Angelology 009 (Satanology 05)Genesis 1:1-3 • Dr. Andy Woods • September 1, 2019 • Angelology
Dr. Andy Woods
Angelology 9; (Satanology 5)
Genesis 1:1-3 9-1-2019
Let’s open up with a word of prayer if we could. Let’s pray: Father, we’re grateful for this morning and we lift up the victims of the latest mass shooting yesterday in Odessa and I just pray You’ll be with those in Florida that are perhaps experiencing Dorian [can’t understand word] or very soon, I looked up the latest outbreak that’s happened in Israel and we realize we live in a fallen world and we see evidence of that all around us. And I pray that You will use these events that are going on around the world to draw people’s attention to the fact that this life is very temporary and we really need to place our trust and invest in things that are eternal. And I pray You’ll do that work. I pray You’ll be with us here at Sugar Land Bible Church both in Sunday School and the main service that follows and with communion and the fellowship lunch afterwards and the different meetings that are going to be going on. So I just pray that Your spirit would superintend everything and I pray that people would leave here eternally changed today. We’ll be careful to give you all the praise and the glory. We ask these things sin Jesus name, and God’s people said… Amen.
Let’s take our Bibles and open them to the Book of Genesis, chapter 1 and verse 1. That should be pretty easy to find, amen! And we’ve been doing this study on angelology, the doctrine of the angels. And part of studying angelology is studying Satanology, the doctrine of Satan because Satan at one time (as we know) was once a high-ranking angel. So, we’ve moved away from the good angels and we’re looking at what the Bible has to say about Satan.
We’ve looked at the fact that he clearly exists, Old Testament, New Testament. We have also looked at the fact that he is an actual person and not an impersonal source of energy. And then we went through his about 18 to 20 names and titles given to him in the Scripture, each of which reveals something about His character. And then the last few weeks we’ve been looking at how Satan became Satan; what was his original state and first sin. And we saw that there’s only two areas of the Bible that help us with that, Ezekiel 28 first, so we went through that passage, Ezekiel 18:12-17, and learned all about the fall of Satan. And then the second passage is Isaiah 14:12-15 and we went through that passage and learned all about the fall of Satan, how Satan was lifted up with pride and lost his position in the heavenlies and plummeted to the earth.
And part of me was just going to move on to his works but the study really wouldn’t be complete unless I made some kind of an attempt to explain the time of Satan’s fall. And part of me just wanted to avoid this because there’s a lot of controversy on this and it’s very tempting as a teacher to just stay away from things that are controversial but I guess you guys know us better here at Sugar Land Bible Church, we kind of take on controversies. So, I wanted to spend some time talking about the time of Satan’s fall. And I think the reason there are so many differences of opinion on this is you’re dealing with very limited data; I mean, there isn’t an awful lot of Scripture that you can go to that allows you to say conclusively thus saith the LORD, here’s when Satan fell.
I think probably the best you can do is you can pick the view which is least problematic. So the first view is that Satan already fell long before the world was. They put the fall sometime in eternity past. And if you sort of track what we said in the good angels, when the good angels were created, I tried to lay out a case that I think the good angels came into existence during the creation week itself. It’s a minority view but it is held by some, like Dr. Renald Showers and others. If you believe that then it’s hard to argue that Satan fell sometimes in eternity past long before the world was. Beyond that, when you look at Satan’s fall in both the Ezekiel 28 passage and the Isaiah 14 passage it’s pretty clear that Satan’s falls to the earth. Ezekiel 28:16, of Satan, says, “I cast you to the ground.” [Ezekiel 28:16, “By the abundance of your trade you were internally filled with violence, and you sinned; therefore, I have cast you as profane from the mountain of God.
And I have destroyed you, O covering cherub, from the midst of the stones of fire.”]
And when you go to the Isaiah 14:12 passage it’s very clear that he fell from heaven to the earth. “How you have fallen from heaven, O star of the morning, son of the dawn! You have been cut down to the earth [You who have weakened the nations!]” It’s kind of hard for Satan to fall and fall to the earth if the earth didn’t exist yet… Amen! So, the first view that Satan fell sometime in eternity past, a lot of evangelicals believe that. I personally have a difficult time with that.
The second view and we have to spend (as I’ll explain) a lot of time on this. The second view is that Satan fell in between verse 1 and verse 2 of Genesis chapter 1. So this is something that many, many conservative evangelicals have believed, probably since the publication of the Scofield Reference Bible, which is a very good Bible in many ways but it promoted something that’s called the Gap Theory. Has anybody heard of the Gap Theory? Most evangelicals have heard of this, it’s very interesting to study. And it’s this idea that in between verse 1 and verse two of Genesis 1, that’s when the fall of Satan took place. So that, by definition, to dismiss that option it requires a critique of the Gap Theory. So that’s sort of the direction that I’m going to go in today and probably for the next couple of weeks. And I wanted to sort of slow down and spend some time on this because this is something that many, many Christians believe. A lot of my friends believe it. But I really don’t think at the end of the day that it’s the most probable theory.
