The Gap of Genesis 1: Is It A Theory?

Table of Contents

1. A Prefatory Note
2. The Gap in Genesis 1
3. Evidences That Indicate a Gap in Genesis 1
4. The Evidence of the Typical Teaching of the Passage
5. The Evidence of the Masoretic Scholars' Judgment
6. Conclusions and Considerations

A Prefatory Note

The comments in this booklet on the creation are the outgrowth of a Bible Reading that took place in Richmond, BC (Canada) on September 2, 2012.
Since questions continue to arise concerning whether or not there is a gap in Genesis 1, it has been my conviction to publish these notes as a simple statement as to what Scripture says on this subject.
We now commend this simple treatise to our readers, and trust that it will be used of the Lord to help any who are looking for light on the subject. "Unto the upright there ariseth light in the darkness" (Psa. 112:4).
Note: the Scripture quotes herein are from the King James Version (KJV), but where alternate renderings are given, they have been taken from the J. N. Darby Translation, or otherwise noted.
Bruce Anstey
1st edition – July, 2013
2nd edition – November, 2013
3rd edition – August, 2018

The Gap in Genesis 1

Is It a Theory?
“In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. And the earth was without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters” (Genesis 1:1-2).
The Issue
Over the last couple of hundred years, the position that most Christian teachers and expositors have taken on Genesis 1:1-2 is that it refers to an original creation of God wherein, after some kind of judgment, the earth passed into a state of chaos and ruin. Then, in Genesis 1:3-31, in six literal days, God engaged in a reconstruction of the earth, with the creation of animal life and mankind being added to the reconstruction (vss. 21, 27). Bible teachers have concluded, therefore, that there is a period of undisclosed time between the creation of the earth (vss. 1-2) and its reconstruction (vss. 3-31). They do not attempt to calculate how long this gap was because Scripture is silent about it, but simply to note that it is there. Some have speculated that the gap might have been millions of years, and this perhaps explains the presence of the fossils in the geologic layers of the earth’s crust, which were once creatures that were part of the earth's original creation.
This interpretation has been the belief of virtually every respected Bible scholar of the 19th century and the early part of the 20th century—from J. N. Darby, G. V. Wigram, W. Kelly, C. H. Mackintosh, F. W. Grant, W. Scott, A. J. Pollock — to C. I. Scofield, R. A. Torrey, E. Schuyler English, A. C. Gaebelien, H. A. Ironside, M. F. Unger, etc. The headings in "The Scofield Reference Bible" on Genesis 1 reflect this interpretation. It says: Verse 1—"The Original Creation;" verse 2—"The Earth Made Waste and Empty by Judgment;" and verses 3-31—"A New Beginning—the First Day, etc."
In spite of this generally accepted interpretation, most evangelical Christians today believe that these scholars are mistaken in their view of Genesis 1—mostly because certain things have been discovered in science and geology in the last 50 or 60 years. "Young Earth Creationists" (as they are commonly so-called) are Christians who reject the idea that there was an original earth created by God prior to the reconstructed one on which we live today. In their way of interpreting Genesis 1, they see verses 1-2 as part of God's work in the six days in verses 3-31. (This is essentially a re-emergence of Reformation teaching on Genesis 1—i.e. Martin Luther, John Calvin, Matthew Henry, etc.) To Young Earth Creationists, Genesis 1 is all one continuous explanation of creation. They conclude, therefore, that the Genesis record indicates that the earth is relatively young—about 6000 years old—because (they say) the six days in Genesis 1 wherein time begins mark God's creative beginning. They have gone to great lengths to try to convince the Christian world of this—using science, the fossil records, and misinterpretations of Scripture. The question is, “Which of these two beliefs is correct?" And, "Is it important?”
Those who hold the view of there being a gap do not see this issue as being vital (for it does not touch upon the Person of Christ or the work of Christ in atonement), but Young Earth Creationists believe that it is very important. They strenuously insist that the earth is young, and the main reason for this is that it is a useful tool in debunking the erroneous theories of Evolution, which require long periods of time for things to slowly evolve. To hold that there is a gap in Genesis 1—which Young Earth Creationists call “the Gap Theory”—is, in their minds, a terrible compromise with the false notions of Evolution. These men believe that the idea of a gap accommodates Evolution, and thus, undermines the gospel message. They think that it is a serious error and counterproductive to the whole purpose for which Christians have been placed in this world, which is to spread the gospel.
On the other hand, “Gapists” or "Gapsters"—as Young Earth Creationists call those who hold that there is a gap—predominantly, if not exclusively, use the Word of God to support their beliefs on creation, and leave science out of the picture. They do not believe that holding what Scripture says on this subject (or on any other subject) could possibly weaken the gospel message to the world, because God does not teach things in His Word that tear down truth stated elsewhere in His Word. "Gapists" understand that the ultimate cause for a person’s belief in the gospel is a result of God’s quickening power in souls (Eph. 2:5), and that atheists will not be convinced that their beliefs on Evolution are wrong by clever arguments from science. “Gapists” see from Scripture that Christians have not been called to reason with infidels, and thus, they have no business trying to convince lost men of the existence of God and His creation. They are content to leave the results of the gospel to God who alone has the power to bring men to repentance and to belief on the Lord Jesus Christ. Thus, "Gapists" see the premise of the Young Earth Creationist’s beliefs as being on a wrong footing—besides being unscriptural.
