King James Bible Believers



To Gap or Not To Gap

A Study of Genesis 1:1-2


David F. Reagan

(all rights reserved)




To Gap or Not To Gap




Almost forty years ago, I grew up in an independent, Baptist church in Knoxville, Tennessee. At that time, C. I. Scofield’s Reference Bible was in the ascendancy.  You just had to have one.  In some churches, the preacher even gave the Scofield page number when he announced his Bible text.  That was back before independent Baptists had found so many things to split and squabble over.  That was when most independent Baptists believed in the gap between Genesis 1:1 and 1:2.


Today, things are different.  We have exposed many weaknesses in the Scofield Bible—so many that we hang our heads and apologize if we still own one.  We now divide to the right and left of Scofield’s dispensationalism.  We have discovered repentance and lordship salvation and many other doctrines where we draw lines to separate ourselves from the chaff. And the gap theory is just about as popular as the Taliban—a group of which we were happily ignorant in the 1960’s.


The purpose of this writing is to ask those of you who hold the Bible in high regard to give one more look at the gap between Genesis 1:1 and 1:2.  However, let me mention some things that I am not trying to do. 

      I am not saying that those who disagree with me on this are heretics.  This is a hard doctrine about which little is said directly.  And, it is not critical to other doctrines.  Men on both sides have given this doctrine too much importance.  It should not be a divisive issue.  Save that for the really important stuff.

I am not using this teaching in order to accommodate modern science.  I believe that all true science can be accounted for with the six-day creation approximately 6,000 years ago.  I believe the Bible teaches that only God’s heavenly abode and the earth survived the original destruction and re-creation.  It also describes an earth that was so destroyed that probably nothing remains of the original surface.

□  I am not building my case on what any author has said.  This writing will quote scripture.  It will not build on the ideas of man.  If I err (and I know that is a distinct possibility), I will err in my understanding of God’s holy word.  Let God be true and every man a liar (Romans 3:4).  This is not a history of man’s thought but a survey of scriptural teaching.

□   I am not going to argue from the grammar and vocabulary of the Hebrew and Greek texts of the Bible.  I know some will find fault with me in this.  However, I have found that the meaning is often just as difficult in the Hebrew as it is in English.  I will argue my case from the English text of the King James Bible.  If you wish, you can check my teaching out in the Greek and Hebrew for yourself.


The Doctrine Stated

There are presently three major explanations of Genesis 1:1 by those who believe in a literal creation.  (We will gladly ignore those who deny this.)  Read the ten simple words again and then I will give the interpretations:  “In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth.”

  1. Some teach that this is a summary of the six-day creation, almost akin to a title.  To these people, the real story begins with verse two with an empty, dark earth.

  2. Others teach that this verse is a part of the first day of creation which ends with verse five.  God created the heaven, the earth, light and darkness on the first day.

  3. This writing will claim that Genesis 1:1 records the original creation of the earth and that Genesis 1:2 describes the results of the destruction of this earth.  In this approach, the six-day creation is actually a second creation of the earth—although it is the beginning of the universe as we know it.


Importance of the Doctrine

Now I need to convince you not to take something I said earlier too strongly.  I minimized the importance of the doctrine as a divisive issue.  However, that does not mean that it has no importance.  Here are some reasons we should study and seek to understand this doctrine.

     “All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness” (2 Timothy 3:16).  That, in a sense, says it all.  If God talked about it, it is important.  If He wrote it, it has profit for us.  Whatever you think about my conclusions, you will find this to be a study that deals much with God’s written word.

□   Origins are a great battlefield between truth and error in this day and age.  Where did we come from?  How did we get to be the way we are?  What is the origin of the universe?  All of these questions (and more) have a humanistic answer and a scriptural answer.  They all have the potential of either denying God or else demoting Him to a secondary role.  Therefore, any scripture and any biblical teaching about this subject is important.

□    If God did destroy an entire previous world, then His grace to us is even more apparent.  From the beginning, He has found a way to keep giving man another chance.  He evidently did not do that with the angels who fell.


