Dr. Andy Woods
Angelology 11 (Satanology 7)
Genesis 1:1-3 9-8-2019
Father, we’re grateful for today, grateful for this morning, grateful for the grace You’ve given us in our lives, first of all to be saved. Secondly, You’ve given us Your Word, and thirdly, You’ve given us the Holy Spirit by which we can understand Your Word. And fourthly, You’ve given us Your people so we can be in fellowship with them as well as You and so we just acknowledge the blessings that we have in You that we’ve been given, we’re told every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Ephesians 1:3. So we praise you for that. I just pray, Father, that today would be just a tremendous day here at Sugar Land Bible Church, I pray Your Spirit would have His way as we fellowship as the Word of God has taught, and I pray that things that need to be uprooted would be that way in our lives, but at the same time I pray You’ll continue to strengthen us and encourage us as we continue to look at Angelology in Sunday School class and move into the Book of Revelation, chapter 177 and 18 in the main service that follows. We’ll be careful to give You all the praise and the glory. We ask these things in Jesus’ name, and God’s people said…. Amen!
Good morning everybody. As folks are filing I think Ron might have a handout there for you. And let’s take our Bibles, if we could, and open them to Genesis chapter 1, and verse 1, continuing to move through the subject of angelology, spending some time on Satanology, Satanology being a subcategory of angelology and part of that study involves his original state and first sin which we’ve looked at, Ezekiel 28 and Isaiah 14.
Then you get into this kind of difficult somewhat controversial question, when did Satan fall? And we’re trying to examine that second option there, that Satan, we’re told, allegedly fell in between the end of verse 1 and the beginning of verse 2 of Genesis chapter 1. And so that sort of question is difficult to answer unless you first examine what is called the Gap Theory. So, what we’ve been doing for the last couple of Sundays is we’ve been taking a look at this subject of the Gap Theory.
First of all we’ve looked at the definition of the Gap Theory; you might recall what the Gap Theory is… and before we even get to the Gap Theory let’s go ahead and read Genesis 1:1-3. It says: “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.”
So according to the Gap Theory, as we’ve tried to explain, you have a creation before creation there in verse 1, depending on who you listen to it’s a fully formed creation with animals and sun. Like the late Merrill Unger of Dallas Seminary argued that there was actually a pre-Adamic race on the earth at that time. And so what happened in between verse 1 and verse 2 is you can put in there billions of years if you want and you can take a fossil record that looks old and jam it in between those two verses because that’s when allegedly that original creation was destroyed through Satan’s fall and God’s judgment of Satan after he fell. And verse 2 therefore is a description of the chaotic condition of the earth following Lucifer’s rebellion and Lucifer’s judgment. That’s why it mentions water there. So there was a flood before the flood (in essence) according to this theory. And from there you get into verses 3-31 and it’s basically this idea that about six thousand years ago in six literal days God was not creating something out of nothing, God was renovating what got broken. So that’s classical Gap Theory. And what we’ve been doing is we’ve been trying to examine this and take a look at it and see if this is actually biblically true. We’ve tried to be very fair to it, like you would anything you would try to critique, you would try to represent it correctly, and so consequently we looked at about thirteen arguments favoring the Gap Theory. And then from there we got through most of this last week, we started to look at okay, that’s what they’re saying, now let’s respond to the evidence. So we responded, if I remember right, to about ten of thirteen arguments used by Gap Theory advocates.
And what I’d like to do right now is finish numbers 11, 12 and 13 and then from there move into some reasons why I think the Gap Theory… just because I didn’t have a better title to call it, Why the Gap Theory Doesn’t Hold Water. How’s that for a title. But the 11th argument, and I would encourage you if this is your first time in here listening to this to take a look at the archives; we’ve got two studies on this already, and so it’s hard to sort of pick it up on number 3 if this is your first time in here. So that’s why we archive all of our stuff on the SLBC website.
But one of the arguments, number 11 here concerning the Gap Theory is there just isn’t enough time for Lucifer’s rebellion, post Genesis 1. And I’m of the view and I’ll try to share that with you a little bit later, probably not today, but I think Lucifer did not fall after Genesis chapter 1 but before Genesis 2. I think you have to put the fall of Satan after Genesis 1:31 but obviously before Genesis chapter 3. And I’ll try to explain that a little bit later; it’s kind of a minority view but it is held by a lot of people, like Renald Showers of Friends of Israel.
And one of the arguments against my position is there’s just not enough time, you can’t put Lucifer’s fall after Genesis 1 but before Genesis 3 primarily because Adam and Eve were told don’t have kids yet. And that’s true, their first child didn’t show up until Cain there in Genesis 4:1. [Genesis 4:1, “Now the man had relations with his wife Eve, and she conceived and gave birth to Cain, and she said, “I have gotten a manchild with the help of the Lord.”]