The Bible—the Ultimate Authority for the Answer
An authoritative answer to this difference of opinion will not be found by turning to science or to the fossil records, or to human reason, but by turning to the Word of God. It is our ultimate authority for what we believe. Our inquiry, therefore, must begin with, "What does God's Word say about this question?" An examination of Genesis 1 indicates that there was indeed an original creation of "the heavens and the earth," and that the earth passed into a chaotic state which was "without form [waste] and void [empty]," where "darkness" prevailed over the whole scene. How long it lay in that chaotic condition we are not told, but we are told that there came a point in which God acted and "made" (a work of reconstruction) a new earth and heavens (Ex. 20:11; 31:17; Psa. 33:6). This has led many sound and respected Bible teachers to conclude that there is a gap in the account between these two works of God. Young Earth Creationists accuse these Bible teachers of adding a gap to Scripture, when really, they are simply observing the fact that God has not disclosed to us when He began His creative work in the dateless past and how long it laid in a fallen state before He undertook His work of reconstruction. These respected teachers believe that it would be a mistake to say that Genesis 1:1-2 is the same work as Genesis 1:3-31 in the light of the evidences from Scripture which we are about to consider.
In the creation account, it is important to note that the Word of God uses three different words—"made," "created," and "formed" (Gen. 2:4-7)—to describe God's work:
•  "Created" ("bara") has to do with bringing something into existence that has never existed before, using no pre-existing material (Gen. 1:1, 21, 27).
•  "Made" ("asa") has to do with using material that has been previously created and making it into something new and different (Gen. 1:31; 2:3-4).
•  "Formed" ("yasar") has to do with taking something that has been made and reshaping it into a new form for a particular purpose (Gen. 2:7-8).
Isaiah 43:7 mentions all three terms in one verse. "Even every one that is called by My name: for I have created him for My glory, I have formed him; yea, I have made him." (See also Isaiah 45:18.) Thus, on the first four days of the reconstruction God was making only; on the fifth day He was making and creating; and on the sixth day He was making, creating, and forming; on the seventh day He did none of the above.
Those who advocate a young earth say that these terms are used interchangeably in Scripture and that they all refer to the same thing: However, a careful look at the account of creation will show that they are not used interchangeably. For example, Genesis 2:3 says, "And God blessed the seventh day, and sanctified it: because that in it He had rested from all His work which God created and made." If created and made are identical terms, this would be a redundant and senseless statement. As a rule, God does not use terms interchangeably in His Word. If a different word appears in the text, it is because there is a different meaning or aspect in view in the subject in discussion. This is consistent throughout Scripture, and "the Scripture cannot be broken" (John 10:35).
Young Earth Creationists will point to Genesis 1:26-27 to support their idea that God uses terms interchangeably. These verses say, "And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth. So God created man in His image, in the image of God created He him; male and female created He them." However, these words are referring different parts of man’s tri-part being. Genesis 1:26 is emphasizing the natural and physical side of Man, which God made, and Genesis 1:27 refers to the spiritual side of man's being which God created when He made man (Gen. 2:7).

Evidences That Indicate a Gap in Genesis 1

There are a number of internal evidences within the creation account itself that confirm that there is indeed a gap between the original creation and the reconstruction of the earth.
Exegetical Evidence
One of the great principles of proper Biblical exegesis is that we interpret Scripture in the light of all other Scriptures. This is essentially what the Apostle Peter was referring to when he said that no "Scripture is of any private interpretation" (2 Peter 1:20). This means that we cannot (rightly) isolate one passage of Scripture from the rest of the Word of God and think that we will have its full meaning contained in that one passage. The J. N. Darby Translation footnote on 2 Peter 1:20 states, "One might almost say 'no prophecy explains itself.'" Similarly, Mr. G. Campbell Morgan said, "It takes the whole Bible to explain any one passage of the Bible." Hence, we must have the light of all the Scriptures shed on any one passage that we may be considering to correctly understand the full meaning of that passage. We must, therefore, turn to other passages of Scripture that speak about the creation to gather a correct understanding of Genesis 1. We reference four such passages:
Isaiah 45:18
ISAIAH 45:18 says: "For thus saith the LORD, that created the heavens; God Himself that formed the earth and made it; He hath established it, He created it not in vain [waste], He formed it to be inhabited." The word translated “in vain [waste]" in this verse ("tohu" in the Hebrew) is the very same word used in Genesis 1:2, translated as "without form" in the KJV. Hence, when Genesis 1:2 Says that the earth was "without form [waste] and void [empty]; and darkness was upon the face of the deep," it could not be referring to God's initial action of creating because Isaiah 45:18 states emphatically that God does not create in that way—i.e. by first creating "waste" matter. Mr. W. Kelly said, “God did not create a mass of undigested materials." Since this is so, it is clear that Genesis 1:2 is a description of the state into which the earth fell subsequent to its creation.
