Friday, January 18, 2008

Mind the GAP Mr. Bean

Rowan Atkinson (Mr. Bean) is known for poking fun at religion. One topic that opponents of Orthodox Protestants who take Genesis as Historical Narrative (OPGHN) like to bring up is man and dinosaurs coexisting. Is there really a long time gap between the first human and the last dino?
The view that there are long ages between Gen. 1:1 and 1:2 is commonly called the Gap Theory.
The creation of all things took six regular days. Consider Ex. 20:8,9,11
Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy.
Six days you shall labor and do all your work, …
For in six days the LORD made the heavens and the earth, the sea, and all that is in them,
and rested the seventh day. Therefore the LORD blessed the Sabbath day and hallowed
it (NKJV).
All things, visible and invisible, were made in six days, not millions of years. The seven days of our week come from the six days of Creation Week plus the day of rest.
Gen. 3:20 calls Eve the mother of all living - she is the mother of all mankind. There were no Pre-Adamites and there was no other non-Adamic group of humans. We read in Acts 17:26
And He has made from one blood every nation of men to dwell on all the face of the earth…
All men are related. The small amount of Neanderthal DNA that has been studied fits within the human range. There are also bones that seem to show interbreeding with modern man.
Jack Cuozzo, an orthodontist, shows in his book Buried Alive that the Neanderthals lived for hundreds of years and practiced burial customs similar to those used in Ur (use of red ochre). Neanderthals had bigger brains than modern humans and used a form of super glue! Neanderthals had souls and were made in the image of God.
If God wanted to indicate an “age” or “era” in Gen. 1:1 there is a Hebrew word for it, “olam” (#5769). This word is used to describe “ancient times” in Is. 64:4. Daniels statue of gold, silver etc. in chapter two represents several epochs of hundreds of years. If God wanted to describe undetermined ages he could have used a similar device in Genesis.
There was no death before Adam:
Then God saw everything that He had made, and indeed it was very good. So the evening
and the morning were the sixth day (Gen. 1:31, NKJV).
Miles of fossils with disease is not “very good.” According to Gen. 3:18 the Curse brought “thorns and thistles” yet these are found in the fossil record. At the end of Creation Week all was “very good” - this includes Day 1 and Day 2. There is no room for the fall of Satan or “Lucifer’s Flood.”
Man was made at the beginning of creation, not millions of years later:
But from the beginning of the creation, God ‘made them male and female.’
‘For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the
two shall become one flesh’ [Gen. 2:24] … (Mk. 10:6-8, NKJV).
The length of one week is quite small compared to the six thousand years of cosmic history, so it is no exaggeration to say that Adam and Eve were made at the beginning of creation. Jesus quotes Genesis 2 so he must be talking about Adam and Eve and not some other “male and female.”
Romans 5:9,10 refers to physical death, so Rom. 5:12,14 must also be about physical death:
Therefore, just as through one man sin entered the world, and death through sin, and thus
death spread to all men, because all sinned––
Nevertheless death reigned from Adam to Moses, even over those who
had not sinned according to the likeness of the transgression of Adam,
who is a type of Him who was to come.
Death came into the world because of the sin of Adam, not because of the fall of Satan. Look at 1 Cor. 15:21,22
For since by man came death, by Man also came the resurrection of the dead.
For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ all shall be made alive.
Adam’s death was physical and parallels the physical resurrection. There was no death before Adam.
The first two verses of the Bible are glued together:
In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth.
And the earth was without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face
of the deep. And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters (Gen.
1:1,2, KJV).
Note the “and” - there is no gap between verses one and two. Many Hebrew grammarians admit as much. Arthur Custance, who supports the Gap Theory, admits that the Septuagint (LXX) does not allow a gap between Gen. 1:1 and 1:2. Thus, the Jewish leaders who translated the LXX held that verse two is a parenthetical remark explaining more details about verse one.