So, the idea is, you can’t fit everything in between those chapters, it would take too much time. So we’ve been sort of, I think largely because of the older evolutionary assumptions we’ve been loaded with this presupposition that everything has to take a lot of time. And because there wouldn’t be enough time people are very comfortable, the Scofield Reference Bible does this, putting the fall of Lucifer after Genesis 1:1 but before Genesis 1:2.
So my response to that, I’ve got it there on the right hand side of the screen, is twenty-four hours; after Genesis 1:31 but before Genesis 3 there’s still enough time for Satan’s fall and judgment because God’s judgments are instantaneous. You don’t need a lot of time for God to judge; it’s an instantaneous cataclysmic thing. It’s not like Satan had to go through a long trial process and depose the witnesses and all this stuff. We’re dealing with God here and He can do an instantaneous judgment.
Beyond that angels perhaps live in a different time dimension than we do so what’s normal for angel time may not be necessarily normal for people time. So, people make a lot of assumptions that what’s normative for us in terms of time is normative for the angelic realm. And maybe that’s true and maybe it’s not true but it’s an assumption.
The twelfth argument given in favor of the Gap Theory, and this is one of the reasons people are drawn to it, is it basically allows you to explain the fossils from an old earth point of view. So if you come through a schooling system like I did for example, that taught you that the fossil record is a result of billions and billions of years, and then suddenly you get saved and you start reading the Book of Genesis, you’re not going to give up your assumptions that you’ve been taught K through 12 or K through college, or K through graduate school just because you’re a Christian. And this is why the Bible places such a high premium on the renewal of the mind.
Just because people are saved doesn’t mean that they don’t bring with them a bunch of prior presuppositions, prior assumptions, into their newfound Christian life. And yes, we have the mind of Christ but it really takes a while, through the process of sanctification for one’s mind to be transformed. You have to be in a time period in your post conversion life where you’re into the Word of God, you’re studying the Word of God, and more important than even that you’re allowing the Word of God to change you, rather than coming to the Word of God trying to change it because you’re holding onto these old assumptions.
So, if you’re a new Christian, and you’ve been taught an old earth mindset you’re going to try to find some way to reconcile the two. I never really fell into the Gap Theory but I did as a very early Christian fall into theistic evolution which is the idea that evolution is true, we’re just going to blame the whole thing on God. Right! That’s what’s called theistic evolution, God caused evolution to happen, God guided the evolutionary process. And I remember as a very early Christian, I really liked that because I could be a Christian and believe in Genesis and I didn’t have to abandon everything that I had been taught concerning the old age of the fossil record from K-12.
The problem is the more you start to look at it the more it’s like you’re trying to mix water and oil. And as you get more and more intellectually honest you have to say well these two philosophies or theologies, because that’s what both of them are, it’s just that evolution sort of masquerades as science but when you really look at it it’s actually a manmade philosophy that requires faith assumptions, just like you have to have faith assumptions to believe the Bible. The more you start to look at the two you start to see the two don’t go together; they separate like oil separates from water. And so a lot of people are sort of drawn to the Gap Theory because gosh, I get to explain the fossil record as old because I can just cut the fossil record into the end of verse 2 and the beginning of verse 1 of Genesis 1 and I can still believe in literal creation, I’ll just call it renovation and I can believe there are real creation days and I can believe in twenty-four hour creation days, and I can believe God started the renovation process thousands of years ago rather than billions of years ago.
So, it’s a great way to bridge the divide. One of the problems with that way of thinking is what they’re saying is there’s no genetic relationship between the fossil record and current animals. Now why do they say that? Because that was the old earth that perished through Lucifer’s flood and God began to renovate and so what you have beginning in Genesis 1:3 is a brand-new sort of renovation project which would kind of sever the genetic relationship, wouldn’t it? It would sever the link between current animals and animals that we see in the fossil record. The problem with that is fossilized plants and animals, and I’m not speaking here as some kind of authority on science, I don’t have any real training in science, I’m just sort of explaining things the best I can from a biblical perspective. There’s a lot of people that are far more equipped to get into the scientific issues than I am.
But just at a very basic level fossilized plants and animals look a lot like their counterparts in the present world. This example I like to use a lot because that’s basically what the Gap Theory is saying. It’s basically saying that the Garden of Eden that you read about in Genesis 2 was built on the wreckage and remains of an old earth that perished through Lucifer’s rebellion. And satanology therefore, there is no genetic relationship between fossils in the fossil records and fossils or animals that we see in our present world. And a lot of people will say well, there is a genetic relationship between the two because the two look very similar.