As a rule, when God creates, it is perfect and complete. He does not start with a mass of elements and then build in steps toward a finished product. But when He makes (as in the reconstruction of the earth), He often does; He will build one thing upon another until His work reaches completion. This being the case, Genesis 1:2 Could not be the description of God's creative work because He does not create incompletely. Mr. W. Scott emphasizes this point in his book, "The Two Trees of Paradise" (p. 5): "The scene of utter desolation, so graphically described in the second verse of the Bible, was not the creative work of God, for His [creative] work is perfect." He also points out that the often-used statement, "In six days the LORD created the heavens and the earth," is not found in Scripture. The Bible says, "For in six days the LORD made the heavens and the earth" (Ex. 20:11; 31:17).
A closer look at Genesis 1:2 indicates a threefold condition into which the earth passed—of wasteness, emptiness, and darkness. The word translated "was" ("hay'thah" in the Hebrew) in the KJV, according to many scholars, should be translated "became." For instance, J. N. Darby said, "I hardly think that "hay'thah" (was) here is simple existence, but more 'was become'....a state into which it had passed" ("Notes and Comments on Scripture," vol. 1, p. 111). The passage, therefore, could read, "And the earth became without form and void." "Became" indicates that there was a change of condition in that which God had created, and thus confirms that He did not create the earth in that state of chaos. (There are 17 places in the KJV, in the book of Genesis alone, where this word ("hay'thah") is translated "became." Why the translators of the KJV chose to use “was” in Genesis 1:2 is not known, when they translated the word as “became” in so many other places. The NIV (a favourite translation of many Young Earth Creationists) states in a footnote that the alternate reading for "was" is "became."
It has often been asked that if Genesis 1:2 is descriptive of a fallen state, who, or what caused it? Scripture is silent as to any direct statement about this; however, the answer to this question might be found in the words "waste" ("tohu") and "empty" ("bohu"). It is significant that in each of the five other places in the Bible where these words are used, they are always the result of an act of judgment in connection with sin (Isa. 24:1; 34:11; 45:18; Jer. 4:23; Nahum 2:10). It would be safe, therefore—and consistent with the whole of Scripture—to assume that it was the case in Genesis 1:2.
But what judgment would this be, and on whom or what? From the foregoing references we can deduct that this would be something that resulted from Satan's sinful operations, for as far as Scripture reveals, he and his angels were the only creatures in existence then with such power that would work sinfully. Since it is Satan's way to spoil and corrupt whatever God does, we can deduct that, upon being expelled from the abode of God (Ezek. 28:11-19), he corrupted and wrecked the earth, and God closed it with an act of judgment. We cannot state emphatically that this is the cause of the earth's fallen and chaotic state, but it is consistent with the tenor of Scripture.
Those who advocate the "young earth" idea reject this because, in order for death and judgment to exist, there had to be sin. They think that since Romans 5:12 states that sin and death entered the world when Adam disobeyed God, it couldn’t have been involved in the scene which Genesis 1:2 describes, because at that point, Adam did not exist. However, this is a misunderstanding. Romans 5:12 is not referring to sin and death entering the original creation but sin and death entering the Adamic world of which Adam was the head. It is a mistake to think that sin did not exist until Adam. The Bible clearly indicates that Satan was the first sinner. He sinned before Adam sinned, and consequently, was expelled from the abode of God as such. This can be easily proved by the fact that he was in the garden of Eden working in a sinful way, lying and deceiving the woman before she and her husband disobeyed God (Gen. 3:1-7).
In spite of this, Young Earth Creationists reject the idea of sin and death being around before Adam sinned because Genesis 1:31 Says, "And God saw everything that He had made, and, behold, it was very good." They do not believe that God could say this if the earth's crust were full of fossils bearing the marks of disease, violence, death, and decay. They ask, "How could God call that very good?" However, a closer reading of the verse shows that God was pronouncing on what He had "made" in the six days of reconstruction, not on what had been spoiled in creation previously. He said that “it” (what He had made in the six days) was “very good.” A simple reading of the passage is all that is needed here.
Mark 10:6 has been brought forward to prove that man was part of the creation mentioned in Genesis 1:1. However, "the beginning of the creation," of which the Lord speaks in Mark 10:6, is not the creation of the heavens and the earth, but the creation of man in Genesis 1:26-27.
Hebrews 11:3
HEBREWS 11:3 states: "Through faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the Word of God." The word "framed" in the Greek ("katartizo") means "repair" or "mend" (Strongs), or "to put in order again" (Liddell and Scott), or “adjusted” (Nestle). The same word is used in Matthew 4:21 and Mark 1:19 and is translated "mending" in the KJV. In Galatians 6:1, it is translated as "restore." Hence, this verse indicates that God mended or restored that which He had previously created. The fact that it needed mending shows clearly that it had gotten into a chaotic state.