The Edges of Human Knowledge

Man’s knowledge is strictly limited in certain directions.  He tries to convince himself otherwise, but the Bible states that God has kept some things from man.


□     “The secret things belong unto the LORD our God: but those things which are revealed belong unto us and to our children for ever, that we may do all the words of this law.” – Deuteronomy 29:29


This passage show us that there are three kinds of knowledge:  The knowledge man can discover on his own (this is inferred), the revealed things that man knows only because God has made them known and the secret things that God refuses to reveal.  What God does reveal, He does so in order to aid our obedience to Him (“that we may do all the words of this law”).  There are things man may discover on his own and things he cannot.  The following verse tells how God purposely limits man’s understanding of His work.


   “He hath made every thing beautiful in his time: also he hath set the world in their heart, so that no man can find out the work that God maketh from the beginning to the end.” – Ecclesiastes 3:11


Those things man cannot discover on his own will either be revealed by God or held secret by Him.  We should not worry over the things God will not reveal (like the seven thunders that were kept secret in Revelation 10:3-4).  The emphasis of Bible study should be on the things man cannot find but that God has decided to reveal.


Man’s knowledge seems to be most limited in five directions:

  1. Up toward the heights of heaven.

  2. Down into the depths of the earth.

      “Thus saith the LORD; If heaven above can be measured, and the foundations of the earth searched out beneath, I will also cast off all the seed of Israel for all that they have done, saith the LORD.” – Jeremiah 31:37

  1. Back into the past.

  2. Forward into the future.

     “Remember the former things of old: for I am God, and there is none else; I am God, and there is none like me, Declaring the end from the beginning, and from ancient times the things that are not yet done, saying, My counsel shall stand, and I will do all my pleasure” - Isaiah 46:9-10

  1. Inward into his own heart.

□    “A fool hath no delight in understanding, but that his heart may discover itself.” – Proverbs 18:2


The reason for this section is to show that nothing can be understood of origins except what God reveals.  Any scientific study of the past makes assumptions that cannot be proven—mainly that the laws of nature in operation today have always been in operation.  This is the error of uniformitarianism (that all things continue as they always have) and it is refuted in scripture.


“And saying, Where is the promise of his coming? for since the fathers fell asleep, all things continue as they were from the beginning of the creation. For this they willingly are ignorant of, that by the word of God the heavens were of old, and the earth standing out of the water and in the water:” – 2 Peter 3:4-5


I am convinced by scripture that a world existed before our own world.  But I also see God revealing only slips and slivers of that world.  As with heaven, we want to know more but do not have that information.  It is as if God opens a window into another world for a split second.  In that moment, we sense a vast world of creation filled with inhabitants and established for God’s purpose.  We get a glimpse of light and color as never seen before, of sounds we have never heard, of glories that we have never experienced.  We are limited to almost no real knowledge of that world.  Yet, even this passing millisecond of view reveals the greatness of the God who made all the worlds—not just the one in which we live—but all the worlds.


□      “Hath in these last days spoken unto us by his Son, whom he hath appointed heir of all things, by whom also he made the worlds;” – Hebrews 1:2



Major Objections

My first objective in this study is to establish the possibility of a gap between Genesis 1:1 and 1:2.  In order to do this, I will answer the objections to the gap that I am familiar with.  We will look at these objections one at a time.


Objection One:  No Direct Biblical Statement Teaches the Gap

I agree that no simple scriptural statement can be found that declares the gap—at least not any that I have found.  However, this is true of several doctrines.  Where do you find the single verse that teaches the age of accountability or the pre-tribulation rapture?  God teaches us to study the scripture by laying precept upon precept, line upon line, here a little and there a little (Isaiah 28:10).  Many doctrines must be established by comparing spiritual things with spiritual (1 Corinthians 2:13).  This objection holds no water.