One of the things that I started to come to believe through the book The Genesis Flood, and I’ll make a reference to that a little bit later, it’s a seminal book written by Henry Morris and John Whitcomb, and we’ll get into that later. But one of the things they explain is a lot of the things that you see in the fossil record cannot be explained other than through a worldwide deluge. So you have animals that (to me) don’t really look like they’ve gone through a process of billions of years. I mean, you’ve got the neck sort of bowed out, you’ve got situations where animals are fossilized as one animal is consuming another animal, one animal is digesting something and they’re fossilized.
And so a lot of things in the fossil record I would say you don’t even need billions of years to explain them. You can explain them through what we would call a worldwide deluge and since that’s true I no longer have a need, really, to explain the fossil record in terms of billions and billions and billions and billions of years. A lot of things in the fossil record can be explained through the Noahic flood and if that’s true I really don’t have the need of a Gap Theory to explain some kind of fossil record that allegedly accumulated over billions of years.
A thirteenth argument used by Gap Theory advocates is they point to the gaps that typically occur in Bible prophecy. I was getting into kind of a discussion with a guy who I really trust and like concerning the Gap Theory, he’s a bel in the Gap Theory, I’m not a believer in the Gap Theory, and he began to explain or say to me well, you believe in gaps elsewhere, don’t you? I mean, you believe in prophecy there are gaps. And I would have to say yes, we believe in what we would call, using this analogy, the mountain peaks or prophecy where you’ve got one mountain off in the distance and the one that’s nearer to you is slightly lower than the further mountain in the distance which is a bit higher. And the only thing you can really see are those two mountain peaks from a distance. You cannot see the valley between those mountain peaks.
And so in our studies of Daniel and our studies of the Book of Revelation, I tried to communicate that that happens in prophecy all the time. Isaiah 9:6 says, “For a child will be born to us, a son will be given to us;” now that’s clearly the first coming, right? “And the government will rest on His shoulders;” now that’s the second coming, so Isaiah just skipped there at least 2,000 years between the first coming and the second coming and he didn’t tell us a lot about what’s happening in between.
And people say well if you can believe in that then why can’t you see a gap at the end of verse 1 and the beginning of verse 2 of Genesis 1? I mean, if prophetic gaps are very common then obviously we should be open to the idea there’s a gap here in Genesis 1:1-3. [Genesis 1:1-3, “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 the answer to that is when you make that kind of argument you’re confusing the genre’s in the Bible. Genre is a French word, I believe, which means kind or species. And the Bible has different literary genres. For example, when you read the Book of Revelation, as we’re studying on Sunday mornings, it sure doesn’t read like the Book of Romans, does it. I mean, there’s all these symbols and all of these kinds of things and that’s because God decided to record Romans in one genre, an epistolary genre, and He decided to record the Book of Revelation in another genre, the prophetic genre.
And when people try to argue that gosh, there’s gaps in prophecy therefore there has to be gaps there in early Genesis they’re not really understanding that those are two totally different genres. Genesis 1:1-2 is what you call historical genre. [Genesis 1:1-2, “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. 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.”]
Isaiah 9:6-7 is what you call eschatological genre. [Isaiah 9:6-7, “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.  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 it and to uphold it with justice and righteousness from then on and forevermore. The zeal of the Lord of hosts will accomplish this.”]
Genesis 1:1-2 is what you call narrative, straightforward story telling. Isaiah 9:6-7 is what you call prophetic. Genesis 1:1-2 is looking backwards; Isaiah 9:6-7 is looking forwards. So when people make that argument, to me they’re not understanding the different… they’re not really what I would call genre sensitive (can I use that word) understanding that God communicates different things depending on what genre you’re dealing with. So that’s sort of my response there.
Number 13, and let’s move in here to number four, having tried the best I could the response to the evidence of the Gap Theory, what are some remaining problems with the Gap Theory. Let’s look at some of those, not to depress you too much, but I have eleven things and I don’t think we’ll get to all of them today. But one of the problems with the Gap Theory, one of the remaining problems with the Gap Theory is you only have one verse for this alleged original creation. Original creation supposedly happened in verse 1 and that’s where most of the time of human history is located. And so it’s sort of odd that if you want to study the creation before creation, the creation that was marred (allegedly) through the Luciferian rebellion and judgment, you only have one verse of the Bible dealing with that. And so that seems a little odd; it makes the whole thing sort of suspicious to me.
A second problem is there really is not a lot of information. I mean, if I was stuck on a desert island and all I had was Genesis 1 and I was reading Genesis chapter 1, verses 1-3, I mean, it would be very difficult for me to conclude that in between those two verses is A. a preexisting pre-Adamic creation. B. That Lucifer fell and marred it. C. Lucifer was judged. D. God began to redo everything beginning in verse 3. It’s just you’re taking a ton of ideas from outside the text and you’re reading it into a text and you’re jamming all of this stuff in there. And to be frank with you I don’t really think it’s supported by a plain reading of the text. I don’t think I would ever be… I don’t think I could ever come up with that conclusion on my own, on my desert island, unless I had a gap theorist swimming the shore to explain all these things to me.