So when we get into what’s called the Gap Theory; here’s what we’re going to do, we’re going to define the Gap Theory. And I’m not one of those that likes to just tear down something without giving it a hearing so I’m going to actually today (and we may get through this today) lay out the evidence for the Gap Theory. In other words, why is it that the Gap Theory has become so popular in the minds of so many Christians? So I’ll lay out the evidence for it; there’s about thirteen pieces of evidence that people point to in promoting the Gap Theory. And then we’ll move to number three, maybe a little bit this week, probably into next week, where I’m going to respond to each of the thirteen pieces of evidence. And then we’ll hit number four where I’ll give you some remaining problems with the Gap Theory. And then once we get through all of that I’ll give you, number five, what I think is the correct way to handle Genesis 1:1-3. In other words, if the Gap Theory is not true then how should we be reading Genesis 1:1-3? So that’s sort of the direction that we’re going in and the reason we’re going into all of this is because it relates to the doctrine of Satan getting to the issue of when exactly did Satan fall.
So the Gap Theory, what is it that we’re really talking about (when we talk about the Gap Theory) well, take a look if you could at Genesis chapter 1 and notice verses 1-3. These are no doubt very familiar verses to all of us. It says this: “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.  The 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.  Then God said, “Let there be light”; and there was light.” And then you keep moving through the chapter and it gives you the creation week right down to verse 31 where God looks back on the creation week and He doesn’t’ just say it was good, He says it was what? He said it was “very good.” [Genesis 1:31, “God saw all that He had made, and behold, it was very good. And there was evening and there was morning, the sixth day.”]
So the Gap Theory basically is known as the Ruin-reconstruction theory and it’s sort of something that’s biblical to critique because every time you critique it somebody will say well, I don’t believe the version you’re teaching, I believe this other version over here, and it’s almost like there’s different variations of the Gap Theory, which obviously it’s impossible for me to get into every single variation of it. So, if I leave out someone’s particular version of it don’t get your feelings hurt, that’s just a matter of timing and how much time I have. I’m going to critique what I think is what’s called the classical Gap Theory.
How does the Gap Theory work? Well, according to verse 1 you have an original creation brought into existence by God in a perfect state. And when you look at Genesis chapter 1 and verse 1 it says, “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.” Now that’s the earth (according to the Gap Theory) which was perfect. Some people like the late Merrill Unger, longtime professor of Hebrew at Dallas Seminary, argued that there was actually a race of people on the earth at that time called a pre-Adamic race. And some gap three people hold to the pre-Adamic race, some don’t.
But at any rate, verse 1, according to the Gap Theory, is basically describing the world (as God originally intended) with plants and animals and birds and even a pre-Adamic race of people. And then something happened in between verse 1 and verse 2 and that’s where classical Gap Theory, in between verse 1 and verse 2 puts the fall of Satan. So between the end of verse 1 and the beginning of verse 2 you could have, depending on how much time you need, a million years, a billion years, and allegedly that’s when Satan fell, right in that gap; that’s why it’s called the Gap Theory. And Lucifer’s rebellion and judgment took place in that gap. Lucifer fell and God judged! Now when God judged He brought water because that’s why verse two says, “the surface of the deep and the spirit of God was moving on the waters.”
So according to classical Gap Theory thinking they’re actually were two floods in the ancient past. And it’s sort of interesting, when you talk to a Gap Theory person about the flood. you have to be careful in figuring out what flood they’re talking about, because there was the flood in-between verse 1 and verse 2, where Lucifer fell, a third of the angels fell, and God brought judgment through a flood. And then there was another flood that you read about in Genesis 6, 7 and 8 called the Noahic flood. And this is sort of popular because you can take all of the fossil records, which looks ancient, and you can cram it right there in between those two verses.
It’s interesting, according to classical Gap Theory there really is not a genetic relationship between present animals and humans and the fossils which were destroyed in the gap. You see that? So you look at the fossil record and it could be talking about something from Lucifer’s fall, Lucifer’s rebellion, Lucifer’s judgment, that really has no genetic relationship to present animals, human beings, etc. So, you go to verse 2 and what is being described, according to the Gap Theory, is the chaotic conditions of the world following Lucifer’s fall and judgment which took place in between verse 1 and verse 2.