Objection Two:  Scripture Limits Creation to Six Days

I count this as the strongest objection to the possibility of an original creation and destruction.  Two verses especially stand out:


     “For in six days the LORD made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that in them is, and rested the seventh day: wherefore the LORD blessed the sabbath day, and hallowed it.” – Exodus 20:11

□   “It is a sign between me and the children of Israel for ever: for in six days the LORD made heaven and earth, and on the seventh day he rested, and was refreshed.” – Exodus 31:17


I realize the strength of these verses.  However, they often seem so strong to those who oppose the gap because they assume certain things about those who believe in it.  I, for one, do not believe that the stars presently in the sky existed before the gap.  For reasons I cannot go into now, I believe the original universe was much smaller than the one we see today.  I also believe that the destruction to the original world was so great that everything had to be entirely remade.  The world as we know it today began with the six-day creation but that does not preclude an earlier world.


Notice also the distinction between the words created and made.  The above verses declare that the heaven, the earth, the sea and all that is in them were made, not created, in six days.  However, in the beginning (Genesis 1:1) God created the heaven and the earth.  A careful study of scripture will show that these differences should not lightly be dismissed.


The Bible has three common words for making something: create, make and form.  These words are similar and their meanings often overlap.  God created the world (Genesis 1:1); He made the world (Genesis 2:2); He formed the world (Psalm 90:2).  You might assume that this makes the three words identical in meaning.  However, this is not the case.  They are distinct words having distinct shades of meaning.  Consider the following:


Both create and make (made) are used in reference to general creation (Genesis 2:3-4; 5:1; 6:6-7). All three words (create, make, form) are used to describe the creation of man (Genesis 1:27; 2:7; 5:1). The common thought in all three words is to bring something to a finished or completed state of being.  But there are important distinctions between the words as well.


□     To create means to bring into being; to cause to come into existence.  This word emphasizes origin and the originator (Creator).  Its use is exemplified in Genesis 1:1, 21, 27; Psalm 89:12; Isaiah 42:5; Ephesians 2:10; Revelation 4:11; 10:6.


□    To make means to put together; to produce an end result by putting parts or ingredients together. It emphasizes process.  See Genesis 1:7, 16, 25, 31; 2:2, 22; 3:1.


□      To form means to give shape; to bring to its final form.  This word emphasizes a finished product.  See Genesis 2:7, 8, 19; Job 26:13; Psalm 90:2; 94:9; 95:5.


Pay close attention to how these words are used in scripture.  They can all be applied to the same item but they emphasize different aspects of the act.  In some cases, the difference may be minor.  In other cases, the distinction is very important.  A man can make a chair because he can put the pieces together.  However, he cannot create a tree.  Always notice what God is saying.  Therefore, to say that God made the heaven and earth in six days does not necessarily mean that He originally brought them into existence at that time. 


It might help to look at the other end of time—when God destroys the present earth and creates a new one.  Consider the following verses:


     “One generation passeth away, and another generation cometh: but the earth abideth for ever.” – Ecclesiastes 1:4

□      “But the heavens and the earth, which are now, by the same word are kept in store, reserved unto fire against the day of judgment and perdition of ungodly men.” – 2 Peter 3:7

□       “Nevertheless we, according to his promise, look for new heavens and a new earth, wherein dwelleth righteousness.” – 2 Peter 3:13


As is clearly taught in 2 Peter and in other passages (Isaiah 65:17; Revelation 21:1-5), the heaven and earth of today will be utterly destroyed and a new heaven and earth will replace them.  These new heavens and earth are even said to be created.  Yet, God must see a continuance in His creation of some sort because He says in Ecclesiastes 1:4 that “the earth abideth for ever.” 


Although the old earth is destroyed and a new one is created, what He creates is still called earth and the earth, as such, abides forever.  Now that is a Bible-believing view of Ecclesiastes 1:4.  However, I challenge you to check with your favorite Bible teacher on this verse.  More than likely, he will tell you that “for ever” in this verse simply means a long, long time.  If he is anti-gap, he probably believes that forever means about 6,000 years.  The biblical use of forever does create some puzzles, but I am convinced that we are too quick to minimize its meaning for our own purposes.