2 Peter 3:5
2 Peter 3:5 states: “For this they are willingly ignorant of, that by the Word of God the heavens were of old, and the earth standing [having its subsistence] out of the waters and in [through] the water.” In this passage, Peter answers the ignorance of the infidels who mockingly insist that all has remained the same since the beginning of the creation (vs. 4). He shows that there have been two catastrophic, worldwide interventions of God in judgment in the past (vss. 5, 6), and there is a third coming (vs. 7). Verse 5 is a reference to the judgment that left the earth in the chaotic state described in Genesis 1:2; verse 6 refers to the judgment of the flood in Noah’s day, and verse 7 describes a future judgment after the Millennium, at the end of time.
Notwithstanding, Young Earth Creationists insist that verses 5-6 refer to the flood. Verse 6 surely does, but verse 5 couldn’t be. Everyone who knows the story of the flood knows that the waters of the deluge covered the highest mountains (Gen. 7:18-20); there were no pieces of land “standing out of the waters,” as verse 5 states. The 5th verse, therefore, must be referring to something else. Since what is described in verse 5 is mentioned before the description of the flood in verse 6, what else in the first six chapters of Genesis could it be referring to but Genesis 1:2?
The description of the earth in 2 Peter 3:5 may not look like what is stated in Genesis 1:2 when compared, but there is really no difficulty in reconciling the two passages when we remember that the Bible is a progressive revelation of truth. What is given in the Old Testament is often expanded upon in the New, wherein more detail is given. For instance, more is given in 2 Timothy 3:8 about the Egyptian magicians who resisted Moses, which we wouldn’t have known had we only the Old Testament. Similarly, 2 Peter 3:5 amplifies Genesis 1:2. From reading the account in Genesis 1, we might have thought that water covered the earth completely, but 2 Peter 3:5 tells us that there were parts of the earth that were submerged and parts that were not. Taking a closer look at Genesis 1:2, we see that it doesn’t say that the earth was totally covered with water: it is an assumption to say that it was. It may be argued that it wasn’t until the 3rd day that the land appeared. Again, Scripture does not say that; it says that the land became “dry” on the 3rd day. (The word “land” in Genesis 1:9-10 is in italics, indicating that it is not in the Hebrew text.) Putting Genesis 1:2 and 2 Peter 3:5 together, we learn that when the earth was “waste and empty,” it was in a lacustrine (partially submerged) state.
W. Kelly remarked, “The passage before us [2 Peter 3:5-6] is by some applied only to the earth’s primeval constitution, by others to the deluge. It is plain enough that the apostle looks successively at each.” (The Second Epistle of Peter, p. 165)
Genesis 2:4
GENESIS 2:4 is a divinely inspired summary of the creation account. It says, "These are the generations of the heavens and of the earth when they were created, in the day that the LORD God made the earth and the heavens." God's work is stated twice here. First, in connection with what He "created" in the dateless past. (Note: the heavens are mentioned before the earth, which is the order in Genesis 1:1.) Then, secondly, God’s work is stated in connection with the things which He "made." (Note: the earth is mentioned before the heavens, which is the order of God's work in the six days of reconstruction in Genesis 1:3-31.) Referring to these things in this marked way, the Spirit of God was clearly indicating that the creation account contained two distinct works of God.
W. Kelly concludes his remarks on this subject by saying, "The common idea of putting the creation of the world some six thousand years ago is a mere blunder. The Bible is in no way responsible for it. Where does Scripture say so? or anything approaching it?" ("The Creation," p. 11)
Structural Evidence
The Scriptures were written carefully and precisely (being divinely inspired), and they are to be studied in that way—"precept upon precept; line upon line" (Isa. 28:10). This means that we are to pay attention to the smallest details of God's Word. The student of Scripture is also called to "rightly divide the Word of truth" (2 Tim. 2:15). This means that the Word of God has divisions in it and that we are to observe those divisions in seeking to gain an understanding of the truth. Topics are sectioned off by certain reoccurring terms and phrases that mark unified paragraphs of thought. These are to be noted by the Bible student. An example of this can be seen in the five books of the Psalms; each book is carefully marked off by ending with the phrases, "Amen and Amen" or, "Praise the LORD" (Psa. 41:13; 72:19; 89:52; 106:48; 150:6).
The very first division in the Word of God, which students of Scripture should take note of, is between Genesis 1:2 and Genesis 1:3. The structure of the Biblical account itself indicates this. This can be seen by noting that the six days in the passage are each sectioned off by two reoccurring phrases that indicate the beginning and the ending of each day. The first day begins with, "And God said," and it ends with, "And the evening and the morning were the first day." These two repeating phrases act as bookends for each day. This pattern continues throughout the account. It shows clearly that the first day begins at verse 3, and not at verse 1, as Young Earth Creationists say. To teach otherwise is to disregard this pattern that God has set in His Word
This shows that the first two verses are a separate paragraph from what follows in the rest of the chapter. The things mentioned in these two verses, therefore, are actions that clearly did not occur at the same time as the things stated in the rest of the chapter. This break in the text indicates a gap between God's two works of creating and reconstructing, with no mention of how long the gap was.
