Evidence for the Gap Theory From the Description of the Earth

Content Author: 
Reagan, David

Without Form

The earth is “without form” in Genesis 1:2. That means it had no definite shape. It was amorphous like the amoeba. If this is the original creation of the earth, then it was the only creation of God that was not created whole at once. Without the gap, the earth was not completed until the third day of creation (Genesis 1:9-10) and only then did God call it good (v.10).  

This would be an incomplete creation. Yet God says that when He does something, nothing can be put to it (Ecclesiastes 3:14). Without the gap, this verse must not refer to the creation of the earth.

Without Inhabitant

The earth of Genesis 1:2 is described as “void.” Void means to be empty or without inhabitant. Yet God says concerning the earth that “he created it not in vain, he formed it to be inhabited” (Isaiah 45:18). Again, Genesis 1:2 is out of character with an original creation. 

Without Light

According to the order of Genesis 1:1-3 when no gap is assumed, God created the earth in darkness. Even after that creation, “darkness was upon the face of the deep” (v.2). Yet, when the foundations of the earth were laid, “the morning stars sang together” (Job 38:7). Did they sing in the dark? This confusion is settled if there was an earth before the present earth.

A Description of Destruction

Taken together, the previous characteristics sound more like the result of some terrible catastrophe than a completed act of God’s creation. This is further verified when compared with descriptions of judgment in other passages of the word of God.   Consider the following comparison of Genesis 1:2 with Jeremiah 4:23.

  • Genesis 1:2
    • “without form”
    • “void”
    • “darkness”
  • Jeremiah 4:23
    • “without form”
    •  “void”
    • “no light”

In Jeremiah 4, the passage describes a scene of destruction (v.20) resulting from a great war (v.19) which came because of Israel’s disobedience. Can the same words be used to describe both God’s creation and God’s destruction? Can the results of such two opposite forces be identical?

A similar example is found in Nahum 2:10. In this passage, war and destruction are brought on by sin and wickedness. This destruction is described by words like “empty,” “void,” “waste,” and “blackness.” 

Admittedly, Jeremiah 4:23 and Nahum 2:10 are not referring to the events of Genesis 1:2. But that is not the question. How can similar, even identical, words in very similar descriptions be used to describe the results of creation in one place and destruction in two others? The natural answer is that they cannot.

The Face of the Deep

A massive amount of water surrounded the earth in Genesis 1:2. Wisdom (picturing Christ) was there to “set a compass upon the face of the depth” (Proverbs 8:27). This water could be divided so that the oceans could be filled below the first two heavens and yet it could also provide a covering for the second heaven at the edge of out space (Genesis 1:6-8). These upper waters are spoken of as the “waters that be above the heavens” in Psalm 148:4.

The face of the earth being covered by water would be a perfect description of Noah’s flood when the ark went “upon the face of the waters” (Genesis 7:18). Genesis 1:2 could then be a description of the original earth after a similar destruction. This would explain God’s promise to never destroy the earth by flood again after Noah’s flood (Genesis 9:8-17). If He had done so two times, we might need a promise that He would never do so again, or else every flood would be feared as another complete destruction. He will, in the future, destroy the earth by fire, but never again by flood. 

No Joy

Job 38:7 teaches that the sons of God (that is, angels) sang and shouted for joy when the foundations of the earth were laid (v.4). Where is the cause for joy in the description of the earth as found in Genesis 1:2? It is formless, empty and dark. Nor can this refer to the third day of creation when God finally said that the earth was good (Genesis 1:9-10) because no foundation were laid at that time. Job 38 must be referring to a time before the six-day creation.

David Reagan

Daily Proverb

Proverbs 19:14

House and riches are the inheritance of fathers: and a prudent wife is from the LORD.