So you look at verse 2 and what does it say? It says, “The earth was formless and void, darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the spirit of God was moving on the waters.” So when it says “The earth was formless and void” the Hebrew words there translated formless and void is tohu and bohu, and what Gap Theory people do is they go to other parts of the Bible where is tohu and bohu are used together to describe judgment and chaos. The two passages they go to (and I’ll be sharing these with you a little bit later) are Isaiah 34:11 and Jeremiah 4:23. [Isaiah 34:11, “But pelican and hedgehog will possess it, And owl and raven will dwell in it; And He will stretch over it the line of desolation. And the plumb line of emptiness.” Jeremiah 4:23, “I looked on the earth, and behold, it was formless and void; And to the heavens, and they had no light.”]
And then you’ll notice it says, “darkness was over the surface of the deep” and they say see, darkness is evil in the Bible. So they’ll go to John 13:19-20 or Jude 13 where darkness is something bad, and they you see, that’s evidence of a world that was destroyed, an original world that was destroyed through the Luciferian rebellion and judgment. And then it talks about how the Spirit of God was moving on the waters. [Genesis 1:2, “The 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.”]
And they’ll go to Bible translations that say the Spirit of God “was brooding,” and there is a Bible translation that says that, I’ll show it to you in just a minute. And so they say aha, there’s your evidence that the Spirit of God was disturbed at what happened with the Luciferian rebellion and judgment. So they’ll go to Ephesians 4:30 which talks about don’t grieve the Holy Spirit. [Ephesians 4:30, “Do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption.”] And so the idea here is the Spirit of God was grieving at what took place because the old world was destroyed. And then it says the Spirit of God was moving on the waters and to their minds it means there was a flood. I mean, God sent a flood in a judgment to destroy that old world.
So once you get past verse 2 and then you get into verse 3, all the way through the end of the chapter, verse 31… verse three says “Then God said, ‘Let there be light.’” Now once you get to verse three what we’re told by Gap Theory advocates is verse 3 is not the original creation; the original creation was wrecked in between verse 1 and verse 2. So what is happening in verse 3 is not an ex nihilo creation out of nothing, but it’s what we would call a renovation. In other words, God, beginning in verse 3, is fixing what got busted.
Let me put it this way; someone breaks into your house and they vandalize, they damage the furniture, they spray paint on the walls, and so you come back and you find your house in that condition and you’re not necessarily going to buy a brand-new house but you’re going to repaint the walls and those kinds of things. In other words, you’re fixing what got busted. That’s how the Gap Theory looks at the six days of creation. It’s not something out of nothing, it’s not an ex nihilo creation, it’s more of a renovation. And they believe that this renovation started, probably six thousand years ago, in six literal days. So Gap Theory people are very literal when it comes to Genesis 1, the creation week, they think it is twenty-four hour days, correctly. They take it as a renovation that sort of began thousands of years ago, not billions of years ago, what happened billions of years ago is in verse 1 and between verse 1 and verse 2.
So the Gap Theory is sort of interesting because it allows people to be old earth in terms of their creationism understanding. They can hold to a fossil record and an earth that’s billions of years old but they still are able to hold to a literal interpretation of Genesis 1, it’s just the literal interpretation starts there in verse 3 and it’s not so much a creation but it’s a renovation. The Gap Theory is sort of an interesting combination: old earth but literal creation week. So the best I’ve tried to do is tried to explain where the Gap Theory is coming from. It’s very attractive to people because it allows you to hold to what science is saying about the age of the earth, billions of years old, you can believe that, but at the same time you can still believe in literal Genesis 1. And the only reason I’m bringing all of this up is it relates to Satanology because that’s where they put the fall of Satan, at the end of verse 1 before the beginning of verse 2.
So is there actual evidence for the Gap Theory? Well, in fact there is evidence for it. In fact, I’m going to lay out the evidence in such a way that you might even think that I’m a believer in this because… you know, the people that hold this they shouldn’t be maligned as dumb or stupid or they don’t believe the Bible, they do believe the Bible; it’s actually in the Scofield Reference Bible. I happen to have a very high opinion of the Scofield Reference Bible. I don’t agree with the Scofield Reference Bible on this point but the Scofield Reference Bible holds to the Gap Theory.
So what actually is the evidence for the Gap Theory? What I have here is a chart and on the left column is the evidence in favor of the Gap Theory and then on the right-hand column is the response to each of those pieces of evidence because when I critique something I like to be fair to what it is I’m critiquing.
So why is it that so many people hold to the Gap Theory? We’re in Houston and Bob Thieme had an influential ministry here in Houston and so a lot of people come to our church, come to us from Bob Thieme or a Bob Thieme related church and to my understanding he was an advocate for a believer in the Gap Theory. So likely many of you, at some point have been exposed to this and/or believe it.