Grammatical Evidence
G. V. Wigram notes in his article, "Examination of the Hebrew Bible as to the Structure and Idiom of the Language," that there is a significant change in the tenses in Genesis 1, and that this change indicates a new work of God from verse 3 onward ("Memorials of the Ministry of G. V. Wigram," vol. 2, pp. 161-169).
He points out that verses 1-2 are stated as past action, whereas verses 3-31 are present action. This change of tenses in the text indicates that verses 1-2 stand alone as a paragraph by itself. Mr. Wigram states that "created" and "was [became]" are verbs in "the perfectly past time." Then, he shows that verses 3-31 indicate a fresh action of God, emphasized by a change to the present tense. This present tense follows through the whole latter part of the chapter. He says that verses 3, 6, 9, 14, etc., could be translated more accurately as, "God saith, Let there be light..." And, "God sees the light, that it is good..." Also, verses 5, 8, 13, 19, 23, 31 should be, "And evening is, and morning is, a first day..." This shows that in writing the creation account the Spirit of God was clearly indicating a change. Mr. Wigram concluded, "Anyone who weighs the matter will see that it is the commencement of an entirely new paragraph." This evidence again points to a break in God's dealings between His creation of the original earth (vs. 1) and His reconstruction of the present earth (vss. 3-31).
Those who reject that there was an original creation which fell into chaos are quick to point out that verse 3 begins with "And" ("waw"). In their minds, it shows that verses 3-31 are connected with verses 1-2, and thus, the first two verses are part of the first day. However, the word "And" ("waw") is not in the Hebrew text in verse 3 as a separate conjunctive. It is attached to and is part of the word translated "said," and thus, could be translated as a disjunctive, "Then God said..." (NKJV; NASB; NLT; NRSV; J. Green Interlinear Bible, Wycliffe Bible Committee, etc.). This supports the thought of a new departure of God without necessarily connecting it to the foregoing verses. Choosing to place "And" at the beginning of verse 3 has misled some to think that the chapter is all one continuous process of creation, which it is not.

The Evidence of the Typical Teaching of the Passage

F. W. Grant points out that the pattern seen in Genesis 1—of generation (vs. 1), degeneration (vs. 2), and regeneration (vss. 3-31)—is consistent with the pattern of God's ways with men elsewhere in Scripture. Thus, the typology in the chapter supports the interpretation that there was an original creation of God that was laid waste, and then, after an undisclosed amount of time (a gap), He made the present heavens and earth.
There are two ways in which the account can be interpreted typically. Firstly, it can be interpreted as representing the moral work of God in the souls of men—from new birth and salvation, to their growth and full development in the truth. This is the way the Apostle Paul speaks of Genesis 1 in 2 Corinthians 4:6. He says, "For God, who commanded [spoke] the light to shine out of the darkness, hath shined in our hearts, to give the light [for the shining forth] of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ." He correlates the movements of God in the reconstruction of the earth with the divine workings in the hearts of fallen men to bring them to salvation, thus showing that Genesis 1 can be interpreted for its typical significance.
Just as the original creation of God, which was set up in pristine beauty, came under judgment as a result of Satan's operations, so also has the human race followed in that same course. Man was set up in a sinless condition in the Garden of Eden, but he was corrupted by Satan's work; thus being a responsible sinner, he came under the judgment of God (Gen. 2:16-17; 3:17-19; Eccl. 7:29). The condition of "darkness" that lay over the whole scene depicts the moral and spiritual darkness that has engulfed fallen race of man (Luke 22:53; Acts 26:18; 2 Cor. 4:4; Eph. 4:18; Col. 1:13).
The First Day
The Genesis record tells us that God did not leave the creation in a waste. On the first day, He began to work toward recovery by undertaking a massive renovation of the earth. He used two agents to accomplish this—the Spirit of God ("And the Spirit of God moved...") and the Word of God ("And God said..."). This is exactly what God has done with certain men (believers) in the fallen race of Adam. He has begun a moral and spiritual work in men, whereby they are recovered from their fallen condition and blessed. The beginning of this process of divine operation in souls is called new birth (John 3:3-8; James 1:18; 1 Peter 1:23-25) or quickening (Eph. 2:1-5; Col. 2:13). It is solely a divine operation by which God uses the same two agents He used in the reconstruction of the earth (John 3:5). The Spirit of God applies the Word of God to souls and thereby communicates divine life to them. Just as "light" was the first effect in God's work in the reconstruction of the earth, so also is spiritual light the first effect in born again souls. This is what Paul was referring to in 2 Corinthians 4:6 when he said, "God hath shined in our hearts." Men, born of God, for the first time are able to "see the kingdom of God," and thus, they have capacity for the understanding of divine subjects (John 3:3). Hence, the first day (vss. 3-5) answers to God's work in new birth.