In conclusion, all the things mentioned in Exodus 20:11 and 31:17 as having been made in six days could easily have been made during that time without denying a gap between Genesis 1:1 and 1:2.  The original world was destroyed almost to the extent that this world will be destroyed.  Even the word creation would fit it in most cases.


Objection Three:  The Gap is an Accommodation to Godless Geology

I admit that many of the early proponents of the gap compromised with modern science in their beliefs and teachings.  They used the gap to explain the geological ages, the fossil record and the existence of dinosaur skeletons.  Obviously, this was wrong.


There is no reason to bow to modern science in any of these areas.  Creation with apparent age (meaning things looked mature at the time of creation just as Adam was created as a mature adult and not as a baby) and Noah’s flood could easily explain the geological structures as we have them.  However, a weak argument in favor of a position is no reason to reject it.  The gap I am talking about is not a scientific accommodation but a biblical doctrine.


Objection Four:  The Grammar of Genesis Rejects the Gap

This argument takes various forms but usually centers on the opening of Genesis 1:2 – “And the earth was without form, and void.”  This argument states that the “And” which begins the verse and the “was” that describes the earth immediately connects the statement in Genesis 1:1 with the description in Genesis 1:2.  In other words, the grammar of the verse does away with any possibility of a gap.  The earth is being described as without form and void at the point of its creation by God.


The simplest answer to this objection is a comparison of the structure of this passage with one found in Genesis 4:2, which states: “And she again bare his brother Abel. And Abel was a keeper of sheep, but Cain was a tiller of the ground.”  Notice how these two passages line up in their basic form.



Genesis 1:1-2


Genesis 4:2


Noun followed by period


the heaven and the earth.


bare his brother Abel.


New sentence begins with…






Original noun repeated


the earth




Followed by “was”


was without form, and void


was a keeper of sheep





In practically every way, the grammatical structure of Genesis 4:2 is the same as that of Genesis 1:1-2.  But consider this.  If this wording requires the earth to be without form and void at the very moment of creation, then it also requires Abel to be a keeper of sheep at the very moment of his birth.  We naturally assume a period of time between Abel’s birth and the taking up of his life occupation.  Certainly, the grammar of Genesis 1:2 allows for a period of time between the original creation of the earth and its description.


Objection Five: Adam Must Be the First Man

The objection states that Adam is clearly called the first man.


1Corinthians 15:45 – “And so it is written, The first man Adam was made a living soul; the last Adam was made a quickening spirit.”

1Corinthains 15:47 – “The first man is of the earth, earthy: the second man is the Lord from heaven.”



The answer is simple. Obviously, the original inhabitants of the earth were not men.  Perhaps they were angels or some other God-created being.  But they were definitely not men.


Objection Six: The Origin of Death and Sin in the World

Adam is responsible for bringing sin and death into the world:


Romans 5:12 – “Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned:” –see also 1Corinthians 15:21-22



Therefore, the argument goes, there could have been no earlier destruction of the world since this would require sin and death before Adam.


Clearly, Adam’s fall brought sin and death into this present evil world (Galatians 1:4).  However, Christ is declared to be the maker of the “worlds” (Hebrews 1:2).  There must be more than one world and the scripture bears this out.  The following worlds are found in scripture:


  1. The “world that then was” in 2Peter 3:6 – “Whereby the world that then was, being overflowed with water, perished.”

  2. The “old world” in 2Peter 2:5 – “And spared not the old world, but saved Noah the eighth person, a preacher of righteousness, bringing in the flood upon the world of the ungodly;”

  3. This “present evil world” in Galatians 1:4 – “Who gave himself for our sins, that he might deliver us from this present evil world, according to the will of God and our Father:”

  4. The “world to come” in Hebrews 2:5 – “For unto the angels hath he not put in subjection the world to come, whereof we speak.” (also Hebrews 6:5)


No doubt the sin and death in this present world traces back to the sin of Adam in the garden.  However, this does not mean that Adam brought sin into existence.  The serpent was already in rebellion when he tempted Eve.  Neither does it mean that there could not have been an earlier world which had sin introduced into it and was totally destroyed.


