Father, I just thank You for this morning, thank You for Your Word, Your Spirit, Your church. Thank you that You have revealed information to us, not just about the present but about the beginning and about the end. And we get the opportunity to take a look at the beginning in Sunday School today and we get the opportunity to take a look at the end in the main service that follows. So I just ask that You’ll be with us during our time of study and help us to be good stewards of what You have revealed. We ask these things in Jesus’ name and God’s people said…. Amen.
You might want to open your Bible to the Book of Genesis, chapter 1 and verses 1-3. And we’re continuing our study on Satanology, actually it’s really not a study on Satanology, it’s a study on angelology. But we’ve sort of finished the good angels and so now we’ve been talking about the bad angel that fell, Satan. And so here’s sort of the subjects that we’ve looked at under Satanology. We’ve looked at his existence, his personhood, his names and his titles, and we have been looking also at his original state and first sin. And we saw really there are two Scriptures that help us with that—Ezekiel 28:12-17 and Isaiah 14:12-15.
So part of that discussion, if you want it to be comprehensive, would also include the time of Satan’s fall, kind of a somewhat controversial subject because you don’t have a don of biblical data on it. But there basically, by my count, at least three views on it. The first one there, he fell in eternity past. I sort of gave you, before the world was I sort of gave you what I think were some of the problems with that. I lean towards the third view myself, but what we’re doing is looking at the second option here—did Satan fall in between the first two verses of Genesis 1?
And unfortunately that’s not an easy discussion to have because it involves a treatment of something called the Gap Theory, which we introduced last week if you’ve never heard of it. So last week we looked at the definition of the Gap Theory and the evidence favoring the Gap Theory. And the definition of the Gap Theory, and before I give it to you let’s just go ahead and read Genesis chapter 1 and verses 1-3. It says, “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.  The earth was formless and void, and darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was moving over the surface of the waters.  Then God said, ‘Let there be light’; and there was light.”
So according to the Gap Theory what you have is you have the first creation brought into existence in verse 1. And there are different variations of the Gap Theory as we have talked about, but classical Gap Theory is verse 1 is the creation that was, including the Garden of Eden (according to some). According to some, not all, like the late Merrill Unger, there was actually a pre-Adamic race of people. And so what you have in between the end of verse 1 and the beginning of verse 2 is an era of time that could be millions of years or billions of years. But that’s when Satan and Lucifer originally fell. Satan’s fall marred that original creation and God brought an instantaneous flood, or a judgment and that’s why verse 2 talks about how the Spirit of God was moving over the surface of the deep, “over the surface of the waters.” Why were there waters? According to the Gap Theory because of flood number one.
So as you get into this you start to see, well, according to those that believe this there are two Gardens of Eden, one in Genesis 1:1 and then a second one in Genesis 2. And then there were actually two floods; there was a flood in between the end of verse 1 and the beginning of verse 2, and later on in Biblical history there was what’s called the Noahic flood. And so verse 2 (they believe) is describing the chaotic condition of the world following Lucifer’s rebellion and God’s judgment, “formless and void,” “darkness over the surface of the deep,” and “the Spirit of God” in some translations “was brooding.”
So what you have then in verse 3 is not so much a recreation… well maybe it is a recreation, it’s not so much a new creation but it’s a renovation. What God is doing in verse 3 in six literal days, all the way through the end of the chapter, all the way through the end of the creation week, is He’s fixing what got broke. And is there evidence for the Gap Theory? What I tried to do last time is kind of set this up by giving you… there are 13 major arguments that they use.
So there’s the first seven that they use and the remaining six that they use. And today’s teaching is largely going to build on what we covered last week. So if you didn’t have a chance to be here last week go to our website and access the archive from last week; I would encourage you to do so because I tried to be extremely fair about this and set forth the evidence that is used to support this idea of the Gap Theory. And of course the reason I’m going into all of this is it relates to the fall of Satan and it relates to the whole conversation concerning when exactly Satan fell.
So having said all of that what I want to do today as time permits is I want to respond to that evidence favoring the Gap Theory because apparently I did a pretty good job presenting the Gap Theory last week, such a good job that people cornered my wife in the hall and said “does Andy believe in the Gap Theory?” And what we’re going to see here is I don’t believe in the Gap Theory and I want to explain why I don’t believe in it, why I don’t think it’s the most likely of alternative options. The Gap Theory you’ll see in the Scofield Reference Bible and so a lot of conservative Christians are reared with the Gap Theory, believing the Gap Theory is basically gospel truth. And if you want to believe in the Gap Theory that’s fine, I just don’t think it’s the most likely of alternatives.
So what is the response to the Gap Theory? The reason I think this issue is important is because of Psalm 11:3 which says, “If the foundations are destroyed, what can the righteous do?” And the reason the Gap Theory has always sort of, I guess bothered me a little bit is it’s an interpretation that people have come up with at the very beginning of the Bible. You get into the first three verses and they’ve got this interpretation. And whether you believe in the Gap Theory, don’t believe in the Gap Theory, one of the things to understand is whatever you do in Genesis 1:1 is going to affect the rest of the Bible somehow, because everything that follows in subsequent Scripture is built on early Genesis.