The Second Day
On the second day (vss. 6-8), a "firmament [expanse]" (the atmosphere) was made for man to breathe, and thus, he would be able to "live and move" in fellowship with God (Acts 17:28). However, at this point, there were no men to benefit from what God had made. While this was a necessary step in the process of the reconstruction, God does not call this stage "good." (It is the only day that is not pronounced so.) Perhaps the reason for this lies in what the second day represents typically. At this point, there was air and water, but no land. There were "waters which were under [beneath] the firmament" and "waters which were above the firmament," but no solid ground upon which man could set his foot. It perhaps answers to the unstable state of soul depicted in Romans 7:14-24, where a person has been born of God (having life and a degree of light) but does not have a clear understanding regarding the finished work of Christ in redemption. Hence, there is nothing solid upon which the soul can rest spiritually. While it is an experience necessary for souls to pass through in reaching deliverance, it is not a state in which God delights to see His children. Hence, He does not call it good.
The Third Day
On the third day (vss. 9-13), God provided a solid foundation on which men could stand and bring forth fruit for God. He made "the dry [land]" appear by gathering the waters "unto one place." It has been suggested that this place, figuratively speaking, was at the cross. It was there that the waters of judgment gathered and swept over the Lord Jesus (Amos 5:24; Psa. 42:7; Psa. 88:6-7, etc.), and as a result, redemption's ground was laid. The dry land speaks (typically) of the foundation that God lays in believers through resting in faith on the death and resurrection of Christ—of which the third day typifies. Mr. F. W. Grant states that Romans 8 depicts this solid state in believers. As a result of this action, on the third day there was a progression of life—from grass, to herbs (bushes), to trees. It depicts the growth that ought to result in the life of believers who understand their position in Christ and who enjoy deliverance.
The Fourth Day
On the fourth day (vss. 14-19), the sun, moon, and stars were set in their places in the sky. Since the heavens were untouched by the upheaval that swept over the earth in verse 2, on this fourth day, when God made the heavenly lights in the sky, it was a repositioning of them in newly ordered places relative to the earth (ESV footnote – "appointed;" Psa. 74:16 – "prepared;" Psa. 104:19). This was all done with a view to the good and blessing of the earth's future inhabitants. The purpose of these heavenly orbs was to give light on earth and also to measure time. (Scientists tell us that the earth is placed in some insignificant spot in an insignificant galaxy in the universe, but these verses show that the earth is God's moral center of the universe.) Likewise, after a believer has been established by faith on the solid foundation of Christ's death and resurrection, God would set before him heavenly objects and blessings that are his to behold and enjoy in Christ, and would use those heavenly things as light to order his course on earth. The epistles to the Ephesians and the Colossians particularly focus on this heavenly side of things
The Fifth Day
On the fifth day (vss. 20-23), higher forms of life were brought forth, and for the first time in the reconstruction process, God created—He created living creatures and blessed them. As to the spiritual application, this suggests that God has granted to Christians a life of higher privileges than that which other forms of life have been given—including angels and saints of other ages.
The Sixth Day
On the sixth day (vss. 24-31), God reached the pinnacle of His work in creating, making, and forming Adam and Eve. They were then set on the earth in fellowship with Himself. This suggests God's work of regulating the affections of believers toward Himself and each other, in intelligent communion. Since a community of saints dwelling in the love of God is the pinnacle of Christian experience, it is fitting that God closed His work on that day with this crowning act.
The Seventh Day
The seventh day (Gen. 2:1-3), God rested in fellowship with His creatures.
Dispensational Interpretation
The other way in which the passage can be interpreted typically, is dispensationally—actually, "the ages of time" (2 Tim. 1:9; Titus 1:2). Again, the same order of generation, degeneration, and regeneration occurs. The chapter presents an outline of God's ways with men through the course of time. It is fitting that it should be given at the outset of God's Word (Acts 15:18).
The original creation in its pristine beauty, before the destruction of the earth, represents the age of innocence (before the fall – Genesis 3), when man was set upon the earth in a sinless state.
The first day would answer to the age after man sinned when he and his posterity acquired the light of conscience.
The second day answers to the age after the flood when men were put under self-government, but with much instability.
The third day, wherein the earth rose out of the waters, represents the emergence of Israel (the land) from among the Gentile nations (the seas), in the call of Abraham and his family.
The fourth day the lights in the heavens (the sun and moon) were set in their places. This typifies the Church (the moon) being called into existence in relation to Christ (the sun) as His body—a heavenly company of believers.
The fifth day had a troubling of the waters, but out of it came blessing. This speaks of the troubled times of Great Tribulation through which Israel and the Gentile nations will pass (Jer. 30:7; Mark 13:8) before blessing will be reached.