Many in the Gap Theory camp hold to a local Flood. If the rock record is the result of “Lucifer’s Flood” then this leaves no room for the massive evidence of death, destruction and sedimentary deposits that a global Flood during Noah’s time would leave. The eruption of Mount Saint Helens left a one fortieth scale version of the Grand Canyon. There is no reason to introduce a catastrophe in Gen. 1:1 - the Flood of Noah is sufficient to explain geologic history (see The Young Earth by John Morris, be sure to get the new edition).
If the Gap Theory is true, how is it that believers through the centuries have held to the traditional view of Genesis (creation in six days). Did Spurgeon seek the illumination of the Holy Spirit as he studied Moses’ first book? Consider this section from Spurgeon’s catechism:
Q: What is the work of creation?
A: The work of creation is God’s making all things (Ge 1:1) of nothing, by
the Word of his power, (Heb 11:3) in six normal consecutive days, (Ex
20:11) and all very good (Ge 1:31).
The Westminster confession of 1646 also makes a strong statement:
It pleased God the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, for the manifestation of the glory of his
eternal power, wisdom, and goodness, in the beginning, to create or make of nothing the
world, and all things therein, whether visible or invisible, in the space of six days, and all
very good (4.1).
The concept of the Gap Theory was virtually non-existent before 1800. This view came about as a way to accommodate the millions of years proposed by some scientists. The rise of the modern creationist movement starting with the publication of The Genesis Flood by Whitcomb and Morris (1961) has yielded clear evidence that the millions of years do not exist and that the rock record is the result of Noah’s Flood (
John Wesley held that the creation of the universe took place around 4000 BC and that the geologic layers were remnants of the Flood. Soft tissue of dinosaurs has been found that look like blood vessels and blood cells - these could not have remained intact for millions of years
Frozen unfossilized dinosaur bones have been found in Alaska (The Great Alaskan Dinosaur Adventure by Buddy Davis et al). The bones could not have escaped decay or fossilization for millions of years.
Did the earth become “formless and void” (Gen. 1:2)? Because of the context (following a waw disjunctive) the word “haya” must mean “was” and not “became.” All the major English translations have “was” as well as the LXX. Recall Gen. 3:1
Now the serpent was [hayatah] more cunning than any beast of the
field which the LORD God had made … (NKJV)
Did the serpent “become” more cunning?
The words for “formless and void” in Gen. 1:2 can be rendered “unformed and unfilled” - of itself there is no association of judgment. When I start building an in-ground pool in my backyard it is “unformed and unfilled.” This is a neutral condition, not specifically good or bad. I can use a hammer to drive in a nail or to smash poodles - the hammer in and of itself is not evil.
What about the use of the word “replenish” in Gen. 1:28? According to the Oxford English Dictionary, the meaning of “replenish” in 1611 was “fill” not “re-fill”
There are many English words with “re-” that do not mean “do it again” research refresh relax release relent return.
Think about these parallel passages:
… Be fruitful, and multiply, and fill [mil’u] the waters in the seas, and
let fowl multiply in the earth.
… Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish [mil’u] the earth … (Gen.
1:22,28, KJV).
In one case “mil’u” is translated “fill” and just a few verses later the exact same Hebrew word is translated “replenish” in an analogous context. This is apparently a style decision on the translators’ part.
The Hebrew word “male” (#4390) means “fill.”
The sun, moon and stars were created on day four of Creation Week (Gen. 1:16). They did not merely appear for the word for appear “ra’ah” is in Gen. 1:9 where the dry land “appeared.” This word is not used to describe Day four of creation. Did the earth exist for millions of years without the sun, moon and stars?
The definitive study on the Gap Theory from a traditional creationist perspective is Unformed and Unfilled by Weston Fields.
Noted Bible teacher John MacArthur rejects the Gap Theory (The Battle for the Beginning, pp. 74-77).

Highly recommended creationist resources:

Refuting Compromise by Jonathan Sarfati

Creation and Change by Douglas Kelly
(this book helped convince R. C. Sproul of creation in six days)
-> type in “Gap Theory” in the search box