And here we’re not just talking about early Genesis, we’re talking about the earliest of Genesis. And another verse that’s helpful, as you look at evidence, is Proverbs 18:17, “The first to plead his case seems right, until another comes and examines him.” So there’s thirteen arguments for the Gap Theory but let’s take a look at these one by one.
The first argument you remember is that verse 2 begins with a Hebrew conjunction, it doesn’t show up there in your English translation but there’s a Hebrew conjunction beginning verse 2, and it’s called a vav, I guess in English it kind of looks like an “I” with a little jag out to the left, it’s called a Hebrew conjunction called a vav. And this is how Gap theorists want that conjunction translated. “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth” and they want that Hebrew vav translated “but,” “but the earth was formless and void. And that becomes sort of important to their interpretation because they think translating that Hebrew vav “but” is contrasting verses 2 with verse one. In
other words, verse 1 is a description of the world as God originally created it; verse 2 is a description of that prior earth that’s been marred through Satan’s rebellion and the judgment of Lucifer.
So really the first question is, is that a really good translation of that Hebrew conjunction vav. I really don’t think so. I think it’s much more consistent with the overall usage of that vav to translate it not as “but” but as “now.” In fact, a lot of translations do that. So it should read as follows: “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.” And it’s not saying “but” (contrast) “the earth was formless and void.” It’s saying now, in other words, it’s adding to the story. And that would be consistent with the overall usage of that Hebrew conjunction vav. In other words, translating it “now” is consistent with its overall usage. And so to believe in the Gap Theory you see a problem there, you have to rely upon a secondary use of a word; you have to rely upon that word in terms of how it’s nor normally used but abnormally used. And if you rely on it as how it’s normally used there really is no grammatical break between the first two verses of Genesis chapter 1.
The second argument the Gap Theory uses is the verb Hāyāh, meaning became. So a Gap Theorist wants the verses to read as follows: “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.  The earth” now the NASB I think it is translates Hayah as was, but they say no, Hayah should be translated as became. See that? “…the earth became formless and void.” Well how did the earth become “formless and void.” According to the Gap Theory it became “formless and void because of the fall of Lucifer and his judgment that took place between the end of verse 1 and the beginning of verse 2. And once again that’s not the normal meaning of Hāyāh. the normal rendering of it is “was,” not “became.” So here is the problem with the Gap Theory right out of the gate; you’re relying upon two secondary meanings of words to get it to work.
Now this is not my criticism alone. Here’s a book that’s helpful on some of these things. I don’t necessarily agree with everything he says in this book, Bernard Ramm, but he has a very good critique of what is called the Gap Theory. And he writes this in a book called The Christian View of Science and Scripture [Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1954), 203.] He says, “The interpretive objection” to the Gap Theory that is, “is this: the entire interpretation of geology and Genesis is made to hinge on secondary meanings of two Hebrew words.” What Hebrew words? The waw at the beginning of verse 2 and hāyāh. “To indicate that in some cases waw may mean but, and that hāyāh means became, does not give full warrant to insert these meanings in Genesis 1:2 and require all geology to conform.” His point is basically a simple one; the Gap Theory is relying upon two interpretations of two Hebrew words, one a verb, one a conjunction that are secondary in terms of their normal meaning That’s not the normal meaning of hāyāh, that’s not its normal usage and that’s not the normal usage of the conjunction
And not only that, but you have to look for the exact right combination. What do you have there in Genesis1:2. You have a hāyāh, you have a noun, “the earth,” and then you have a verb which I think means “was.” The Gap theorist thinks it means “became.” So watch this now: bav, verb and the verb is in a particular parsing. Basically the way it’s parsed is qal perfect third person. So look at this combination: bav, noun, verb, qal perfect third person and here’s the question—does that combination ever anywhere in Hebrew Bible, ANYWHERE meaning “became.” And those that have looked into this very carefully have told us, and this is one of the big problems with the Gap Theory, that combination NEVER means “became.” For example you’ll see the identical combination in Judges 8:11, and Jonah 3:3. [Judges 8:11, “Gideon went up by the way of those who lived in tents on the east of Nobah and Jogbehah, and attacked the camp when the camp was unsuspecting.” Jonah 3:3, “So Jonah arose and went to Nineveh according to the word of the LORD. Now Nineveh was an exceedingly great city, a three days’ walk.”]
Look at the Jonah passage. It says, “So Jonah arose and went to Nineveh according to the word of the Lord. Now” there’s the waw, “Nineveh” there’s your noun, “was there’s the hāyāh in a qal perfect third person form. “Now Nineveh was an exceedingly great city, a three days’ walk.” No one would look at that and say Nineveh suddenly became—see that, a great city right then and there. Nineveh always was a great city. So to believe in the Gap Theory you’ve got to translate Genesis 1:2 with that same three-fold combination differently than you would anywhere else in Scripture. And so that really becomes another problem with the Gap Theory exegetically.