So why do people believe this? Well, here is the first piece of evidence they cite, it has to do with a Hebrew conjunction beginning in verse 2. It doesn’t show up in English but in verse 2, in Hebrew there’s a conjunction there and the Hebrew name for it is a vav, and so the Gap Theory believes that that Hebrew conjunction vav, beginning in verse 2 is a contrast, it’s a contrast, so they interpret that conjunction as “but.” And the reason that’s important is because what is happening is in their minds, verse 2 is being contrasted to verse one. Verse 1 is the original world; verse 2 is how it got wrecked, so the contrast is very important so they take that initial vav and they translate it as “but.”
And then they go into verse 2 and you’ll see the word “became,” I think that’s pronounced in Hebrew hayah if I’m not mistaken, and it says, “the earth was” in most Bible translations, but they don’t want that verb to mean was, they want it to mean became, “but the earth became.” Now why are they interested in doing this? Because verse 1 is the perfect world, verse 2 is a description of the wrecked world, after Satan fell. So here was the original world and then the earth “became” something else in light of the Luciferian rebellion and judgment. And to be completely honest with you I think that particular verb is used a number of times in Genesis 1 and many times it means become or have become. So you might want to jump down to Genesis 2:7, it’s very close to the context that we’re working in here, and it says, “Then the Lord God formed man of dust from the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became” see that? That’s hayah, “a living being.”
If you go to Genesis 2:10 it says, “Now a river flowed out of Eden to water the Garden; and from there it divided and became” see that? “four rivers.” And then you go to Genesis 3:22, these are all verses very close to our context, look at Genesis 3:22, it says, “Then the Lord God said, “Behold, the man has” what “become like one of us…. So, if hayah, means became or become over and over again in Genesis 1, 2 and 3, why can’t it mean that in verse 2? The Septuagint, which is the Greek translation of Hebrew Bible, created a couple of centuries before the time of Christ, goes through many of these passages, in fact, hayah is used, I think around 27 times in Genesis 1, if I’m not mistaken. And the Septuagint translates it as themselves, “render that” particular verb [can’t understand word] which means became many, many times. So the Gap Theory personnel are advocates, they basically believe that well, if it means that other places it can mean that there in Genesis 1:2. So, “But the earth became” is how they want verse 2 to read.
The third piece of evidence cited by the Gap Theory advocates are the words tohu and bohu. It says there, “the earth was formless and void, tohu and bohu. And they say aha, the only other places in the Bible where tohu and bohu in the Old Hebrew Bible are used together, they mean a judgment and so they’ll go to Isaiah 34:11, which says, “The pelican and hedgehog will possess it, and owl and raven will dwell in it; and He will stretch over it the line of desolation and the plumb line of emptiness,” tohu and bohu. So they say look, there Isaiah 34 is describing judgment. Since those same Hebrew words are used together in Genesis 1:2 it must be describing judgment as well. They also will use Jeremiah 4:23-25 where Jeremiah says, “I looked at the earth and behold it was formless and void;” tohu and bohu “and to the heavens and they had no light.  I looked at the mountains, and behold they were quaking; and the hills moved to and fro.”  And I looked and behold there was no man and the birds of the heavens had fled,” and they say there it is again, tohu and bohu in a context speaking of chaos and judgment so obviously that’s what it’s got to mean in Genesis 1:2. In fact, the Scofield Reference Bible says that. The Scofield Reference Bible commenting on Jeremiah 4:23 connects that verse to tohu and bohu used in Genesis 1:2.
The Scofield Reference Bible, I think was created around 1902, somewhere in there, (and that’s an important date and I’ll explain why a little bit later in the series,) says, “It,” Jeremiah 4:23, “describes the condition of the earth as a result of the judgment which overthrew the primal order of Genesis 1:1. In other words, the Scofield Reference Bible is saying you understand tohu and bohu in Jeremiah 4:23 exactly like you would understand it in Genesis 1:2, speaking of judgment and the judgment came into existence through the Luciferian Rebellion.
A fourth piece of evidence that the Gap Theory holds to is this phrase “darkness” in Genesis 1:2. What does Genesis 1:2 say? “The earth was formless and void, and darkness was over the surface of the deep ….” Now the Gap Theory advocate goes to all of the references in the Bible where darkness means something evil. For example, in John 3:19, Jesus says, “This is the judgment that light has come into the world and men loved the” what? “darkness rather than the light for their deeds were evil.” And they say aha, darkness is evil in the Bible, so it’s got to be in Genesis 1:2.
They also will quote Jude 13, “They are wild waves of the sea, foaming up their shame; wandering stars, for whom blackest darkness has been reserved forever. Darkness means something bad in Jude so it’s gotta be something bad in Genesis 1:2. And the Gap Theory advocate will tell you that God never says the darkness is good. I mean, you look at Genesis 1 and God says it is good over and over and over again. If you go to Genesis 1:4 it says in verse 4, “God saw the light was good,” now they’ll say well, God never said the darkness was good in the prior verse. So therefore, the darkness must be something evil related to Lucifer’s fall and judgment.
