Gap Theory: Genesis 1:1 and 1:2

I know this may be a silly question to some; however, is there anyone here that believes in the Gap Theory? I don’t, but there may be someone that does.

1 Like

@Charles_Miller Charles I don’t believe in a “gap” in which a bunch of stuff happened but I do think there could have been a lot of time between 1:1-2 and the start of the first day in verse three. It could be described as a time before the Word of God entered the universe and creation could not pull itself up by its own bootstraps- just like we can’t. I argued to our Lutheran friends that this is more glorifying to God than a recent cosmos where God started intervening as soon as He created it and thus creation never “got a chance” to see how it could do on its own. It got the chance, and creation itself longs for the Light of God’s Word to come and order it. More here.

So a vast expanse of time but no “gap” in missing events in Genesis chapter one, but I do subscribe to a sort of “gap theory” in chapter two. Things were finished and complete on the sixth day, but God’s work was not ended then, but on the seventh day. I shall endeavor to show that what happened between verses one and two was the fall of Adam. These days have evenings before mornings. The evening (literally “turning away from the light”) of the seventh day was the fall of Adam. Because of that God had one more work to do. That work, which ended on the seventh day, the morning of it, was redeeming what He had created in the first six days.

The text in Genesis chapter two never says concerning the first Sabbath “the evening and the morning were the seventh day.” Now we see that the book of Hebrews says that, as far as we on earth could tell, the Sabbath rest never even began in early Genesis. In heaven it did, but on earth it did not happen in the time of Adam, or even that of Moses. On earth it was still the “evening” of the seventh day- a turning away from the light due to Adam’s fall. When then did the morning of this seventh day, the start of the true and eternal Sabbath rest, begin?

In the gospel of John chapter five Christ says something quite remarkable when the Pharisees complained that He was working on the Sabbath:

16 And therefore did the Jews persecute Jesus, and sought to slay him, because he had done these things on the sabbath day. 17 But Jesus answered them, My Father worketh hitherto, and I work.

Jesus said that the Father was working right up until then, so He was going to work too! Jesus was telling them that the Father had never stopped working. He did not stop working on the seventh solar 24-hour day- either the original one or the one the Pharisees were complaining about. The Greek here reads that the Father was working continually up until that point.

Wait, didn’t the Father take the seventh day off? How then could He be working right up until that point? The resolution to this mystery is that the rest which came from finishing the work on that first Sabbath had already occurred in heaven. The manifestation of that event had not quite reached earth. Much like a radio broadcast of a live event in a distant galaxy would not reach the earth for eons of time, we understand that what which was accomplished in heaven at the beginning was now about to be received on earth.

We know that God’s Sabbath rest had not yet begun on earth because of what is said in Hebrews three and four about the order of things in the time of Moses and Joshua. Moses was testifying of things in the future, and they were looking to a future day. We know that it had still not occurred when Jesus told the Pharisees that His Father was working right up to that moment.

Sure, God had finished making heaven and earth, and the host of them, but He had other work to do, and would not rest until all was accomplished. God finished His creation, but not His work. Or more precisely, His work was finished long ago in heaven but the manifestation of it had not yet reached the earth below.

Then when did it reach this earth? When did God take His rest? When on the seventh day spoken of in Genesis did God’s Sabbath rest finally begin on this earth?

The answer to all of those questions is the same. The work ended when Christ announced on the cross “It is finished”. His rest began on that Sabbath day. He “ceased from His labors” by resting in the ground until the resurrection on that glorious Sabbath morning! Since that time Christ and the Father have been at rest. The Holy Spirit works still, but Christ sat down at the right hand of God, as is written in Hebrews 10:

12 But this man, after he had offered one sacrifice for sins for ever, sat down on the right hand of God;

13 From henceforth expecting till his enemies be made his footstool.

14 For by one offering he hath perfected for ever them that are sanctified.

God was not finished with His creation until the cross. Up until then the Father had been working, and so the Son would work as well. Jesus was serving notice that as God He was not on an earthly seven-day schedule. He was on the Father’s seven day schedule. He was still on the sixth “day” and would continue His work of “making Man in our image” right up until He proclaimed “it is finished!” on the cross. Then the Sabbath rest of that seventh day could begin, and that day continues up until the present time.

1 Like


As per a number of old and “unlikely” theories there may be a good degree of mileage in Gap Theory. I wrote about that here, but in a more sophisticated exegetical framework, a number of scholars (and me!) have suggested that the Genesis 1 creation account is not the chronological precursor to ch2, but a thematic account (ie not set in time that) forms the setting in which the account of Adam starts.

In other words, it says something like, “This is the world God created (1:1-2:3)”, and then “Here is what happened in it.” Translating that into a real time history, there is a conceptual gap which, according to our science, is billions of years long (from the beginning of creation), or at least hundred of thousands (from the creation of man). And that’s not far off what the late eighteenth/early nineteenth century guys saw in the text when deep time geology began to be revealed to science.

1 Like

John Waltons interpretation is essentially Gap Theory, as is A Telling in Six Ordinary Days.

1 Like