The "Gap" (or "Three Earth Ages") Creation Model
by Rich Deem


The "gap" model accepts the ancient age of the universe, but states that the earth was remade following corruption by Satan and his angels. The "standard" gap model states that God created the earth and populated it with angels, the chief of whom was the angel Satan. However, Satan rebelled and convinced one third of the angels to follow him in rebellion. Through this age of rebellion and sin, the earth became corrupted so much that God had to judge the world through a pre-adamic flood so that it "had become" formless and void. The usual translation of Genesis 1:2 has been changed as shown below:

The impetus for this translation comes from a single verse in the book of Isaiah:

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, But formed it to be inhabited), "I am the LORD, and there is none else. (Isaiah 45:18)

Proponents of the gap theory say that the Lord did not create the earth as a waste place (Hebrew word is tohu, Strong's number H8414), but as a world to be inhabited. However, Genesis 1:2 says that the earth was formless (Hebrew word is tohu). Obviously, if the earth was not created as tohu, it must have become tohu at some point after it was created.

Pre-Adamic flood

The idea of a Pre-Adamic flood has been around for some time, although it is difficult to support either biblically or scientifically. The gap theory states that there was a large gap of time between Genesis 1:1 (the creation of the universe 14 billion years ago) and Genesis 1:2 (the remaking of the earth). Both the day-age and gap theories would accept that there is a gap of 10-12 billion years between Genesis 1:1 and Genesis 1:2. However, the gap theory states that the days of Genesis (described after Genesis 1:2) were 24 hours days, making all the extant creatures of the earth less than 10,000 years old. The model accepts the ancient fossil record as the evidence of the creatures that inhabited the earth before it was corrupted by Satan and his demons. However, the model would predict that we would find evidence of a global flood 6,000-10,000 years ago, along with a break in the fossil record and the introduction of the entire array of extant species at the time.

Biblical problems with the gap theory

Proponents of the gap theory translate Genesis 1:2 as, "And the earth had become formless and void." It is true, the Hebrew word used in Genesis 1:2, hayah, usually translated "was," is also translated elsewhere as "became" or "had become." However, this word is extremely common, occurring over 1,000 times in the book of Genesis alone, where it is given over 100 different translations in the NASB version. Since biblical Hebrew is a very small language (containing less than 9,000 words), many Hebrew words have multiple meanings. Therefore, the proper translation must be determined from the context in which the word is found. I have listed some of the more common translations of hayah from the book of Genesis:

Translations of Hayah
Translation Number of Times
Became 85
Become 230
Been 98
Came 526
Come 141
Happen 13
Happened 59
Has 19
Have 97
Remain 9
Remained 6

As you can see, Genesis 1:2 could be translated "And the earth remained formless and void..." This would make sense, since the context indicates that God had just begun moving above the waters of the earth to change it for habitation. The word hayah is used 18 times in the first 20 verses of Genesis 1 and it would not make sense to translate it "had become" in any of the other 17 verses. Therefore, I see no reason from the context of Genesis 1:1 or 1:2 to translate hayah in Genesis 1:2 as "had become."

Theologically, I find it difficult to support the concept that Satan has the power to destroy and corrupt all of Godís creation. Iím sure that if he really had that kind of power, he would have used it again to destroy the world or at least prevent the Messiah from living. Nowhere in the Bible is that kind of power attributed to Satan, since his primary method of operation is through lies and deceit.1

Scientific problems with the gap theory

Proponents of the theory state that the dinosaurs were destroyed between Genesis 1:1 and Genesis 1:2. We know from radioactive dating that the dinosaurs and about 80% of all other species of life were destroyed 65 million years ago, probably by a collision of an asteroid with the earth. Life on earth did not cease at that time, since God created an entirely new set of animals and plants within five million years of the Cretaceous-Tertiary extinction. There is no complete gap in the fossil record from 3.6 billion years ago until the present age. There is no gap at all recorded in the fossil record for thousands of modern species for the past hundreds of thousands of years. In addition, there is abundant evidence that modern man has been on this planet for the last 50,000 years. If the earth at one point "became waste and wild" through a "pre-Adamic flood" there remains no physical evidence for this event.

References Top of page

  1. "You are of your father the devil, and you want to do the desires of your father. He was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the truth, because there is no truth in him. Whenever he speaks a lie, he speaks from his own nature; for he is a liar, and the father of lies. (John 8:44)
    And the great dragon was thrown down, the serpent of old who is called the devil and Satan, who deceives the whole world; he was thrown down to the earth, and his angels were thrown down with him. (Revelation 12:9)
    And the devil who deceived them was thrown into the lake of fire and brimstone, where the beast and the false prophet are also; and they will be tormented day and night forever and ever. (Revelation 20:10)
Last Modified January 20, 2006


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