A fifth argument that you find from Gap Theory advocates is they say there’s a distinction between bara and asah. Notice Genesis 1:1, “In the beginning God” what? “created the heavens and the earth.” Now that’s the Hebrew word for create, “bara.” But you move into the creation week itself and suddenly the verb changes. If you look at Genesis 1:16 it says, “God made the two great lights,” now notice it’s a different verb, it’s no longer bara but it’s asah and Gap Theory advocates will basically that last verb is used because God is no longer creating ex nihilo as He was in Genesis 1:1 but now He is renovating. So they’ll say asah means to renovate, to fashion, to appear, and they’ say the switch in verbs is proof of the Gap Theory. In fact, the Scofield Reference Bible makes that very point. What does it say in the notes. And this is painful for me to talk about because I love the Scofield Reference Bible and here I am disagreeing with it.
In Genesis 1 here’s what the note says. “Only three created acts of God are recorded in this chapter. The heavens and the earth, animal life and human life. The first created act refers to the dateless past.” Now why are they saying that? It’s the old world that was brought into existence before it was wrecked to the Luciferian rebellion. “The first created act refers to the dateless past. Neither here, Genesis 1:3 nor in verses 14-18 of the same chapter is an original act implied.” Do you see that? So the Scofield Reference Bible is taking the view that what God is doing in the creation week is He’s fixing what got broke. It’s not ex nihilo, which means something out of nothing new creation.
Now why does the Scofield Reference Bible say this? A different word is used. It’s no longer bara but it is asah. The sense is made to appear to be made visible, the sun and the moon were already created, they just became visible (see that) on day four. The light came from the sun of course but the vapor diffused the light; later the sun appeared in an unclouded sky. In other words the sun was already there. The sun was not created on day four. Of course, sun I’m talking about s-u-n, because the son, s-o-n was never created. So the sun already existed from the old world and when God got around to renovating what Lucifer’s rebellion busted or broke, the sun just sort of became visible, came out from the clouds or something of that nature. And the Scofield Reference Bible justifies that interpretation on the basis of the switch in verbs from bara, verse 1, to the verb asah.
What else does the Gap Theory teach? If you look at Isaiah 45:18 it indicates that God did not create the earth desolate. Isaiah 45:18, “For thus says the Lord, who created the heavens (He is the God who formed the earth and made it, He established it and did not create it a waste place, but formed it to be inhabited), [“I am the Lord, and there is none else.”] And they will know that waste place is tohu. And they’ll say well wait a minute, that’s the same word used in Genesis 1:2, tohu. So if God did not create the earth, tohu, then obviously something happened in between verse 1 and verse 2 to wreck the world God created. Now what was that thing that happened? It was the Luciferian rebellion and judgment.
They will also point to verse 2 where the Spirit of God was “moving on the waters.” [Genesis 1:2 “The earth was without form and an empty waste, and darkness was upon the face of the very great deep. The Spirit of God was moving (hovering, brooding) over the face of the waters.”] There’s a translation, I have it at the top, the AMPC, and you’ll notice that what it puts in the parenthesis, it says, “The Spirit of God was moving (hovering)” now look at this, or “brooding) over the face of the earth.” And the Gap Theory advocate immediately says that and they’ll connect the dots with Ephesians 4:30, which says, “Do not grieve the Holy Spirit.” And so their point is the Spirit of God was injured, the Spirit of God was grieving, the Spirit of God was wounded in verse 2 of Genesis 1. Why is that? Because Lucifer rebelled, he deceived a third of the angels into rebelling with him against God. God brought a flood, flood number one, and destroyed everything. And now God is fixing what got broken and that’s why the Spirit of God is brooding or upset over what transpired.
What else does the Gap Theory teach? You thought you were finished with that chart, look at this, we’ve got a whole other chart. But stay encouraged, this is my second chart, meaning the last chart.
They will go to Genesis 1:28, which in the King James Bible says “God replenished the earth” in the creation week. So look at Genesis 1:28, if you’re a KJV person, you’ll see this in your translation. It says this, now this is during the creation week itself, “And God blessed them, and God said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply,” look at what the KJV says here, and do what to the earth? The Hebrew word Mole’ do what to the earth… “and replenish the earth,” so a Gap Theory advocate will say you can’t replenish something unless it was already filled. Well when did it originally get filled? It got filled in Genesis 1:1, and that whole system got broken because of the Luciferian fall and judgment. And so they will cite this as evidence that in the creation week God is replenishing, “re” they think means a second time, and it does most of the time, that English word, replenish, and the reason God is replenishing is because the old world was full but it suddenly became empty because of the judgment. Do you see that?