The sixth day represents the millennial day when Christ and the Church (the antitype of Adam and Eve) will have dominion over the universe.
The seventh day answers to the eternal rest of God.
Our point in delineating both themes of typical teaching in the chapter (moral and dispensational) is to show that both applications follow the generation, degeneration, regeneration pattern. And, if this pattern is not in the text—as Young Earth Creationists say—then the typical teaching of the passage becomes null and void. Hence, the "young earth" interpretation destroys the typology in the passage, and therefore, could not be correct.

The Evidence of the Masoretic Scholars' Judgment

The Masoretic Hebrew text of Genesis 1 indicates a break at verses 1-2. Those ancient Jewish scholars incorporated little indicators into the text to aid the reader in pronunciation and interpretation. It is significant that they inserted a small mark (called a "Rebhia") after verses 1-2. It serves to inform the reader that there is a break at that point in the narrative. These Rebhias are not in the original manuscripts, and therefore, only represent the considered judgment of the Masoretics, but their scholarly judgment ought to have some weight in this matter.
In summary, these evidences surely indicate a gap between God's two works of creating and making in Genesis 1. We are, therefore, persuaded that the gap is not a "theory," but is something that has Scriptural support.
There May Be Two Gaps!
Walter Scott, E. Schuyler English, and others, suggest that there very well may have been two gaps! They are not dogmatic about this, but they suggest it to show that we really cannot go beyond what is stated in Scripture. The first verse states that God created the heavens and the earth; we are not told how long it stood in that pristine state: Hence, the first gap. Then, we are told that the earth was laid waste by some upheaval or judgment. Again, we are not told how long the earth laid in that state; hence another undisclosed period—a second gap.

Conclusions and Considerations

There are a couple of final things to consider in connection with the "young earth" view of Genesis 1. The things which we now address have to do with the principles upon which the belief is based—what we believe is at the root of the interpretation
The "Young Earth" View Seems to Reflect an Undue Confidence in What Men of Science Say Rather Than What the Word of God Says
It seems that the "young earth" interpretation is based more on scientific tests and geological discoveries than on what Scripture says. To see Christians who believe that the Bible is the guide and supreme authority on which all matters religious, moral, or otherwise, are settled, readily accepting the things that Young Earth Creationists are putting forth, and rejecting what the older generation of scholars have taught from Scripture, is disconcerting. The relative ease with which Christians have abandoned what has long been accepted as orthodox is alarming. Basically, what is being said is that those gifted and spiritual men who have exegeted Genesis 1 with a gap (some of whom are mentioned on page 3) are mistaken in what they have taught, and if they knew what we know from science today, they wouldn’t have taught those things!
However, this calls in question the spiritual judgment and discernment of these gifted and respected Bible scholars. To sweep away what those men have taught because learned scientists (though Christians) have found certain things in their microscopes and telescopes is quite incredible. It is really putting science before the Word of God! It appears that Christians today would rather trust the discernment of men of science rather than the discernment of godly Bible teachers! It really comes down to this: Is our understanding of creation based on science or on what the Word of God says? The Bible does not say, "Through science we understand that the worlds were framed...," but rather, "Through faith we understand that the worlds were framed..." (Heb. 11:3). True science will validate the Word of God, but "science falsely so-called" militates against the Word (1 Tim. 6:20). At the bottom of it all, we see an undue confidence in "the uncertain science of geology" (W. Kelly) and a sad lack of confidence in what we have been taught from God's Word by the most reliable Bible teachers.
It may be argued that Young Earth Creationists back up everything that they have found in science with the Word of God. Indeed, they have used the Scriptures to support their belief, but we have shown that they have not used the Word of God correctly in supporting of their conclusions concerning creation. Things have been inferred into Scripture to make Scripture fit their beliefs. For example, they state that Genesis 1:1-2 is part of the six days, when it clearly is not. They also state that creating, making, and forming are all the same thing, even though Scripture shows otherwise. They state that Adam brought sin and death into the creation—not Satan. They say that dinosaurs were created at the same time as men and lived on earth with men. If this is so, they must have been in Noah's ark, because Scripture says "two of every sort" of animal boarded the ark (Gen. 6:19-20). Knowing that this presents a problem due to their enormous size, some creation scientists tell us that those dinosaurs entered the ark as babies; others say that they died off earlier—but this is pure speculation. Needless to say, inferring things into Scripture is an unacceptable way of handling the Word of God. In doing so, the Young Earth Creationists' interpretations make Scripture (on this subject) subservient to science!
When things in science seem to conflict with the Scriptures, the Christian is to cling to the Scriptures and to set those things that science (so-called) is saying aside. This is because things that are put forth as science may not be true science; they are things that men have learned, and they could be mistaken. The Scriptures, on the other hand, are never wrong. C. H. Mackintosh put it succinctly: "Geologists may explore the bowels of the earth, and draw forth from thence materials from which to add to, and, in some instances, to contradict the divine record. They may speculate upon fossil remains; but the disciple hangs with sacred delight over the page of inspiration" ("Notes on Genesis," pp. 1-2). In many cases, Young Earth Creationists do not do this. They hold on to what they think science is saying (when it seems to favour a young earth) and try to interpret the Scriptures to support their mistaken conclusions.
