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Genesis 1 -- Creation and a Gap?

Genesis 1:1-2
1 In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth. 2 And the earth was without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters.

See Genesis 1. Discuss and define your beliefs about the six days of Creation. Was this over a long period of time? Was it six 24-hour days? Was there a "gap" of unknown time between Genesis 1:1 and 1:2? If so, what occurred during this "gap"? If not, explain in as much detail as possible the fall of Satan and the entrance of sin into the universe.

The one place where a literary device is used within these chapters is between Genesis 1:1 and 1:2. Unfortunately, many have read more meaning into this literary pause than is warranted by the Scripture. They have created an entire “gap theory” in the pause between these verses.

An overall reading of Genesis shows a literary thread linking various sections together. In simple terms, this thread is an introductory clause concerning the verses or chapters to follow. This clause might be generally translated as being “these are the generations of ________.” Such introductory clauses may be found at Genesis 2:4; 5:1; 6:9; 10:1; 11:10; 11:27; 25:12; 25:19; 36:1; 36:9; and 37:2. 

Genesis 1:1, although using slightly different language, serves as the generations account clause for the creation work of God. Since the opening chapters speak of a different type of generation, the language is different. “In the beginning God . . .” goes to speak of the work of God in creating the generations of the universe and the populating of earth. This opening verse serves the same literary function as the generation formula clauses set forth above.

So, it is natural to take a breath before proceeding further in the narrative. This breath is the literary gap between verses 1:1 and 1:2. There is no theological significance to this space in the translation.

In verse 2, “without form, and void” could be translated as “unformed and unfilled.” This describes the condition of earth after the initial act of Creation. God has created the earth but has not commenced to tailor it for mankind. While “darkness” certainly is used for evil else where in Scripture, it does not have to carry this meaning in all of its uses (cf. Psalm 104:19-24). Here, it merely means the earth existed without light.   “Deep,” likewise, merely refers to the water covering the earth. There is no chaotic condition found in these verses. There is no “judgment gap.” 

“The Spirit of God” refers to the creative activity of the Holy Spirit and points to the Trinity. The existence of the Trinity is further found in the plural pronouns us and our in verse 26 which take singular verbs in expressing the tri-unity of God. The full Godhead is present at the creation. This points to the sovereign power of God at work in creation. There is no mere agency effort on the part of God to “start” the development of earth. What is described in the following verses are God’s work in forming and filling the earth of all plant, animal and human life. God, not science or natural evolution, is responsible for the creation and filling of the earth.


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