought into being in the six days of Gen. 1:3–31, so often referred to throughout the Bible.”

He may well have stated this, but he is wrong, as Exodus 20:8–11 shows.

He continues, “It is out of the power of any on just principles of interpretation to deny that the first day begins with light, and that the first two verses are marked off in their nature, as well as by their expression, from the work of the six days. Nothing indeed but prepossession can account for the mistake …” (William Kelly, “In the Beginning”).

One wonders why most Church Fathers and Reformers thought otherwise, and numerous pre-uniformitarian exegetes calculated a creation date of around 6,000 years ago.

Kelly, like John Nelson Darby, was a very competent Hebrew and Greek scholar who produced translations (not paraphrases) of books of the Bible from the original languages, along with numerous in-depth commentaries on Scripture.

You keep talking about ‘competent scholars’, but this is only argument from authority. But even competent Hebrew scholars have been known to be intimidated by “science”. Thus they rationalize away the clear meaning to fit with this ‘science’. The liberals don’t bother—instead, they argue that it means what the Church had always taught, but that it was just wrong. See Refuting Compromise ch. 3, as well as this review of Creation and Change.

God said that He created in six days. That means everything in six days:

“for in six days the LORD made the heavens and the earth, the sea, and all that is in them, but he rested on the seventh day. (Exodus 20:11).

So if there’s something that’s created, like angels, which isn’t specifically mentioned in the creation account, we still know that it has to fit in the six days somewhere, because God said He created in six days.

Please remember that the book of Genesis contains the most significant typological teaching in the whole of Scripture.

Really? How do you make Genesis’s typology more important than Psalms’ or Isaiah’s? All the typological teaching is important.

In terms of that typology, Genesis 1 presents a remarkably accurate delineation of God’s moral dealings with man through the Gospel. It pre-figures how God has worked, and will work in the future, in a scene of moral darkness, waste and emptiness into which man fell when Adam sinned, to bring about conditions in which He can rest.

Yes, Adam fell into these things, in a previously good creation. If the creation already had earmarks of a cataclysmic judgement long before Adam, then this connection is undermined.

The Spirit of God moves to convict people of their sins, acting with the Word to prepare the way for the light of the Gospel to shine in, leading to new birth, new creation in Christ, and fruitfulness.

We fail to see how this supports your view over ours. Typology and history are not mutually exclusive.

CMI’s interpretation of Genesis 1 destroys the typical significance of the first page of Scripture.

We don’t think there is typology as such in the first chapter of Genesis. That doesn’t mean that there aren’t patterns that are meaningful for us—the six day week for example. Also, as post-Fall creatures, we look forward to the re-creation of the New Heavens and Earth (see also The future: some issues for ‘long-age’ Christians). But that isn’t typology.

And as we have said, it is not just “CMI’s interpretation” but the interpretation held throughout most of Church history.

Man was not created in a dark and fallen state as CMI’s thesis would force the type to suggest

We don’t believe that, and are at a loss to understand how you could say so. Rather, you are the one who believes that Adam was created in a world already racked by a cataclysmic judgment.

and thus, far from supporting the Gospel, it inadvertently undermines it. But maybe CMI would write off typology as irrelevant? Sad if that were so.

We certainly don’t write off typology, but we don’t see it in every single verse either. Like parable, allegory, etc, it is present in Scripture, but not everywhere.

The article which prompted this letter claims that the so-called “gap theory” has produced dire consequences. No proof is cited. This is simply scare-mongering.

It is no such thing. As we have amply shown, all such long-age schemes are the result of making ‘science’ the authority over Scripture when it comes to Earth history. Liberals are just consistent compromisers! That is, they make ‘science’ the authority over the rest of Scripture including the Resurrection and Virginal Conception of Christ. After all, ‘science’ teaches that dead men don’t rise and virgins don’t conceive.

The real issue is, “What does Scripture actually say?”

It is. And if it reads how you claim it does, how come no one understood it this way, until the rise of uniformitarian science, and a perceived need to make the Bible fit?

CMI writers are not exempt from reading their own ideas into Scripture, including highly speculative accounts of Noah’s flood and its aftermath, going far beyond (and in one or two cases contradicting) what the Bible actually portrays.

Ipse dixit. We are actually very careful to differentiate biblical teaching (both explicit and logically deducible) and models we use to try to elucidate them. See for example Moving forward: Arguments we think creationists shouldn’t use, and Sarfati, J., Flood models and biblical realism, J. Creation 24(3):46–53, 2010.

As indicated above, I value Creation’s excellent scientific articles debunking evolution, but in matters of theology I appeal to CMI to stick to the Word of God and desist from misrepresenting what the article in question sneeringly calls “the hoary old gap theory … which did not arise from any reading of the text”, thereby insulting many Bible expositors of evidently greater theological calibre than the author.