So, we believe in something called the perspicuity of the Bible, the basic message of the Bible is clear. God did not write His Word in such a way that only the elite of the elite could understand it. You don’t need some kind of specialized talent or specialized insight to understand the basic message of the Bible. There are, of course, some parts of the Bible, as Peter tells us, that are more difficult than others but the basic message of the Bible is clear and this is what we call the concept of perspicuity which means clarity.
And by my way of thinking the Gap Theory, because it wants me to read all of these things into supposedly what happened after verse 1 but before verse 2, is sort of a denial of perspicuity. It’s, to my mind a product of not exegesis but eisegesis and you really need to understand those two terms because exegesis is drawing from the text what is there, not drawing from a whole bunch of information that’s not in the text and read into the text. That would be the opposite, that would be eisegesis. Exegesis comes from the Greek preposition ek, which means out of, you’re drawing out of the text what is there. Eisegesis is what you don’t want to do, is to read into the text what is not there.
If you want a modern day example battle between exegesis and eisegesis you don’t have to look any further than the United States Supreme Court because that’s the whole battle because there are a lot of people out there that really don’t like the United States Constitution because it’s limited government framework doesn’t fit their ideas of where they want the United States to go in terms of big government or socialism or Marxism. And so they’ve come up with this idea that they can read into the Constitution whatever they want, a right to have an abortion, whatever you want to have, banning the Bible and prayer out of the public schools, whatever the issue is they come up with these decisions. You’ve got the ninth circuit a few years back that outlawed the pledge of allegiance in the classroom based on the Constitution.
And you know, you say to yourself well, gosh, these guys really get an A+ for creativity because I’m reading my Constitution… and by the way, if you were to read your Constitution today when you get home, including the Bill of Rights, the first ten amendments of the Constitution, it would take you only eleven pages to get through it. It’s a pretty simple document. But what people do is they say well, you know, it’s a living document and we can read into it whatever we want to read into it because times change and society changes and it’s the function of a judge to read a bunch of stuff into the document that’s not there.
Well, what’s going on is a battle of authority, who’s the authority here? The mind of the judge (eisegesis) or the original vision of America’s Founders, (exegesis). I really don’t want a bunch of people on the bench that have an A+ IQ and excel in creativity. What I want is people on the bench that know how to do exegesis and how to derive original meaning out of something and then apply it to the matter that they adjudicating for them. That’s basically the difference between exegesis and eisegesis. Exegesis is something we all want to do in Christianity because this is God’s book, right? I don’t want to be in a position where I’m editing God. But we have to guard ourselves constantly against eisegesis and that’s why learning how to do basic hermeneutics, understanding the literal grammatical historical contextual method of interpretation becomes so important because what we want is for God to speak at the end of the day. So I’m sort of the view that this Gap Theory is more of a product of eisegesis, getting something to fit or work than exegesis.
And number three, concerning the Gap Theory it’s also important to point out that you have absolutely no supporting verses anywhere describing an angelic rebellion and judgment in a gap of time, in between original creation and renovated creation. So I can give you a whole bunch of verses concerning the fall of Satan, many of them we’ve looked at, some of them we will look at. Revelation 12:3-8; Jude 6, 2 Peter 2:4, Isaiah 14:12-15, Ezekiel 28:12-17 and none of them, none of these outside passages does it ever say that the Luciferian fall transpired in this alleged gap.
And number four, even if you disagree with everything I’m saying I think number four here may be the most important point because we are not the first generation that has wrestled with this problem of literal Genesis verses what so-called science is saying about the age of the earth; we think we’re the first people in Christian history that have wrestled with this tension. And I’d like to show that we are not the first people that have wrestled with this; this has been a wrestling match that’s gone on ever since post Darwin and the church has been trying to figure out how to deal with this issue and Christianity has generated two ways of handling this, and you need to know what two ways are.
The first way is what is called the accommodation model. The accommodation model, I kind of like to call it the backward Christian soldier approach. The accommodation model is the idea that oh my goodness, science has proven something that the age of the earth is billions of years old or whatever so therefore I need to make the Bible fit what science is saying. You accommodate the Bible to what you think is scientific fact. That’s called the accommodation model.
So a lot of the things that people do with early Genesis come out of that model, the Day-Age model, that each of the creation days is an age of time, millions of years each, billions of years each and not a twenty-four hour day. That comes out of the accommodation approach. W. H. Greene, I’ve got his name there,1892, was really one of the first to develop this. I believe, if I remember right out of Princeton and he became panicked as the Bible believer that the scientific post Darwin was saying something different that you read in early Genesis and there’s actually biographies written by his son about how he watched his father in the upper chambers of the house, the balcony, pacing back and forth trying to figure this out.
