A Linguistic and Theological Assessment of the Gap Theory with Particular Reference to Genesis 1:1-2b

Isaac BoahengORCID iD

Issue: Vol.1  No.1 May 2020  Article 1 pp. 1-10
DOI : https://doi.org/10.38159/ehass.2020051   |   Published online 1st May 2020.
© 2020 The Author(s). This is an open access article under the CCBY license (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/).

129 Downloads

Over the years, Christian scholars have made various attempts to explain the origin of the universe based on the Genesis account of creation. Three key evangelical interpretations of Genesis 1:1-3, namely, the restitution theory, the gap theory, and the pre-creation chaos theory, have emerged from the debate. Of particular importance to the present study is the gap theory which attempts to reconcile the Genesis account of creation with the geological claim that the earth is billions of years old. Advocates of the gap theory argue that God initially created a perfect universe in Genesis 1:1 which became imperfect in Genesis 1:2 as a result of a cataclysm. Though appealing, the linguistic and theological basis for this popular theory has been questioned by many biblical scholars. The purpose of this paper is to investigate the validity of the gap theory through a linguistic and theological examination of Genesis 1:1-2b. At the end the study found that the gap theory does not rest on solid exegetical, theological and linguistic grounds.

Keywords: Creation, Gap Theory, Geological Ages, Linguistics.

Agyekum, Kofi. Linguistics: Ethnography of Speaking. University of Ghana, Accra: Institute of Continuing and Distance Education, 2010.


Bandstra, Barry. Genesis 1-11: Baylor Handbook on the Hebrew Bible edited by W. Dennis Tucker Jr. Texas: Baylor University Press, 2008.


Boaheng, Isaac. Basic Biblical Hebrew. Sunyani: Jonnette Secretariat, 2020.


Chryssides, George D. Christianity Today: An Introduction. London: A&C Black, 2010.


Copan, Paul and William Lane Craig, Creation Out of Nothing: A Biblical, Philosophical, and Scientific Exploration. Leicester: Inter-Varsity Press, 2004.


Custance, Arthur C. Without form and Void: A Study of the Meaning of Genesis 1:2. Brookville, Canada: Doorway Papers, 1970.


Dake, Finis Jennings. Dake’s Annotated Reference Bible. Georgia: Dake’s Publishing Inc., 2011.


Fields, W.W. Unformed and Unfilled. Collinsville, IL: Burgeners Enterprises, 1976.


Hamilton, Victor P. Handbook on the Pentateuch: Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, Deuteronomy. Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Book House, 1982.


Keathley, Kenneth and Mark F. Rooker. 40 Questions About Creation and Evolution. Grand Rapids, MI: Kregel Academic, 2014.


Kretzschmar, William A. Jr. The Emergence and Development of English: An Introduction. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2018.


Leupold, H. C. Exposition on Genesis. Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Book House, 1942.


McIver, Tom. “Formless and Void: Gap Theory Creationism” in Creation/Evolution Journal Vol. 8. No. 3 (2008).


Miles Gentry, Spontaneous Combustion: Enlightenment and the Cosmic Crucible. np: Lulu.com, 2012.


Missler, Chuck. Supplemental Notes: The Book of Ezekiel. Coeur d’Alene: Koinonia House, 2008.


Morris, Henry M. Studies in the Bible and Science. Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Book Publishing, 1966.


___. The Genesis Record: A Scientific and Devotional Commentary on the book of Beginnings. Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Book House, 1998.


Nee, Watchman. The Mystery of Creation. New York: Christian Fellowship Publishers, Inc., 1981.


Ogilvie, Lloyd J. (ed), The Preacher’s Commentary. Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson, Inc., 1987.


Pember, G. H. Earth’s Earliest Ages and Their Connection with Modern Spiritualism and Theosophy. London and Glasgow: Pickering & Inglis, n.d.


Renn, Stephen D. (ed.). Expository Dictionary of Bible Words. Peabody, Massachusetts: Hendricks Publishers Marketing, Inc., 2005.


Reyburn, William D. and Euan McG Fry, A Handbook on Genesis. New York: United Bible Society, 1997.


Rimmer, Harry. Modern Science and the Genesis Record. Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1941.


Ryrie, Charles C. Systematic Theology. Chicago, IL: Moody Publishers, 1999), 210.


Simpson, Cuthbert A. “Genesis” in George Arthur Buttrick (ed.), The Interpreter’s Bible Vol. 1. New York: Abingdon Press, 1956


Swaggart, Jimmy. Expositor’s Study Bible. Baton Rouge: Jimmy Swaggart Ministries, 2013.Tsumura, David T. “The Earth and the Waters in Genesis 1 and 2: A Linguistic Investigation,” JSOT Supplement Series 83.


Sheffield: JSOT Press, 1989.Unger, Merrill. “Rethinking the Genesis Account of Creation” Bibliotheca Sacra 115:457 (1958). Westermann, Claus. Genesis translated by David E. Green. London: T8.T Clark International, 2004.

Isaac Boaheng holds a Master of Divinity degree from the Trinity Theological Seminary. He is a Translator with the Bible Society of Ghana and a Minister of the Methodist Church Ghana serving the Nkwabeng Circuit of the Sunyani diocese. Credit is given to Dr. Samy Tioyé (United Bible Societies’ Global Translation Advisor) under whose tutelage at St. Paul’s University, Limuru, Kenya, I had the motivation to write this paper. Email: revisaacboaheng@gmail.com

Boaheng, Isaac. “A Linguistic and Theological Assessment of the Gap Theory with Particular Reference to Genesis 1:1-2b.” E-Journal of Humanities, Arts and Social Sciences 1, no.1 (2020): 1-10. https://doi.org/10.38159/ehass.2020051

© 2020 The Author(s). Published and Maintained by Noyam Publishers. This is an open access article under the CCBY license (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/).