A third argument that’s used by Gap Theory people is (or Gap Theory advocates) is the expression tohu & bohu. So look at Genesis 1:2, it says, “ The earth was formless and void….” Formless and void is a translation from the Hebrew words, tohu & bohu. And essentially what you have taking place in the Gap Theory is they find that same combination of words used somewhere totally remotely in the Bible and they’ll tell you that when those two words are used together they always mean judgment. So they’ll find it’s use in Isaiah 34:11, speaking of judgment, “the plumb line of emptiness” talking about judgment and what the earth looks like when God judges it, tohu & bohu. . [Isaiah 34:11, “But pelican and hedgehog will possess it, and owl and raven will dwell in it; and He will stretch over it the line of desolation and the plumb line of emptiness.”]
And probably their favorite passage is Jeremiah 4:23-25. It says, “I looked on the earth, and behold, it was formless and void;” tohu and bohu. “and to the heavens, and they had no light.  I looked on the mountains, and behold, they were quaking, and all the hills moved to and fro,  and I looked, and behold, there was no man, and all the birds of the heavens had fled.”
The logic of their position is tohu and bohu means judgment elsewhere in the Bible. So I see those same words in Genesis 1:2, it means judgment. [Genesis 1:2, “The earth was [hāyāh; became] formless and void, and darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was moving over the surface of the waters.”] Well what caused the judgment? Lucifer’s rebellion and God’s judgment on the earth because of Lucifer’s rebellion putting the world in a judged state. And that’s exactly what the Scofield Reference Bible says. The Scofield Reference Bible I have a pretty high view of, created around 1909, is an advocate of the Gap Theory. And notice what the Scofield Reference Bible says concerning Jeremiah 4:23. “It” what’s “it”? Tohu and bohu, formless and void. “It describes the condition of the earth as the result of the judgment. . .” and then it says, “
which overthrew the primal order of Genesis I:I.” What “primal order” are they talking about? The original creation, the creation before creation that Satan’s rebellion and God’s judgment of Satan’s fall marred.
So is that really a legitimate way to interpret tohu and bohu? Let me quote, just for a minute, the words of Bernard Ramm again. And he writes this: “In the case of tohu and bohu…it is equally admissible to consider these words as referring to the unformed nature of the earth before God impressed upon it His creative will. A marble block and a crumbled statue are both formless. The former is in a state which awaits a form and from that formlessness emerges the image. When God made the earth He made it like a marble block out of which He would bring the beauty of the world.” [The Christian View of Science and Scripture (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1954), 203.]
In other words, when you start examining tohu and bohu individually in the Hebrew lexicon what you discover is there’s not one meaning to those words. Yes, those words can mean a judged state elsewhere in the Bible, no dispute about that. But that’s not what those words always mean. They could mean also something that’s neutral, something that is unfinished, something that is in an undeveloped state. The best example I have of it is you’re a potter and you want to make a vase or a cup or whatever and you take your lump of dough and you put it on the potter’s wheel. Now when you put that lump of dough on the potter’s wheel there’s nothing wrong with that lump of dough. It hasn’t gone through a judgment. Lucifer didn’t wreck it. It’s just in a state that’s unformed and now it just has to be shaped so the potter, as it’s moving on the potter’s wheel, can give it the design that the potter wants it to have.
And that’s all tohu and bohu means there, Genesis 1:2. It’s talking about creation at an infancy state, not being shaped yet. And creation at that state, verse 1, “The earth was formless and void and the darkness was over the face of the deep,” it wasn’t even fit for man to inhabit yet; it wasn’t even fit for animals to inhabit yet. Why is that? Because everything is water, you don’t even have land yet; that doesn’t come up until later.
So essentially what Genesis 1:2 is talking about here, it’s not talking about something that’s been judged on account of Lucifer’s rebellion; it’s talking about creation that came into existence, I believe on day one, and it just hadn’t been shaped yet and it hadn’t been formed yet and so what God is doing in the rest of the creation week is He’s filling and forming. For example, on day one, later on day one He creates light and on day four He creates luminaries, which are now going to emanate that light. On day two He creates water and sky. On day five He creates sea animals to inhabit the waters and birds to inhabit the sky. On day three He creates land and vegetation and on day six He creates land animals and man to inhabit that new land and also to consume that vegetation. So nothing is wrong with anything that you have there in Genesis 1:2; it’s just in an unformed, unfilled state.
So to read all of this information about a judged creation from another part of the Bible into those verses I think that’s an exegetical problem with the Gap Theory. And whether you agree with me on this or not, that’s fine, we can still be friends. But one of the things to learn about this if nothing else is method. Hermetical method, exegetical method is a big deal. Why is that? Because words seldom are technical words in the Bible. In fact, in all of language seldom are words, technical words… what’s a technical word? A technical word is a word that always means the same thing everywhere it’s used. Rarely do you have that; typically what you have with a single word are multiple meanings.