So we’re not the first people that have tried to deal with this. And nobody wants to look down at the end of the day, no one wants to become what’s called unscientific so his solution was you know what? We’ve got gaps in the genealogies if Matthew 1. And guess what? There are gaps in the genealogies in Matthew 1. So, if there are gaps in the genealogy of Matthew 1 there’s got to be some gaps in the genealogies of Genesis 5 and Genesis 11. And there could be multiple missing generations. So we no longer have to believe in thousands of years old but kind of stretch this back a little big. And the basic problem with that is today they’re saying that everything is billions of years old. Now you’re not going to find, I don’t think, billions of years in a missing genealogy in any gap of the Bible. So now they’re telling us everything is so old that the genealogy stretching idea really doesn’t work anymore.
I do believe that there’s a good case to be made that the genecology’s of Genesis 5 and Genesis 11 are not open but they’re closed. One of the reasons is Jude 14, which talks about Enoch, seventh from Adam, [Jude 14:15, “It was also about these men that Enoch, in the seventh generation from Adam, prophesied, saying… so just do the count and you’ll see that Jude had it exactly right, seven generations you’ve got no missing genealogies or genealogical generations there.
But I’m not trying to get into that, I’m just trying to show you where the accommodation strategy came from. And this is the only strategy that Christianity has in dealing with this issue, post-Darwin; the Christian church really knew nothing else. It’s an old strategy. And it’s sort of interesting today within evangelicalism when people advocate it they make it sound like it’s something new, it’s something exciting, it’s something academic, it’s something scholarly. But the reality is it’s a recycling of what W. H. Greene was trying to do back in 1892.
The basic problem with the accommodation strategy is, first of all, number one, you’re attaching the Bible to a moving target, meaning the scientific world keeps adjusting things and this generation says what? Four or five billion years old, the generation before that didn’t make it quite that old, and the generation that’s going to come along after we’re all dead and gone is going to say something completely different in terms of science. Is that how we want to handle God’s Word? You keep rewriting it and adjusting it based on what the so-called scientific intelligentsia is saying?
Another problem with it is you’re really not doing exegesis. You’re doing eisegesis because you’ve got one eyeball on the biblical text and you’ve got another eyeball on what the scientific world is saying. And what you’re basically doing is you’re reading what the scientific world is saying back into the Bible. Now if you really want to get up to speed on this the guy that we have on our Board, he’s our Board Chairman in faculty at Chafer Seminary is Charlie Clough and you can get his Bible Framework series online. Charlie Clough is no village idiot, I can tell you that much. He graduated from MIT (Massachusetts Institute of Technology) and he went through Dallas Seminary (I think in the late 60’s, early 70’s), and he got very interested in these issues, and he won the Hebrew award. So if you want to listen to someone that really has the scientific acumen to talk about some of these issues, I recommend his Bible Framework series. I think you can find it at Bible Framework.com. He’ll go into this.
But really what you’re doing again is you’re really not doing exegesis, you’re doing eisegesis. And I have a problem with that because I don’t think the scientific world has the foggiest idea how old things are. It relates to God’s questioning of Job in Job 38:4 where God showed up and gave Job a pop quiz to reveal how little he knew about his situation and life in general. [Job 38:4, “Where were you when I laid the foundation of the earth? Tell Me, if you have understanding”] And that whole pop quiz starts in Job 38 and it is very, very interesting to me that the very first question that God asked Job is “Where were you when I laid the foundation of the earth.” I mean, you think you’re so smart and you think you’ve philosophically got everything figured out. Well, let’s do a little quiz here; I mean, you tell Me how the heavens and the earth came into existence. The answer is Job doesn’t know the first thing about that for the simple reason that he wasn’t an eyewitness. Carl Sagan doesn’t know anything about it either.
So, if you want an eye witness how do you figure out what happened? It’s like coming into a crime scene, no one was there to see the crime but you see a knife, you see a gun, you see blood; it’s the job of the forensic experts to reconstruct what happened based on the observable evidence because the expert was not there to see the crime. That’s why the most powerful testimony you can introduce at a court of law is eyewitness testimony. And that’s what you don’t have with anybody in Genesis; the only person that was there was God and that’s the point of the inquiry here.
And then you go over to Hebrews 11:3 and everybody knows what Hebrews 11 is about, right. Hebrews 11 is about faith. And you ask Christians to tell me about Hebrews 11 and they’ll tell you all kinds of things about Hebrews 11, it’s a record of people that trusted God throughout the ages but what most people have never really stop to think about is have you ever examined the very first entry in the hall of faith? I mean, before he gets to Abel and Abraham and Sarah and Moses and the Judges era, and all the things he mentions he gives this entry, “By faith we understand that the worlds were prepared by the Word of God so that what is seen was not made out of things which are visible. The very first way you ever exercise faith in God is you trust what He has revealed concerning early Genesis. And that’s the only thing you have with this because God is the only eyewitness.