Another piece of evidence for the Gap Theory is Isaiah 24:1, which says, “Behold, the LORD lays the earth waste, devastates it, distorts its surface and scatters its inhabitants.” And so they say there it is, the Lord originally laid the earth waste indicating that our earth (that we’re in now) was not the first creation of God but it was formed out of ruin. And they believe Isaiah 24:1 teaches that.
Another piece of evidence cited by the Gap Theory is the Luciferian rebellion described in Ezekiel 28:13-14. Now didn’t we study that last time? Or maybe not last time but a couple of weeks ago? I tried to make the case that that is the fall of Satan in Ezekiel 28. And notice what it says about Satan’s fall, “You were in” where? “Eden, the Garden of God;” and the Gap Theory person will look at how this is described, “Every precious stone was your covering: The ruby, the topaz and the diamond; The beryl, the onyx and the jasper; The lapis lazuli, the turquoise and the emerald; And the gold, the workmanship of your settings and sockets, was in you. On the day that you were created they were prepared.  You were the anointed cherub who covers, and I placed you there. You were on the holy mountain of God; You walked in the midst of the stones of fire.”
And they’ll say you know what, I don’t see “stones of fire” in Genesis 2 describing the Garden of Eden. So what are they getting at? What they’re getting at is Lucifer was in a Garden of Eden which was different than the Garden of Eden described in Genesis 2. There was another Garden of Eden which preceded the Garden of Eden that we know about and that was the Garden of Eden in the Genesis 1:1 world. So in Gap Theory thinking not only are there two floods you have two Gardens of Eden.
This is sort of humorous but what they believe is that the Garden of Eden that we read about in Genesis 2, where our forbearers fell in Genesis 3, was not the first Garden of Eden. In fact, that Garden of Eden was constructed on the ruins of another Garden of Eden that Lucifer was in with the stones of fire, Ezekiel 28, that God destroyed with the Luciferian rebellion and judgment. So the Garden of Eden that we know about is really not the first Garden of Eden, it’s a Garden constructed on the ruins of the former Garden of Eden. Do you see that?
What else do we have here with the Gap Theory? One of the things they say is there’s just not enough time; there’s not enough time for Lucifer’s rebellion because when you get to the… and I’m going to try to make the case later, not today, but I think Lucifer’s rebellion did not take place until after Genesis 1:31, because it says everything was “very good.” But it had to have happened before Genesis 3:1 where Satan came into Eden as a talking snake. And I’m going to try to make the case that the fall of Satan happened in between Genesis 1:31 and the beginning of Genesis 3:1. Now the Gap Theory person would say that’s ridiculous, there’s not enough time in between those verses for that to happen.
For example, Adam and Eve did not have children, their first child doesn’t show up until Genesis 4, so obviously you’re dealing with a very short period of time and you can’t fit the end of creation, the fall of Satan, the fall of a third of the angels, the Luciferian rebellion, the flood judgment that allegedly took place, you can’t cram all of that in between the end of Genesis 3:1 and the end of Genesis 1:31 and the beginning of Genesis 3:1. You’ve got to have more time so they take the Luciferian rebellion and they drop backwards into the end of verse 1 of Genesis 1 and the beginning of verse 2. So a lot of the thinking relates to the fact that there has to be more time for all of these things to transpire. So part of it becomes a timing issue.
And then a twelfth argument for the Gap Theory is the explanation of the fossil records. I mean why do all of the scientists tell us that the fossils are millions and billions of years old? Well, suddenly with the Gap Theory you’ve got an explanation for that so you can hold to a literal creation week as renovation but you can be an older creationist at the same time and not run afoul of modern-day science (so called science) which is saying that everything is ancient.
And if you’re an advocate of the Gap Theory with the variety that teaches a pre-Adamic race then you’ve got evidence for a very old fossil record in terms of human bones. So, you can see why this is very popular with people; it’s sort of allows you to bridge the gap between what science is saying about the age of the earth and you can also believe the Bible. And that’s why a lot of these theories take traction (in the minds of a lot of people) because people come out of institutions (like myself, the public school system) believing that evolution or the age of the earth, everything the secularists told me about that is a scientific fact, and then I got saved. What am I going to do now? Now God is telling me He created everything in six days. And so you can see how a theory like this would become popular with people that want to hold onto both worlds. And I know a lot about that because I tried to bridge that gap for many, many years in my early Christian life. I gravitated towards every theory I could find which allowed me to believe both simultaneously.
The problem with God is when He renews your mind He’s not really just interested in renovating your mind. He takes a wrecking ball to everything, doesn’t He? Your old assumptions that you held suddenly, when you submit to His authority, come crashing to the ground. But the Gap Theory is very popular because it allows people to hold to an older interpretation of the fossil record. I’ll show you in a little bit why I think the fossil record can be explained in terms of the deluge of Noah in Noah’s day. I don’t think there were two floods; I think there was one Noahic flood. And a lot of things in the fossil record really don’t make a lot of sense unless you understand it from that perspective.
