Evidence for the Gap Theory From the Creation Story
The Heaven and the Heavens
In Genesis 1:1, God clearly states that “God created the heaven and the earth.” The word heaven , as you can see, is singular. This distinction separates those who have faith in the preservation of the English text from Hebrew scholar wannabes. The Hebrew word can be correctly translated in different contexts as either heaven or heavens . And, most modern English versions translate this passage as heavens . However, a Bible-believing study of Genesis One and the doctrine of heavens in the scripture show that heaven in the singular is the only possible correct translation.
Before we look at this evidence, consider the contrast between Genesis 1:1 and 2:1. In Genesis 1:1, God created the “heaven.” However, in Genesis 2:1, the Bible declares, “Thus the heavens and the earth were finished, and all the host of them.” Earth is still singular but the heaven of 1:1 becomes the completed heavens of 2:1. How many heavens are there and when were the additional heavens created?
The Bible teaches the number of heavens in 2 Corinthians 12:2 where the Apostle Paul relates this experience: “I knew a man in Christ above fourteen years ago, (whether in the body, I cannot tell; or whether out of the body, I cannot tell: God knoweth;) such an one caught up to the third heaven.” This is God’s heaven; the highest heaven. Therefore, there are three heavens.
- The first heaven is the atmosphere or the atmospheric heaven. It is called the “open firmament of heaven” (Genesis 1:20) because it is the one we access and it is open to the heaven above it. It was created on the second day of the six days of creation (Genesis 1:6-8).
- The second heaven is the starry heaven or out space. It is called “the firmament of the heaven” (Genesis 1:14-19) and was created on the second day (Genesis 1:6-8).
- The third heaven (2 Corinthians 12:4) is simply heaven or God’s heaven (1 Thessalonians 4:16). It is sometimes called the “heaven of heavens” (Nehemiah 9:6); (Psalm 148:4) or “paradise” after the resurrection and ascension of Christ (2 Corinthians 12:4). It was created in Genesis 1:1 in the beginning. That is why Genesis 1:1 refers to “heaven” while Genesis 2:1 refers to the “heavens.” Only one heaven had been created in the very beginning. There had been no separation between heavens as there it today. The heaven of Genesis 1:1 must refer to God’s heaven—one that was not created during the six days of creation but had an earlier existence.
The Moving of the Spirit
One of the works of the Spirit is that of renewal; of making new again. This is His work. God sends forth his spirit and “renewest the face of the earth” (Psalm 104:30). This is His work with fallen man (Titus 3:5). This was very likely His work with the destroyed earth in Genesis 1:2. But consider, only that which already exists can be renewed.
The Creation Day Formula
Throughout the six-day creation story, each day begins with “And God said” (Genesis 1:3, 6, 9, 14, 20, 24) and each day ends with “And the evening and the morning were the [number] day” (Genesis 1:5, 8, 13, 19, 23, 31). According to this formula, the first day of creation began in Genesis 1:3 making the events of the first two verses previous to the six-day creation.
The Command to Replenish
When man was created, he was told to “replenish the earth” (Genesis 1:28). Replenish means to refill in its most common meaning. Yes, the Hebrew can also mean just to fill and the English word can be defined this way in some cases. However, in cases of doubt on the meaning of a word, they key is to find a Bible answer. This answer is found in Genesis 9:1. In the second passage, the word refers to the command given to Noah and his family after the destruction of the flood and clearly means to refill. The commissions are parallel in several ways and the word must have the same meaning in both places.
The Crowding of the First Day
If the first day included Genesis 1:1-2, the following events would all have occurred on that one 24-hour day.
- The creation of God’s heaven
- The creation of the heavenly beings: angels, cheribum, serriphim, etc.
- The creation of the earth
- The song of the angels who sang at the creation of the earth (Job 38:4-7)
- The creations of the waters that are upon the earth (Genesis 1:2)
- The moving of the Spirit on the waters
- The creation of light (with this order, the angels evidently sang in the dark)
- The division of light from darkness
Although God can certainly do anything, this particular crowding is out of line with the remainder of the creation week when God only created one or two major categories in a day. It makes the story imbalanced.