Gap theories: trying to squeeeeeeze evolutionary time into the Genesis 1

Ever met someone who said there were millions of years between Mary and Jesus? Probably not! For the Christian who believes in long ages (evolutionary time), it would be absurd to insert millions of years between two people in a genealogy. Yet, we have genealogical lists that connect Adam to Christ (e.g., Luke 3).

Most Christians who mix their Christianity with an old earth place the millions of years prior to Adam. The idea of millions of years doesn’t come from the Bible, but from the religion of humanism (think atheism, naturalism, secularism where man is the authority instead of God).

Millions of years are built on the idea that there was no global Flood in Noah’s day. Instead, rock layers [from the Flood] were reinterpreted as evidence of long ages. These fossil layers contain immense amounts of recorded death.

Typically, old-earth Christians take the pretended long ages [from the religion of humanism] and insert them somewhere prior to Adam. Creation Week has been a divisive point in Christianity ever since the idea of millions of years became popular in the 1800s. Via many strange interpretations, old earth Christians put millions of years into Genesis 1.

Some of these models are theistic evolution, framework hypothesis, day-age, gap theory, and so on.[1] From here, let’s touch upon various gap theories.

Gap Theories

  1. Pre-time gap. This view adds a gap of long ages before God created in Genesis 1:1. The pre-time gap fails for a number of reasons, such as having death before sin. Death is the punishment for sin and cannot have rightly existed until Adam’s sin in Genesis 3 (e.g., Genesis 1:29-30, Genesis 2:17, 3:17-19, Romans 5:12, etc.).

The first recorded death of animals came as a direct result of human sin in Genesis 3:21. Fossil layers occurred after Adam sinned—such as the global Flood of Noah’s day (and since of course).

Adam’s actions ruined God’s very good (Genesis 1:31) and perfect (Deuteronomy 32:4) creation. This is why we need a Savior to save us from sin and death—and why we need a new heavens and new earth since this one is cursed (e.g., Genesis 3, Romans 8, Revelation 21-22).

Furthermore, pre-time gap demotes God Word as the authority because of its allowance of man’s ideas about millions of years to supersede God’s Word. Another problem is, how can one have millions of years of time prior to the creation of time? It is illogical.

2.Ruin-reconstruction gap. This is the most popular gap idea. It adds long ages between Genesis 1:1 and Genesis 1:2. Scottish pastor Thomas Chalmers popularized this view in the early 1800s as a response to long ages that were becoming popular. Scofield and Dake Study Bibles promote this idea. It is often associated with Satan’s fall and subsequent flood.

There are numerous problems associated with this gap discussed elsewhere. [2] But in short, many of the same problems with pre-time gap are problems with ruin-reconstruction gap too. God created everything and said it was “very good”. Thus, death, sin, and Satan’s fall (things that are not good) cannot occur until after this declaration at the end of Creation Week.

Most gap theorists believe Satan rebels between Genesis 1:1–2 (or otherwise in the first three verses of Scripture). Consider the theological problem of Satan, who in his sinful state, would be called “very good” in Genesis 1:31. This would make an evil Satan very good. In fact, this would make sin very good! Satan’s fall into sin occured after this declaration in Genesis 1:31.

3. Modified gap/precreation chaos gap. This gap adds long ages between Genesis 1:2 and 1:3, and it is primarily addressed in The Proceedings of International Conference on Creation.[3] Its refutation includes the same problems previously discussed in the first two gaps. The main difference is the placement of the gap.

4. Soft gap. This gap is also between Genesis 1:2 and 1:3, but unlike previous views, it has no catastrophic events or destruction of a previous state. It proposes that God created the universe (including stars) and left it for long periods of time in an effort to get starlight to earth.

Oddly, this view has a young earth and an old universe. The problem is that stars were created after the proposed gap (day 4), and it is unnecessary to make accommodations for long ages to solve the so-called starlight problem. Getting distant starlight to earth is not a problem for an all-powerful God. It is only a problem in a naturalistic view.

5. Late gap. This gap is between chapters 2 and 3 of Genesis. It is one of the only models that place long ages in the genealogies. Late gappists believe that Adam and Eve lived in the Garden for long ages before sin.

This view has problems too. It doesn’t account for the fossil layers that are full of death (where the presumed millions of years are), if Adam and Eve lived in the Garden of Eden for long ages before sin.

Moreover, Adam and Eve were told by God to be “fruitful and multiply” in Genesis 1:28. If they waited for long ages to do so, they would have been disobeying God’s Word (sinning). In addition, there is the problem of Adam only living 930 years as recorded in Genesis 5:5.

In summary, when someone tries to put a large gap of time in the Scriptures when it is not warranted by the text, beware. This should throw up a red flag to any Christian who stands on the authority of Scripture.


Reference this article: B. Hodge, Biblical Authority Ministries, September 21, 2016,

[1] See Tim Chaffey and Jason Lisle, Old-Earth Creationism on Trial, Master Books, Green Forest, AR, 2008.

[2] K. Ham, “What About the Gap & Ruin-Reconstruction Theories?” in The New Answers Book, K. Ham, gen. ed. (Green Forest, AR: Master Books, 2006).

[3] Andrew Snelling, ed., Proceedings of the Sixth International Conference on Creationism (Dallas, TX: Institute for Creation Research, 2008), “A Critique of the Precreation Chaos Gap Theory,” by John Zoschke.

Gap theories: trying to squeeeeeeze evolutionary time into the Genesis 1

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