Evidence for the Gap Theory From the Doctrine of the Devil
Up to now, we have answered the major objections to the gap and have shown that the gap makes more sense according to the text of Genesis 1:1-3. However, the greatest proof of the gap comes from the history and doctrine of the devil. This teaching will be covered in this section.
The Time Factor
If there was no original creation and destruction, then the devil could predate man by no more than five days. This means that the following events must have occurred between the first day of the six-day creation and the fall of Adam and Eve:
- Lucifer’s service to God as “the anointed cherub that covereth” (Ezekiel 28:11-15).
- The fall of Lucifer because of his pride (Isaiah 14:12-15).
- The fall of the angels who followed Satan (Matthew 25:41).
- The origin of devils. NOTE: Many Bible scholars equate fallen angels with the devils (or demons, as they say). However, the Bible seems to make a clear distinction between the two.
- The preparation of everlasting fire for the devil and his angels (Matthew 25:41). NOTE: This fire must have been prepared after the fall of Satan created the need for it yet before the fall of man condemned him to the same place. Otherwise, it would have been created for Satan, his angels, AND man.
However, the evidence points to a short time between the creation of man and his fall.
- From Adam’s creation to the birth of Seth was 130 years (Genesis 5:2-3).
- Between Adam’s fall and the birth of Seth, Cain and Abel were born (Genesis 4:1-2), grew to manhood (in a time when this must have been a lengthy process), began their separate occupations (4:2), and sacrificed to God (4:3-4). Cain then killed his brother Abel (4:8) and went from the presence of the Lord to start his own kingdom (4:16). This assures that the stay in the Garden of Eden was a short one.
- Also, Adam and Eve were sent from the garden specifically so that they could not eat of the tree of life and life forever (Genesis 3:22). They had evidently not yet eaten of the tree. This also points to a short stay.
Certainly, all of the events of the early history of the devil could have occurred within this short time frame. However, such a scenario seems very unlikely when God’s providential working throughout history and its pace that seems so slow to us in considered.
Satan’s Claim on the World
In Luke 4:5-6, Satan told Christ that all the kingdoms of the world had been delivered unto him (“for that is delivered unto me”). Christ did not deny his claim but rather answered that only God Himself deserved worship (Luke 4:7-8). The devil’s claim of having the kingdoms of the world delivered unto him is allowed to stand. But when could this have been done? When Satan shows up in the Garden of Eden before the fall of man, he is already the serpent and is in opposition to God. If Satan had some previous rule over the world, when did he practice this rule?
In Isaiah 14:12-15, where Satan’s original rebellion against God is recorded, the devil desired to exalt his throne above the stars of God (v.13). In order to exalt his throne, he had to have a throne. A throne indicates a place of rule and dominion as well as a kingdom to rule over. Yet, this kingdom which was ruled by Satan before the fall was below the stars of God and below the heights of the clouds. What is left? The earth is left. Satan had a throne on the earth before he rebelled against God. This would explain how he got his claim to earth. The earth before Genesis 1:2 was Lucifer’s original domain. It was his original commission from God.
Satan’s Character From the Beginning
The devil was “a murderer from the beginning” (John 8:44) and he “sinneth from the beginning” (1 John 3:8). To what beginning does this refer? It must refer to the beginning of the six-day creation. Nothing else makes sense.
However, if there is no gap and the devil was created on the first day of the six days of creation, he must have been created as a sinner and a murderer—since he was these things from the beginning. But this is impossible for two reasons.
- First, this interpretation would make God the author of sin.
- Second, the Bible clearly states that the devil was perfect from his creation and that iniquity was not found in him until a later date (see Ezekiel 28:15).
He was perfect at the time of his own creation, but was a murderer and sinner at the time of the beginning or creation as we experience it. Therefore, the devil had to fall in sin somewhere between the time of his creation and the beginning of the world as found in the first chapter of Genesis. Only the gap provides a time for this. There is no other option.
The Origin of Devils
This last argument involves some speculation and is not critical to the whole. However, consider the following:
- Devils are evil spirits that follow after Satan.
- Devils are distinguished from evil angels in that angels have bodies and the devils do not.
- In fact, devils always seem to need to posses a body (see Luke 8:30-33).
Quite possibly, devils are the disembodied spirits of those beings who originally lived on the pre-adamic earth and who, because of their rebellion against God, are condemned to wander through this present world until their final condemnation to eternal judgment. The devils who faced Jesus were concerned that He had come to torment them “before the time” (Matthew 8:29). Yet, even if this is not the origin of devils, their existence and origin still must be accounted for in the context of Genesis 1:1-3.
God does not deal with the original creation and destruction of the earth in great detail anywhere in scripture. Therefore, there is no need that differences on this issue should divide among true believers of the word of God. However, my studies over the years have convinced me that there was something before our present earth. Too many things were already set at the time of our creation in the six days of the first chapter of Genesis. We will never know much about this time, but I believe that we can rest assured that there was such a time.