The Gap Theory

For thousands of years, nearly all Christians believed that the earth was about six thousand years old as revealed in God’s Word. But by the early 1800s the literal interpretation of Genesis fell under fire. Initially popularized by Scottish theologian Thomas Chalmers and later by the Scofield Reference Bible, the “gap theory” became a convenient method by which theologians compromise Holy Scripture with Darwin’s evolution theory.

The Bible teaches “In the beginning, God created the heaven and the earth” and continues by saying “the earth was without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep” (Genesis 1:1-2). Proponents of the gap theory suggest there is a gap between those two verses that accounts for Satan’s rebellion, dinosaurs, a geological record, and billions of years of evolution.

That “gap,” however, is nothing more than an attempt to harmonize God’s perfect Word with man’s imperfect thoughts. In fact, it is irreconcilable with the rest of Scripture. The words “without form, and void” in Genesis 1:2 come from the Hebrew phrase “tohu waw bohu,” which means “unformed and unfilled.” This indicates the earth was not yet formed or filled.

Everything Was Made in Six days

Further discrepancies between Scripture and the gap theory are seen when looking at the law God gave Moses. As God etched the Ten Commandments in stone, He said, “For in six days the Lord made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that in them is” (Exodus 20:11). God unmistakably says that everything was made in six days. This would include angels, heaven, earth, and mankind—everything.

The Gap Theory Contradicts Scripture

The gap theory also disagrees with New Testament Scripture. The Bible is clear that “by man came death” (1 Corinthians 15:21-22) and “by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin” (Romans 5:12). These passages undeniably teach that the first sin came by Adam and that there was no death before sin. Therefore, it is incompatible to teach that a civilization existed before Adam, because it would place death before sin—a direct contradiction to Scripture.