Let me give you an example. Take the word apple, for example. How many meanings can you generate from the word “apple.” It could be a piece of fruit, it could be a computer, it could be New York City (the Big Apple), it could be the pupil of one’s eye, “the apple of my eye.” So when I see the word apple in a text how in the world would I ever figure out what meaning to supply. Anybody have any ideas? The context tells me. The context will fill in that meaning. So as the real estate folks like to say the three rules of real estate are location, location, location. The three rules of Bible study are context, context, context. Context gives words meaning; words don’t have meaning independent of the context that they’re in. And there is a hermetical error that people frequently commit; the fancy name for it is illegitimate totality transfer, just ITT for short. How’s that? If you want the guy’s name that came up with this it’s a linguist named James Barr.
And basically ITT, Illegitimate Totality Transfer occurs when you take the meaning of the same word from another context (do you follow me) and read it back into your present context when the present context doesn’t support that meaning. That’s called ITT, Illegitimate Totality Transfer. You have to watch theologians very, very carefully because they’ll do this to you all the time. For example, in Five Point Calvinism there’s a view that Christ really didn’t die for the whole world, He only died for the elect.
And you say well how do you explain that from John 3:16 which says, “For God so loved the world,” and they’ll say oh, brother, you’ve got to be careful with how you’re using that word “world.” And they’ll take you over to John 12:19 where Jesus is riding into Jerusalem on Palm Sunday and everybody is saying the world has gone out to Him, and they’ll say to you, you don’t really think the whole world was following Christ on Palm Sunday do you? That was the folks in Jerusalem. And if you don’t understand what illegitimate totality transfer is they’ll fool you with that because what they just did is they defined the word “world” (which has multiple meanings) from a remote and foreign context and read that into the present context.
And see, I don’t really think you need to become a Bible scholar to insulate your mind from error; what you have to do is you have to learn to become familiar with the basic content and context of the Bible. And the contest of John 3:16 does not support a limited meaning. It may mean that somewhere else, no problem. But that’s what it means over there, that’s not necessarily what it means over here. And you see, this is what you have going on here with Gap Theory is they’re not acknowledging the fact that tohu and bohu, there’s a broad semantic range to those words. And yes, they mean judgment somewhere else but the only thing you’ve proven is that what they mean over there. That’s not necessarily what they mean here in Genesis 1:2.
So I have a few examples, this one comes from Ken Ham, of Answers in Genesis, These are just to illustrate how fast the meanings of words can change contextually. Sometimes a word changes its meaning within the very same context. Ken Hamm says, “Back in my father’s day it took ten days to drive across the Australian Outback during the day.” Wow, how’s that for whiplash. Here’s the same word, day, singular, same word, plural, days then we’re back to singular day. Now “day” doesn’t always mean the same thing every time it’s used, does it? The first time it’s used it’s referring to an age, “Back in my father’s day,” that’s not necessarily a twenty four time period. That’s however long your father lived. But then in the same sentence it says “it took ten days,” well now we’re talking about, because there’s a number added, we’re talking about twenty-four hour days there, ten days.
And then it says to “to drive across the Australian outback during the day.” Now we’re not even talking about a twenty-four day, we’re talking about the twelve hour daylight portion. Do you follow what’s going on here; this is how language functions and there would be no possible way for me to fill in the meaning to each of those words, the same word, unless I had a context here to help me. So id I were to take the meaning of one word, let’s say the third use, and say well it’s the same word and read it back into the first use, I would be committing what error? ITT, Illegitimate Totality Transfer.
Let me give you another example; this comes from my friend, George Gunn, at Shasta Bible College, and look at the word “run” here, in a single paragraph. Look at how many meanings it has. He illustratively says, “I ran out of ingredients for the salad, so I decided to make a quick run down to the store. While at the store, I left the car engine running while I made my purchase, thinking that I would be right out again. However, while I was in the store, I ran into my good friend Edward who by the way happened to be running for county supervisor. This resulted in my having to endure a somewhat long-winded run down on how his campaign was running. Finally, fearing that my car would run out of gas, I ran with great haste out to the parking lot and returned home with the car surely running only on fumes.” [George Gunn, John 14:1-3 – The Father’s House: Are We There Yet?, 30. www.pre-trib.org.]
That’s an amazing example. I wanted to add a few lines to talk about a woman who had a run in her stockings, [laugher], or maybe someone that ate some bad food the night before and had a case of the runs [more laughter] but I guess that wouldn’t be appropriate. But the fact of the matter is it’s the same word. See how the meaning keeps changing over and over and over and over again. And so you can’t define a word because it’s used the same way somewhere else. So that’s basically what you have going on with the Gap Theory, you’ve got this expression tohu and bohu, formless and void, which does mean judgment in Jeremiah 4, no argument here! But that’s not necessarily what it means in Genesis 1. I think Bernard Ramm has it right, it’s not judged creation that Lucifer wrecked, it’s just creation in its unfilled, unformed state.