I like the King James translation of 1 Timothy 6:20, it says this, “O Timothy, guard what has been entrusted to you, avoiding profane and vain babblings and oppositions of science falsely so-called.” That’s what you have today with secular so-called science trying to pontificate when creation happened. It is science falsely called. Why is it that? Because even I remember, and I was not the greatest science student but even I remember the steps of the scientific method and I remember my teacher very clearly communicating that science, for it to be called science, has to be observable testable and repeatable. If you can’t observe it, if you can’t test it, if you can’t repeat it you can’t call it a scientific fact.
So we have a scientific fact called the law of gravity, objects fall as… whatever the rate is, I can’t remember. So is that a scientific fact. Of course, it is because we can sit here and test it, Ready, [sounds like he drops something]. Oh, looks like it’s working fine. Let’s try it again; let’s repeat it. Oh, it looks like it’s working fine. That’s science. When someone is trying to tell me about something that happened billions of years ago that they were not around to see and they want the title “scientist” it doesn’t matter how many degrees they have after their name, it doesn’t matter if they have the right lab coat on. That isn’t science! They have just moved away from science into the realm of philosophy and their philosophy is governed by something called uniformitarianism.
Uniformitarianism is the idea that things are uniform, in other words, they’ve always… the patterns that we see today have always been and they will always be. And so they develop these views about the age of the earth by how long does it take for the rocks in the Grand Canyon to form? Well, the rock formation has always been a slow gradual process. So, if it took this long for these strata to form, we can sort of extrapolate backwards to thing we can’t see and we can pretend that the pattern that we see in front of us has always been. That’s what you call uniformitarianism. In other words, they’re trusting what they can see around them as a normal pattern and pretend like it’s always been. That is, I think, what is being condemned here, science falsely so-called. If you want a great chapter of the Bible that deals with this whole philosophy that would emerge in the last days called Uniformitarianism I’d recommend 2 Peter chapter 3, a prophecy about the whole thing. And it’s an eerie description of philosophy that was masqueraded science beginning in the 20th century and into the 21st century.
So you can’t pretend that something that’s normal has always been because how do you know the pattern never changed? You’re assuming the pattern never changed but you don’t know that because you were never there as an eyewitness. And if you want to walk by faith you read the Bible and you see God changed the pattern multiple times. The world that we’re living in has gone through major catastrophes already, the fall, the flood, the dispersion of… you know at one time the human race spoke one language that got disrupted. I would never reap those conclusions through uniformitarianism but I reap those conclusions through faith because God tells me that He was there and explains to me what would happen. So you have a choice in this who you’re going to believe—uniformitarian presuppositions or the Word of God. That’s the whole conflict.
And so one of the problems with old accommodation strategy is it’s sort of a cave in to the scientific world, so-called scientific world. And they’re always trying to rewrite the Bible and adjust the Bible to make it keep up with modern day science. Now the day/age theory comes out of that strategy. The genealogy stretching comes out of that strategy. The Gap Theory comes out of that strategy because when you actually examine the historical record, yeah, you might be able to find a few eccentrics in church history that believed the Gap Theory but the Gap Theory really does not become popular until the post-Darwin world. And so the church is finally saying oh, we’re so relieved, we’ve finally come up with something that can explain the age of the earth scientifically and we can believe the Bible as well.
Bernard Ramm in his critique of the Gap Theory points this out. He says: “Although it has been claimed that the Fathers believed it and some of the post – reformation exegetes taught it, its great popularity dates from the work of Chalmers (1780‒1847).…If it was Chalmers who first vigorously advocated it in modern times, it was the work of G. H. Pember from a book called Earth’s Earliest Ages, first edition, 1876;” now when did Charles Darwin write The Origin of the Species? About twenty years earlier, a little less than twenty years earlier, 1859. Pember’s work “… (frequently republished)” which took the Gap Theory and basically popularized it and canonized it. And Ramm says “Pember’s work became one of the core books which has shaped modern Fundamentalism.” [Bernard Ramm, The Christian View of Science and Scripture (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1954), 196.]
So from Pember it goes right into the Scofield Reference Bible and I don’t know if you understand this or not but the Scofield Reference Bible was something that was huge in terms of shaping modern day fundamentalism. In the 1920’s there is that conflict going on between what’s called the modernist and the fundamentalist. The denominational seminaries, sometimes called the seven sisters, who were sending their best and brightest over to Europe to sit under unbelievers to be trained to somehow be qualified to come back from enlightened Europe to teach believers began to fill up the seminaries of the seven sisters.
