Genesis 1:1 says, “In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth.” Then Genesis 1:2 says “the earth was formless and void.” Pink says, “Certainly, the earth, on the morning of its creation, must have been vastly different from its chaotic state as described in Genesis 1:2.” Pink then brings up an early Scottish commentator, Thomas Chalmers,  from about 1800. Pink says, “Dr. Chalmers called attention to the fact that the word ‘was’ in Genesis 1:2 should be translated ‘became,’ and that between the first two verses of Genesis 1 some terrible catastrophe must have intervened. That this catastrophe may have been connected with the apostasy of Satan, seems more than likely; that some catastrophe did occur is certain from Isa. 45:18, which expressly declares that the earth was not created in the condition in which Genesis 1:2 views it.”[1] The Revised KJV Version  (RV) of 1885 translates both verbs as “waste.” That’s because it’s the same Hebrew word. It says, “The earth was waste and void.” Then in Isaiah 45:18 it says, “For thus saith the LORD that created the heavens; he is God; that formed the earth and made it; he established it, he created it not a waste, he formed it to be inhabited: I am the LORD; and there is none else.”

What follows in the six creative days is a “recreation” or a “restitution.” According to the ASV, Authorized Standard Version, when God sends Adam and Eve out their instructions in Genesis 1:28 are “And God blessed them: and God said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth.” The interesting word there is “replenish.” It’s the same word used when direction Noah and his family to “replenish” the world after the flood. Thus, it appears that there was something destroyed before Adam and Eve just as there was something destroyed before Noah that had to be “restored.” Boice said concerning the Gap Theory, “This theory is also called the restitution or recreation theory. Arthur C. Custance, who has written an excellent book in the theory’s defense, traces it to certain early Jewish writers, some of the church fathers, and even to some ancient Sumerian and Babylonian documents. It crops up in the Middle Ages as well. It was in Scotland at the beginning of the last century, through the work of the capable pastor and writer Thomas Chalmers, that the idea gained real coherence and visibility.”[2]

Does the Gap Theory mean that the earth is billions of years old? Not necessarily. It simply allows for that possibility. Not all Gap Theorists believe so. Geisler concludes, “Since the Bible does not say exactly how old the universe is, the age of the earth should not be a test for orthodoxy. In fact, many orthodox scholars have held the universe to be millions of years old or more (such as Augustine, B. B. Warfield, C. I. Scofield, John Walvoord, Francis Schaeffer, Gleason Archer, Hugh Ross, and most of the leaders of the movement that produced the famous “Chicago Statement” [1978] on the inerrancy of the Bible.”[3]


[1] Arthur Walkington Pink, Gleanings in Genesis (Bellingham, WA: Logos Bible Software, 2005), 10.

[2] James Montgomery Boice, Genesis: An Expositional Commentary (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books, 1998), 57.

[3] Norman L. Geisler, Systematic Theology, Volume Two: God, Creation (Minneapolis, MN: Bethany House Publishers, 2003), 650.