Tohu and Bohu
Genesis 1:2 Jeremiah 4:23
Original creation Future judgment
Creation “very good” (Genesis 1:31 Creation not “very good”
Entire earth (Genesis 1:1 The Land of Israel
Looking backward Looking forward
No humans Surviving humans
I put this little chart together just to show you the differences between the context of Genesis 1:2 and Jeremiah 4:23, because remember the Scofield Reference Bible links the two passages and I think that’s ITT, Illegitimate Totality Transfer.
Genesis 1:2 is talking about original creation; Jeremiah 4:23 is talking about future judgment. Genesis 1:2 is talking about a time period when God says everything is not just good but what? “very good.”
[Genesis 1:2, “The earth was formless and void, and darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was moving over the surface of the waters.” Jeremiah 4:23, “I looked on the earth, and behold, it was formless and void; And to the heavens, and they had no light.”]
But that’s not what’s going on in Jeremiah 4, the fall of man has already happened, the final judgment has taken place, so that’s really a time period where things are not very good. Genesis 1:1 and verse 2 concerns the entire earth. The nation of Israel doesn’t even exist yet. Jeremiah 4 concerns the land of Israel. Genesis 1 is looking backwards; Jeremiah 4 is looking forward. Genesis 1, you don’t even see human beings in existence yet; human beings don’t even come into existence until day six. Jeremiah 4 is talking about the plight of humans that have been killed and surviving humans.
So yes, tohu & bohu, no question about it, means judgment in Jeremiah 4:23 but when the Scofield Reference Bible links Jeremiah 4:23 back to Genesis 1:1 it’s not understanding the fact that there are multiple meanings to words, tohu and bohu and consequently what’s happened is [can’t understand word] a exegetical interpretive error has been committed called ITT, Illegitimate Totality Transfer.
So if you sort of absorb what I’ve said over the last five minutes, whether you agree with what I’m doing on the Gap Theory or not, just absorbing that much will help you, it will put you light years ahead in terms of protecting your mind from theological mistakes because what people do is all the time they come to the Bible trying to make the Bible fit what they want it to say. We’re all guilty of that. And one of the great ways to deceive yourself and deceive other people is to use the same word with the same meaning as it’s found in a remote context. I mean, theologians, the very best, I watched them do this over and over and over again.
The fourth argument used by Gap Theory is the expression “darkness,” verse 2 says, “The earth was formless and void, and darkness was over the surface of the deep,” now they’ll run to every passage they can find in the Bible where darkness means something bad. It does mean that in John 3:19, right. “This is the judgment, that the light has come into the world, and men loved the darkness rather than the light; for their deeds were evil.” Darkness is bad in the Bible they’ll say. Jude 13, “While false teachers wild waves of the sea casting up their own shame, like foam, wandering stars, for whom the black darkness has been reserved.” See, darkness is bad. In their thinking darkness is always bad. So therefore in Genesis 1:2, “The earth was formless and void, and darkness was over the surface of the deep,” if darkness is bad elsewhere darkness has to be bad here too… right? Now why is darkness interpreted as something negative? Because Satan fell between the end of verse 1 and the beginning of verse 2; God brought a lottery judgment and so the earth is in a judged state and they’ll say the word darkness there proves it. Do you follow me what they’re doing?
Well, I’m here to tell you that darkness doesn’t always mean something bad. Darkness symbolizes bad things in the Bible but darkness doesn’t always mean something bad. In other words, what they’re doing is they’re confusing the symbol with the things symbolized. So if I’m in my closet and I’m trying to get myself dressed and all of a sudden the light bulb goes out does that mean some kind of sin occurred. I hope not!
The only thing the darkness represents is there is no light and you see, when Genesis 1:2 says “darkness was over the surface of the deep” that’s not sin, that’s not evil, that’s not a problem, all it’s talking about is creation as it then existed is without light, because what does God say in the next verse? “Let there be light.” The creation is just as good in its unformed state as it will be in verse 3, God is just going to add another detail. But darkness in and of itself doesn’t necessarily mean evil. It does mean evil elsewhere but what people with the Gap Theory are doing is they’re trying to find everywhere in the Bible where darkness means something bad, and it does, and they’re trying to read that back into Genesis 1:4. [Genesis 1:4, “God saw that the light was good; and God separated the light from the darkness.”]
