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Genesis Gap Theory

QUESTION: Is there evidence for the Genesis Gap Theory?


Evidence for the Genesis Gap Theory is derived primarily from the findings of modern science which suggest that the Earth is extremely old (billions of years old). Gap Theorists believe that the best way to reconcile the Bible’s young-Earth creation account with modern science’s old-Earth interpretations is to place an ambiguous chronological gap between the first two verses of Genesis.

The man who is thought to be most responsible for the formulation of the Genesis Gap Theory as we have it today was Scottish theologian Thomas Chalmers (1780-1847) of the Free Church of Scotland. Though he apparently didn’t write much on the subject, contemporary sources record much of his thoughts on the Gap Theory as he presented them in sermons and lectures.

Chalmers believed that between Genesis 1:1 ("In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth.”) and Genesis 1:2 (“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.") there passed a great prehistoric age which ended in some sort of catastrophe that left the planet “void” and “without form.” He believed that it was during this period that most of the Earth’s extinct species lived and died, including the dinosaurs. Chalmers believed that the geological findings of his day (many interpretations of which survive today) provided the best evidence for his Gap Theory. Gap theorists have subsequently found passages of Scripture to support their view.

The Genesis Gap Theory is held by only a minority of Bible scholars today. Most Bible scholars today interpret the geological record either in a manner consistent with the reigning Lyellian/Darwinian paradigm or as a result of the catastrophic processes which occurred during Noah’s Flood. Most Bible scholars today do not see any justification for the Gap Theory in the biblical text and do not interpret the geologic record as such.

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