We have looked at the major objections to an original world.  They all come short of disproving the possibility of this world when considered scripturally.  However, the original earth and its subsequent destruction have not been proven.  We will now look at three sources of evidence for the early history of the earth:


  1. Evidence from the scriptural account of creation

  2. Evidence from the description of the earth

  3. Evidence from the doctrine of the devil


Evidence From the Creation Story

The Heaven and the Heavens

In Genesis 1:1, God clearly states that “God created the heaven and the earth.”  The word heaven, as you can see, is singular.  This distinction separates those who have faith in the preservation of the English text from Hebrew scholar wannabes.  The Hebrew word can be correctly translated in different contexts as either heaven or heavens.  And, most modern English versions translate this passage as heavens.  However, a Bible-believing study of Genesis One and the doctrine of heavens in the scripture show that heaven in the singular is the only possible correct translation.


Before we look at this evidence, consider the contrast between Genesis 1:1 and 2:1.  In Genesis 1:1, God created the “heaven.”  However, in Genesis 2:1, the Bible declares,  “Thus the heavens and the earth were finished, and all the host of them.”  Earth is still singular but the heaven of 1:1 becomes the completed heavens of 2:1.  How many heavens are there and when were the additional heavens created?


The Bible teaches the number of heavens in 2Corinthians 12:2 where the Apostle Paul relates this experience: “I knew a man in Christ above fourteen years ago, (whether in the body, I cannot tell; or whether out of the body, I cannot tell: God knoweth;) such an one caught up to the third heaven.”  This is God’s heaven; the highest heaven. Therefore, there are three heavens.


The heavens are built in stories (Amos 9:6). Compare the heavens to the three stories on Noah’s ark (Genesis 6:16).


      The first heaven is the atmosphere or the atmospheric heaven. It is called the “open firmament of heaven” (Genesis 1:20) because it is the one we access and it is open to the heaven above it. It was created on the second day of the six days of creation (Genesis 1:6-8).


□      The second heaven is the starry heaven or out space. It is called “the firmament of the heaven” (Genesis 1:14-19) and was created on the second day (Genesis 1:6-8).


□     The third heaven (2Corinthians 12:4) is simply heaven or God’s heaven (1Thessalonians 4:16). It is sometimes called the “heaven of heavens” (Nehemiah 9:6); Psalm 148:4) or “paradise” after the resurrection and ascension of Christ (2Corinthians 12:4). It was created in Genesis 1:1 in the beginning. That is why Genesis 1:1 refers to “heaven” while Genesis 2:1 refers to the “heavens.”  Only one heaven had been created in the very beginning. There had been no separation between heavens as there it today. The heaven of Genesis 1:1 must refer to God’s heaven—one that was not created during the six days of creation but had an earlier existence.


The Moving of the Spirit

One of the works of the Spirit is that of renewal; of making new again. This is His work. God sends forth his spirit and “renewest the face of the earth” (Psalm 104:30). This is His work with fallen man (Titus 3:5). This was very likely His work with the destroyed earth in Genesis 1:2. But consider, only that which already exists can be renewed.


The Creation Day Formula

Throughout the six-day creation story, each day begins with “And God said” (Genesis 1:3, 6, 9, 14, 20, 24) and each day ends with “And the evening and the morning were the [number] day” (Genesis 1:5, 8, 13, 19, 23, 31). According to this formula, the first day of creation began in Genesis 1:3 making the events of the first two verses previous to the six-day creation.


The Command to Replenish

When man was created, he was told to “replenish the earth” (Genesis 1:28). Replenish means to refill in its most common meaning. Yes, the Hebrew can also mean just to fill and the English word can be defined this way in some cases. However, in cases of doubt on the meaning of a word, they key is to find a Bible answer. This answer is found in Genesis 9:1. In the second passage, the word refers to the command given to Noah and his family after the destruction of the flood and clearly means to refill. The commissions are parallel in several ways and the word must have the same meaning in both places.