For example, as you go through these creation days, verse 5, verse 8, verse 13, and verses 18-19, what does God keep saying? There was evening and then there was morning, and He keeps saying it’s good! He says it’s good with creation day one, verse 4. The next one, verse 9, the next one verse 12, the next one verse 18, the next one verse 21, and finally the next one verse 25, finally at the end He says it’s what? It’s “very good.” Now that’s of all of those mornings and evenings. You see that? But God never a single time in the creation week says it’s good except for the evening part, because all it’s communicating here in Genesis 1 is the absence of light. There is no statement anywhere of God’s disapproval of the darkness in verse 2. And yet people are convinced of that because they’re going to other passages of the Bible where darkness means evil and reading it into their passage. In other words, they’re not just interpreting what’s there, they’re bringing all this baggage from other remote parts of the Bible and reading it in. And that’s something you want to try to avoid as a Bible reader and a Bible interpreter.
The fifth argument used by Gap Theory people or advocates is, I mentioned this last week, the bara and asah distinction. Look again at Genesis 1:1, “In the beginning God created” barah is the Hebrew word translated created “ the heavens and the earth.” And then you get down to about verse 16 and suddenly the word changes and it says, “God made the two great lights,” now it’s no longer barah but asah, and what you find in Gap Theory mentality is the reason the verb switched is God did create in verse 1, the original creation that Lucifer wrecked and God’s judgment wrecked. But in the creation week itself God is not creating as much as He is renovating what got busted.
The example I like to use is you have a house, you leave the house for a weekend, someone breaks into the house, vandalizes the house, puts graffiti, spray paint all over the house, ruins the furniture, what are you going to do? You’re probably not going to get a new house; you’re probably just going to plaster over, paint over, get new furniture. In other words, you’re going to fix what got broken. That’s basically what Gap Theory is saying. The creation week is not the original creation. It’s not God shaping and populating that original lump of clay. What it is is God is renovating what got broken. Do you see that? And they believe that their justified in that belief because verbs switch from barah to asah.
This is exactly what the Scofield Reference Bible says. I think I brought this up last time. It says, “Only three created acts of God are recorded in this chapter, the heavens and the earth, animal life, and human life. The first created act refers to the dateless past, neither here nor in Genesis 1:14-18, is an original act of creation implied. [Genesis 1:14-18, “Then God said, “Let there be lights in the expanse of the heavens to separate the day from the night, and let them be for signs and for seasons and for days and years;  and let them be for lights in the expanse of the heavens to give light on the earth”; and it was so.  God made the two great lights, the greater light to govern the day, and the lesser light to govern the night; He made the stars also.  God placed them in the expanse of the heavens to give light on the earth,  and to govern the day and the night, and to separate the light from the darkness; and God saw that it was good.  There was evening and there was morning, a fourth day.”]
A different word is used; we’ve gone from the switch from barah to asah, a different word is used. The sense is made to appear and be made physical. The sun and the moon were created in the beginning so what’s going on in day four? Well, according to Gap Theory the light came from the sun (of course) but the vapor diffused the light and later the sun appeared in the clouded sky. In other words, the sun just became visible on day four. I am not of that persuasion at all! I believe you don’t have a sun, s-u-n until day four because the sun is an ex nihilo creation of God on day four. So why would people disagree with that? Because the word change from barah to asah.
So the question is that legitimate? Is it legitimate based on a different word to assume that the creation week is a renovation project of God? And I would say no because there is a semantic overlap between barah and asah; barah and asah don’t always mean completely different things. Now sometimes they do but sometimes their meaning can overlap with each other. I wish I had brought in my little [can’t understand word] diagram. You guys did [same word] where you’ve got two circles overlapping and where the two circles overlap is that gray area, right? And that’s what you can do with barah and asah. Sometimes barah has a completely different meaning than asah and sometimes asah has a different meaning than barah and I’m sorry for the people on media that just tuned in, they’re probably thinking I’m speaking on tongues and we’ve gone charismatic and Pentecostal here.
But sometimes with barah and asah overlap in terms of their meaning. So you can’t say oh, it’s a different word, therefore it’s a renovation project rather than an ex nihilo creation; ex nihilo is something out of nothing creation, verse 1 but the creation week is a renovation project because of the word change. You can’t do that because there is a semantic overlap between barah and asah. Sometimes barah and asah mean exactly the same thing. Even our own context does that. Look at this. “Then God said, ‘Let us make” asah “man in our image.” Verse 27, “God created” what’s the verb there, barah, “man in His own image.” You’ll notice that both verbs, asah and barah even in Genesis 1 are used to describe the same creative act of God because of the semantic overlap between barah and asah.
Notice Genesis 2:4, roughly the same context. This is the account of the heavens and the earth when they were created, barah. [Genesis 2:4, “This is the account of the heavens and the earth when they were created,] in the day that the LORD God made” asah “the earth and heaven.” You see how both verbs are used to describe the same creative act of God? Outside of our context, Isaiah 43:7, “Everyone who is called by My name whom I created” barah “ for My own glory, whom I have formed even whom I have made” asah, there barah and asah are describing the same creative act of God. So simply a switch in a word does not give someone a right to say this is the renovation during the creation week and it’s different than original creation in verse 1.