Another argument for the Gap Theory, talking to a really good guy recently, kind of expressing to him my concerns about the Gap Theory, and his response to me is well, there’s gaps elsewhere in the Bible, aren’t there? I mean, aren’t there prophetic gaps? As a dispensationalist don’t you believe that? Yes I do. Well, if there’s gaps everywhere else why can’t we have our gap at the end of verse 1 of Genesis 1 and the beginning of verse 2? So if you’ve been following our teachings on Daniel and Revelation you know that we believe that there are prophetic gaps in the Scriptures. This one’s on all your Christmas cards, right? “For a child will be born to us, a Son will be given to us.” [Isaiah 9:6, “For a child will be born to us, a son will be given to us; And the government will rest on His shoulders; And His name will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Eternal Father, Prince of Peace.”] Now is that the first coming or the second coming? When was the child born to us? First coming or second coming? First coming! But then what does the rest of the verse says, “And the government will rest on His shoulders;” second coming. Verse 7, “And there will be no end to the increase of His government or of peace, On the throne of David and over his kingdom, to establish and uphold it with justice and righteousness from then on forever more.” [The zeal of the LORD of hosts will accomplish this. Isaiah 9:7]
Now a lot of people say well, let’s just allegorize the end of verse 6 and the beginning of verse 7 and let’s teach Kingdom now theology. But a dispensationalist doesn’t do that. We believe the whole Bible is literal so we would place the end of verse 6 and verse 7 into the future and the beginning of verse 6 into the ancient past, so there’s a gap there of at least two thousand years. And so the point is well, if there’s a gap there why can’t we have another one at the end of verse 1 and the beginning of verse 2 of Genesis 1? Zechariah 9:9-10 says, “Behold, your king is coming to you; He is just and endowed with salvation, humble, and mounted on a donkey, even on a colt, the foal of a donkey.” Now that’s the first coming, right? But look at verse 10, “And He will speak peace to the nations and His dominion will be from sea to sea, and from the river to the ends of the earth.” There’s an obvious gap, isn’t there, between those verses. Verse 9, first coming, verse 10 second coming. Unless you want to allegorize it, which a dispensationalist doesn’t do.
So if there’s a gap there why can’t we have another one in early Genesis. There’s a clear gap here in Isaiah 61:1-2. It says, “The Spirit of the Lord God is upon me, because the Lord has anointed me to bring good news to the afflicted; He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to captives and freedom to prisoners;  To proclaim the favorable year of the Lord
and the day of vengeance of our God; to comfort all who mourn.” Now isn’t this what Jesus quoted in the synagogue there? Where was that? That was Capernaum, wasn’t it! It says, “He came to Nazareth where He had been brought up; and as was His custom, He entered the synagogue on the Sabbath, and stood up to read.  And the book of the prophet Isaiah was handed to Him. And He opened the book and found the place where it was written,” He’s going to show them what part of that verse is being fulfilled right now.
By the way, He wasn’t given a scroll with verse divisions and chapter division. He knew Isaiah so well that he could open up this scroll and point to the pertinent section. And he starts to quote Isaiah 68:1-2, “The Spirit of the Lord God is upon me, because the Lord has anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor, He has sent me to proclaim release to the captives and recovery of sight to the blind, to set free those who are oppressed,  To proclaim the favorable year of the LORD…” and he closed the book and gave it back to the attendant and sat down.” And this part is kind of funny to me, the eyes in the synagogue were fixed on Him. Well, of course. And he began to say to them, ‘Today this Scripture has been fulfilled in your hearing.” Do you see what Jesus just did there? He quoted part of a verse; this is what He left out, “and the day of vengeance of our God to comfort all who mourn.” Why would He leave that out? Why would He quote Isa 61:1 and the first part of verse 2 and stop right in the middle of the citation? Because His point is TODAY the Scripture is fulfilled in your hearing; I’m only quoting the parts of it that are happening right now. The parts of it that are yet to come I’m leaving out.
So it’s interesting to me that Jesus believed in prophetic gaps, if you look at them very carefully. There’s an obvious gap in Daniel 2 in between the ankles and the feet of the statue. The legs of iron, ancient Rome; the feet made of iron and clay of ten toes hasn’t happened yet. So right there in between verses 40 and 41 Daniel skips at least two thousand years of history. He does the same thing, by the way, right in the middle of verse 7 of Daniel 7. We’ve studied the seventy weeks prophecy, haven’t we; I think we taught the seventy weeks prophecy for almost seventh weeks. And we tried to make the case that there’s a gap of undisclosed duration of time where you find the age of the church in between the end of verse 26 and the beginning of verse 27.