The Crowding of the First Day

If the first day included Genesis 1:1-2, the following events would all have occurred on that one 24-hour day.


1.                   The creation of God’s heaven

2.                   The creation of the heavenly beings: angels, cheribum, serriphim, etc.

3.                   The creation of the earth

4.                   The song of the angels who sang at the creation of the earth (Job 38:4-7)

5.                   The creations of the waters that are upon the earth (Genesis 1:2)

6.                   The moving of the Spirit on the waters

7.                   The creation of light (with this order, the angels evidently sang in the dark)

8.                   The division of light from darkness


Although God can certainly do anything, this particular crowding is out of line with the remainder of the creation week when God only created one or two major categories in a day. It makes the story imbalanced.



Evidence From the Description of the Earth

Without Form

The earth is “without form” in Genesis 1:2. That means it had no definite shape. It was amorphous like the amoeba. If this is the original creation of the earth, then it was the only creation of God that was not created whole at once. Without the gap, the earth was not completed until the third day of creation (Genesis 1:9-10) and only then did God call it good (v.10).


This would be an incomplete creation. Yet God says that when He does something, nothing can be put to it (Ecclesiastes 3:14). Without the gap, this verse must not refer to the creation of the earth.


Without Inhabitant

The earth of Genesis 1:2 is described as “void.” Void means to be empty or without inhabitant. Yet God says concerning the earth that “he created it not in vain, he formed it to be inhabited” (Isaiah 45:18). Again, Genesis 1:2 is out of character with an original creation.


Without Light

According to the order of Genesis 1:1-3 when no gap is assumed, God created the earth in darkness. Even after that creation, “darkness was upon the face of the deep” (v.2). Yet, when the foundations of the earth were laid, “the morning stars sang together” (Job 38:7). Did they sing in the dark? This confusion is settled if there was an earth before the present earth.


A Description of Destruction

Taken together, the previous characteristics sound more like the result of some terrible catastrophe than a completed act of God’s creation. This is further verified when compared with descriptions of judgment in other passages of the word of God.   Consider the following comparison of Genesis 1:2 with Jeremiah 4:23.



□      Genesis 1:2


□   Jeremiah 4:23


      “without form”

□       “without form”

□        “void”

□      “void”

□      “darkness”

□      “no light”


In Jeremiah 4, the passage describes a scene of destruction (v.20) resulting from a great war (v.19) which came because of Israel’s disobedience. Can the same words be used to describe both God’s creation and God’s destruction? Can the results of such two opposite forces be identical?


A similar example is found in Nahum 2:10. In this passage, war and destruction are brought on by sin and wickedness. This destruction is described by words like “empty,” “void,” “waste,” and “blackness.” 


Admittedly, Jeremiah 4:23 and Nahum 2:10 are not referring to the events of Genesis 1:2. But that is not the question. How can similar, even identical, words in very similar descriptions be used to describe the results of creation in one place and destruction in two others? The natural answer is that they cannot.


The Face of the Deep

A massive amount of water surrounded the earth in Genesis 1:2. Wisdom (picturing Christ) was there to “set a compass upon the face of the depth” (Proverbs 8:27). This water could be divided so that the oceans could be filled below the first two heavens and yet it could also provide a covering for the second heaven at the edge of out space (Genesis 1:6-8). These upper waters are spoken of as the “waters that be above the heavens” in Psalm 148:4.


The face of the earth being covered by water would be a perfect description of Noah’s flood when the ark went “upon the face of the waters” (Genesis 7:18). Genesis 1:2 could then be a description of the original earth after a similar destruction. This would explain God’s promise to never destroy the earth by flood again after Noah’s flood (Genesis 9:8-17). If He had done so two times, we might need a promise that He would never do so again, or else every flood would be feared as another complete destruction. He will, in the future, destroy the earth by fire, but never again by flood.


No Joy

Job 38:7 teaches that the sons of God (that is, angels) sang and shouted for joy when the foundations of the earth were laid (v.4). Where is the cause for joy in the description of the earth as found in Genesis 1:2? It is formless, empty and dark. Nor can this refer to the third day of creation when God finally said that the earth was good (Genesis 1:9-10) because no foundation were laid at that time. Job 38 must be referring to a time before the six-day creation.