This is debatable. And as we have shown, while there were great Bible expositors before the rise of uniformitarianism, none saw a long time gap in Genesis 1.

P.S. The article to which my earlier e-mail refers points readers to The Answers Book. Unfortunately, the “answer” to the “Gap Theory” in that book is riddled with eisegesis (reading pre-suppositions into Scripture) and misrepresentation of the “gap” teaching. The following is from a paper that I wrote a few years ago on various creation issues:

The “Gap” teaching misrepresented.

Some anti-gap theorists have misrepresented the “gap” teaching to a greater or lesser degree and have then proceeded to shoot down the caricature they have thus conjured up. The following example of this unfair practice is derived from Fields

Weston Fields, in Unformed and Unfilled, was responding to classical gap theorists, in particular Arthur Custance. We see nothing unfair, since he amply documented his claims. We no longer stock this book, but this is no reflection on its fine quality, just that it was very specialized so didn’t sell very well and was addressing a view with disappearing adherents.

and quoted approvingly in the CMI Answers Book and in Creation magazine.

“In the far-distant dateless past, God created a perfect heaven and perfect earth. Satan was ruler of the earth, which was peopled by a race of men without any souls. Eventually, Satan, who dwelled in a garden of Eden composed of minerals (Ezek. 28), rebelled by desiring to become like God (Isa. 14). Because of Satan’s fall, sin entered the universe and brought on the earth God’s judgment in the form of a flood (indicated by the water of Gen. 1:2), and then a global ice age when the light and heat from the sun were somehow removed. All the plant, animal and human fossils upon the earth today date from this ‘Lucifer’s flood’ and do not bear any genetic relationship with the plants, animals, and fossils living [sic] upon the earth today.” [Ham, Snelling & Wieland: The Answers Book, Australian Edition, 10th printing 1997, p.158].

It’s good to get the most up-to-date version of our books, especially when it’s a core resource and has been considerably expanded and updated in the intervening 14 years. But we have retained the Fields summary.

The preposterous idea of a “race of men without any souls” is no part of traditional “gap” teaching.

Pre-Adamites unfortunately is a logical deduction from gap theorizing. That is, the gap theory accommodates uniformitarian ‘ages’. Yet this same long-age ‘reasoning’ points to humans existing long before Adam (see The Fall: a cosmic catastrophe). Ergo, pre-Adamites. No wonder that a well-known gap proponent, Clarence Larken, said in Dispensational Truth (1920):

“In the words ‘replenish the earth’ we have unmistakeable evidence that the earth had been peopled before it was thrown into a chaotic condition, and that its inhabitants in some way had been destroyed.”

Note also his appeal to “replenish”, the point of the article in question.

Nor is the assertion that all fossils date from the pre-Adamic flood of Gen. 1:2. Clearly, many fossils (including all human fossils) date from Noah’s flood (or later in some possible instances).

All that shows is that Fields might have overstated his case a bit. Yet the classic gap proponent Scofield said in his famous Reference Bible:

“The first creative act refers to the dateless past, and gives scope for all the geologic ages. … [Genesis 1:2] indicate the earth had undergone a cataclysmic change as the result of a divine judgment. The face of the earth bears everywhere the marks of such a catastrophe. … It was animal life that perished, the traces of which remain as fossils. Relegate fossils to the primitive creation, and no conflict of science with the Genesis cosmogony remains.”

The impression is thus given that the fossils were the result of this pre–creation-week cataclysm, not Noah’s Flood, usually relegated to the silly idea of a local flood.

Of course, Scofield was incredibly naïve that it would resolve the conflict. Secular geology assuredly doesn’t teach that a single catastrophe formed the bulk of the fossiliferous sedimentary layers. And many young people are not silly: they could work out that the gap theory was motivated by ‘science’, then learn at university that this dodge doesn’t work, so they wonder how much of the rest of the Bible can be trusted.

But it could hardly be clearer that his motivation was “science” not exegesis.

Nor is the notion of a pre-Adamic ice age a usual premise of the “gap” teaching. Genesis 1:2 speaks of waters, not ice.

Agreed, yet again, the point is that gappists accept the uniformitarian timescale because of undue respect for ‘science’. This same ‘science’ teaches multiple ice ages. So naturally, the gap theorists relegate them to their imaginary gap.

The passage cited above inserts some wild and aberrant ideas as though they were part of normal “gap” teaching. They are not. It is unfortunate that some creationists resort to such misrepresentations to discredit what they do not agree with.

As shown, and as Fields documents, they were taught by leading gap theorists, and are hard to escape after the main premise of the gap theory is accepted.

Kind regards,

Ray K.

You too,

Lita Sanders and Jonathan Sarfati

First published: 20 November 2011
Re-featured on homepage: 14 October 2023


  1. Keil, C.F. and Delitzsch, F. Keil and Delitzsch Biblical Commentary on the Old Testament, www.kad.biblecommenter.com/genesis/1.htm Return to text.

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