When you look at Daniel 11:35-36 it skips from Antiochus IV to the future antichrist. So there’s a gap of over two thousand years (at least) in between verse 35 and verse 36. [Daniel 11:35, “Some of those who have insight will fall, in order to refine, purge and make them pure until the end time; because it is still to come at the appointed time.  Then the king will do as he pleases, and he will exalt and magnify himself above every god and will speak monstrous things against the God of gods; and he will prosper until the indignation is finished, for that which is decreed will be done.”]
And this is what we call the mountain peaks of prophecy; it’s like looking at something in the distance, two mountains, with the further mountain higher than the former mountain, and you can see the two mountain peaks in the distance but what can you not see? You can’t see the valley between the mountains. That’s how a lot of the prophets brought forth their prophecies. And that’s why the prophets were confused about their own prophecies. I mean, do we understand this, that just by virtue of the time period that we’re living in that we understand the Book of Daniel better than Daniel did? The book of Isaiah better than Isaiah did? Because hindsight is what? 20/20, we can see how that relates to the first coming but this over here relates to the second coming and in between is the age of the church. Isaiah, Daniel and the rest didn’t know anything about the age of the church at that time; that hadn’t been disclosed yet. The age of the church is a mystery, and that’s why they were perplexed at their own prophecies. That’s why Daniel, at the end of the Book of Daniel, says “I heard and I wanted to understand, but the angel said to me” what? “Go thy way Daniel,” you’ve done your job, just write it down, it’s not for you to understand in its fullness yet.
So Peter says as to the salvation, the prophets who prophesied of the grace of God would come to you, make careful searches and inquiries, these prophets did, seeking to know what person or time the Spirit of Christ within them was indicating as He predicted the sufferings of Christ and the glories to follow. Put yourself in poor Isaiah’s shoes; one second the Lord gives you a prophecy about a suffering Messiah, Isaiah 53, and the next second He gives you a prophecy about a ruling and reigning Messiah, Isaiah 9:6-7. Well, what’s poor Isaiah supposed to do? He just throws up his hands and says what’s the deal Lord, because he didn’t see the gap between those two prophecies.
The reason I’m bringing this up is Gap Theory people say well there’s gaps everywhere prophetically. So why would you, as a dispensationalist reading the Scofield Reference Bible be against the gap here at the end of verse 1 and the beginning of verse 2?
So the best I know how to do, I’ve tried to lay out the case for the Gap Theory and if I didn’t cover your particular variation of it no hard feelings, I’m just trying for the sake of time cover what’s called classical Gap Theory. And so we move here into a response to each of those thirteen pieces of evidence that we just went through. Why do this? Proverbs 18:17 says this: “In a lawsuit the first to plead his case sounds right until another comes and cross-examines him.”
Is that not the truth with anything? I mean, you might say well Pastor, you’ve explained the Gap Theory so well I’m a believer because it seems very reasonable on the surface. It seems reasonable until someone cross examines, you see. And this is why we have in our Constitution system protections for criminals, those accused of crimes, that they can cross examine witnesses and things of that nature because anybody can get up and talk and sound completely reasonable in what they’re saying until someone else is allowed equal time to show the gaps in (pardon the expression) in their argument.
That’s why I’m sort of, when it comes to cable television I like to channel surf. My wife’s always saying well why are you watching that liberal station? Because I go from Fox News, to MSNBC to CNN, why are you wasting your time over there with MSNBC and CNN? Well I want to see how they’re going to counter this conservative point that’s being made on Fox News because I don’t want to be one of these people that just believes something without understanding the weaknesses of the position.
So that’s why I wanted to move into looking at the response to each of those arguments offered in favor of the Gap Theory. One of the reasons, and I’ll close with this, that I’m concerned about the Gap Theory is Psalm 11:3 which says this, “If the foundations are destroyed, what can the righteous do? I’ll be honest with you, the saying that doesn’t fit with me that’s completely right about the Gap theory is how early it happens in the biblical story. I mean, whether you believe it or don’t believe it, it happens right there at the end of verse 1, it’s supposedly this gap. And this is why I’m a little bit defensive about early Genesis, because you’re tampering with the beginning of the Bible. And if you tamper with the structure of the Bible and you want to wreck the Bible the thing you would tamper with is the foundation, wouldn’t you? I mean, if you have foundation problems, you don’t have much.
We lived in Dallas for, I don’t know, seven, eight, nine years, and we had a house that was built on poor foundations. And we would wake up in the morning and we would see a crack that didn’t exist the night before right there in our living room. Now we can throw spray paint over that all we want, right? But the problem is the foundation, and that’s sort of why I want to critique the Gap Theory and offer this to you, because whether it’s right or whether it’s wrong, what you’re doing in between those two verses is foundational to the Bible. And it’s going to have an impact, I believe, on how you read the rest of the Bible. And so we’ll get into that as the series unfolds. Hopefully I haven’t made too many enemies today and we’ll stop.