And from the seminaries came the pastors and the preachers and the preachers would get up and they would start to articulate some ideas that the laity said well, that kind of smells funny! And that’s where I think God significantly used the Scofield Reference Bible because they had that Scofield Reference Bible and they could read its notes. And they would say well wait a minute, our preacher is saying X and the Scofield reference Bible in its notes is saying Y. So, I’m not one of those that badmouths the Scofield reference Bible.
The independent Bible church movement… I mean, think about this, why is it that in Houston I drive around and I see all of these denominational churches with beautiful stained glass windows, fully endowed, all paid for, and I see the fundamentalist like ourselves meeting in storefronts, and I think we actually, compared to most fundamentalists, have a pretty nice facility here but I have to say I am looking forward to getting the new chairs in at some point. I mean, why is it that the denominations control these beautiful buildings and the Bible believers are always meeting somewhere else in other buildings. Well, there’s a historical reason for that; it’s called the fundamentalist modernist controversy. And you can read all about it, it goes back to the 1920’s. And so people started to smell something wasn’t right, they had the Scofield Reference Bible and they started to exit the mainline denominations and they began to form independent Bible churches. So Sugarland Bible Church would be part of that independent Bible teaching tradition.
And so the Scofield Reference Bible is a good Bible but the problem is the Scofield Reference Bible was written during a time period when the only option that the church understood or even knew of concerning how to deal with the tension between alleged science and early Genesis, the only strategy the church knew was accommodation. And so that’s why it’s in the Scofield Reference Bible. And so it’s sort of funny today, people are trying to argue for the Gap Theory and one of their arguments is look at all these famous people that believed it, it must be right. Scofield believed it. Clarence Larkin believed it.
People say well, you’re the President of Chafer Theological Seminary, and they’ll send me sharp e-mails about how Lewis Sperry Chafer believed it. So it’s true… well, all of those guys I mentioned, Scofield, Chafer, and Larkin are basically functioning in a time period where the only strategy the church had was the accommodation strategy. That’s all the church knew how to do. And so things shifted dramatically in 1961 with a brand new strategy that came out. That brand-new strategy, for lack of a better name I’m going to call it the Biblical presupposition model. And the seminal book that came out and switched evangelical thinking on this was the book The Genesis Flood by Henry Morris, credential scientist, John Whitcomb, I think John Whitcomb is still alive, Henry Morris is with the Lord, credentialed Hebrew scholars.
And they looked at what the church had been doing since W. H. Green and how the church kept doing this accommodation strategy and backward Christian soldier and they said you know what, we’re going to try something different. Why don’t we go out there and why don’t we examine and scrutinize what the scientific world is saying? Why don’t we hold to the integrity of the Bible and why don’t we hold the secular world and its assumptions hostage to Scripture? Now that is totally different than the Accommodation Strategy developed by W. H. Green. And if you were living in between 1892 and 1961 and you died before 1961 you probably went to your grave with that old strategy because that’s all you knew how to do. And then all of a sudden, this book comes out that switches everything where you have these beautiful and eloquent explanations of why what the scientific world is saying really is science falsely so-called. We haven’t found a missing link, in fact we still call the missing link the missing link. That seems to indicate it’s missing.
All this stuff they’re saying about carbon 14 dating may not be right; in fact, they took rocks from Mount St. Helens, fossilized at Mount St. Helens instantaneously, took that into the lab asking for a date. How long did it take the fossils to develop? The lab comes back and says billions of years. Well we just grabbed it from something that happened 24 hours ago. And I’m not a scientist but these are the things that Whitcomb and Morris are saying, they’re examining evolution, examining the age of the age of the earth, examining carbon fourteen dating and they’re switching the strategy and they’re basically holding the findings of the secular world hostage to the integrity of the Bible.
And that’s what I would call the new strategy, it’s a strategy that I much more am privy to because you’re not attaching the Bible to a moving target anymore. You’re not doing eisegesis anymore but you’re doing exegesis, and in the process, people are starting to discover that we don’t need the Gap Theory anymore. In fact, Theodore Epp in his ministry, who was a Gap Theory advocate came out with his staff and publicly repented that he had ever taught the Gap Theory. So the Gap Theory based on when it becomes popular… okay, post 1859, in the Scofield Reference Bible up to the eve of 1961, the Gap Theory is very popular. Why? Because it’s part of the old accommodation strategy and it’s the only thing Christians knew how to deal with this issue.
When you get into the Genesis flood 1961 Whitcomb and Morris you have now a totally different strategy, you have a totally new strategy, you have a totally new way of thinking, and so the need for the Gap Theory, trying to explain all these ages in the fossil record, you don’t need the theory anymore. So when people want to bring that to Gap theory it’s like REALLY??? You want to bring back that tired, dead horse from another era? I mean, it’s a relic.
