The gap theory, or gap creationism, is a theory of creation that asserts that there was a gap of indeterminate length between Genesis 1:1 and 1:2. This gap allows time for geological processes to occur, for fossils and coal to be deposited, and for the starlight problem to be addressed. According to the theory, the surface of the Earth was destroyed by a battle between God and Lucifer, causing it to be "without form" by the time of verse 2. Gap theory was popularized by the Scofield Reference Bible of 1917.
The dinosaurs were also destroyed at this time and their fossil remains are those that are found to this day.
Differences of opinion
As a theory which attempts to harmonize the age of the earth with that promoted by naturalistic scientists, it is preferred by some Christians, although it has largely fallen out of favor in recent times.
Problems with the theory
A crucial point for the gap theory is the translation of Genesis 1:1 and 1:2:
1In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth. 2The earth was without form and void, and darkness was over the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God was hovering over the face of the waters. Genesis 1:1-2 (ESV)
Gap theorists claim that the verse can be translate to say that the Earth became formless and empty. However, the Hebrew letter waw used as a conjunction does not allow this translation in this context. It is clear that the the original language doesn't allow any gap.
In trying to harmonize the Bible with uniformitarian geology, the gap theory introduces a new global catastrophe (the so-called "Lucifer's Flood") which uniformitarian geology doesn't recognize and the Bible doesn't mention.
- Ham, Ken, Creation at the academy, Creation 22(2):24–27, March 2000.
- Sarfati, Jonathan, The Gap Theory, Why it fails on all counts, 2006.