I don’t believe in the gap theory in that the original earth was destroyed. But why couldn’t the planet earth and the heavens been created millions of years ago and remained null and void until God began 6000 years ago to create the atmosphere, land and life?
Thank you for contacting Answers in Genesis. The “modified gap theory” or “precreation chaos gap theory,” which is the proposed “gap” between Genesis 1:2 and 1:3, is unscriptural, and ultimately unnecessary. In fact, several gap models have been proposed over the years for one reason—to add secular ideas of long ages to the Bible. Here are some of the various models:
- Pre-time gap. This view adds long ages prior to God creating in Genesis 1:1. This falls short for a number of reasons. For example, how can one have millions of years of time prior to the creation of time?
- Ruin-reconstruction gap. This is the most popular gap idea, which adds long ages between Genesis 1:1 and Genesis 1:2. It was popularized by Scottish pastor Thomas Chalmers in the early 1800s. This idea is promoted in the Scofield and Dake study Bibles and is often associated with a Luciferian fall and flood. See the refutations here and here and in the book Unformed and Unfilled.
- Modified gap/precreation chaos gap. This view adds long ages between Genesis 1:2 and 1:3, and is primarily addressed in this article. One refutation of this view is in the Proceedings of the Sixth International Conference on Creationism, 2008, by John Zoschke, A Critique of the Precreation Chaos Gap Theory, ed., Andrew Snelling.
- Soft gap. This also includes a gap between Genesis 1:2 and 1:3, but unlike previous views, it has no catastrophic events or destruction of a previous state. It merely proposes that God created the world this way and left it for long periods of time in an effort to get starlight here. In essence, this view has a young earth and old universe. The problem is that stars were created after the proposed gap (Day Four), and it is unnecessary to make accommodations for long ages to solve the so-called starlight problem. See Anisotropic Synchrony Convention by Dr. Jason Lisle.
- Late gap. This view has a gap between chapters 2 and 3 of Genesis. In other words, some believe that Adam and Eve lived in the Garden for long ages before sin. This view has problems too. For example, Adam and Eve were told by God to be “fruitful and multiply” in Genesis 1:28, and waiting long ages to do so would have been disobedience. In addition, there is the problem of Adam only living 930 years (Genesis 5:5). For a refutation see When Did Adam and Eve Rebel?.
This modified gap theory is inconsistent with God creating everything in six days, as Scripture states. The plain meaning of the text is that everything was created sequentially: the earth, light, plants, sun, moon, stars, birds and fish, beasts, and man. The modified gap suggests that Day One lasted for millions of years while the rest of the days were normal length.
Exodus 20:11 states, “For in six days the Lord made the heavens and earth, the sea, and all that is in them, and rested the seventh day. Therefore the Lord blessed the Sabbath day, and hallowed it.” Thus, the creation of the heavens and the earth (Genesis 1:1) and the sea and all that is in them (the rest of the creation) was completed in six days. Is there any room for an alternative interpretation that truly honors Scripture, based on this clear passage?
Since the sun, moon, and stars were not created until Day Four, the modified gap theorist has to either accept billions of years with nothing in space but a lush earth, or rearrange the order of the Genesis 1 creation account without any hermeneutical basis.
Using Scripture as our starting point, we can show that the physical evidence is consistent with an earth being a few thousand years in age.
Using Scripture as our starting point, we can show that the physical evidence is consistent with an earth being a few thousand years in age. There is significant evidence that can be discussed—the decay and rapid reversals of the earth’s magnetic field, the amount of salt in the oceans, the wind-up of spiral galaxies, helium in zircons, C-14 in diamonds, and much more.
The modified gap also calls into question the words of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Consider that He said in Mark 10:5–8 that mankind was made from the beginning of creation, not billions of years later:
And Jesus answered and said unto them, For the hardness of your heart he wrote you this precept. But from the beginning of the creation God made them male and female. For this cause shall a man leave his father and mother, and cleave to his wife; and the two shall be one flesh: so then they are no more two, but one flesh.
The modified gap attempts to blend secular long ages with the Bible, but there is no need for a gap. The modified gap does not “bridge the gap” (pun intended) between biblical creation and long ages. Instead, it is an arbitrary attempt to compromise with secular interpretations of the age of the earth and universe.
It also opens up a major theological problem of death before sin. This results in the idea of death being “very good” (Genesis 1:31) and undermines the reason for Christ’s atonement to save us from sin and death. Death is the result of sin and did not occur millions of years before Adam. Please take some time to consider this with your Bible in hand.
With kindness and prayers that this helps. God bless,
Troy Lacey and Bodie Hodge