The Gap theory or Gap creationism is the idea that there was an indeterminate "gap" between Genesis 1:1 and 1:2. During this gap the surface of the Earth was destroyed by a battle between God and Lucifer.
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 harmonise the age of the earth with that promoted by naturalistic scientists, it is preferred by some Christians, although has largely fallen out of favour in recent times.
Problems with the theory
A crucial point for the Gap theory is the translation of Genesis 1:1 and 1:2. It appears in some translations as follows:
1In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. 2Now the earth was formless and empty, darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was hovering over the waters. Genesis 1:1-2 (NIV)
1In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth. 2And the earth was without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters. Genesis 1:1-2 (KJV)
1In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. 2The earth was formless and void, and darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was moving over the surface of the waters. Genesis 1:1-2 (NASB)
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. In fact, some translations such as the New Living Translation actually have a footnote providing several alternative renderings, one of which is, "In the beginning when God created the heavens and the earth, the earth was formless and empty, and darkness covered the deep waters. And the Spirit of God was hovering over the surface of the waters." 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.