Evidence From the Doctrine of the Devil

Up to now, we have answered the major objections to the gap and have shown that the gap makes more sense according to the text of Genesis 1:1-3. However, the greatest proof of the gap comes from the history and doctrine of the devil. This teaching will be covered in this section.


The Time Factor

If there was no original creation and destruction, then the devil could predate man by no more than five days. This means that the following events must have occurred between the first day of the six-day creation and the fall of Adam and Eve:


□      Lucifer’s service to God as “the anointed cherub that covereth” (Ezekiel 28:11-15).

□      The fall of Lucifer because of his pride (Isaiah 14:12-15).

□     The fall of the angels who followed Satan (Matthew 25:41).

□     The origin of devils. NOTE: Many Bible scholars equate fallen angels with the devils (or demons, as they say). However, the Bible seems to make a clear distinction between the two.

□     The preparation of everlasting fire for the devil and his angels (Matthew 25:41). NOTE: This fire must have been prepared after the fall of Satan created the need for it yet before the fall of man condemned him to the same place. Otherwise, it would have been created for Satan, his angels, AND man.


However, the evidence points to a short time between the creation of man and his fall.


     From Adam’s creation to the birth of Seth was 130 years (Genesis 5:2-3).

Between Adam’s fall and the birth of Seth, Cain and Abel were born (Genesis 4:1-2), grew to manhood (in a time when this must have been a lengthy process), began their separate occupations (4:2), and sacrificed to God (4:3-4). Cain then killed his brother Abel (4:8) and went from the presence of the Lord to start his own kingdom (4:16). This assures that the stay in the Garden of Eden was a short one.

□    Also, Adam and Eve were sent from the garden specifically so that they could not eat of the tree of life and life forever (Genesis 3:22). They had evidently not yet eaten of the tree. This also points to a short stay.


Certainly, all of the events of the early history of the devil could have occurred within this short time frame. However, such a scenario seems very unlikely when God’s providential working throughout history and its pace that seems so slow to us in considered.


Finally, Satan is called that “old serpent” (Revelation 12:9; 20:2). Would being five days older than Adam qualify him for this title?


Satan’s Claim on the World

Satan is called “the prince of this world” by Christ (John 12:31) and “the god of this world” by Paul (2Corinthians 4:4). What gives him a claim on this world and when did he get this claim?


In Luke 4:5-6, Satan told Christ that all the kingdoms of the world had been delivered unto him (“for that is delivered unto me”). Christ did not deny his claim but rather answered that only God Himself deserved worship (Luke 4:7-8). The devil’s claim of having the kingdoms of the world delivered unto him is allowed to stand. But when could this have been done? When Satan shows up in the Garden of Eden before the fall of man, he is already the serpent and is in opposition to God. If Satan had some previous rule over the world, when did he practice this rule?


In Isaiah 14:12-15, where Satan’s original rebellion against God is recorded, the devil desired to exalt his throne above the stars of God (v.13). In order to exalt his throne, he had to have a throne. A throne indicates a place of rule and dominion as well as a kingdom to rule over. Yet, this kingdom which was ruled by Satan before the fall was below the stars of God and below the heights of the clouds. What is left? The earth is left. Satan had a throne on the earth before he rebelled against God. This would explain how he got his claim to earth. The earth before Genesis 1:2 was Lucifer’s original domain. It was his original commission from God.


Satan’s Character From the Beginning

The devil was “a murderer from the beginning” (John 8:44) and he “sinneth from the beginning” (1John 3:8). To what beginning does this refer? It must refer to the beginning of the six-day creation. Nothing else makes sense.


However, if there is no gap and the devil was created on the first day of the six days of creation, he must have been created as a sinner and a murderer—since he was these things from the beginning. But this is impossible for two reasons.


□       First, this interpretation would make God the author of sin.