And so here’s I guess what I want you to understand; in your life as a Christian you’re going to have people stand up in front of you and they’re going to say different things about the Book of Genesis. And I want you to understand that whoever is talking to you, it doesn’t matter how popular they are, it doesn’t matter how many degrees they have after their name, it doesn’t matter how good they sound, they’re only using one of two strategies. They’re either going back to the accommodation strategy, not understanding that the accommodation strategy is the old strategy but they sound so good in talking about it people think it’s the new strategy.
You know, Hugh Ross of Reasons to Believe, has been doing this since 1981. In fact, Anne and I were in a church, actually before we met, that formally launched Hugh Ross. I mean, we knew about Hugh Ross before Hugh Ross was cool. And Hugh Ross if you listen to him what is he talking about? Oh, the flood really didn’t fill the whole earth. He doesn’t believe in a global flood. Oh, there was a Prehominid type Adamic race before Adam, Pre-Adamic race. The creation days are not twenty-four-hour days; they’re ages. And your average Christian listens to that and says wow, that sounds so enlightening when in reality the only thing Hugh Ross has done is he’s gone back into the past, and see, this is why I’m covering this part of history so you won’t be deceived by this, he’s going back into the past and he’s retrieving an old strategy that’s no longer needed.
So anybody who you listen to, anybody who talks to you on this issue, they’re coming from one of two vantage points. They’re going back either to an accommodation strategy or they’re following the biblical presupposition model. Henry Morris, through Henry Morris comes a wonderful ministry called ICR, Institute for Creation Research. That ministry is birthed out of… and it’s very interesting to study this, people not coming from Christian schools, that ministry was birthed out of people not coming from Christian schools and Bible colleges. Why? Because if the people that birthed that ministry came out of Christian schools and Bible colleges, who have been taught accommodation, because that’s the only thing the church knew how to do prior to 1961, accommodation would have controlled that ministry. But that ministry came out of people who were basically scientists, credential scientists, who really didn’t feel the way to the scientific evidence was saying everything that the scientific world says.
And so the presupposition models start with a great ministry, The Institute for Creation Research. And then you have different spinoffs of that; you have Ken Ham sort of leaving ICR and forming his own ministry. Answers in Genesis, that’s why our youth pastor, Gabe, had been wanting to go visit the ark this summer. I was like let’s do it because that’s coming out of the right strategy. And then you have other ones that are a little smaller. I’m on some of their newsletters; I don’t remember their names. But Jonathan Sarfati, who’s a wonderful scholar and writer, is coming out for a biblical presupposition model.
Now you have Hugh Ross. What is Hugh Ross doing? Hugh Ross sounds really good when he talks. I’ve never seen a guy like Hugh Ross that can go into an evangelical audience and shift their thinking as fast as he can. I mean, the guy sounds good, but he is just recycling the old stuff. And this is part of the problem I’m having with the Gap Theory is the fact that it doesn’t become popular in Christianity until post 1859; it makes me very suspicious of the whole thing. And if it’s so clear why wasn’t it popular in the prior 1800 years? How come I can’t find the Gap theory prominently displayed in Jewish interpreters and early Christian interpreters. Well, there’s an answer to that; it’s related to this accommodation type strategy. And so that’s one of the reasons I’m very suspicious of the Gap Theory because in my mind [can’t understand word, sounds like be there] it’s a late 19th century accommodation to explain the fossil records, and it’s not even needed any more.
One more here…. Well, let’s not do one more, no doubt I’ve thrown enough bombs for you guys to ask some questions; maybe you want to throw some bombs at me. [someone says something, can’t hear] I agree mostly with what you’re saying; the only statement I struggled with is at the beginning you say let’s throw out our scientific knowledge and I don’t think we should ever throw out true science. What we need to understand is that a lot of the things that we’re seeing in the natural world we need to understand how to interpret those things through the right lens. So what we’re doing is we’re substituting one interpretation for another but we’re not dishing science, true science, because science at the end of the day is always going to agree with the Bible and the Bible is always going to agree with science. The problem with true science is our presuppositions through which we read interpretations. The example I used about the crime scene, you know, who done it? Well, it kind of depends on what set of glasses you put on because everybody is looking at the same evidence.
Anyway, let’s close in prayer. Father, we’re grateful for this time and help us to continue to wrestle with a difficult issue and give this to Your light and Your mind as we continue our study here on the Gap Theory the next time we’re together. We’ll be careful to give you all the praise and the glory. I ask that you’ll be with us in the main service as we begin to take a look at the subject of Babylon. We’ll be careful to give you all the praise and the glory. We ask these things in Jesus’ name and God’s people said…. Amen!