John Whitcomb, in his book The Early Earth points this out. “Genesis 1:21 states that ‘God created [bara] the great sea-monsters . . .’ while verse 25 states that God made [asah] the beasts of the earth. Surely we are not to think that the sea creatures were directly created on the fifth day, but land animals were merely ‘appointed’ or ‘made to appear’ on the sixth day! All those who hold that bara and asah cannot be used on the same kind of divine activity are faced with a serious difficulty here. In fact, the difficulty is so severe that the New Scofield Reference Bible, in support of this distinction, suggests that the beasts which were made on the sixth day (vs. 25) but they were actually created on the fifth day” [John Whitcomb, The Early Earth (Grand Rapids: Baker, 1952), 128.]
So the Scofield Reference Bible, to get this whole thing to work, has switched the creation day for one of the things God created. And John Whitcomb points out that error. That’s just another one of the many problems with the Scofield Reference Bible and the Gap Theory.
A sixth argument used by Gap theorists is Isaiah 45:18. Isaiah 45:18 says, ““For thus says the Lord, who created the heavens (He is the God who formed the earth and made it, He established it and did not create it a waste place” now look at the Hebrew, lo tohu, “but formed it to be inhabited).” Now Genesis 1:2 says, “The earth was formless and void….,” there’s bohu so God never created the earth tohu, but it became tohu. God didn’t originally create the earth tohu but it became tohu. So what caused the tohu? The fall of Satan. When in reality all that verse, Isaiah 45:18 is saying when it says God did not create the earth a waste place it simply means that when God brought original creation into existence He didn’t just think it was good, He thought it was what? “Very good.”
Now look at this, all that God made was “very good.” So if everything that God made, going all the way back to the beginning of the chapter, was not just good but “very good” how in the world could the beginning of verse 3 be a renovation of what got broken?
They also say, you recall from last week, that the Spirit of God was “brooding on the waters,” and they’ll go to Bible translation like the Amplified Version which says, “The Spirit of God was moving,” hovering, or brooding “over the face of the waters” and they’ll start talking about the grieving of the Holy Spirit in Ephesians 4:30. [Ephesians 4:30, “Do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption.”] They’ll say it says in the amplified version that He was brooding (the Spirit) he was grieved in other words. Why was he grieved? Because of Satan’s fall marring original creation and God’s watery judgment when the reality of the situation is that verse isn’t saying anything about the Spirit grieving.
What it says is the Spirit of God was hovering, the Spirit of God was moving on the waters. Now why was the Spirit of God hovering and moving on the waters? Because the Spirit of God was anticipating what was going to come through the hand of God as God took the lump of clay, which is and of itself is not a problem, it just needed to be shaped and populated. So what God is doing in the creation week is that same lump of clay is going around the potter’s wheel and God is shaping it this way and God is shaping it that way and He’s shaping and populating a lump of clay. That’s why the Spirit of God is hovering on the waters; the Spirit of God is anticipating moving in terms of what God is about to do. So there’s no basis for reading into verse 2 a bunch of information about the grieving of the Holy Spirit.
You know, there’s a lot of sermons that you hear in modern Christianity and you listen to the sermon and you say great sermon, wrong passage. When people get in Genesis 1:2 and they start going on and on about how we can grieve the Holy Spirit and how the Holy Spirit has feelings and we injure the Holy Spirit when we sin, you sit there and you say amen, amen, amen, I agree with that, I just wish he’d use Ephesians 4:30 because that’s not what Genesis 1:2 is talking about. So it doesn’t mean the Spirit is grieving here; the Spirit is moving in anticipation of what God is about to do through the shaping and populating process.
The eighth argument that you find in the argument of replenish: remember what the King James Bible says, the King James Version? It says, [Genesis 1:28] “And God blessed man and God said unto them, Be fruitful and multiply, [and replenish the earth, and subdue it: and have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moves]” and the King James Version, which I think is the 16th century translation, something like that, from Greek into Elizabethan English, throws in this word replenish which is a translation of the word mala, “replenish” and Gap Theory people quote this all the time and they say the reason it says “replenish” is because God was fixing what got busted by Satan’s fall after the end of verse 1, at the beginning of verse 2. And if God is not doing that then it wouldn’t say replenish.
Well what’s my response to that? The King James translators, the King James is a good translation but it’s a Bible translation, it’s not infallible, it’s not inspired by God, there’s a lot of people out there that are King James only and they basically believe that the English translation known as the King James Version is just as infallible as the original manuscripts that the Scripture was written in. And our position here at Sugar Land Bible Church, we respect the King James translation but it’s just like any other English translation, it’s not infallible. Male’ does not mean replenish; what it means when you look it up in what’s called BDB, Brown, Driver, Briggs, a standard Hebrew lexicon, it just means to fill, to be full. It does not mean to refill and so confident are other English translators that the King James Version has this one wrong is there is not a single modern Bible English translation anywhere that says refill. In fact, it’s interesting that in Genesis 1:22, the same exact word, male’, a few verses earlier, in Genesis 1:22, “God blessed them, saying, “Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the waters in the seas, and let birds multiply on the earth.”