Second, the Bible clearly states that the devil was perfect from his creation and that iniquity was not found in him until a later date (see Ezekiel 28:15).


He was perfect at the time of his own creation, but was a murderer and sinner at the time of the beginning or creation as we experience it. Therefore, the devil had to fall in sin somewhere between the time of his creation and the beginning of the world as found in the first chapter of Genesis. Only the gap provides a time for this. There is no other option.


The Origin of Devils

This last argument involves some speculation and is not critical to the whole. However, consider the following:


Devils are evil spirits that follow after Satan.

     Devils are distinguished from evil angels in that angels have bodies and the devils do not.

□     In fact, devils always seem to need to posses a body (see Luke 8:30-33).


Quite possibly, devils are the disembodied spirits of those beings who originally lived on the pre-adamic earth and who, because of their rebellion against God, are condemned to wander through this present world until their final condemnation to eternal judgment. The devils who faced Jesus were concerned that He had come to torment them “before the time” (Matthew 8:29). Yet, even if this is not the origin of devils, their existence and origin still must be accounted for in the context of Genesis 1:1-3.



God does not deal with the original creation and destruction of the earth in great detail anywhere in scripture. Therefore, there is no need that differences on this issue should divide among true believers of the word of God. However, my studies over the years have convinced me that there was something before our present earth. Too many things were already set at the time of our creation in the six days of the first chapter of Genesis. We will never know much about this time, but I believe that we can rest assured that there was such a time.



Spiritual Application  

Belief in the gap opens the scriptures up to a wonderful spiritual application. We will close with this application.





Just as the heaven and the earth began with the creation of God, so man began with God forming him of the dust of the ground and breathing into his nostrils the breath of life (Genesis 2:7). He was created in perfection, without sin, in fellowship with God, and in service to God. Because of his unbroken fellowship with God, his orientation was toward heaven—just as God ordered to create the “heaven and the earth,” not the “earth and the heaven.”  His outlook could be no better. The Garden of Eden was placed at his disposal and he was given a help meet for him. God even checked up on him in person on a daily basis. What a wonderful existence!



Sin and Destruction


Then, just as Genesis 1:2 describes a scene of destruction that can only be explained as the result of judgment, so man fell from his exalted position with God by the eating of the forbidden fruit. His condition spiritually matches the condition of the earth at this time.


      His life is without form. He has no true purpose or direction. He wanders about aimlessly trying to find a purpose that is not there.

□    His life is void. It is empty and vain. It lacks the only thing that can give true life and that is the life of the Spirit of God.

 □ His life is without light. Man without God lives in darkness. His mind is blinded by the god of this world (2Corinthians 4:4).

His life is without foundation. Instead of standing solidly on the foundation of God’s truth, he drowns under the flood of waters above him. He cannot ascend above the deep.





Man cannot be restored by a simple reformation. There must be a new creation. At salvation, he is “created in Christ Jesus unto good works” (Ephesians 2:10). He becomes a new creature (2Corinthians 5:17). Old things will pass away and all things will become new. Just as with the original earth, the details of his past life are to be forgotten. He looks at his re-creation as his true beginning.


What happens to bring man to this new creation? It is brought about by the moving of the Spirit on the face of the deep waters of his heart. As the Spirit moves, he is convicted and brought to a point of decision. To reject means eternal death; to accept the Lord Jesus Christ as Saviour means eternal life. If he accepts, the Spirit regenerates his spirit (Titus 3:5). The Father declares, “Let there be light” and the light shines forth in his spirit and soul. Further, the Spirit renews the man so that he is “renewed in the spirit” of his mind (Ephesians 4:23).


More important than all doctrinal speculation is whether or not you know Jesus Christ as your personal Saviour. Has there been a time in your life when you recognized your sinful condition and your deserved end in hell, when you realized that Jesus Christ died on the cross for your sins and paid your debt, and when you turned from your sin to believe in Him as your eternal Saviour? If not, why not trust in Him now?


By David F. Reagan


John 10:9 I am the door: by me if any man enter in, he shall be saved, and shall go in and out, and find pasture.








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