The gap theory has come in different forms since its conception in the early 1800s. 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.
I would like to look at Genesis 1:1–3 from a different angle, from a non-technical angle, by comparing Scripture with Scripture. That is by examining the structure of the narrative (how the story unfolds), as it is often easier to see things clearly when the pattern is repeated elsewhere.
Genesis 1:1–3 is a historical narrative and comparisons can be made to other biblical passages written in the same style which can help us understand what is going on, in this instance with Genesis 13:1-3. Specifically, there are grammatical terms, called the waw consecutive and waw disjunctive, used in both of these passages.1 Since most readers can’t read Hebrew and distinguish them, I will explain using English translations of the verses in the table below, showing the structure of the narrative….
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