It’s interesting that the King James translators just a few verses earlier did not translate that same word as refill; they put it as fill. So why did they put it as refill in chapter 1:28? Because chapter 1, verse 28 gives you the impression that God is renovating, filling again the earth that was destroyed through Lucifer’s rebellion and fall. Well, the King James Version was written in Elizabethan English. What does the word “refill” mean in Elizabethan English? Does the r-e prefix in Elizabethan English always mean the same thing? Does it always mean “again.” It does not mean that; what it means is intensity, not again, but intensity. For example, if I say “are you going to do some research,” “are you” prefix, does that necessarily mean that you’re searching again? Not necessarily; research, r-e prefix doesn’t mean you’re doing the whole thing again; it means you’re searching with intensity. Do you follow?
So research doesn’t have to mean again the way the Gap Theory believes God is populating the earth again because there was a prior population that got destroyed. All it means is the intensity of God. And that’s what the word meant in Elizabethan English and to some extent that’s what the r-e prefix means today.
The Gap Theory also likes to rely on Isaiah 24:1. Isaiah 24:1 says, “Behold, the Lord lays the earth waste, devastates it, distorts its surface and scatters its inhabitants.” And I say there it is, right there in the Bible. The original earth was laid waste. Well who laid it waste? Satan’s rebellion and God’s initial judgment, when in reality if you study Isaiah 24:1 it has zero to deal with original creation. Isaiah 24:1 is not even referencing original creation. You know what it’s referencing? Future judgment. How do I know that? What’s my three rules for Bible study? Context, context, context! What precedes Isaiah 24:1, what follows Isaiah 24:1.
And when you look at the whole context what you’re going to see is Isaiah 24:1 is not even referencing original creation. It has nothing to do with the creation days or what happened in the alleged gap or anything. It’s talking about the in the previous verses, chapter 23, the destruction of Babylon and Tyre yet future. And in the subsequent verses it’s talking about the discipline of Israel yet future. So you’ll notice what’s happening here is the theology that many, many people believe is being constructed through remote passages that have nothing to do with the context of original creation.
The tenth argument used by Gap theory folks is the idea of Satan’s Eden. Notice Ezekiel 28:13, “You were in Eden, the garden of God; every precious stone was your covering:” and they’ll say you know what? This Eden here doesn’t sound a lot like the Eden I know of in Genesis 2, so this must be a Genesis chapter 1 verse 1 Eden., that Satan was originally in that got marred because of Satan’s rebellion. So Gap theory is sort of tricky because you’ve got two floods and you’ve got two Eden’s. Gap theory Eden kind of looks like this; the Garden of Eden that you read about in Genesis 2 is not the original Eden, it’s a garden built on the ruins of the former garden that was destroyed through Satan’s rebellion and then the renovation project God put the Eden that we know about on top of the prior Eden.
And so the question becomes this has to be true because Ezekiel is describing Satan in Eden and that Eden sure reads differently than the Eden we know about in Genesis 2. Well the problem with that is I don’t think Satan in Ezekiel 28 is in an earthly garden. I think he is in heaven described with the term Eden which is not a technical word, Eden means the presence of God. It doesn’t always have to mean the same exact spot on planet earth because rarely are words technical words. This Eden that we’re talking about here is the presence of God in heaven and it’s different than the presence of God in the Garden of Eden in Genesis 2. I think that because Isaiah 14:12, Ezekiel 28:16 of the fall of Satan says, “How you have fallen from” where, “heaven, you’ve been cut down” where? “to earth. The fall of Satan was not in some mineral garden, earthly garden, prior garden, it was the paradise of God called Eden as Satan was thrown from heaven to earth.
And I think that because the Eden that’s described in Ezekiel 28 is adorned with precious stones. In fact, it even talks about those stones as “stones of fire,” verse 14 I think it is, verse 16, “stones of fire.” I don’t necessarily think that is talking about an earthly garden because when you get into the description of the Holy City. By the way, where is that Holy City? It’s in heaven. Is it not described with many precious stones? The Holy City of Jerusalem coming down out of heaven from God having the glory of God her brilliance was like very costly stones as a stone of crystal jasper. Those are the stones that are being described there in Ezekiel 28. Satan’s heavenly fall not Satan in a mineral garden or a different kind of garden on the earth that got marred.
Anyway, I apologize for going long; don’t worry, there’ll be plenty of time for Q and A and I’m just hoping to finish up a couple of more points next time. Let’s pray. Father, we’re grateful for Your Word, Your Truth, help us to be rightly dividers of Your Word as we’re taking a look at this subject of the Gap Theory, trying to determine if it’s a biblical concept. We’ll be careful to give You all the praise and the glory. We ask these things in Jesus’ name, and God’s people said…. Amen!