Does Genesis 13 Undermine the ‘Gap Theory’ ?

Click to join the conversation with over 500,000 Pentecostal believers and scholars

Click to get our FREE MOBILE APP and stay connected

Pete Fiske |

Genesis 1 Genesis 13 Narrative structure
1 – In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. 1 – So Abram went up from Egypt, he and his wife and all that he had, and Lot with him, into the Negeb.2 Narrative begins
2 – Now the earth was formless and void, and darkness was over the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God was hovering over the face of the waters. 2 – Now Abram was very rich in livestock, in silver and in gold. Side step and description of object/person from the previous verse

(Waw disjunctive/ parenthetical clause)

3 – And God said, “let there be light”, and there was light. 3 – And he journeyed on from the Negeb2 as far as Bethel to the place where his tent had been at the beginning, between Bethel and Ai. Continuation of narrative

(Waw consecutive)

The gap theory has come in different forms since its conception in the early 1800s (Thomas Chalmers []). It was a response to the long geological ages that were coming to the forefront, from a naturalistic worldview of the earth’s geological history, in the late 1700s. However the gap theory is like a theological monkey swinging along on ever shortening ropes with every biblical objection put to it, until there is no rope short enough to swing from and the monkey falls down. The truth is that Genesis is the book of beginnings, with God the originator of all things. So we should not pander to a wholly materialistic explanation of things by trying to fit it into the Bible and coming up with ideas like the gap theory. For more detailed accounts of what the gap theory entails, and the many good biblical objections to it, see the related articles (listed at the end of this one) and recommended resources.

However, although biblical objections to the Gap theory have long been known, surprisingly, the view is still widely held. After creation talks with open question times, I and other CMI speakers still encounter people asking if there is a gap between Genesis 1:1 and 1:2, or between 1:2 and 1:3. In my experience, most people don’t really understand why there would be a gap there, and all the particular nuances of it. Rather, it is something that they have heard about, which they then use it as an excuse not to take the Genesis timescale at face value. They believe instead that the purported billions of years can be fit into this alleged gap.

Ricky Grimsley [10/07/2015 11:04 PM]
Then how do you explain the fact that god had to remove adam from the tree of life so he would not live forever. The death at first was spiritual the physical death was the repercussions of god taking them from the garden. Genesis 3:22 KJVS
[22] And the Lord God said, Behold, the man is become as one of us, to know good and evil: and now, lest he put forth his hand, and take also of the tree of life, and eat, and live for ever:

Link Hudson [10/20/2015 6:00 PM]
Repost, since IE wouldn’t let me edit the last post as I was typing or delete or cut and paste over it.

Does anyone really think Paul is talking primarily about physical death in Romans 5:12 when he talks about death entering the world through sin? If that is the case, are the references to ‘life’ in the rest of the chapter about living an eternal life in this body without physical death? Is ‘the just shall live by faith’ saying that if you have faith, your body will never die. (I met someone who actually believed something like this.) Paul says in chapter 7 tthat sin came to life and he died. This already happened. Paul had ‘died’ before he wrote the epistle.

John Kissinger [10/20/2015 6:31 PM]
Peter, I am interested in discussing your post. How exactly do you see Gen.13 undermining the gap theory? And perhaps first pls give definition of your understanding of gap theory.  Genesis 13 does NOT Undermin the ‘Gap Theory’..


  • Charlie Robin
    Reply October 5, 2016

    Charlie Robin

    No! Definitely no! What do you think Ricky Grimsley Tom Steele

  • Ricky Grimsley
    Reply October 5, 2016

    Ricky Grimsley

    No because you still are left with answering why the earth was without form and void.

  • Charlie Robin
    Reply October 5, 2016

    Charlie Robin

    I think the argument is of the language used and the way it goes back and forth. But the language in ch 13 hardly compares to the globality of Gen. 1 – The Abraham narrative has a set frame within the life of Abraham and re-telling the story or parts of it within the story itself is understood as part of the narrative. The difference in Gen. 1 is that we dont have a set time frame which actually creates an expectation of a time frame being created for the creation narrative and hence v. 1 and v.2 is doing exactly that. So no proof from the Abraham story even remotely relates to grammar and language used in Gen 1

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.