The "Young Earth" View Seems to be Based in Arminian Beliefs
When we step back and look at the reasoning behind the "young earth" view of creation, we see that it is a well-meaning effort to debunk the notions of Evolution, with the purpose of making the gospel more convincing to the world. To deny their scientific conclusions about the creation is, in their minds, a terrible compromise with Evolution. They believe that, if we hold that there is an undisclosed period of time (a gap) before God began to make this present earth, then we are opening the door for people to think that Evolution is right after all. Hence, in their minds, it undermines the gospel message.
R. Radebaugh summarized the Creation Science movement as being "a knee-jerk reaction to Evolution." At the bottom of the Young Earth movement, we see Christians trying to prove to the atheists and infidels of the world that they are wrong about Evolution, and that they should turn to Christ for salvation. Now, these dear believers (Young Earth Creationists) can be commended for their good intentions, but the premise of their effort betrays a basic ignorance of one great fact of the gospel—that man in the flesh is totally depraved and that he has no power (freewill) to change his mind and to believe. Scripture presents the condition of a lost person (an unbeliever) as being spiritually "dead" (Eph. 2:1- 5; Col. 2:12-13), having no spiritual faculty to hear and believe the message of the gospel. According to Scripture, man in his natural state in the flesh:
•  Cannot "see" (understand) God's kingdom (John 3:3).
•  Cannot "enter" God's kingdom (John 3:5).
•  Cannot "receive" the testimony of God concerning His Son (John 3:27, 32; 1 Cor. 2:14).
•  Cannot make a move to "come" to Christ for blessing (John 6:44, 65).
•  Cannot "tell" (or discern) the truth (John 8:14).
•  Cannot "hear" the truth (John 8:43, 47).
•  Cannot "please God" (Rom. 8:8).
This being the case, Scripture nowhere enjoins Christians to reason with, or debate, atheists and infidels on the various topics of their unbelief. In fact, it warns against such tactics (2 Tim. 2:14). We have not been called to convince man in the flesh of the existence of God and His creation. The Bible makes no attempt to explain this, but assumes faith on the part of all who read it (Heb. 11:6). If we could intellectually convince unregenerate men to drop their false ideas of Evolution and to believe on the Lord Jesus, then their "faith" would "stand in the wisdom of men" and not in "the power of God" (1 Cor. 2:5). Clever scientific arguments cannot convince unbelievers to receive the Lord Jesus Christ, because men in their natural state have no spiritual faculty to understand the truth; it is all foolishness to them (1 Cor. 2:14). If any believe the gospel, it is solely because of God’s quickening power. In quickening, or new birth, the Spirit of God applies the Word of God to souls and thereby communicates divine life to them. Thus, they are given the capacity to hear and respond to the call of God in the gospel. Our responsibility in sharing the gospel, therefore, is to present the message of redeeming grace from the Word of God clearly, simply, and passionately, and leave the results to the Spirit of God who alone has the power to impart life and bring men to repentance and belief in the Lord Jesus. The Bible says, "As many as were ordained to eternal life believed" (Acts 13:48).
Thus, the premise of the Young Earth Creationist's efforts has a wrong footing. It seems to be based in Arminian misconceptions concerning man's fallen state. James Arminius (1560-1609 A.D.) taught that all men are depraved sinners, but he did not see that their depravity was such that they could not choose to believe the gospel. He taught that though men are fallen creatures, they are still free moral agents, and thus have the power to believe the gospel, if they choose. (The truth is, that unregenerate man does not have a free will; he may choose in the ordinary things in life, but he will never choose Christ.)
We are not saying that every Young Earth Creationist is Arminian in his soteriology, but that the effect that Arminianism has had on many Christians has led them to believe that it is their duty to reason with the atheists and the infidels of the world, and to try to convince them that their ideas are wrong, and that they should believe on Christ. Most evangelical Christians today are Arminian in their views, and therefore, see nothing wrong with the Young Earth Creationist's intellectual presentation of the gospel through science. However, while their motives may be good, the whole exercise betrays a basic misunderstanding of the total depravity of man. It supposes that there is still a spark of good in fallen man that gives him the power to choose to believe—if he wants to. (Therefore, we should try to reason with men and convince them of the truth through science and geology, etc.) If this is so, then fallen man is not totally depraved, and he is not dead after all!
The net result of the "young earth" view is that one must disregard what reliable Bible teachers have taught on the subject of creation, and adopt a new teaching because science and geology have supposedly found those teachers to be wrong. We believe that it would be safer to leave science out of the picture and to stay with a sound exposition of the Scriptures, which has been attested to by respected Bible scholars over a span of many years. And also, to shun new and contrived interpretations that have been devised to support these so-called scientific discoveries.